The Great Deceiver?

If I were to choose only one thing that I would rid myself of in order to improve my life, I would choose self pity.  To me, this is the great deceiver of so many of us in recovery of any kind.

Self pity keeps us in a place of perpetual victimhood. Many never move beyond this place and stay stuck forever.  To me, it is the cornerstone of much of the negativity in our lives.

Why do we and so many remain stuck?  My take is that self pity is far more devious and invisible than most of us realize.  Speaking for myself, this is definitely the case.  I always thought that self pity only expressed itself when we uttered the words, “Poor me”.  Yet frankly, I have yet to meet the person who ever uttered this expression.

More often than not, self pity expresses itself in thoughts or statements like:

“I don’t deserve this”.

“How could he/she?”.

“They can’t treat me this way”

“Look what they have”.

“Easy for you to say”.

“Ya but, if you had been through what I went through…”

And many, many others.  Many statements like these are not in and of them expressions of self pity if stated a finite number of times during the course of recovery.  Where they are firmly transformed into self pity is when their stating is prolonged or permanent.

This is my viewpoint because I have been there.  Truly, I do not feel I deserved a lot of what has happened in my life.  Certainly this is a statement that any of us could say.  What I feel now balances this fact is that life is full of injustices.  Nobody is immune.  So once the harm has happened, it is now my responsibility to myself and others in my life to get past it.  Heal and forgive to the best of my ability.

Self pity wants us to continually re-injure ourselves.  It wants us to to reopen a wound that someone else inflicted.

Another expression of self pity I recognize in my life is exaggeration or sarcasm.  Such as, “Nobody understands”.  Or, “You never listen to me”, or some other such overstatement of a simpler fact.  When we overstate with exaggeration or sarcasm, the overstatement usually points in the direction of our victimhood.

A complicating factor I have found with self pity that also helps us stay stuck is that it is often pointed out to us from a basis of shame.  Ever heard this one?  “Quit feeling sor damn sorry for yourself!”.  Or how about “Ohhh…. poooor youuuu”.  Did it make you feel any better about yourself so you could recognize and deal with your self pity or did it just make you feel like crap even more?  Then perhaps your self pity got ahold of this new injury and drove you deeper?  It certainly did for me.

There is no shame in self pity unless we knowingly choose to stay there.  It is a common mistake that the vast majority of us make.  We need help in recognizing it and choosing a better pathway.  Shaming or mocking someone out of it seldom works.

My observation of self and others I have been involved with…. the sooner we can recognize how we have woven self pity into our patterns of thinking and our self concept, the sooner we can deal with it in a healthy and effective manner.

This to me is such an essential building block of recovery.  It is also an essential building block for overcoming depression.

Its been working for me anyway.

Ciao.  Chaz.



  1. Chaz,
    I love your writing, you have an ability for clarity from thought in mind to ink in hand:-)
    Self pity I like to refer to as the voice of fear. My fear is trying desperately to protect me, and sometimes it has saved my life. It has called me into quick action to get out of the way of an on coming car for instance. Yet at some point it seems to take more and more of me, telling myself whatever it needs to in order to manipulate me into isolation and being alone. Its as though my fear is smart, and figures hey, if I am too uncomfortable being around people, where there is a potential of getting hurt, then it tells me whatever it needs to tell me in order for me to feel so uncomfortable that I hide away. Ahh fear wins and keeps me safe..I lose, I am all alone and I loose and eventually I am no longer even living life-I am living in fear, unable to do the things I want to do.
    I find that recognizing my fear and honoring it, appreciating it for keeping me alive thus far works far better than fighting it, and trying not to have it.
    Attempting to resist, has not worked for me. I have had to accept it, and find ways to be grateful, yet set it aside, and flow along side of it. It is there, and when I recognize it, I have an opportunity to calm it, simply by recognizing it and loving it.
    Today I can be with my fear and respond courageously. Today I can have fear, and still move forward. Today I am no longer a victim.

  2. […] denial, Life, Recovery by realisticrecovery Here’s a great article from Chaz over at yuppieaddict.wordpress.com, his blog deals with recovery from “divorce, booze, drugs, depression”, four things I […]

  3. Hey Chaz, great blog bro.
    Hope you don’t mind, I reprinted this article over on my blog.
    Liked the “Thoughts are like children…” article too.
    Keep it up.

  4. No problem… glad this perspective was helpful.



  5. wow. I have to say that I plan on spending quite some time reading your past posts. Good perspective, good story, good writing. Really glad I pop over and spent the time to read you.

  6. Thanks for stopping by Wicked. I am happy to share parts of my journey that can be of value to others. Freely, they were given to me, so freely, I pass them along.

    See ya on the blogs.


  7. Great blog broheim.

    Echoing the thanks.


  8. Thank Gemeda.

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