I understand that many people go through some harrowing, horrifying experiences in life. I also see that the younger we are when we go through these experiences, a deeper impression is made upon on our personalities, and our perceptions of self, and reality. In a sense, the earlier we are victimized, as well as the intensity and the frequency with which the victimization occurs, the more likely we end up with a more extreme and pervasive “victim-mentality”.
What is a victim- mentality?
A victim mentality is the perception that life is happening to us, and that we must take a self-protective, tactical approach to how we are, and how we do everything. It is an expression of believing we don’t have the power to ensure we don’t keep having the experience of being dragged about by our emotional responses from disappointments, challenges, and conflicts in our life.
The victim mentality is when we go to a healer, psychic, or doctor and expect them to fix us, without being willing to gain greater self-awareness, and address the core issues we keep playing out, that cause us to keep our self sick, in pain, or stuck.
A victim mentality is the pervasive conscious and unconscious perception that we are not safe, and thus must be prepared with all sorts of excuses, assumptions, perceptions, and responses that protect us from having to take responsibility for partly causing what we are experiencing. We view others as responsible for our feelings and believe they are too much, not enough, or simply wrong, when they perhaps attempt to point to our own culpability for co-creating a dynamic. The victim mentality is a black and white, us versus them, perception of the world, where if we were to acknowledge any fault for co-creating chaos, pain or negative consequences, we might then believe we are “bad”, and a “perpetrator”. So, we then default to ascribing that “badness” to the other, the group, or the situation. We believe we deserve an apology first, and our actions are justified by someone having done something first, because we were simply just “protecting” our self.
In extreme cases, victim mentality is when we have had so many screwed up, painful things happen to us in life, we believe we are entitled to, and have somehow earned, a privileged status for being exempt from fault for our experience or behaviors, no matter how harmful or destructive we are. And, in these circumstances, we might spend a whole lot of time complaining and blaming every situation, everyone and everything for why we are in pain, rather than acknowledging we are STILL in pain because on some level, we are making a choice to be.
And, finally, victim- mentality is believing there is an unlimited amount of time available to us to be a victim, and to not take responsibility for the fact that destructive consequences often urgently require corrective action.
Why is it important you read this?
This victim-mentality creates SO many destructive consequences on this planet. In fact, I can gaurantee many of you reading this were instantly triggered by reading what I wrote above. Why were you triggered? Because you likely take the victim-mentality to some degree in your life, and it feels harsh to read about it. In fact, I think perhaps many people have bypassed this article because it would have been too triggering to read. There are destructive consequences to the reality we surround ourselves with, by avoiding accountability and awareness, in order to maintain our safe little victim existence.
We get to put off engaging responsibly in life, while life responds with victimizing us through consequences of our actions, which further perpetuates our justifications for maintaining a victim stance. We get to point the finger at others for being too much or too little of something, and exclaim they are at fault for how chaotic, destructive, imperfect, bad, or wrong current environmental, global, political, communal, economic, financial, social, cultural, work systems are, and feel smug and comfortable in knowing we have unloaded any shame we might have if we could be implicated in any way, on to the “offending” party.
And, we go about living in our own little world, where we are the center, and are entitled to use the environment, the privileges and resources available to us, and the people around us, to go on being victims, who daily “triumph” over forces trying to bring us down.
When, we are the ones bringing us down.
What to do as a means to not participate in victim-mentality?
Well, this is where it is important to recognize WE ARE ALL programmed to participate in victim-mentality, to some degree. In fact, I would say we all hold a position of victim-mentality, on a spectrum.
So, the first step to increasingly overcoming where you are on the victim-mentality spectrum is to drop the black and white thinking.
The second step is to realize when you are making others and external situations responsible for your pain. Especially realize when you give yourself permission to not need to be accountable for your actions, because someone metaphorically or literally slapped you first.
The third step is to begin to realize the beliefs that encourage you to hold on to your pain, as a badge of honor. Realize the beliefs about yourself and reality that cause you to accept and continue to perpetuate what keeps occurring for you in your life.
And finally, the fourth step is to begin a practice to work on self-love, self-worth, self-acceptance, and self-compassion. This will allow you to begin to change your experience of your self, will help you overcome fear and shame, and will also help you begin to practice deeper, truer love, valuation, acceptance, and compassion of others, the planet, and in varying situations.
I wish you the best in your journey toward happiness, empowerment and freedom!