I make mistakes all the time. We all do. It’s a part of being human. We all get that.
And we all get that there are some mistakes that are bigger than others. If I slip and knock your glass of kombucha out of your hand, it’s a bummer. If I slip and knock your laptop on the floor where it is irretrievably booken, it’s a much bigger bummer. But when you add intentionality to it, things take on a completely different complexion. If I trip you and knock your glass of kombucha out of your hand, you’re likely to be angry in a completely different way than if I’d slipped and done it accidentally. The same with the laptop.
Things that are done accidentally don’t require forgiveness. They can be overlooked or pardoned, but the lack of intention means they aren’t sins. Things done intentionally, however, require forgiveness, even if they are otherwise fairly insignificant. Here’s a diagram to illustrate how most of us deal with these things.
But not all of us deal with things this way. There are some who lump everything into a feeling of offense, as if everything has been done intentionally and at a high cost to them.
This is part of a victim mentality. But it’s only part of it.
The second part has to do with an inability to take responsibility or even see personal responsibility in many situations.
There is an old Robert Evans quote: “There are three sides to every story: your side, my side, and the truth.” Those who play the victim only acknowledge one side of the story, theirs, and they equate it with the truth. This unwillingness to acknowledge a different perspective or to admit that their perspective may not be wholly accurate makes them difficult to reason with and ultimately an emotional time bomb. You will eventually do something that will be perceived as an intentional offense and any attempt to explain your perspective will only harden the victim-player against you.
The meme accompanying this post is hyperbolic. We don’t give up on people, just like God hasn’t given up on us. We don’t run away from people. Not really. But we do make space between ourselves and those who play the victim (as opposed to those who are truly victims).