It is easy to recognize the victim mentality in our friends or family, but it is hard to recognize it in ourselves. When we feel powerless in our situations, we try to place the blame on something else to protect ourselves. Even those who seem healthy and well-adjusted can be suffering silently with a victim mentality.
Having a victim mentality can prevent us from growing as we don’t learn from our experiences, rather we separate ourselves from them and point fingers. It also can hold us hostage and keep us from changing our situations, because we fail to recognize that we have the power to change our situations. The victim mentality is very seductive; it offers affirmation, sympathy, a comfortable and quiet lifestyle, and removes responsibility from our lives. However, it doesn’t offer peace, power, or progression. So how do you know if you have a victim mentality?
Take the time to carefully consider the questions below. . .
When something goes wrong, do you blame someone else?
Are you still angry about something someone did to you in your past?
Do you feel powerless to change your life?
Do you believe that things will never change for you?
Do you feel unhappy?
Can you blame your unhappiness on others in your life?
Do you feel that if someone else changed something, then you would be happy?
Do you have a hard time forgiving others, including yourself?
Do you believe that your future holds mostly pain and sorrow?
Are you afraid to take risks?
Do you frequently find excuses for your lifestyle (age, size, sex, education, background, etc.)?
Do you review your failures, mistakes, and shortcomings often?
Are you frustrated when friends offer you suggestions for how you can change?
Do you often begin phrases with “I cant..” or “I’m not got at…”
Are you thinking of someone else as you read these questions?
IF YOU answered yes to 8 or more of these questions, you may be trapped in a victim mentality.
How to Free Yourself
Recognize Where You Are
Most people who are trapped in a victim mentality do not even realize that they are. They often turn to people who take advantage of them because they do not think they have a choice. You need to recognize that the common denominator in your circumstances is you. Only you have the ability to change your life, and you need to allow yourself to change. Take the time to decide that you can let go of your victim mentality. Stop thinking about how you have been wronged and start thinking about how you can move forward.
C.R. Strahan said “Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime. It has everything to do with relieving oneself of the burden of being a victim–letting go of the pain and transforming oneself from victim to survivor.” Forgiveness is not excusing or forgetting what happened, it is giving yourself the tools and ability to move forward. Forgiveness is giving yourself permission to be ok even after you have experienced terrible suffering. The person who has wronged you doesn’t ever need to say sorry in order for you to forgive them, as forgiveness is not for them, but for you. It is ok if forgiveness does not come immediately. It takes time. Be patient with yourself; emotional wounds take far longer to heal than physical ones. For more help on learning to forgive, check out this blog.
One of the key indicators of a person with a victim mentality is that they constantly blame everyone around them when things go wrong. You need to take responsibility for your life. Stop blaming others and making excuses. Start finding opportunities for growth. You are in control of your life. Instead of saying “I have to” or “I need to” (blaming situations for your actions) start saying “I’m choosing to”.
Be Grateful and Serve
Be grateful for your circumstances, as someone always does have it worse. There is always an opportunity to be found even in the hardest of trials and instead of asking “Why?” ask “What can I learn from this?” Then, turn your focus outwards and find someone that you can help. Volunteer in a soup kitchen, volunteer at an animal shelter, or simply write a heartfelt note to a friend. Your life will feel more fulfilling and valuable as you dedicate your time in the service of others.
Gambling Recovery Starts Here! Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author & Recovery Advocate
Written By, Author Darci Maxwell