For years, I used to think like a victim. I blamed everyone else but myself for my setbacks and took no responsibility for my actions. If there was any hope in changing my life, I needed to learn how to stop being a victim immediately. This condition is best described as having the victim mentality.
Here are just some of the questions that used to plague my mind on a continuous basis.
Why is life so difficult?
Why doesn’t anything work out for me?
Why is everyone out to get me?
Why am I so unlucky?
I honestly believed that I was never going to get anywhere in life and that I was going to be stuck forever in lousy situations that would just continue to tear me down.
I knew that I needed to stop playing the victim, but getting out of the devastating psychological complex was an arduous journey for me. I had learned this mentality from childhood, and because it was so deep-seeded, I simply had no idea that there was any other way to think.
It was automatic for me to assume everyone was ill-intentioned, and I was taught from a very young age never to trust anyone. I figured I was cursed with bad luck, and that I would never amount to anything. None of this was my fault, though.
As you can see, the thought process of a victim is toxic. I realize now that I was doing everything that I could to avoid taking responsibility for my own life. These were all things I could control, but it was easier to take the victim stance and not assume any responsibility for my bleak future.
Unfortunately, a lot of people have this victim complex and don’t even know it. They truly think that everyone else is at fault for their misfortunes, and they have a hard time moving forward in their lives because they are stuck dwelling about events in the past.
This was me for the longest time, which is why I am writing this article. I know how difficult it is to climb beyond that wall and I want everyone to know they aren’t alone, and you can get through this. It’s time to defeat the victim syndrome once and for all.
How to Know if You are Engaging in Self-Victimization
You are thinking like a victim if you are letting something outside of yourself determine how you feel, if you try to get sympathy from others and often have a “poor me” attitude, or if you tend to blame others instead of taking responsibility for your actions.
You are a victim if you blame past events for your current circumstances without trying to reshape your patterns. Your’e a victim if you tend to focus on how bad things are instead of thinking about ways to make them better. You feel like the world owes you, and you get upset when it doesn’t deliver.
How I Stopped Being a Victim
To stop playing the victim, you must first change your negative beliefs to more positive ones. Your belief system shapes your perspective on the world, and the way you perceive something generates the way you feel about it. Our feelings then produce the kind of thoughts we have, which in return go right back to supporting our beliefs.
This is important to understand because once you change your beliefs about a situation, you immediately change the way you feel about it. Each and every situation in our lives is a blank slate, and only YOU can assign the meaning to the situations in your life.
When you demonstrate a typical victim mentality psychology, you typically attach a negative meaning to a situation without even thinking twice about it.
You are the one giving a negative meaning to a “neutral situation”. So practice giving events positive meanings, even if you aren’t sure what’s positive about it!
Next time something doesn’t go your way, instead of putting yourself down and thinking “Why do I have such bad luck? Why do all the bad things happen to me?” spin it around and say “I know this looks bad, but I’m going to focus on why this is actually good for me. I am so lucky to have challenges that will help me grow!”
We have total control of our thoughts and definitions, and the only way negative events can take place in our lives is if you allow them in your life.
Realize the Benefits of the Victim Mentality
It is important to understand your present beliefs for being a victim before changing them. If you keep your victim thinking, your life will be easier and more predictable. You will always be in your comfort zone since nothing you do will change anything.
It also feels good to get sympathy from others and to know that people are concerned about you. Not taking risks mean you will never fail or be rejected. A victim mentality also gives you a sense of self-worth since you are right, and everyone else is wrong. Being a victim is now part of your identity. You may even think- who are you without it?
The Benefits are Just an Illusion
In reality, all of these advantages are only an illusion and will keep you stuck in an uncomfortable reality that is plagued with hardship. These are beliefs you have been holding onto to keep you from experiencing pain.
Pain is just another definition that you have created; try replacing it with “challenge” or “opportunity” in which you have overcome and has made you better in some fashion.
Situations don’t come into our lives to make us feel stuck, and they certainly don’t come into our lives to show us we have failed. They often come into our lives to illustrate which beliefs we have bought into so that we can change them if they no longer serve us.
You will have a hard time moving forward if you don’t change your mindset. Your problems do not make you who you are, and your struggles do not define you. You decide what defines you. This mindset is the exact opposite of a victim. It is the mentality of a conscious creator.
When you have a victim mentality, you feel powerless, and you feel as if you have no control in your life. If you have career issues or relationship issues, instead of coming up with a strategy to make your situation better, you are likely to avoid doing anything at all because you think the world is doing it to you, and it is out of your control.
When there is no action taken, you end up getting lost in a pool of self-pity and sadness.
If you accept responsibility for the things that happen to you, you will take the initiative to find a solution. Avoiding responsibility and blaming others will only damage your life in the long run because it holds you back from moving forward. This mindset also necessitates creating positive emotions from within, regardless what other people say.
When you live the definition of a victim mentality, you often have a natural focus on the things that are going wrong instead of the things that are going right.
You tend to spend the majority of your mental energy focusing on the bad stuff, while never noticing the good. Even though “bad” is just a definition that you can easily change, it is critical to train your mind to appreciate the simple things.
Commit to a new mindset of unbridled gratitude. I recommend writing a list of 5 things every morning in a journal for which you are grateful for. This has been a very powerful tool and has helped me tremendously in developing a habit of gratitude.
Gratitude expression is the opposite of victim expression. Live, love it and use it to will yourself into a new, balanced state of mind.
If your past is what is holding you back, you must let go. Your past is only a small chapter of your life, that is long gone, but still present in your mind. There’s no reason to drag negative feelings into the present. So be aware of the moments when you allow your past to sneak in to your present.
You are the master of your life; YOU construct your own definitions. It is entirely okay to remember your past and the hardships you have gone through, but don’t establish your whole identity based on that. Yes, it’s OK to that pain, and shed a different light on it.
Find strength and learn how to use those past events as an elevator to grow and to propel you further in life, making you a better and stronger person.
Stop dragging an anchor behind you, let it go and be free of all negative weight. Once you do, you’ll soar like an eagle to new heights as your mind, body and soul are freed to work together in perfect harmony.