Next to ‘closed-channel thinking,’ victimstance is the most pervasive thinking error in irresponsible and criminal thinkers. Criminal thinkers continually blame others for situations they have caused themselves.
Victimstance thinking moves to the extreme in persons actively engaged in victimizing behavior. If a criminal thinker gets arrested they will claim they are victims of overzealous police actions. They will lie and deny doing anything wrong even when confronted with the obvious facts of their offenses. They will often blame the violence they have perpetrated on an addiction or drug and alcohol use. When a criminal thinker enters treatment or therapy they will use their new found diagnosis to rationalize and excuse their behavior instead of using that knowledge to take the necessary steps to make meaningful change.
The common victim rationales used by the offender fall into four destructive categories including, psychological, sociological, ex-con and genetic. Examples of thinking distortions in each of these areas are as follows:
- If drugs were legal like in Denmark this wouldn’t even be an issue.
- Everybody steals and lies, I just happen to have gotten caught which is not fair
- I couldn’t help it that my friend decided to rob that store. I’m a victim of circumstance.
- If you would have left me alone this wouldn’t have happened.
- It’s not my fault, I warned her that I get violent when she keeps nagging me.
- I was raised in the projects. This is the only way I learned how to make money
- I live in a neighborhood that is controlled by gangs. If I wouldn’t have joined a gang I would have been killed.
- I am constantly being discriminated against because of my race so committing crimes is how I learned to cope.
- If I was white I wouldn’t have even been arrested for this crime.
- I can’t get a decent job now that I have a record so I have to sell drugs to survive.
- There are no good options for someone with a criminal record.
- Society has branded me a criminal so I might as well just accept it.
- My parents were both incarcerated so I was bound to be a thug.
- Drug addiction runs in the family, I don’t have a choice.
- I just have bad blood.
The changing criminal must begin to accept the role they play in every negative consequence that they encounter. They need to identify the thinking errors that prevent them from taking personal responsibility. By asking what they could have done differently to change the outcome of the situation they will begin to learn corrections to their distorted thoughts. They must learn and document how they have been a victimizer more than a victim. Even when they are truly victimized, their criminal lifestyle is usually what has caused them to become victims themselves. Police understand this concept well when they arrive on a crime scene and discover that the victims could easily be yesterdays victimizers.