Updated: Sep 13, 2021
We all go through situations where we feel we have been wronged. Maybe we got into a conflict for no fault of ours, maybe we lost a dear one, maybe our relationship got over, maybe we are crippled with an irreversible ailment, whatever the reason maybe, feeling like a victim is an obvious follow up of going through those difficult experiences. Feeling this way is completely normal but when we are unable to move forward & get out of this feeling, it can start affecting our relationships, emotional & mental well being. This feeling when not monitored can turn into a negative thought loop and we can get stuck in what is called a victim mode. You will keep attracting drama in your life and you may feel the entire World is against you. I have written about this in depth here.
The victim mentality rests on three key beliefs:
Bad things happen and will keep happening.
Other people or circumstances are to blame.
Any efforts to create change will fail, so there’s no point in trying.
This frame of mind is highly addictive as we feel validated and understood by others when we wallow in self pity. The problem is, for sometime others will understand and empathise with you but when this becomes a repetitive pattern, people no longer sympathise rather start feeling irritated by your behaviour. This can lead to whole new levels of emotional problems which can trickle down to personal and professional life.
Following are the signs of victim mentality
Victim mentality tends to blame others for all of their problems. It doesn't take responsibility for the situation or their own thoughts and feelings. For any situationship, you are cocreating that experience and are also 50% responsible for it.
Not seeking possible solutions
Victim mentality doesn't seek any solution for the problems. In fact it has "problem for every solution offered". So with their arguments, they tend to discuss the problem over & over deflecting all the possible solutions.
A sense of powerlessness
Victims feel a sense of helplessness that they have no control over how they think, feel & behave. Other people tend to push their buttons for their extreme behavior. This makes them powerless of their experiences resulting in slipping into victimhood.
Negative self-talk and self-sabotage
People with a victim mindset can get into negative self-talk like "No one cares about me", "Everyone is trying to get me", "Everything bad happens to me". This feeds their self pity which makes it difficult for them to come out of this
Lack of self-confidence
Frustration, anger, and resentment
All the above when remain unresolved leads to frustration, anger & resentment which disrupts their personal and professional lives.
These emotions can weigh heavily on people who believe they’ll always be victims, building and festering when they aren’t addressed. Over time, these feelings might contribute to:
Where does it come from?
Very few — if any — people adopt a victim mentality just because they can. It’s often rooted in a few things.
Experiencing any sort of trauma, abuse, neglect in childhood
Anyone betraying your trust
Supporting partner at the cost of your own goals & dreams which might make them resentful and bitter.
Sometimes people choose to remain in the victim state & blame others for their problems in order to garner sympathy & attention
The following tools can help you get out of a victim mindset and turn it into a survivor mindset-
1. Stop Blaming Others
Start taking responsibility for your circumstances. Always remember you are a co-creator of any situation you are choosing to be a part of. Blaming others makes you powerless and helpless as if you cannot do anything for the situation. Empower yourself by doing what you can do for the situation.
2. Be Kind to Yourself
With excessive self loathing & self sabotage, one can be too harsh on themselves. Instead practice compassion for yourself. Forgive yourself and move ahead. List your strengths and situations where you have behaved like a Creator / Victor and not a victim.
3. Practice Gratitude
Gratitude is an instant fix for getting yourself out of victimhood. Instead of focussing on "why me?", it shifts your focus on what all you have in your life to be thankful for. It raises your vibration instantly & empowers you.
4. Be Kind to Others
Being kind to others empowers you to focus on things you can change that is, bringing kindness to someone's life, instead of dwelling on things you have no control over like past situations, someone else's behavior etc.
5. Forgive & Let Go
Forgiveness is setting yourself free from the past which has trapped you in Victimhood. When you forgive others for their misdeeds towards you, you release the attachment of the past story that keeps you in a victim state. Understand that people behave as per their mental and emotional capacity. If they could have done better, they would have done better.
6. Build Self Confidence
7. Find the Source of Your Victimhood
Perhaps you were raised in an environment that fostered dependence, rather than giving you the confidence to fend for yourself. Perhaps an older sibling or spouse consistently discounted your opinions and feelings. Or perhaps you were bullied in school. When you become aware what was the source of being a victim, you can catch yourself from doing it again. Become aware then forgive yourself, others and circumstances for whatever happened. Pat yourself that you came this far from that. A Life Coach can help you understand and move ahead from this. Click here to know more
8. Shift from Victim to Survivor
There’s no doubt that bad things happen to good people. But the key to not succumbing to victim mentality is to adopt the mentality of a survivor. In her book What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger, Maxine Schnall compares the two mentalities this way:
A victim asks how long it will take to feel good — a survivor decides to feel good even if things are not so great.
A victim grinds to a halt — a survivor keeps putting one foot in front of the other.
A victim wallows in self-pity — a survivor comforts others.
A victim is jealous of someone else’s success — a survivor is inspired by it.
A victim focuses on the pain of loss — a survivor cherishes remembered joy.
A victim seeks retribution — a survivor seeks redemption.
And most of all, a victim argues with life — a survivor embraces it.
How people can support people having a Victim Mindset:
If you are dealing with people who tend to have victim mentality, you can support them in the following ways;
Don't assign them labels like troublemaker, fighter, even calling them a victim. It can make their getting out of victimhood even difficult
Set boundaries with them. State clearly which behavior is acceptable or not acceptable to you.
Empathise with them. They are dealing with their own issues. For the time being when they are aggressive and heated up, avoid arguing with them. Forgive and let go.
Hopefully with this post you can identify yourself and others as having the victim mentality and take steps to get out of it which will result in transforming your personal and professional relationships for the better.