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.
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.
Do you see why despite the demeaning nature of it, the behaviour 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.
Any relationship with an individual wilfully harbouring a victim mentality can quickly turn abusive and emotionally damaging.
Related: 7 signs of a toxic personality
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 emphasise this enough) need to stop NOW!
To start with, you must acknowledge that your own behaviour 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.
“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?
A classic victim behaviour is to think of unfavourable 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.
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 endeavour, you can channel the powers of meditation. Meditation can help focus our minds on the right thing and in the right direction.
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 behaviour, you can build an alternative behaviour to replace the destructive one. In time and with enough effort, the positive patterns will get reinforced.
The realisation 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. If you recognise behaviour 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 behaviour yourself.
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Power or Prison, what role do your emotions play in your life? Do they add to your power or are they the secret saboteur holding you back? Take the free quiz to find out.