What is this year going to bring, and how much of it is within your control? If you are living in a victim mentality probably not much! If this is the case your life probably feels like a medley of sad country songs – “A Good Run of Bad Luck”, “There Goes my Life”, “Someone Else’s Star”, “There’s a Tear in my Beer”… Oh, I could go on, but you’re probably already mildly depressed by now. Time to buck up little partner – right now is a new beginning and we’ve got work to do.
I Googled victim mentality, and Wikipedia actually had an accurate definition: “Victim mentality is an acquired (learned) personality trait in which a person tends to regard themselves as a victim of the negative actions of others, and to behave as if this were the case even in the lack of clear evidence of such circumstances. Victim mentality depends on habitual thought processes and attribution.” I like how it says “acquired/learned” – that means you can “unlearn” it, and liberate yourself by adopting thought and behavior patterns that empower instead.
How do you know you are engaging in victimhood, and why would you even want to be? Let’s answer the why first. Generally, people engage in victim mentality because they get something out of it. They get attention, validation, and sympathy. A person who becomes expert at being the victim is also able to easily manipulate others, as people tend to acquiesce to the needs of the so-called powerless. This behavior results in the endless cycle of‘Poor me’, followed by another’s response of ‘Oh no, bless your heart, how can I fix it for you?’ In a word: Drama.
Signs you may be in victim mentality:
· You exercise repeat thoughts of negativity in every facet of life.
· You don’t want to take responsibility for your choices
· You avoid taking any risks
· You have difficulty finding the “happy” in your life
Before you get discouraged, remember that the above is all learned behavior. Let’s re-pattern the thoughts in the brain to get into a positive and empowered space:
· Ask. If you need to enlist the help of others, ask only of those who are in a position to help you, and ask in the spirit of knowing the issues will be resolved.
· Exercise your spirit. Faith, Gratitude, and Prayer (in whatever ways these look like to you) bring unseen forces for good that lift and enable you do to things you think you can’t.
· Change your perception. Make a list of things that are bothering you. Write these things out in detail. When you are finished, go back and address these things with Truth. In other words, take a step back and look at the situation without the emotion. Now that you can see it differently, you can see that the problem is smaller than you are. You are in charge of your actions.
We all can feel sorry for ourselves, and none of us are immune from falling into the easy trap of victimhood every now and then. Only a perfect person can refrain from falling prey to the enticings of self-martyrdom all the time, and since no one is perfect, each of us will stumble at times. That’s OK. The next time you feel like you’re ready to sing the blues, try this -- set a timer for 6 minutes and privately have yourself a fantastic pity party. Throw yourself on the floor if you need to, and kick, yell, and pound until you’re tired (just don’t hurt yourself or others). Then pick yourself up and change your tune. You don’t need to play your country song backward, just find one that’s upbeat. Start the New Year with “Life’s a Dance”, “It’s a Great Day to be Alive”, or “I Like It, I Love It”. Pair these great songs with the positive reinforcements of the above exercises and soon you’ll be whistling Dixie.