Have you ever watched some parents at the playground with their children?
There are some parents who dote over their children. They give in to their child’s every need. They run behind their child everywhere it goes, with the constant narrative, be careful, I don’t want you to get hurt. Sometimes they’ll sit and chit chat with their friends. But, they’re watching their child like a hawk. And if their child happens to trip and fall, they run over to them and coddle them. While wiping away tears, they remind their child that they warned them to be careful.
Then there are other parents who love their children just as much as the other kind of parent, but they allow their child to run free to explore and play. Of course, they’re watching their child too. Just not so obsessively. And if their child happens to trip and fall, they shout out, it’s okay, wipe it off and get up.
These two types of parents are both doing the best they can with what they know. But one of them just might be damaging their child by teaching them how to have a victim mentality.
According to Wikipedia,
“Victim mentality is an acquired (learned) personality trait in which a person tends to regard him or herself as a victim of the negative actions of others, and to behave like it were the case—even in the absence of clear evidence. It depends on habitual thought processes and attribution. Victim mentality is primarily learned, for example, from family members and situations during childhood.”
If you were to sit and observe the children from both types of parents you will notice this learned behavior in action. If the child from the first example were to fall it would actually sit there and cry until mommy came and help it out. On the other hand, the child from the other example would simply dust the dirt from its knees, get up, and continue laughing and playing.
Which one do you portray?
When life knocks you down, do you sit there and cry? Do you stay immobilized waiting for someone to rescue you? Do you then proceed to tell your story to everyone you come in contact with?
Or, do you take a moment to catch your breath, (We need a moment to catch our breath. Remember what it felt like as a child and you fell flat on your face? It felt like the air was taken from your lungs) dust yourself off, and get right back up to continue exploring all that life has to offer?
The poor little victim
I’m not trying to be mean. Sometimes, we all fall into this mindset, when things don’t go our way. But, some of you people never take responsibility for your lives. It’s always someone else who is to blame. Or, you are always a victim of circumstance. If you’ve had several jobs where you and the boss clashed and you end up getting fired, something’s up. Take a look at the situation. What’s the common denominator? You! But, it’s never your fault.
This kind of behavior doesn’t just affect you. It affects every relationship in your life.
The affects on you.
Remember, this way of thinking is learned. Therefore, it serves a purpose somewhere.
The first purpose it might serve is that it is a way to keep yourself safe. By always expecting the worse out of people or situations you can always say “see, told ya so.”
The second purpose it might serve is a way for you to not have to take personal responsibility for your life. When you act helpless, people tend to help you more. This then takes you off the hook for your miserable life. You get to blame everyone else who helped you. Unfortunately, over time, this keeps you from living a meaningful and fulfilling life, because, if you are always the victim; you are less likely to take chances to change your circumstances.
The affects on your relationships.
Being around you can be very taxing. It’s like you suck the energy out of everything. There’s a phrase for you. You’re called an energy vampire. If every time I see you and you try to use me as your therapist, I’m gonna eventually try to avoid you. At first, I might try to help and offer advice. But, usually, people like you just offer lip service, aha, I’ll do that. But you probably won’t. You’ll just become that needy, clingy friend everyone tries to avoid. You’re just a Debbie Downer nobody wants to be around.
“How would your life be different if…You stopped validating your victim mentality? Let today be the day…You shake off your self defeating drama and embrace your innate ability to recover and achieve.”~ Steve Maraboli
There are ways to stop the madness.
If you’re tired of being the victim here are 5 ways you can change the victim mentality behavior.
Evaluate. There’s no doubt that there are situations and circumstances that you have blamed others for. Step back and take a look at where you might have had a part in those situations. But you must be honest. Perhaps you could start a journal. Then you can refer to the entries at a later date. This might uncover some things that you have denied for a long time. This process can give you the freedom to learn the different ways you manipulate life to fit into the victim mentality. It won’t be easy, but it is essential to building a new perspective.
Agree. Playing the role of the victim can be reinforced by others. Make the effort to stop receiving pity from others. There’s no need to try to get others to feel your pain. Take the time to go through the pain you feel instead of stuffing it. Cry or beat a pillow, whatever you need to do. Just stop avoiding your pain.
Forgive. You are probably holding on to negative feelings towards your parents or someone else who put you in this role. Validated your feeling and acknowledge that shit happens. But then move on by realizing that what happened then is not happening now. It’s the past, move on. When you learn to forgive it’s like putting down a heavy package you’ve been carrying for miles. There is less of a burden on you. You’ll begin to feel lighter.
Change your story. We all have our story that we go out into the world with. Your story is not serving you anymore. It’s time to change it. Stop focusing on the negative aspects of your life and start looking for the positive one. Start a daily practice of repeating affirmations or mantras. This will retrain your brain and create a new story.
Be grateful. Gratitude is the strongest element a person can have in their lives. Start focusing on everything you have in your life that you are grateful for, instead of focusing on what you lack. And don’t try saying you don’t have anything to be grateful for. That’s a victim mentality trait that you are not partaking in. If anything, be grateful you are alive with another chance to make a change in your life.
I hope this resonates with someone out there and helps them to change the learned behavior of being the victim.
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You’re a big boy or big girl now.
Great post Joe.
Thanks Sharon. It’s in a different tone than I usually write. I almost backed down from posting it because it seems too tough on people. But, I have to try different approaches. 🙂 Joe
Never worry about your tone. It’s your blog and you have something to say.
Yeah, I know. I just don’t usually go about things like that in general. I usually give subtle advice. 😀Joe
Sometimes we just have to go with the moment.
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I agree with the thrust of your post, I’m just confused and ask this question with respect: are you saying that there are no victims…because it sounds as if what you’re describing are people who are spoiled.
Oh no. In no way am I saying there are no victims. We all fall victim to unfortunate circumstances now and then. I’m talking about people with a mindset of staying in the victim role and almost creating it because it’s their norm. In a sense they are spoiled because they have always had someone bailing them out. It’s codependency at its best, classic enabler and enabled.
Thank you…My experience with people who have this mindset is that they are usually the perp…
Genuine victims are either struggling with denial or struggling with the pain of coming to terms with the truth…and because many if them are survivors they are invested in moving on when they can.
One of our biggest problems in American culture is that we often use the wrong word to describe things which results in a dilution of meaning.
Parents who have lost a child to a random and preventable shooting is a victim; and their rage and pain is real and deserving of respect–and those parents have a right to take as much time as they need to grieve and move on.
A man who is asked to consider a few extra regulations on his collection of assault rifles and claims to be a victim of our ‘liberal’ government is nothing more than an entitled narcissist.
Thank you for your explanation. I appreciate it.
I’m not talking about legitimate victims like parents who have lost a child to a random and preventable shooting. That’s a one time incident and no one can claim they have a victim mentality. They are a victim of a horrific crime. I’m talking about people who habitually claim to be a victim without any reason to be considered a victim. Like people who lose a job or have a romantic relationship end. These things are commonplace. But these people stay in a defeated mindset perpetually replaying it over and over. Then they carry that mindset into the future and every little thing that goes wrong is seen as another traumatic blow. When in actuality everyone goes through the setbacks. Some people just like to have pity parties and have an “woe is me” attitude.
Right…I got that. It’s as if no one ever taught them that they have to take action when faced with adversity…
Thank you again…