Avoid relationships where the other person is always:
4. Constantly a victim
I thought of one or two people specifically when I read this passage.
If anyone you know immediately comes to mind, tread carefully.
Consciously or unconsciously, you could be under their passive influence.
This feels like such a first world problem though.
If the points above are what keep you up at night, you might need a little perspective.
In some relationships you may have a gnawing feeling that the other person has gained control of the dynamic, yet you find it hard to pinpoint how or when this occurred. All that can be said for certain is that you feel unable to move the other person, to influence the course of the relationship. Everything you do only seems to feed the power of the controller. The reason for this is that the other person has adopted subtle, insidious forms of control that are easily disguised and yet all the more effective for being unconscious and passive. Such types exert control by being depressed, overly anxious, overburdened with work—they are the victims of constant injustice. They cannot help their situation. They demand attention, and if you fail to provide it, they make you feel guilty. They are elusive and impossible to fight because they make it appear at each turn that they are not at all looking for control. They are more willful than you, but better at disguising it. In truth, you are the one who feels helpless and confused by their guerrilla-like tactics. To alter the dynamic, you must first recognize that there is far less helplessness in their behavior than they let on. Second, these people need to feel that everything takes place on their terms; threaten that desire and they fight back in underhanded ways. You must never inadvertently feed their rebelliousness by arguing, complaining, trying to push them in a direction. This makes them feel more under attack, more like a victim, and encourages passive revenge. Instead move within their system of control, applying Erickson’s Utilization Technique. Be sympathetic to their plight, but make it seem that whatever they do, they are actually cooperating with your own desires. That will put them off balance; if they rebel now, they are playing into your hands. The dynamic will subtly shift, and you will have room to insinuate change. Similarly, if the other person wields a fundamental weakness as a weapon (the heart-attack tactic), make that threat impossible to use against you by taking it further, to the point of parody or painfulness. The only way to beat passive opponents is to outdo them in subtle control.
-Robert Greene, The 33 Strategies Of War
Also published on Medium.