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Zachary Stockill: I received a comment on a video of mine recently that gave me pause. It inspired me to record what I’m about to share today.

Basically, a comment on one of my YouTube videos started arguing with me. Because I said that you’re not a victim, and you can’t define yourself as a victim. And he started arguing with me, saying, “No, Zach, you don’t understand… I am a victim. I’m a victim of retroactive jealousy.”

In today’s video, I want to clarify my views on why a victim mentality is so dangerous and so antithetical to personal change and personal healing. And I want to go deeper into this idea specifically for retroactive jealousy sufferers.

So the first point I need to be very clear about is, needless to say:

I get it. I’m a retroactive jealousy survivor myself, I’ve dealt with this in my personal life, aside from my 10 years of working on this issue with men and women from all over the world. 

I know retroactive jealousy inside and out. It is absolute hell, it’s painful, it’s terrible. It’s annoying, it’s frustrating, it’s stifling, you know, whatever adjective you want to throw at it, I get it. I understand retroactive jealousy is pure hell, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. 

But if you actually want to heal, if you actually want to work your way through this, if you want to get to a point where retroactive jealousy is a thing of the past, then you not only should, but you actually need to reject a victim mentality, which is what I want to talk about today.

So when you define yourself as a victim, you give yourself permission to take no action. You give yourself permission to stay stuck. 

Because if you think about it, rationally, laying in bed totally hopeless, calling yourself a victim… There’s no real action taking there. There’s no motivation to change your situation. 

Because when you define yourself as a victim, you basically say that the world has won. 

victim of retroactive jealousy

You know, whatever the world has tried to do to you, whatever other people have tried to do to you, whatever events or circumstances have tried to do to you, the world wins, you lose. And needless to say, if you want to start healing, this kind of attitude, this kind of self-definition, will get you nowhere. This will keep you stuck for many more months, or maybe even more years. 

And again, I have a tremendous amount of empathy for every retroactive jealousy sufferer. I understand how painful it is. And, I understand how frustrating it is.

But I also understand that calling yourself a victim and staying stuck will get you nowhere.

But here’s a lesson that took me a long time to learn. And I learned this lesson in my professional life over several years of working specifically on this issue.

Not everyone wants to heal. 

Now, that might sound absolutely crazy to a lot of retroactive jealousy sufferers. But I promise you it’s true. It doesn’t matter what challenge someone’s facing in life, doesn’t matter how big or momentous or even small the challenge is: not everyone wants to solve their problems. 

And this took me a long time to learn. But I finally understand that some people don’t want to solve their problems. Because they’re wedded to the problem in some way. 

They’re receiving some kind of benefit from staying wedded to this problem. 

Human beings make decisions based on incentives. And for many people, they’re incentivized to stay stuck in their problem, to stay stuck in a victim mentality, because getting some kind of tangible benefit through their self-definition of “victim.” Some of these benefits could include things like laziness, as it gives you permission to do nothing. Some people like receiving pity from other people. There could be many reasons. 

victim of retroactive jealousy

But the point is, some people want to stay stuck. If that sounds like you, I don’t know what you’re doing on my channel.

Frankly, I make videos for retroactive jealousy sufferers who want to get better; and who actually want to put this problem behind them. That’s who I’m interested in talking to.

But if what I just said resonates on some deep, mysterious level, if you think you could be buying into a victim mentality, and you’re wondering where to start…

A great question to ask yourself is: “Do I truly want to solve this problem?”

And if there’s any hesitation with that answer, ask yourself: “What are the benefits I’m getting out of staying stuck? What are the potential benefits I’m getting out of staying stuck with retroactive jealousy?”

To go deeper into this question: some of the potential benefits that some people get out of retroactive jealousy are things like pity; seeking constant attention and validation from their partner; keeping themselves from being truly intimate and vulnerable with their partner; keeping their partner at a distance because they’re falling in love, and they’re terrified, and so retroactive jealousy acts like a barrier…

The point is, if you’re feeling stuck with a problem, ask yourself what benefits you’re receiving as a result of staying stuck. And once you get clear about that, all of a sudden progress becomes much more feasible. 

But for anyone watching this with a victim mentality, I would ask you:

Who would you rather be: a victim or a survivor

And if you’re not sure of your answer, ask yourself who you’d rather talk to.

Do you want to talk to someone who defines themselves as a victim? Or do you want to go to a public talk or a lecture with someone who describes themselves as a survivor?

You can be the hero of whatever story you want to write. And who’s more likely to be a hero: a victim, or a survivor? 

So keep this in mind if you’ve been feeling stuck with retroactive jealousy lately.

If you’ve been spinning your wheels in the mud endlessly, if you’re posting comments on my YouTube channel, arguing with me, saying that you’re a victim, I ask you: is that really getting you where you want to go? How’s that working out for you?

And if it’s not working out so well, it might be time to try something different, and that starts with a brand-new self-definition.

Click here to join thousands of other retroactive jealousy success cases, and learn more about my flagship online course, “Get Over Your Partner’s Past Fast.”

Zachary Stockill
Zachary Stockill

Hi! I'm a Canadian author and educator whose work has been featured in BBC News, BBC Radio 4, The Huffington Post, and many other publications. I'm the founder of, the author of Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy and The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook, and the host of Humans in Love podcast.