Many of us adopt this toxic mindset, be it by accident or on purpose. Let’s explore why, and how to fix it!
Our thoughts dictate our reality
If you can manage to change your mindset about your current situation, that is the first step to no longer being a victim of your circumstance
What is the victim mentality and do I have it?
The victim mindset is the perception that your circumstances are out of your control. ‘’Why do bad things always happen to me? And why does everyone else have it better than me?’’ are some common narratives related to having a victim mindset.
What Are Victim Mentality Symptoms?
Some symptoms that you may be experiencing are that you constantly find yourself living in fear and avoiding personal responsibility. You may blame outside forces for various things/circumstances. You may also often be angry at people around you or situations you find yourself in. These all point to having a victim mentality.
What Are Some Examples Of The Victim Mindset?
You constantly think about how shitty your circumstances in life are
‘’ My life sucks, why do other people have it so easy?’’
You get angry/triggered if you come across someone who is ‘’better off/luckier ‘’ than you
Feeling pessimistic about life, stuck or unable to improve.
You are closed off or not open-minded about ways to solve your situation, even when advice or guidance is offered.
Feeling powerless and unable to cope with roadblocks that come up in your life.
Feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
Blaming other people often and for reasons, other people wouldn’t consider rational.
Feel personally attacked anytime someone offers constructive criticism.
You are unwilling to take an honest look at your flaws.
Your mental dialogue is negative and self-deprecating.
Feel depressed and like your situation will never get better.
You find yourself constantly engaging in mental (or real) conversations with others explaining your issues and why nobody else is suffering as much as you are.
Seeking sympathy from others.
Avoiding or withdrawing from fun activities, and/or refusing to admit you’re enjoying yourself.
You tend to attract people to complain, gossip or who also like to wallow in their unpleasant situations.
Attract drama and misfortune wherever you go.
If the shoe is starting to fit, then you most likely have adopted a victim mentality in one way or another. The first step is to recognize this, so it can be fixed and you can stop limiting your own potential!
How Did We Get Here? What Creates A Victim Mindset?
The victim mentality can stem from a variety of situations, from trauma and abuse to being raised by a caregiver who themselves displayed this mentality and passed it on to you.
Co-dependent relationships (friendships or romantic relationships) can also trigger a victim mentality in some people.
If you didn’t know, a Co-dependent relationship is a dysfunctional relationship between two people where one is the caretaker, and the other takes advantage. This type of relationship is common when one partner suffers from addiction or drug abuse, but can also happen for other reasons.
If you have a victim mentality, ironically it ‘’isn’t your fault’’ – there was probably a very good reason for you to adopt this, and it was a survival mechanism at the time. Some ways that a victim mentality may have benefitted you in the past could be:
- Got you attention and validation from others
- Absolved you of responsibility
- It reinforced your negative mental narrative, resulting in a feeling of validation
- Enabled you to take fewer risks and stay in your comfort zone
The problem with this is that these are short-lived benefits. Long term, these aspects of adopting a victim mentality do way more harm than good.
Even though the reason for your victim mentality may not be your fault, it IS your responsibility to fix it.
How Do You Fix Your Victim Mentality?
The number one step is realizing that you create your reality! Your thoughts create emotions, which lead to actions that lead to consequences.
Take ownership of your life!
That perceived lack of power is just that- perceived. You have the ability and power to change your circumstances, you just need to get out of your own way. If you are in a life situation that you are unhappy with, start to open your mind and think of ways you can resolve it.
Here are a few common examples:
‘’I am so unhappy with my body, I feel ugly and unfit and everyone else is better off than me.’’
Ok, so what are you doing to fix it? Are you eating a balanced nutrient-rich diet? Do you move your body 3 x a week? Are you putting your ego aside and reaching out for help from a professional who can get you to your goal?
These are factors that can be changed and improved. And if you are unhappy with factors that cannot be changed (facial structure or whatever else) then start to think of ways to change your mindset around it. Listen to meditations about self-love and self-acceptance. Search up and only follow body-positive influencers that own their unconventional beauty. Even if your current situation cannot be fully changed, your current mindset still can be! This will make a world of difference when it comes to how much of a victim you feel in your own life.
‘’I am so unhappy with my boyfriend, he never listens to me and I feel like he doesn’t respect me’’
In this case, we have 2 options
- Look at yourself and evaluate if you are truly making your needs heard. Have you thoroughly communicated what you need to say to him? Have you set consistent boundaries that command respect? If not, make sure to take ownership of your part of the situation. If you’ve done this and nothing has changed, then move on to step 2
- Dump him and don’t repeat the mistake of not making your voice heard and setting clear boundaries. It sucks to hear but it’s true, we get what we tolerate. If you tolerate someone treating you with disrespect, disrespect is all you will receive. If you walk away and stick to your boundaries and values about self-worth (that you will not tolerate anything less than respect and being heard) then that sends a message to you, them and the universe that you deserve only the best. And trust me, you do! This can be applied to any relationship, by the way, friendship, co-workers, boss, mother-in-law, you name it!
One final example:
‘’I’m so broke, I live paycheque to paycheque and I can never catch a break, I’m never going to get ahead in life.’’
Are you taking complete ownership of your situation? Are you putting in 100% at work and deserving of a raise? Do you live beyond your means by ordering skip the dishes 4 x a week? Have you sat down and actually written a budget for yourself? These are questions you NEED to be asking yourself. If you are doing everything in your power to live within your means, are budgeting every cheque and are truly putting in the effort at work to be the best you can be, then that leaves you with 2 options:
- Lower your monthly bills. Do you really need Netflix, crave, amazon prime and cable?! Consider moving somewhere where rent is cheaper, and cut costs where you can
- Or get a better job. This might mean going back to school with a student loan or taking free courses online to beef up your resume, or simply getting on indeed and seeing what else is out there.
My point with all of these examples is that there ARE solutions to your problems, you just have to want to see them. Some solutions may be difficult and wayyyyy out of your comfort zone to try and achieve, but that doesn’t mean they’re unattainable. The entire premise of self-growth is getting out of that damn comfort zone in the first place!
And the best part is, the more you get out of your comfort zone, and prove to yourself that you control the trajectory of your life, the more your victim mentality will fade. A victim is not someone who takes life by the balls and makes things happen! Naturally, you will start to disidentify with being a victim, and much more with being the victor.
Here are some ways to help yourself out of having a victim mentality
- Take responsibility and OWN YOUR SHIT – acknowledge the part you played in creating the unhappy situation you’re in. This is very uncomfortable for most people to face, as it requires holding up a mirror to ourselves. As difficult as it may be to admit, you did play a part in creating your current reality, and that means you can play a part in changing it! If you feel lost with this and not sure where to begin, or not able to really see how you ended up here, it might be a good idea to ask a trusted (and honest!) friend or person this question:
’’What are some blind spots that I need to be more aware of in my life?’’
And when they answer honestly, don’t be upset! They may tell you some uncomfortable truths, but the whole point of constructive criticism is that it is constructive – you can construct a new situation based on this new information you now have about yourself.
- Stop self-deprecating & negative thought patterns before they happen – Most negative thoughts operate in an endless loop. If you can observe your thoughts, and notice an ‘’intruder’’ as soon as it happens. You can stop the negative feedback loop before it begins. The same goes with blame and anger towards other people- if you find yourself having thoughts about how pissed off you are about a certain person or situation, try and nip it in the bud and change your thought pattern. A good way to begin is by observing the thought from an outsider’s perspective
- Read books about the topic
Educate yourself on how to change your mindset and adopt what you learn. Some great books to begin with are ‘’ You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero’’, Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, Unfuck Your Brain by faith g harper, and Victor and Victims by KR Harrison to name a few.
- Get help
Don’t be too proud to seek the assistance of a psychologist or a life coach. Sometimes the trauma that caused your victim mentality, needs to be unpacked and healed before you can make any long-term changes. It’s important to hold up the mirror to yourself, and really ask the question: ‘ Do I need help to change my mindset?’ And remember there is no shame if the answer is yes!
Suffering from having a victim mentality is painful and very limiting. The first step is acknowledging it so you can take steps towards changing your mindset! Hopefully, the info in this article helps you begin your journey on taking your power back and getting rid of the victim mindset for good!