You sit on the exaggerated pile of failures and bad fortune and declare yourself the King of Sorrows. There, on your self made throne of pity, that you have built out of every negative experience you have ever had, you defend your victim-hood.
You guard it with your life.
You pay for it with your potential.
Eventually, it becomes your story; your identity. You forget who you were before these things happened to you. Before the loss, the grief, the abuse, the wrongs. You form a new self; a new persona carved out of complaints, “poor me’s”.
But what do you get from being a victim?
You get the right to be right
After being wronged for so long, you get to feel like the good person in comparison. The problem with this of course is that you are now, not allowed to wrong anyone else; to hurt anyone. So, you begin to fight for the right to always be right. This is a heavy burden for any human being. It’s a tiresome, impossible fight.
You get attention
Everyone likes a good sob story…until they don’t; until it gets old and they long for the company of others who are positive who have uplifting stories to share. But your grief and misfortune demands the attention of everyone. This becomes a heavy burden for those around you.
You feel validated
Finally, people agree that yes, you have been wronged. Validation is a very important aspect of moving beyond abuse and trauma. But it is only one aspect. And constantly depending on others for validation makes you dependent on them eventually. Learn to validate your own feelings and actions.
You no longer have to try
It becomes your free pass from taking risks; trying new things. After all you’re fragile, you’ve been hurt. People will understand and even empathize with your lack of effort. They know how much you have been hurt. You are allowed not to try. When your sad story becomes your identity, people stop expecting much from you.
You get to avoid responsibility
After all, you are the one who has been damaged in some way. Everything you do is understandable. You get away with the outcome of actions, failures because someone else is always to blame.
But most of all you get to be king of something!
“You can’t be victim and victor. Choose one”.
The psychology of victim mentality lies in the concept of learned helplessness.
Some animals were placed in a room (clearly long before animal-rights was a thing). Invisible lasers are fixed at the only exit. Each time the animals would attempt to leave the room, they were jolted with an electric shock causing pain and hence dissuading them from trying to leave.
After several determined attempts, the animals learn.
They stop trying.
They don’t even go near the exit anymore.
The laser is removed from the entrance, but the animals have already learned that it is helpless; escaping is futile. They give up. They accept their new door-less prison.
Everything can be taken from a man or woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances. To choose one’s own way – Victor Frankl (concentration camp survivor)
1. Take Responsibility
Admit to yourself how you could have made better choices. The purpose of this isn’t to direct fault at one party or another but to take back control instead of powerlessly drifting along with the way things are. You always have a choice, even if it is as simple as maintaining a positive attitude in-spite of what has been done to you. This is the most powerful choice of all.
Evaluating your decision making process immediately puts you in the drivers seat. and opens up possibility of a different outcome.
2. Play the “What If” Game
Learned helplessness comes with a side order of negativity which can spiral into a mindset of always expecting bad things to happen. So you look for the bad in order to not disappoint your mindset. Use an ‘opposite outcome’ exercise when you are tempted to expect only the worse. Have a little chat with yourself. What if, things actually work out well? What if not everyone is trying to hurt/use/abuse me? What if there are nice honest people out there. Newsflash: There are! But victim-hood attracts even more abusive situations. You can change the outcome by expecting good things.
Yourself firstly, for not being more cautious, for not seeing the red flags; for not choosing you. You are human. Forgive persons who have hurt you. Let it go. You will begin to heal when you have let go of past hurts, forgive those who have wronged you and learn to forgive yourself.
4. Gratitude and Giving
Remind yourself of just how much you have to offer through gratitude and giving back.. What could yo possibly have to give? Your time, your expertise, a listening ear. remove yourself from the complaining seat for once. Try listening and empathizing with someone without comparing your own circumstances or subtly fighting for the place of “biggest victim”. Practice gratitude every single day Make it a first each morning. while still in bed, imaging everything you woke up with.
Gratitude re positions your brain to a place of abundance and opens you up to even more positive vibrations to receive.
Accepting victim-hood is akin to a driver “dying right”. If you are driving on the right side of the road and a vagabond driver tries to overtake putting you in jeopardy, do you swerve to save your own skin or stay on the ‘right of way’ path, and crash?
Don’t let victim-hood cause you to “die right”. Sometimes the only adjustments that can be made are completely up to us.