To understand Positive Intelligence and how Mental Fitness works, please read my first seven blogs. This will help you understand how to become mentally fit. Just like someone who lifts weights, becoming mentally fit takes consistent and deliberate practice. Being physically fit is an analogy to being mentally fit.

In the past three months I have discussed the Universal or Master Judge and six of his nine accomplices: the Controller, Avoider, Hyper-Achiever, Pleaser, Stickler, and Hyper-Vigilant Saboteurs. In this blog I will cover the Victim and the Hyper-Rational Saboteurs.

It is important to remember that everyone has the Judge as well as the nine Saboteurs. Some Saboteurs are stronger and more prevalent in each of us. Not everyone has all the many characteristics of each of the Saboteurs. Factor analysis tells us we self-sabotage ourselves by the Judge along with one or two of the Saboteurs.

What is a Victim Saboteur?

Victim Saboteurs are emotional and temperamental, to gain attention and affection.

They have an extreme and persistent focus on internal feelings, particularly painful ones.

Many also have a martyr streak.

Strengths of People with the Victim Saboteur

  • Sensitive: feel own emotions deeply and clearly, including “difficult” emotions.
  • Introspective: capable of deep and courageous introspection and self-discovery.
  • Individualistic: appreciates uniqueness of self and others.
  • Perceptive of nuanced inner workings of the mind and capable of using that to connect, teach, inspire, or heal.


  • If criticized or misunderstood, tend to withdraw, pout, and sulk.
  • Fairly dramatic and temperamental.
  • When things get tough, want to crumble, and give up.
  • Repressed rage results in depression, apathy, and constant fatigue.
  • Unconsciously attached to having difficulties.
  • Get attention by having emotional problems or being temperamental and sullen.


  • No one understands me.
  • Poor me. Terrible things always happen to me. I might be uniquely disadvantaged or flawed.
  • I am what I feel.
  • I wish someone would rescue me from this dreary mess.


  • Tend to brood over negative feelings for a long time.
  • Feel alone and lonely, even when I am around people, I am close to.
  • Feelings of melancholy and abandonment.
  • Envy and negative comparisons.

Justification Lies

  • This way I will get some of the love and attention that I deserve.
  • Sadness is a noble and sophisticated thing that shows exceptional depth, insight, and sensitivity.

Impact on Self and Others

  • Vitality wasted through so much focus on internal processing and brooding.
  • Self-pity is a poor substitute for self-love.
  • Backfires by pushing people away in a constant test of whether they care enough to stay.
  • Others feel frustrated, helpless, or guilty that they cannot put more than a temporary band-aid on the victim’s pain.

The Sage Perspective is particularly helpful in breaking through the victim’s negative cycle. How can you convert your experience into a gift of connecting, teaching, inspiring, or healing others? The answer to who you are is not in the incessant thinking or negative feeling mind but is in the no-thinking, knowing mind of the Sage.

One example of how the Victim Saboteur caused a challenge for one of my clients:  As a leader she frequently helped her managers when she felt they were struggling with a heavy workload. She would intervene without asking and complete one of their assigned tasks, thinking this would be helpful and they of course would be grateful. However, it never worked out that way. The manager would be angry if she took over without asking and consequently, she would get a rebuff instead of a thank you for stepping in to help the manager. This led her to feel she was not appreciated, and she would then sulk and feel sorry for herself.

What is the Justification lie she was telling herself in this example?

She thought she would receive praise and attention by taking on this extra work for her manager. She also felt sad for not being recognized for completing the manager’s task, which should have been seen as of course noble. Certainly, others would see she should have been recognized for her sacrifice to help this manager.

What is the Hyper-Rational Saboteur?

They have an intense and exclusive focus on the rational processing of everything, including relationships. They can be perceived as cold, distant, and intellectually arrogant.

Strengths of People with the Hyper-Rational

  • Capable of deep insight and understanding through objective analysis.
  • Can be very observant and perceptive.
  • Power of great mental concentration.
  • Drive towards great expertise in area of knowledge
  • Can be a great explorer and inventor.


  • Intense and active mind, sometimes coming across as intellectually arrogant or secretive.
  • Private and do not let many people into deeper feelings.
  • Mostly show feelings through passion in ideas.
  • Prefer to just watch the craziness around them and analyze from a distance.
  • Can lose track of time due to intense concentration.
  • High penchant for skepticism and debate.


  • The rational mind is where it is.
  • Feelings are distracting and irrelevant.
  • Many people are so irrational and sloppy in their thinking.
  • The needs and emotions of others distract me from my projects.
  • I need to shut out intrusions.
  • What I value most is knowledge, understanding, and insight.
  • Self-worth is attached to mastering knowledge and competence.


  • Frustrated with others being emotional and not rational enough.
  • Anxious about preserving personal time, energy, and resources against intrusions.
  • Feeling different, alone, and not understood.
  • Often skeptical or cynical.

Justification Lies

  • The rational mind is the most important thing. It should be protected from the wasteful intrusion of people’s messy emotions and needs so it can get its work done.

Impact on Self and Others

  • Limits the depth and flexibility of relationships in work and life by analyzing rather than experiencing feelings.
  • Intimidates less analytically intense people.

Would you rather be “right” or happy? Acknowledge the high price you pay in relationships and intimacy. Intimacy requires vulnerability.

One example of how the Hyper-Rational Saboteur caused a challenge for one of my clients:  A grants manager I was coaching was constantly getting frustrated with the program managers interfering in how the program budget would affect the programs clients. The grants manager was only interested in making sure the budget was balanced. He resented their interference. This was a continual aggravation for him. He wanted the program managers to leave him alone so he could complete the grant. He felt that they just did not understand, and they should leave him alone to do his job.

What is the Justification lie he was telling himself in this example?

The grants manager thought he was right, and the program managers were of course wrong. After all, he was the grants manager and knew how to do a budget and they of course did not. He did not have time to talk with them about what they wanted. He felt they were just wasting his time, which was keeping him from getting his work completed.

How strong is the Victim and Hyper-Rational in you? What is their biggest impact? How would either of these Saboteurs interfere with your aspiration to be a successful leader?

Next month I will identify and discuss the Restless Saboteur as well as how to use the Positive Intelligence Operating System to deal with conflicts and stress. Do you like what you see? Want to learn more? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below!


“Positive Intelligence” by Shirzad Chamine or visit their website at