Mindset

Why Your Victim Mindset is So Toxic

All my life I’ve experienced bullying.

There was the girl who lived next door. One day, she just decided she hated me and egged on the girl across the street from an abusive family to threaten to beat me up.
There was the girl in junior high who heard I said something about her, then recruited dozens of people to taunt me for weeks.
There was the woman I worked with who was so jealous that I was getting attention from someone she had a crush on that she sabotaged every project of mine she could.

BUT, WHAT IF I TOLD YOU THAT ALL THESE INCIDENTS WERE A RESULT OF MY OWN PATTERNS AND BEHAVIOR?

Some might say that’s victim blaming, but I believe that it was due to my victim mindset.

I wasn’t born with a victim mindset, no one is, but I learned it early in life from patterns I witnessed in my family. Children are sponges for patterns, good or bad, and I soaked up thoughts that reinforced others didn’t like me, no matter how hard I tried or how good of a person I was. In fact, the better I got, the more it was likely others wouldn’t like me.

So, it should be no surprise that I experienced plenty of conflict with others as an accompaniment to anything good.

That went on for over 30 years, and I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t still feel those victim-y thoughts at times. In fact, telling you that my parents programmed me with my victim mindset is technically still being a victim. The difference is, now I’m aware of it. And being aware means you can change.

For me, it manifested as bullying. For others, it can show up as chronic health problems, an inability to keep a job or grow a business, constant fighting with a spouse or co-workers. The possibilities are endless.

SO, HOW DO YOU GET OUT OF A VICTIM MINDSET?

First, you have to recognize that you’re in one.

Do you get offended easily?
Do you stew over perceived slights?
Do you constantly ask for special treatment?
Do you expect commitment and loyalty from people you haven’t earned it from?
Do you constantly think people are talking about you or scheming against you?
Do you think that establishing good relationships will just result in conflict, so you avoid doing it?
Do you have an excuse for everything you fucked up? As in, someone else or a circumstance is to blame?
Do you believe people often take advantage of you?
Do you blame politicians for anything bad that has happened to you or someone you know?
Do you tend to focus on the marginalization of others? Are you addicted to stories about oppression or injustice?
Are you getting offended just by reading this?
Well, then you might be soaked in a victim mindset.

If you’re still with me, congratulations. You might be stuck in a pattern of being a victim, but at least you’re willing to change it. And you should be, because a victim mindset can do horrible things to your life.

Think about it …

Who are you if you believe that:

People take advantage of you
People don’t like you for arbitrary reasons
People are inherently bad if they voted for a specific politician you don’t like
What kind of a person does that make you?

Someone who has ZERO power, that’s who.

Something that was life-changing for me was finding Byron Katie’s 4 questions, they are:

Is it true?
Can you absolutely know it’s true?
Who are you/what happens when you think that thought?
Who would you be if you didn’t have that thought?
Take any woe-is-me, everyone’s-out-to-get-me, so-and-so-is-making-my-life-hell thought and run it through those questions. Even if you cling desperately to them being true, when you ask yourself how those thoughts define you as a person, things change for you.

This, right here – asking who could you be if you didn’t believe the world was out to get you – is what changes you, because nobody likes to be powerless.

Believe that you can be empowered, that it’s possible for you to have complete control over your destiny. Here’s how you start:

Commit to meditation. When you have a regular meditation practice, you become more aware of the thoughts you’re having.
Pay attention to what you’re thinking. If you’re in victim mode, those thoughts are running amok – let’s get them under control.
Run your thoughts through Byron Katie’s 4 questions. Identify WHO you could be without those thoughts.
Embrace being empowered. Right now, you’re out of practice, so you need to establish new patterns of empowerment.
Believe it’s possible for you to feel better emotionally. You’re not doomed to a life of being a victim if you don’t believe it anymore.