Is the glass half full, or is it half empty – it is all about perspective.
People with a victim mindset view themselves as a victim and in pain. Even if you’ve suffered at the hands of others or life has dealt you a blow you don’t have to feel like a victim and pity yourself. You can rise above events and refuse to submit to them.
Have you ever asked yourself: ”why does this always happen to me?”. Some people go through life asking questions like this and wonder why all these bad things keep happening to them. Being more positive would help.
What causes a victim mindset?
Things happen every day that can cause you to fall into a victim mindset. Let’s face it; bad things happen to everyone, that’s just how life is. Some people act as though each setback is a major drama and create stress and pain for themselves. Why? Well, you feel important when you convince yourself that you are hard done by and have huge problems. It satisfies your ego.
What you tell yourself is going to affect your mood, behaviour and happiness so negative self-talk is likely to help cause or prolong a victim mindset. If you are negative you cannot see reality and therefore your decisions will be based on wrong assumptions. More bad decisions lead to more pain and failure which will encourage you to believe that you are indeed a victim.
Do you believe in fate or do you think you are responsible for your life and what happens to you? The victim feels that he or she has been treated unfairly and is trapped. There seems to be no way out. In extreme cases the victim may even start to believe that he or she is being punished and deserves to be a victim.
What are the effects of a victim mindset?
When you see yourself as a victim you feel life is treating you unfairly. You may be angry as a result and blame everybody for your misfortune. You may feel you are being punished or even deserve to be a victim. Your self-esteem may be very low. You will suffer from negative thinking and might feel trapped.
What can you do about it?
- Start building your self-esteem and confidence.
- Stop being angry or feeling helpless and understand that you are responsible for your own life. Decide to do something about it and get help if you need it.
- Question your negative thoughts, don’t believe them automatically.
- Do whatever you can to be positive.
- Stop being a victim and stand up for yourself.
- You don’t have to be a victim, the only person who makes you feel like one is the same person who can free you – YOU!
“If it’s never our fault, we can’t take responsibility for it. If we can’t take responsibility for it, we’ll always be its victim.” ~ Richard Bach
“Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.” ~ John W. Gardner
One big problem a lot of people have is that they slip into thinking of themselves as victims that have little or no control over their lives. In this headspace you feel sorry for yourself, the world seems to be against you and you get stuck. Little to no action is taken and you get lost in a funk of sadness and self-pity.
So how can you move out of that mindset?
- Know the “benefits” of a victim mentality.
Here are a few “benefits” of the victim mentality:
- Attention and validation. You can always get good feelings from other people as they are concerned about you and try to help you out. On the other hand, it may not last for that long as people get tired of it.
- You don’t have to take risks. When you feel like a victim you tend to not take action and then you don’t have to risk for rejection or failure.
- Don’t have to take the responsibility. Taking responsibility for you own life can be hard work, you have to make difficult decisions and it is hard sometimes. In the short term it can feel like the easier choice to not take personal responsibility.
- It makes you feel right. When you feel like the victim and like everyone else – or just someone else – is wrong and you are right then that can lead to pleasurable feelings.
Just being aware of the “benefits” of victim thinking it should make it easier to say no to that and to choose to take a different path and make it easier to make rational decisions about what to do.
- Be OK with not being the victim.
To break out of a victim mentality you have to give up the “benefits” above. You may experience a kind of emptiness within when you let go of victim thinking. You may have spent hours each week thinking and talking about how wrong things have gone for you in life or how people have wronged you and how you could get some revenge or triumph over them.
Now you have to fill your life with new thinking that may feel uncomfortable because it is not as intimately familiar as the victim thinking you have been engaging in for years.
- Take responsibility for your life.
One of the main reasons people has self-esteem issues are because they don’t take responsibility for their lives. It is easier to blame someone else for the bad things that happen.
This damages many vital areas in your life like relationships, ambitions and achievements. Truth is the hurt will not stop until you wise up and take responsibility for your life. There is no way around it.
The difference is remarkable. Just try it. You will feel so much better about yourself even if you only take personal responsibility for your own life for a day. And I speak out of experience guys, been there done that.
This is also a way to stop relying on external validation like praise from other people to feel good about yourself. Instead you start building stability within and an inner spring that fuels your life with positive emotions no matter what other people say or do around you.
When you feel yourself slipping into a victim role, ask this question: “Does someone have it worse than me?”
The answer may not result in positive thoughts, but it can sure snap you out of the childish “poor, poor me” attitude pretty quickly. When you stop focusing on your issues and start focusing on someone or something else you realise that you have so much to be grateful for in life.
When you’ve changed your perspective ask yourself: “What is the hidden opportunity within this situation?” or “What lesson can I learn from this situation?”
One of the best reasons to forgive can be found in this quote by Catherine Ponder:
“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”
As long as you don’t forgive someone you are linked to that person. Your thoughts will return to the person who wronged you and what s/he did over and over again. The emotional link between the two of you is so strong and inflicts much suffering in you and – as a result of your inner turmoil – most often in other people around you too.
When you forgive you do not only release the other person. You set yourself free too from all of that agony.
- Turn your focus outward and help someone out.
Another question you can use when you get into the victim headspace is simply: “How and to whom can I give value right now?”
This will shift your focus from victim to victor, even if you may not feel totally like doing it.
The way we behave and think towards others have a huge effect on how we behave and think towards ourselves. For example, judge people more and you tend to judge yourself more. Be more kind to other people and help them and you tend to be more kind and helpful to yourself. The more you love other people, the more your love yourself.
- Be nice to yourself.
Getting out of a victim mindset is not easy. Some days you will slip. That’s ok. Be ok with that. Be nice to yourself. Don’t allow one little slip to let you to spiral down into a very negative place for days.
It is more helpful to just give yourself a break and use the tips above to move yourself into a positive and empowered head space once again.
I trust that you have found this post insightful and helpful.
Till next time
Keep being the best version of you that you can possibly be!