Episode 49 – The Victim Mentality

Are you stuck in a victim mentality? Often times we don’t even realize that when we complain and blame others for how we think and feel we are giving away our own power and putting yourself in a victim role.  What does that look like and how can we change it? Find out on this week’s episode.

Show Summary:

The definition of victim is a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action.

I think that most of us have not been a victim in these terms…but we have felt like we have been victimized at some point in our lives. We feel taken advantage of, wronged by someone, or that life just isn’t fair.  We have a lot of self-pity.  Self-pity is one of those emotions that really isn’t useful.  It’s pretty indulgent.  We give in and feel sorry for ourselves instead of changing what is changeable. 

A lot of times when we are in victim mode we are complaining a lot.  This is one of the signs I usually recognize in myself.  When I’m complaining and whining about how my life should be different than it is, or that I deserve better.  Yep…definitely in victim mode.

The victim mentality can be a powerful one.  Usually people who think this way feel like they are morally right, they aren’t responsible or accountable for their actions, and they deserve sympathy for what they have gone through.  They often blame others for their misfortunes, blame how they feel on others, and often even get a sense of pleasure by trying to get others to feel sorry for them.

When you choose to make yourself into a victim you are giving all of your power away.  By blaming others or your circumstance for how you are feeling and acting, makes you feel powerless when really you have all the power inside yourself.

But why do we do this?  Why do we act like a victim?  Ultimately, people who have a victim mentality are afraid to take responsibility for their own wants and desires because they are afraid of failure.  They are afraid of feeling negative emotion.

When you were a child, you probably received a lot of positive reinforcement and emotional support when you tried to elicit sympathy from people.  The victim mentality was reinforced because it was successful.  But as an adult, being a victim puts us in a position that is powerless, much like a child.  And it’s no longer to our advantage to behave this way.

I want to give you an example from my own life.  When I was 10 years old, my 3 year old brother drowned on a family vacation and passed away.  I had a really hard time dealing with it and so when things got hard in my life all I had to do was start crying about my brother and I immediately got sympathy and people were kind and nice to me and I got out of a lot of really hard situations.  And at that point, I wasn’t really doing it to manipulate people.  I truly felt like my life was just a lot harder than other people because my brother had died.

Fast forward…now I’m adult.  I am NOT still using the death of my brother as an excuse for why my life seems hard sometimes, but my brain loves to offer me other thoughts that can easily take me into victim mode.  

  • My life is so hard because I had a bad marriage.
  • Poor me that I have to drive my step-daughters so far to school every day.
  • It’s not fair that I have to move when I don’t want to.

And some I hear from my clients

  • People just don’t understand being a divorced woman in The Church.
  • It’s so hard being a strong woman in the workplace
  • My mom just makes me feel so guilty all the time
  • I could be happy if my husband would just live up to what he promised when we got married

All these thoughts put us in a victim mentality.  We are giving away our power and blaming others or our circumstances for how we feel.  

But the truth is, we get to determine how we feel by our thoughts.  This is great news, because it’s totally fixable!  We just need to change the way we are thinking in order to get out of this victim mentality.  We also need to be willing to experience and process negative emotions.

When we identify as a victim, there must also be a villain.  Who is your villain? Who are you blaming?  Are you blaming your spouse? Your parents? A sibling? A stranger?  Do you want to be villainizing that person?  Why?  

Another thing to look at is are you blaming yourself?  We can play both roles – the victim and the perpetuator.  So when you aren’t being compassionate with yourself, you are villainizing yourself.

So, how do we take back control?

  1. Be honest with yourself and examine what you may doing that unintentionally (or intentionally) places you in the victim role.  
    • Do you blame others for how you feel?
    • Are you avoiding things so you don’t have to feel negative emotion?
  2. Understand your own worth
    • The opposite of Victim Mentality is Vulnerability.  Vulnerability is knowing that you are enough, that you are perfect exactly the way you are.
    • You don’t get to decide whether you are enough or not because your worth was decided the moment you were created.  You are here.  You are enough.
  3. Make a list of your desires and goals.
    • This gives your brain something to work for that is going to push you in the direction you want to go.
    • Be willing to feel whatever comes up and take 100% responsibility for how you feel.

So much of victim mentality is awareness!  I want you to just take a look at your thoughts this week.  Examine them.  Where do you find yourself blaming the circumstance or someone else for your thoughts and feelings?  Is that what you want for your life? What do you want instead?

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