The problem is that I'm around ex-cons and addicts every day, whether it's at a meeting, at a class, at probation or at my sober house. I am around people who are trying to get better or pretending to get better to appease probation...either way, their old way of thinking is still there. I still have it...I fight it every day. We love playing the victim in order to elicit sympathy and to convince ourselves we're in the right.
What it is, really, is a lack of gratitude. We forget what we have and focus on what we used to have or don't have at all. That's no way to live. It is a way to live, actually...a really, really, shitty miserable way. Something you'll rarely hear in lockup or rehab, "How are YOU doing, man?" They don't care. It's all about "me".
I should point out the glaring irony here: I'm annoyed by something I've been guilty of for years. I have been an extremely self-centered asshole. Ask any of my close friends. I would hang out with them, gloss right over their lives and get right into the Let's Talk About Me portion of the conversation. I hope to make this up to the people I care about in time. I can imagine a few of them thinking, "Aww...you have to listen to another asshole ramble on and on about their life and problems? Karma, bitch." I really should begin every day by looking into the mirror and saying, "It's not always about me".
There is a difference between sharing the ups and downs of your day with friends and family, and just full-blown victim stance. I encourage you to be mindful of this and to listen as much as you speak in your interactions with others. I'm also not referring to serious issues, tragedies and struggles you are facing. I hope I'm clarifying that. Please don't avoid sharing your problems with me based on this...I think going a full day with empty conversation would be just as bothersome.
As for those who are still cluelessly vying for sympathy and trying to manipulate others with their skewed vision of their lives, I think I have the perfect response:
Next time I have to listen to a certain individual in my probation class complain about how hard it is to find a job because of his record even though he hasn't utilized any resources offered to him, and how nobody wants him to succeed, he's going to get the response, "Lighten up, Francis."