THE EGO’s role in playing victim: we all know someone who at one time or another will revert to anything for attention. The way they see it is that any attention is better than no attention even if it’s negative. This is the “ego” talking.
Eckhart Tolle is the author of “A New Earth”. He is a contemporary spiritual teacher who travels extensively, taking his message throughout the world. Tolle shows how transcending our ego-based state of consciousness is not only essential to personal happiness, but also the key to ending conflict and suffering throughout the world. Tolle describes how our attachment to the ego creates the dysfunction that leads to anger, jealousy, and unhappiness, and shows readers how to awaken to a new state of consciousness and follow the path to a truly fulfilling existence. He lives in Vancouver.
Some egos, if they cannot get praise or admiration, will settle for other forms of attention and play roles to elicit them. If they cannot get positive attention, they make seek negative attention instead, for example, by provoking a negative reaction in someone else. Some children already do that. They misbehave to get attention. Some egos perpetrate crime in their search for fame. They seek attention through notoriety (better to be infamous) and other people’s condemnation. “Please tell me that I exist, that I am not insignificant,” they seem to say. Such pathological forms of ego are only more extreme versions of normal egos.
A very common role is the one of victim, and the form of attention it seeks is sympathy or pity of others’ interest in my problems, “me and my story.” Seeing oneself as a victim is an element in many egoic patterns, such as complaining, being offended, outraged, and so on. Of course, once I am identified with a story in which I assigned myself the role of victim, I don’t want it to end, and so, as every therapist knows, the ego does not want an end to its “problems” because they are part of its identity. If no one will listen to my sad story, I can tell it to myself in my head, over and over, and feel sorry for myself, and so have an identity as someone who is being treated unfairly by life or other people, fate or god. It gives definition to my self-image, makes me into someone, and that is all that matters to the ego.
We must always pay attention to the ego – it can be very selfish.