What is victim mentality? It is an acquired personality trait in which a person resides in a continual state of belief that they are a victim of the negative actions of others. People with a victim mentality believe that this is their reality even if evidence exists that is contrary to their beliefs.
What victim mentality can look like in day to day to life is a person that is engrossed in blaming other people for the way that they behave or feel, rather than taking responsibility for their actions. The ‘victim’ fails to realize that they should have a mindset of being in control of their thoughts and emotions, and have a personal dialogue that resembles this: I can only be who I am. _______’s behavior cannot force me into feeling distraught (upset, angry, frustrated, etc.). Regardless of what they are doing, feeling, or saying, I have control of my reactions. I am not the victim…I am fully in charge of ME!
Victim Mentality Erodes Emotional Well-Being
Having a victim mentality can erode our emotional well-being. Those that possess a victim mentality are often frustrated and angry. They trudge through life mentally stomping and dragging their feet. They often verbalize that they are having a horrible day (or life) because someone has mistreated them so badly, yet, they typically do not stop and realize that they are the one that can live in the moment and have a mindset that permeates with contentment and joy regardless of the thoughts or words of others. They fail to take ownership of their own emotions.
My Own Story
My personal story about victim mentality took place in the corporate world. The owner of the business where I was employed worked offsite. He often got upset with those of us that managed his in-person offices.
Frequently, we started our mornings in receipt of “big red-letter emails.” It got to the point that I hated to turn my computer on. I constantly thought that my world was going to end, right there in that office. This was an extreme exaggeration on my part, of course, but I felt every inch of it.
I allowed the huge capitalized red letter emails to ruin my day(s) and my nights. I constantly waited for the ball of doom to drop even though I was a good worker. I operated that back-office totally in charge, and I did my very best. I never received any threat or indication that my job was on the line. It was a perceived threat, not a real one that I could validate.
At that time, I was meeting with a life coach (outside of my job). In one of our sessions, she asked me if she could tell me what she was thinking, and of course, I said yes. She said, “You have got to drop this victim mentality! You are not a victim of your boss. You are a victim of yourself!” Say what (?!), I thought. Indeed, I had allowed myself to believe that I was a victim of my boss’s irrational rantings!
That moment changed the trajectory of my thoughts. I realized that I was giving control of my mind, my mood, my reactions, and my thoughts, over to my boss. He didn’t possess any of that! Instead, I was giving that to him by claiming a bad mood, anger, frustration, and sometimes fear, by allowing his behavior to permeate my truth. The truth was that he was the one that was angry and paranoid, but that did not mean that he could force me into feeling the same.
I am a conqueror and NOT a victim. This is my mindset. You can also shirk your victim mentality and own your feelings and reactions.
Ask yourself these questions (To Identify Victim Mentality)
Do you dramatize your problems?
Are you always the one that gets the bad deal, or the short end of the stick?
Are you always the one that has bad things happen in your life?
Do you fail to see the good that happens in your life?
Do you engage in a lot of negative self-talk?
Do you see your life as one big catastrophe because of someone else’s words, thoughts, or behavior?
Do you engage in a lot of negative self-talk?
Do you feel mentally powerless to your circumstances?
Do you have a victim mentality?
You are not powerless
If you were to step up to the plate today and drop all of your feelings that are associated with another person’s behavior, what is the worst thing that could happen to you right now? What is the likelihood of that one thing happening?
In most situations, you can do one or several small things to make life better right now. It may take one hundred steps to make everything completely better, but you can always find one minuscule thing that you can change. Focus on the things that you can change, and that typically means a change in yourself.
We cannot change other people. That is a fact. Our role in life is not to change other people, but we take our power back when we implement change in ourselves. You have control over your emotions, your thoughts, and your beliefs. Nobody can regulate that but you.
You are blessed with the ability to choose who you want to be and how you process the actions of others.
How To Stop feeling Like a Victim
To stop feeling like a victim, develop a mindset that you are not limited to how you feel when a person chooses to act in a manner that might upset you. You do not have to be that victim. You do not have to exist in that negative mentality.
See yourself as a strong person that lives in your own reality. You choose to live with joy and thankfulness regardless of what others choose to live by.
By taking responsibility for your thoughts and reactions, you conquer the victim mentality. The moment we stop blaming other people and things in the world for our feelings and emotions, we adopt a winning role. Suddenly, the world looks much better.
It requires work to control our mindset but changing our thought pattern results in much more than a mental alternation. When we think positive thoughts, the stress hormone cortisol decreases. In turn, the brain creates serotonin, a hormone that stabilizes our mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness, in response to our positive emotions.
You aren’t what you think (you are what you believe and how you live your life), but what you think continuously can eventually change who you are. You can choose to be a victim in this world, or you can choose victory. Once you make the winning choice, you will find positive things drifting back into your life. They were always there, but you have now shifted your mindset and removed the blinders.
Final Notes: Abuse is a real thing. Abuse is never okay. If you are in an abusive situation, seek help. Take care of youself! Nobody deserves abuse.
Action Step - Prayer Time for Women: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8 NIV) Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2 NIV) do not sway this way or that...and always wear your full set of armor...check the spirits...only things that are of God Heavenly Father, You teach us to not sway this way or that so that we remain upright and focused on your word. You teach us to always wear the full armor of God so that we are protected from the enemy, for he knows how we are weak. You teach us to check the spirits so that we do not absorb the messages and words of this world...instead we compare them to your word, and we ensure that we only give our attention to things that are noble, right, pure, and praiseworthy. Thank you, Father, for your love and instruction. Please increase the Holy Spirit in me so that I may continue to guard my heart and focus on the things in life that you desire, and not on things (of this world) that are unworthy of praise. Today, I do not claim to be the victim of the evil one or his followers. I claim victory over any of their schemes! I cannot do this alone...not without you. In Jesus' Name, Amen
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