How to know if you are living in Victim Mentality?
In our world today, many of us live in a thinking pattern that we don't even realize. It's called "victim mentality." It's very common and it doesn't mean anything is wrong with us. But it is a particular way of thinking that can make life more difficult and less happy and productive. So let me describe what this means generally.
Have you ever thought that the reason you aren't reaching your goals, or finding happiness in life, or not doing what you want, it because of others? They are the reason for your troubles? They are holding you back. They are the reason for your unhappiness? This is victim mentality.
I hear this a lot when working with clients. And I believe most people have some form of victim mentality at one time or another. The most common ways we know we are thinking this way is through the following:
blame - it's their fault that I can't do this, or that I act this way, or that my life is this way.
defensiveness - feeling like you have to defend yourself because no one understands.
hiding - if I am the victim, I won't put myself out there so no one can hurt me.
complaining - "poor me", complaining about how things are not the way you would like them to be, or constantly finding fault in others so you can feel better.
about you - I am always the target of someone else. Everyone is "doing" this to me.
It's an exhausting way to live because you believe that someone else is responsible for you and your life. You give them your power while you sit and are perpetrated against. It harms relationships, families, and our self-confidence. So if you see yourself in this mentality, what can you do?
Let me give you an example that I hear a lot from young adults:
"Well I grew up in a home that was messed up. My mom always yelled at me and my dad wouldn't let me have any freedom. I never felt like I could breathe. My mom said things that made me feel bad about myself. My dad never told me I did anything right. They were good people generally, but the reason I am who I am is because of the way they treated me." See how you are the victim and the parents are the villains?
Now I am not saying that we condone bad behavior or we are always okay with how things went growing up, nor am I trying to say that we aren't affected by our upbringing. But do you see how in this story, we give mom and dad all the power in how we feel, how we think, and how we act? You can stay in this frame of mind as long as you choose, but is it helpful? Does it drive you to take your own life and make something of yourself. So how could we handle this?
First, take back your power. How do you do this? Recognize you are in charge of yourself, of your thinking, of how you feel and how you act. I know people that have come from terrible abuse growing up, yet they choose not to be a victim, but get some help to heal, and then make something of their life despite their circumstances. See how they are not blaming their past for their lack of success, but choosing how they will direct their own life and future? Some people become successful because of their past.
Second, choose how YOU want to feel. What if you have a professor that tells you, "you might as well drop the class... this is too much for you." Now you have a choice right there. You can believe them and agree that you are dumb. And that is being the victim of the professor. Or choose not to believe him and create your own thinking. Maybe you could choose to think, "he doesn't know me at all." "I am smart and I will figure out a way to pass this class." See how instead of being the victim, you take your power and decide how you will feel and think?
Third, believe in yourself and and don't always believe what people tell you. I recently talked to client who's girlfriend broke up with him and told him she didn't believe he could be successful in his profession. Again, does he choose to believe her and be the victim? Or does he believe in himself and become successful despite her comment. That is when you have true power.
Last, one of the things we do in victim mentality is defend ourselves because we believe deep down there is something wrong with us. "Maybe I am stupid. Maybe I won't be successful, maybe I am fat." What if we were okay if we make mistakes and are imperfect and we could still love ourselves? What if are willing to experience frustration, sadness, anger, and know it doesn't mean there is something wrong with us. We are human and we can have love and compassion for ourselves. Then when people do things and say things, we can smile, realize we are not perfect, and love ourselves anyway. That is when you have conquered victim mentality.
Being the hero in your own life, is when you take full responsibility for your life. and conquer over those villains and become powerful and heroic in your own life. It's all within your choice. You decide -- victim or hero.
If you want some more information or would like help changing yourself from victim to hero, send me an email Tiffany@directyourlifecoaching.com. We can talk about it and help you take the power over your own life. It will change everything!