Victim Mentality—What Is It? Who’s got it?
We are “victims” when we allow external events and other people, or circumstances, to control what we think, feel and do.
We are “victims” when we allow our negative emotions to overwhelm us and determine our behavior and outward expression. The credo we use in our workshops, states simply—
If things are going wrong or badly, or not to my liking, then someone is to blame. It is necessary to identify the person(s), circumstance(s) or source(s) of why things are not as I think they should be. Blame must be determined and accepted by the wrongdoer, and things must be made right. I am justified in being emotionally upset. Neither growth nor learning results from the bad things that happen to me.
In other words, when things aren’t going our way, it is other people’s fault or due to circumstances “beyond our control.” We have nothing to learn and no need to change—it is “they” or “the World” that need to change.
Just think about the above statements for a moment. Who’s in control? Do we feel empowered when we think this way? Does it foster or hinder good relations?
Who’s got it? We all do!—to some degree or another. So we can all breathe a huge sigh of relief, relax and laugh at ourselves a bit. In fact, learning to laugh at ourselves is a great start to breaking the cycle of victim thinking. Perhaps you’ll recognize many of the following statements in yourself and others…
- Look what you made me do!
- You hurt my feelings.
- It’s not my fault.
- Can you believe what she did to me?
- I want an apology.
- That’s not fair.
Recognize any of these?
- I don’t have enough time.
- I can’t help it, that’s just the way I am.
- If only he wouldn’t, or didn’t, or weren’t that way!
- Nothing I do makes any difference.
- I’ve done everything I possibly can.
- If you really loved me, you would/wouldn’t…
How about these?
- It’s all their fault.
- I was late because I hit every red light; I was behind the school bus; etc.
- I’ve told you a thousand times…
- And after all that I’ve done for you.
- I do all the giving around here and get nothing in return.
- I’m just not going to put up with it anymore.
- You just don’t know how much I’ve suffered.
- My boss doesn’t respect me.
- My kids don’t appreciate all I do for them.
- You’ve hurt me for the last time.
- Why does this always happen to me?
- You make me so mad, frustrated, angry, etc.
- If they would/wouldn’t do that, then I could do my job!
- Why should I do this when she does that?
- What about me?
- I’m so busy, I just don’t have time to do anything I like.
- He/she/they made me…
- I can’t help it.
- I’ll try… (versus I will)
- Why don’t you…?
- He/she/they should…
- If you can’t do your part, I’m not gonna do mine!
- It’s my way or the highway.
- It’s the system!
But don’t panic…
Truly, we’re all in this together. We all play the “victim” sometimes.
But there’s a better, even simpler way. What’s the answer?