If we ask “When will my life get better?”, are we perceiving ourselves as victims? And how do we even know if we are feeling, thinking, and behaving like a victim?
Well, here are 11 symptoms of a victim mindset:
1) We consistently focus on the past and the ways in which we, or those close to us, were hurt or let down.
2) We feel cheated out of the life we should have had, had it not been stolen away from us, either by certain individuals or life in general.
3) We continue to tell ourselves and others the story of a difficult life, listing all of the reasons we cannot let go of the past and move forward.
4) We generalise and exaggerate: everyone has let me down; all men/women are liars; you can’t trust anyone; I support everyone, but no one is ever there for me; I have tried everything, but nothing changes… and so on.
5) We continue to blame certain individuals for our ongoing unhappiness and our unwillingness to trust again.
6) We align ourselves with others who also have tales of woe and betrayal to tell, adding extra weight to our beliefs… or
7) We believe that life is easier for everyone else, that they haven’t had to face the challenges we have – and this causes us to feel lonely and misunderstood.
8) We react to well-meant suggestions or encouragement with dismissiveness and frustration.
9) We unconsciously more pay attention to those things that align with our beliefs than to those that don’t, adding weight to our story.
10) We focus more on survival than on growth, settling for less than we hope to aspire to.
11) We consistently react in the same way to different situations, not recognising that we are receiving the same kind of results.
What causes us to develop a victim mentality? Here are 6 possible reasons:
1) Childhood. The most common cause of bitterness I have encountered is parental neglect and abandonment. This includes: present but emotionally unsupportive parents; abuse of one parent by the other; a sibling being more loved and favoured by either or both parents. It is the unresolved pain of rejection and deep-seated sadness that keeps this particular issue alive – in some cases well into old age.
2) Ongoing exposure to excessive negativity in our formative years.
3) Lack of social acceptance and bullying.
4) Dysfunctional romantic relationships.
5) Poor life choices and repeated patterns.
6) Unwillingness to accept personal and emotional responsibility, preferring instead to see ourselves as powerless and without choice.
11 ways to heal from a victim mentality
1) By accepting the reality of what has gone before. Not dismissing it as unimportant – but genuinely accepting the fact that it happened and that nothing can be done to change it. And being kind to ourselves. After all, it absolutely is possible to be a victim of life and of other people’s dysfunctional behaviour. Victimhood does exist and no one is immune from the accompanying sense of injustice and isolation. However, even though we might be justified in seeing ourselves as a victim, we need to recognise the devastating impact that that view is having upon our present life and on our future.
2) By remembering that if we don’t change our mindset and therefore our life, no one else will. No one else can.
3) By deciding, with conviction, that enough is enough. That today is the beginning of a whole new way of thinking and being, whilst taking each day at a time.
4) By seeing this as a work in progress and not giving up in despair on the days when the negative inner dialogue just won’t quit, no matter how hard we try. Our mind is fiercely resistant to change and will fight us; the point of the process is to gradually retrain our mind to accept a different truth.
5) By strongly and consistently reminding ourselves of all of the good that is in our life, right now. By bringing to mind all of those who have believed in us (if we can only come up with one person, that is enough!). By sifting through the past and reclaiming the memories of good times and moments of victory; there has to be something there, buried beneath the sludge! In other words, by regaining a sense of perspective.
6) By getting mad and declaring that THEY aren’t stealing another second of our happiness, self-worth, and potential future! By reminding ourselves that they probably aren’t even aware of the impact they have been having upon us – or care. Who the hell are they, anyway? What do they really matter?
7) By quitting the ‘shoulds’. By finally accepting that blood, sadly, is often not thicker than water. That those who should have loved and supported us chose not to – and that it had nothing whatsoever to do with us. It was something lacking in them. It hurts like hell – but it happens, and it happens a lot. Dysfunctional, broken, or utterly self-serving people can easily bring other human beings into this world, only to screw them over. They themselves may well have been screwed over by others who were supposed to love them.
8) By recognising that people can behave very, very badly – and that continuing to ask “why?” will resolve nothing. This is not an easy one to let go of, the pain that comes when someone we believe values us behaves in such a way that it is clear that we meant nothing to them after all. To feel wanted, desired – loved, even – and then to have that suddenly ripped away is devastating. It is a sorry fact of life that there are people out there, masquerading as ‘normal’, decent, trustworthy individuals – but who have some kind of inner dysfunction going on that leads them to hurt others in the most unforgivable way. And, to add insult to injury, we often blame ourselves, believing that either we aren’t worthy or that we should have seen it coming. We have to diligently work on letting go of the belief that maybe it could have turned out differently, if only… because the likelihood is that it wouldn’t have. We can’t be blamed for being an open, loving soul who put their trust in another human being. However, we really do need to prevent that person from continuing to negatively affect our life.
9) By allowing ourselves to grieve when life unexpectedly throws a curve ball our way – which it periodically will do, I’m afraid. Some challenges are so cruel they can take our breath away and cause us to feel not only unsafe but unloved by some greater power (call it fate, destiny, the universe, God… whatever you choose). Again, getting mad isn’t a bad thing – I’ve metaphorically howled at the moon, myself, more than once – because it energises us. However, the anger is usually replaced by sadness, followed by a sense of futility and even depression, depending upon the severity of the curve ball. Nevertheless, the way in which life is set up, we’re going to have to scrape ourselves together, eventually, and re-enter the fray. Some emotional injuries will heal more easily than others, and sometimes the painful situation might even lead to something much better, in the future. We can’t say at the time. When we’re suffering, we believe that it is only us who knows what this feels like; however, the fact is, every second of every day, all over the world, other human beings are facing their own personal curve balls. Not a cheerful revelation, I accept – but, if we do recognise that, we won’t feel so alone or victimised when trouble comes to call.
10) By being as productive as we are able to, and remembering our goals and plans. Or even coming up with new ones. Something to get our teeth into, metaphorically speaking, something to distract and occupy our mind. By refusing to take no for an answer, or being defeated by other people’s lack of interest or urgency. By firmly stating “No world, you won’t succeed in squashing me – I am rising again!”
11) By recognising the truth in the phrase “This too shall pass.” This is something I try and remember whenever life is brutal, because it is true. The worst times in my life, up to this point, have gone (as have the best times). Even if we do our best to keep the pain alive, the event itself will always disappear into the mists of the past.
Further reading to assist in the quest to heal the crushing weight that comes from feeling victimised. Remember, you are your own project now, worthy of every ounce of available help!
1) Self-Love Too Daunting? Start With Self-Liking! 11 Pointers
Self-Love Too Daunting? Start With Self-Liking! 11 Pointers.
2) The Build Your Self-Worth and Learn to Love Yourself a Whole Lot More Journal:
Journalling can be an excellent aid in the process of healing from that which led us into a victim mindset – especially where the pain of rejection is concerned (be it from our parents, siblings, social group, or romantic partners). I have created a prompted journal specifically for those whose self-worth has taken a battering, and for those struggling to feel positive about themselves: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B09TS8MZH2/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i5
One thought on ““When Will My Life Get Better?” Are you thinking like a victim? 11 Symptoms and 11 Solutions”