So often couples engage in an unconscious competition who is suffering more in the relationship.
This dynamic results in more arguments, less vulnerability, and even a breakup.
In this talk, Galit and I describe this dynamic, the reasons behind it, and the damage it creates.
Examples are given from our marriage and the clinic.
Practical tips will help you soften this dynamic in your own relationship.
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Do you know that I , you heard me much more than I hurt you. You think you're insulted way more insulted I'm insulted right now? No . How dare you? Do you know those dynamics, those moments when there's almost a competition of who's suffering more, who's insulted more who heard who more. Exactly. So we call that the victim competition, and today we're going to once and for all talk about it and help you get out of that competition.Speaker 2:
You are listening to the potential state podcast with your host, dr. Sal Romanelli.Speaker 1:
Hi, my name is dr. CEL Romanelli. Hi, I'm Billy Romanelli. And today I'm gonna talk about the victim competition, where the winner is the biggest loser. But obviously before we begin, whenever there's kind of the word victim in the topic of the, whatever we're going to discuss, it's important to understand that we do not condone any form of violent behavior. Exactly. This is not what we're talking about. So I see this all the time in the clinic. What really happens is these couples get into this, this, this kind of like dance slash unconscious competition, where each one is, is saying that they're the bigger victim. I'm more hurt. I have a bigger pain than your pain. And then we're like competing. And every time one person brings their pain. They're like, what? Because if I am the one that's more hurt or more insulted than I'm more righteous. And that means that you've exactly hurt me more. And I'm in the right and you are in the wrong. So first of all, watch the talk about the victim triangle, which would make a lot, which would bring a lot of this terminology together. But why does that happen? Why do couples compete on who's suffering more? And we've discovered as kind of, there's two reasons for that. One is this core belief that it's your pain is my responsibility. That's an either, or there's not enough space for both pains. If we're with your pain, that means I did something wrong. I mean, I need to fix it. And if I'm in pain, it must be something that you did do my fingers responsible with just exactly , exactly . And the other thing is owning their , refusing to be seen as a persecutor, choosing a seat to senior , your own aggression, your own anger, that all the places where you hurt your partner. So there's almost like a fear, like, no, I'm never hurt . I'm never aggressive. I'm refusing to be vulnerable and refusing to own your over your vulnerabilities i n your fears. It's much easier to place your fears on your partner saying you did this and you did this. Instead of saying, I'm really scared right now, I'm really insecure right now. Or I, I did do something wrong, but I'm too proud. I'm too scared to own it because I'm afraid of going to leave or I'm afraid of my own aggression. I 'm on shadow. So those two things lead to t he s peaking competition. And then here's the three winners. Whoever wins this competition, w hatever is the biggest victim, the biggest, the one with the biggest pain, they went three things. What d o they w in? What, tell them what they win. Number one, that they are the ultimate victim, which means t hey get o f attention and t o get the pity. And in the victim triangle episode, we talked about love equals pity. So in these they're like, Oh, I deserve the most attention I deserve the most . And then the partner is the one that has to come towards that . They dictate the narrative. They dictate the narrative. The narrative become the last person to be insulted or the biggest one to be insulted or hurt. It's their narrative. So it's not that you're aggressive. It's because you're , you're aggressive because I did some that was even worse. So what's left in the history books is the big pain that I caused you. The fact that you were, that you were a to me, or you were angry at me, that's wiped out. T hat gets wiped out because I did the original sin and the third, which is the best the runner up becomes the persecutor. So if I w in the victim competition, that means i t c ould l ead to that person. I'm the angry one. I'm the mean one, the shadows is the Sutton line who, you know, can do no wrong. It's all coming together. Let's just give it a two examples. One from our marriage and one from the clinic . So we'll start with our marriage. We discovered in the last recent months that I keep getting assaulted , but one lead says every other word . So when she , when I get insulted, oftentimes like that actually cast her as she did something wrong. She did something wrong. I can't believe she said that. And even if she's calling me on my , I can say, well, I can't believe you said that that's so mean, right ? And only I only did that because you earlier today, you didn't respect me or you didn't celebrate me. And what happens is they keep flipping it on her. And then the focus becomes me rather than you actually taking a good, hard look at yourself and your behavior and your contribution to whatever dance it is that we're trying to address. I got, yeah, this is you blocking your exits. Check out the episode on blocking exits . And here's another example. Just the other day I was working with a couple and every time he, he had a solid, a complaint or something that his wife was not doing. She immediately went well, you know, you don't love me. You gotta love me for years. She always brings back. This hit the history books of how much she's in pain and that that's her way of blocking cause feedback. And I should not letting that land and keeps, keeps , um, portraying him as the persecutor that do that task in the second year victims didn't . So for the last 20 years, he's been the prosecutor on his parents validation to what he's actually bringing to the table, even if it's true. Right? So she's there . So when you, when this over time, the victim, when you win this competition, again, again, you become lonely, but I feel like saying, what does that mean? Even if it's true, right? Do you want to be right? Or do you want to be married? Right. And like our , our emotions and the way we feel and what certain circumstances bring out of us, it's all, there's all validity there. So we have to be able to at least bring it and explore it and get curious about it and share it and talk about it. It's not, I think we need to try and move away from right or wrong because it's how feel, or it's some dynamic that's coming to play between us. So instead of saying, is it right? Or is it wrong? Let's just look at it and explore it a little bit. Right. And then this kind of out shining, you know, my heart is more than your hurt. Where does that get us? This, this hierarchy of pain will lead to nowhere. View of more and less, right ? It's not an either or both of us can have pains. Both of us can be frustrated. It's not a conflict . Yeah. We have to there's with the stop with the whole . So how do we stop that? How do we stop that? How do you stop the victim competition? Well, the first thing we do is we own our . We admit to our own faults. We start saying , first of ourselves, then out loud and Ricky comfortable with all the parts of ourselves that we are , um, hurting or minimizing, which starch calls the normal. Exactly. And the second you feel comfortable with being a persecutor, you can say, yeah, I did ignore you. I didn't do literally you, I am twisting. Yeah . Like , instead of getting defensive, get curious, but the second I own it. So when delete says to me, you know, you're demonizing me in front of the kids, I can say, yeah, you're right. It usually doesn't look like that. It usually looks like, Oh, maybe you're right, right. There's no expectation that you'll immediately be like, yes, I will own my right now. But to at least kind of let it land and explore it and look at it and s tuff. I d on't c are i f my shadow then yeah. I can take responsibility over nasty things they do. C ause we all do nasty things to our partner so that we don't have to be scared when she calls me o ut. I don't have to evict A merican. Just say you're right. Okay. So that's one, the second is let it land w hen my p artner does say something, even if I want to say, no, you hurt me more. I f you just feel t he p ain, a djust it for a minute, see maybe, maybe they're onto something. C ause you know, if you're lucky enough, they'll see your blind spots that you w ant t o be able to see. Right. And then the last thing is, say the thing as, as it's happening, if you're noticing you're in this victim, competition, playfully at play, plays the loop of life. And, and just talk about it, notice it while we're in competition. I can't like, it seems like who has a bigger pain? Are we in a competition game again? Let them know what they want. Like a little play there. I had a little softening there. I think I might be insulted right now, but I'm not sure. Maybe I'm trying to tell you because I don't want to hear what you actually have to say. Things like that, this guy in a professional way . And I think the end of the day, if you can slowly shift away that it's not a competition that when Gilead shares her pain, I don't have to get defensive because her pain is not my responsibility slash fault slash to do list. I can just let her feel that. And I can feel that in the more I own my and I own the ways in which I hurt you. I can say it and I can even preempt it. I can say. Yeah. And I want to say another thing is that, you know, I think sometimes we get fearful o f, we hear the expression, normal marital status. You mean you want to hurt your partner, but I think it's also worthwhile looking at why we do that. Right? C ause sometimes we're afraid to get really close. It's very scary. And it's so much easier to keep some form of distance that I can also kind of, I can determine how close we get. I can control that. That is much safer than, y ou k now, being all in. So step out of the victim competition and set yourself free. T his w as r eally R omanelli. That's dr. RSL Romanelli potential state. We'll see y ou next time.Speaker 2:
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