During my twenties and thirties, Goodtime Johnny was my best friend on the road. In fact, he was my only friend. But he wasn’t that great of an influence on me.
Whenever we were away on business, he’d usually take me out drinking. Sometimes he’d buy drinks for strangers. Everybody could tell he longed to be the life of the party, the guy seen as everyone’s friend. But they were all getting free drinks, so what did they really care?
At other times, he’d ask the drunk sitting next to us, “You know of any other bars that’re open later’n this one?” We’d stumble over to that bar and drink some more.
Then we’d fly home after the business trip—which, let’s be real, we should have just called a business bender. He’d drop me off at my house, nonchalantly wave goodbye, and say, “See you soon, buddy.”
I’d waltz into my living room, then kiss my wife and daughters. As I’d walk by the mirror, I could swear I’d caught a glimpse of Goodtime Johnny. But that was impossible.
I’d never allow someone like him to enter my home.
Playing the Victim
No, I don’t suffer from multiple personalities, but Goodtime Johnny might as well have been someone else living in my body for too many decades of my adult life. He was the man I became when left to my own devices and untethered from my responsibilities at home.
I allowed Goodtime Johnny so much freedom in my life because I loved playing the victim. Because my dad had abandoned me by committing suicide when I was eleven, I thought I could use my father as my excuse for all kinds of bad behavior. I thought, No one has ever or will ever experience as much pain as I’ve gone through, so I have the right to do what I want.
Even in my thirties, I still had a lot of growing up to do.
But that’s what a victim mentality makes you believe: that your past circumstances dictate your present situation—that you’re helpless to act against your lesser impulses due to forces outside of your control.
Sure, there’s probably some truth to that, but living from within a victim mentality is weak living. It blames the world for what’s ultimately your inability to wrestle with your own inner demons.