A victim mentality is often a massive obstacle in the path of growth and progress.
“The Victim mindset dilutes the human potential. By not accepting personal responsibility for our circumstances, we greatly reduce our power to change them.”
~Dr. Steve Maraboli
In life, we have to take a number of hits. Painful failures and humiliating defeats are part of living and how we choose to react to them, defines us.
In fact, it’s moments like these that distinguish a winner from a failure.
Winners look at their failures as a mere setback. They accept responsibility, re-evaluate their moves, and go back into the fray again.
While someone with a victim mentality may allow their failures to overwhelm them. They rant and rail against destiny.
The blame may get shifted to someone else. Luck is clearly against them. It might even be the universe conspiring to keep them down!
Basically, a whole lot of drama unfolds, but what you don’t hear them say is how they contributed to the loss.
So, what is victim mentality?
It is a psychological term used to define a personality trait that allows an individual to play the victim anytime things get a little tough. Such individuals find it difficult, if not impossible, to accept responsibility.
A victim mentality is adopted out of fear and a subconscious belief that life is beyond their control.
It is a coping mechanism developed in response to the push and shove of life.
Every time things go wrong, the concerned individual finds comfort in their role as the eternal victim- the consequent relief reinforces the pattern.
A victim would choose to buckle under pressure, complain, and moan about it, instead of boldly fighting and taking the consequences.
Why do people adopt this dysfunctional behavior?
To avoid responsibility
To attract attention
To indulge in pity parties
To have the right to complain
To have drama in life
To become an object of pity
Do you see why despite the demeaning nature of it, the behavior can seem so attractive to a weak personality?
It is extremely toxic to not just the individual but to the people around them as well.
What are the classic signs of Victim Mentality?
1. Promptly assigning blame to others in a difficult situation
3. Indiscriminately and repeatedly sharing past tragedies
4. An adamant refusal to take charge
5. Resistant to change
6. Constantly wallowing in self-pity
7. No sense of gratitude for the comforts of life or life itself
9. Uncomfortable around people who have suffered genuine trauma
10. Uncomfortable in cheerful company
11. Resentful and unhappy when they’re not the center of attention
12. Constantly complaining and whingeing
13. Friendly Criticism is also construed as a personal attack
14. Lacking in resilience
15. Little to no control over their temper
16. Inconsiderate and insensitive to the need of others
17. Extreme pessimism and hopelessness
18. Suspicious of the motives of others
Any relationship with an individual willfully harboring a victim mentality can quickly turn abusive and emotionally damaging.
Related : 7 Signs Of A Toxic Person
If the description reminds you of someone in your life, you really need to limit their access.
More importantly, if this is how YOU behave when things don’t go your way, you seriously (and I cannot emphasize this enough) need to stop NOW!
5 Things that can help you go from a victim to a fighter-
1. Acknowledge that your current behavior no longer serves you
To start with, you must acknowledge that your own behavior and choices have led you to this point.
It’s always the hardest thing to do, and it’s always the most important!
When you acknowledge that you’ve made mistakes that are responsible for the current unsatisfactory state of your life, it might seem like you’re beating on yourself but it is in fact, you claiming your power.
In a matter of a few seconds and with a few words, you have chosen to become the creator of your own reality.
You see, every time we say something like – “My Job sucks. It makes me miserable!”
We give up control of our own life. You make your job so, so powerful that apparently, it can ruin your entire life. Instead of looking at it as one small part of your life, you’ve given it more power than it deserves.
The alternative, healthier thing to do –
“My Job isn’t actively contributing to my happiness, but I chose to take up this job. So, In order to change things, I must decide to either quit this job or find a way to be okay with it, at least for the time being.”
These words will change everything.
You took ownership of your decision, and now you get to control the direction your life takes. Also, by acknowledging the possibility of change, you’ve just opened your mind to a number of avenues that you hadn’t even considered yet.
Your mind is a very powerful tool. It is working in areas and in ways, we are not even aware of so, give it the right kind of power!
Related : How to use affirmations effectively?
2. Ask what, not why!
A classic victim behavior is to think of unfavorable events happening with the sole purpose of causing them pain.
They will often say, “Why is this happening to me!?”
“Why do bad things always happen to me!?”
“I did nothing to deserve this!”
Instead of creating drama and railing against fate, take charge!
Ask yourself the following questions –
“What could I have done DIFFERENTLY to have had a better result?”
“I made a wrong choice; which of my choices led me to this loss?”
“How can I avoid this from ever happening again?”
All of these sentences have the word ‘I’ in common, and all of these sentences put you in the driver’s seat.
Instead of focusing on feeling powerless and hurt, focus on your own actions. It is more productive, and it will help you heal considerably faster. You will learn and grow.
3. Consciously cultivate a different, healthier belief system
Clearly, the current belief system isn’t helping so, the wisest thing to do is to focus on creating a new one.
Stop believing that you’re powerless. Instead, cultivate a belief system that makes you the arbiter of your own destiny.
Program your mind to be solution focused.
As and when you take a hit, immediately evaluate the situation and your own role in it. Consciously make decisions to fix your own problem.
While you’re working towards growth, learn to be grateful for what you already have – Gratitude is the single most important thing in life!
If your mind isn’t aware of the resources you already have and the achievements you’ve already secured, it will not be in the state conducive to growth.
When we celebrate all the good things in our life, we become more receptive to a positive outcome to our future choices. So, cultivate a grateful mindset to allow for growth and progress.
In this endeavor, you can channel the powers of meditation. Meditation can help focus our minds on the right thing and in the right direction.
4. Cultivate Better Self-Awareness
I am a big believer in self-awareness being at the very core of all personal growth.
In order for us to break unhealthy habits and embrace a more growth-oriented lifestyle, we must first identify habits that don’t work. Ignorance of one’s own self can be very dangerous.
Recognizing your own shortcomings means you start from a place of humility and strength. This is a moment of hard-won clarity in your life.
When you pin down the triggers of victim behavior, you can build an alternative behavior to replace the destructive one. In time and with enough effort, the positive patterns will get reinforced.
5. Accept yourself as the creator of your own reality
The realization that I was responsible for the state of my life changed everything for me.
Honestly, it was the shift from the victim mentality to survivor mode and then to a warrior mindset that made me a better person.
It took me some time to see that assigning blame wasn’t helping AT ALL! I had to either fix my sh*t or wait for things to get worse enough to actually finish me off.
I chose to fight! I rallied my much-depleted resources and I made myself the boss of my own life.
On that day, my life opened up to a world of possibilities! My life, whether it went up or down, was all on me. It was exhilarating and intimidating at the same time.
So, from this point onwards, live your life with the knowledge that everything in life is your own responsibility. How your life pans out entirely depends on you.
Victim Mentality is acquired. It is not innate and with consistent effort, it can be overcome.
“When you complain, you make yourself a victim. Leave the situation, change the situation, or accept it. All else is madness.”
If you recognize behavior that isn’t conducive to growth or that may be indicative of a victim mindset, take the necessary steps to fix it. You must change to allow for growth and progress to enter your life.
Start with better self-awareness. Cultivate a grateful mindset and acknowledge the uselessness of the current system. Then, make yourself the arbiter of your own fate.
Finally, let go of the past. Stop dwelling on what cannot be changed. Look towards the future and armed with the hard lessons of the past, move forward with confidence.
In the comments section, let me know if you’re facing challenges with someone playing the victim in your life, or if you’re struggling to overcome the behavior yourself.