Playing the victim card

How do you explain people who repeatedly pursue a path that leads to pain and disappointment? Perhaps there is a hidden psychological reward, according to a story in the New York Times.

Psychiatrist Dr. Richard A. Friedman explores the puzzling world of self-defeating behavior, when people blame others for their misfortune and feel victimized by bad luck.

Friedman told of a woman in her early 60s who complained about her ungrateful children and neglectful friends. As she spoke, it was clear she felt that all the major figures in her life had done her wrong. In fact, her status as an injured party afforded her a psychological advantage: she felt morally superior to everyone she felt had mistreated her.

It was a role she had no intention of giving up.

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