You may not have heard of the term, “woundology,” coined by Caroline Myss. It speaks of a complex syndrome that prevents us from healing. You may be more familiar with the terms, “hypochondriac” or masochist. I prefer the term “professional victim,” coined by my cousin, Nancy Bradley (nancybradley.org). It is perhaps one of the most frustrating elements of my practice because in the world of a professional victim, logic is skewed; two and two does not equal four. Please don’t confuse this with someone who wants to recover but is having difficulty being diagnosed or finding proper treatment. Anyone who really wants to get better will move heaven and earth to do so. They will research their problem and plan a course of recovery. Even then, sometimes the answer is not easily attainable because today our immune systems are under attack from the very things that should be keeping us alive like air; water; and food. So before we make the mistake of taking another’s inventory (especially someone who is earnestly seeking to renew their health) I would like to point out the difference.
The “professional victim”, who is well-schooled in the practice of woundology, will give every appearance that they are trying to find the cause of their “problem”; it may be a health concern or a family problem or job situation. They will talk to everyone and anyone who will listen and often it is the first subject they bring up, you could say they wear it as a badge of honor. Then when you offer a solution to the professional victim he or she will either loose interest in the conversation or change the subject, (unusually to another problem that plagues them) or give a detailed explanation as to why that solution will never work for them. You’ll walk away wondering what color the sky is in their world.
Let me highlight a conversation I had with an associate who had been recently hospitalized for complications with diabetes. She was admitted with blood sugar levels that were so far off the chart that most people would be dead. She is a hard worker who has difficulty asking for help. When I saw her at a function she was absolutely glowing; the twinkle in her eye matched the smile on her face. I remarked that she looked wonderful and asked if it was something she was doing. She told me almost with pride that she hadn’t changed a thing and was subsisting on pasta, bread and doughnuts. She replied, “After all, with my job what else can I do?” I suggested that with simple diet changes she could totally reverse her diabetes and reclaim her health and energy. I told her that I would be glad to discuss it with her at another time if she were interested. It was about this time I noticed that not only was the sparkle leaving her eyes but she was scanning the room looking for an escape. I wished her well and invited her to call me. I know that I will never receive that call. Her illness obviously provided her with a bonus. Her position in the family’s business was totally covered while she “rested” in the hospital. I only wished she realized that she deserved a much better vacation than that.
The reason I mention this is twofold. First, that you may examine the fringe benefits you receive from your illnesses and realign your life so that you can acquire these benefits in a healthier and more positive manner. One of the simplest things you can do is ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT. Secondly, I want you to recognize the professional victim so that you don’t get sucked in to their whirlpool. You’ll go round and round until you break away or get sucked down their drain. I implore you to remove yourself from their “pity party” sooner rather than later because they will extract every bit of energy from you that you are willing to give. In the end you will feel drained and frustrated - and oh yes, you’ll not have changed their plight one iota. It reminds me of an expression my Dad used to say. I’ll give you the clean version here: “Never argue with a fool. It’s like wrestling with a pig in mud; you both get dirty but the pig likes it”.
So next time you encounter a professional victim you can remember my Dad’s words of wisdom and smile. You can look at them with all the compassion you can muster and say, “oh dear, what a shame”….Then walk away, save yourself and keep Smiling.
Love and Light, Lori Jacobs