The BAWLS Model: Victim Behavior
Victim BehaviorsWhat NOT to doThe BAWLS Model
What are the characteristic harmful, destructive ways people tend to behave when under the stress and pain of values violations?
Victim behaviors are those behaviors that are almost always destructive
and harmful. BAWLS stands for Blaming, Avoiding, Whining, Labeling negatively
and Sarcasm. Victims are those people who are harmed by these behaviors.
While aggressive blaming behavior harms those to whom it is directed in
the short term, the reactions to such behaviors eventually harm the aggressors
too, who become victims of others' reactions as well as the aggressive act
itself. That's why blaming is called a victim behavior.
What NOT to do:
- Blaming: Pointing the finger, loud voice, harsh voice, ugly face, bulging eyes, bulging veins, leaning forward, hand on hip, makes movements that are definite and fast. Blaming is verbal aggressiveness. Instead of yielding to the tendency to blame, pause . . . and then heal yourself using Victim Cycle Healing Antidotes.
- Avoiding: Hands thrown up, backing away, words like "I'm outta here.", walking out, situation goes unresolved. Avoiding stems from a decision to reject a person. Instead, pause . . . and then heal yourself using Victim Cycle Antidotes.
- Whining: Nasal voice tone, words like "Here is what is so awful . . .", droning on, whining to anyone who will listen. Whining is a carry-over from the terrible twos into adult life. Instead, pause . . . and then heal yourself using Victim Cycle Antidotes.
- Labeling negatively: Negative judgments about a person's identity or capabilities. Often the labeling is based on the person's race, gender, age, class or religion. Can be direct or behind the back, inner or outer. Profanity is sometimes used. Instead, pause . . . and then heal yourself using Victim Cycle Antidotes.
- Sarcasm: Words say something good, but the voice tone, facial expression and body say the opposite, something negative. Instead, pause . . . and then heal yourself using one or more of the Victim Cycle Antidotes.
What victim behaviors have in common:
All the victim behaviors have a number of elements present and conditions
in common. When we or others engage in victim behaviors:
- The person producing victim behavior experiences pain and suffering from values-violations that are not healed. This pain and suffering may not be conscious.
- The self of the person is not healthy. This lack of health may be chronic,
a long-term lack of healing that shows up as persistent tendencies to behave
in destructive ways and being blocked from positive inner and outer skills
to lead the way to fulfill values. The lack of a healthy self may be acute,
that is, temporary, due to the stress of recent values violations. In either
case, healing is the real solution. That is why, while it is important
to protect your own health and well being, dealing with the destructive
behavior with positive values will open the way to real solutions. This
is what was or is understood by Jesus, Gandhi, Dr. King, the Dalai Lama
and others who advocate non-violent yet assertive responses to destructive
- Empathy vanishes from people as they harm others. Demonstrating empathy
while engaging in self-protection is the worthwhile, yet delicate balance
that has a chance of succeeding without lapsing into co-dependency.
- The thinking skills of objectivity, long-term and wide-angle vision
become unavailable. This is especially problematic because these skills
help a person to anticipate the effects, in time and space, of harmful
- The positive values normally present in the person's mind/body are
blocked by the pain of values-violations, including anger, lack of caring,
envy, jealousy or even hatred.
- The following abilities also temporarily vanish: the ability to see
the good in others, to be aware of spiritual values and beliefs, and to
simply pause and think.
What to do:
- Responding to Victim Behaviors Find a way to both protect
yourself and stay healthy while responding in a way that leads the way
to fulfilling positive values by example. Forgiveness is one aspect of
leading the way to possible positive solutions to the destructive behaviors
of others. See the Forgiveness
Article for more information.
- Preventing Your Own Victim Behaviors Prepare in advance to pause, heal and then deal with your problems with the decisions and behaviors of others. Natural, Specialized and Long-term healing antidotes will provide you with some specific methods. (See the VBL menu or VBL Flow Charts) If your victim behaviors are chronic, that is, long-term or part of your "personality," get help from a VBL facilitator or counselor to help you heal past unhealed wounds and hurts. That will help enable you to activate your positive, timeless values and to seek to heal them in healthy ways. Doing this will make you happier and more fulfilled as a person.