Thought Catalog

The “Poor Me” Trap

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Shutterstock
Shutterstock

You’re in a pit. Never mind how you got there, you just know that it’s fairly dark down there and dirt is gradually piling on top of you. Eventually it will bury you alive and you know that, so what do you do?

When these metaphorical “pits” appear in real life, and we find ourselves in the darkest, lowest situations, we often don’t fight for our lives. Why not though? If you were literally at the bottom of a pit with dirt being shoveled on top of you, you’d get the hell out of there. You’d claw and climb your way out – or die trying. At least I’d hope you wouldn’t pop a squat and take dirt to the fact until you couldn’t breath.

In our real lives we fall in pits all the time. Some are small, and for the most part we aren’t in them long enough to feel threatened. Then there are the larger pits. The bills we can’t afford, the frustrating relationships, the jobs we hate, the more we thought we’d have accomplished by now. We fall in these pits and we sit there, miserable. We say, this sucks, I don’t want to be here. Am I going to find a way out? No, I’m going to stay down here and be angry. We blame the a-hole who pushed us down there, we blame the circumstances that led us to the pit, we blame the universe or God for hating us, we look for someone – or something to hold accountable.

That, ladies and gentlemen is the poor-me-trap. Sometimes “just one of those days” turns into one of those weeks, and months and years and suddenly you’re nearing a crappy decade. We’re only here so long, we can’t afford to have crappy decades. Of course there are times in which we need a grievance period. It’s quiet and isolated down there, so you’d like to take a few moments to gather your thoughts before getting out and being normal again. That happens and there’s no set length of time you’ll potentially need, but usually we recognize the difference between recovering and excessively feeling sorry for ourselves.

This trap isn’t limited to finger pointers – people who blame themselves end up there too and it’s bad. In fact, it’s even worse when you’re pouring dirt on yourself, doing nothing to help the situation and even making it worse. It sucks to know that you screwed up but the only thing worse than a failed attempt, an unfortunate inconvenience, a broken heart or a wasted opportunity is the time spent reflecting on that bad memory. It’s dirt and if you allow it to, it will suffocate you.

It may seem easier to say poor me and physically it is, but the mental and emotional exhaustion is a vicious, blood sucking monster. Surely you’ve been in the poor-me-trap before and if you’re lucky enough to live a lengthy life, it’s guaranteed you’ll wind up in your fair share of ‘em. The key is to remember that the way you got in the pit is irrelevant. Self-inflicted or complete victim, if you’re there, you’ve got collect your thoughts, knuckle up and get out. If you’re down in a pit right now, picture this as an extended hand, hoping to help lift you out… And if you don’t want my help, well fine — consider me a pesky police officer, breaking up your pity party and tasing you with currents of positivity for initially resisting. TC Mark

image – Shutterstock
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