Most self-help, personal growth, and motivational advice is consistent with the declaration that a victim mentality is bad for us: physically bad, emotionally bad, and spiritually bad. The televangelist, Pastor Joel Osteen urges, “Have a victor mentality, not a victim mentality. Yet, despite what we all know on the inside, being a victim sometimes just feels so comfortable, so usual, so familiar. It is what we have come to expect, so much so that often we don’t even realize we may have become a serial victim.
Well, I have to jump on the bandwagon of others and give you this assurance: if you insist on maintaining a victim mentality, you will forever be a victim of it and true health, happiness, and success is likely to be elusive.
Before you write nasty comments and call me insensitive (see #5 below), I am not blaming the victim here. What I am urging victims to do, no matter how horrific the circumstance, is to see how events continue to replay to shape your personality, your behavior, your faith—your life.
So how can you tell if you or someone you know is a serial victim? These seven observations may help.
1. Never accept blame
Many victims will never take personal responsibility. Their predicament is always someone else’s fault. Often, this is because once they take responsibility, they are thrust into the unfamiliar territory of not being a victim (on the uncharted journey of becoming a victor)—and this can be very scary.
2. Always accept blame
Huh?! But I thought you just said…Someone who was the victim of abuse or a violent crime has difficulty allowing themselves to be happy, to be victorious. That is because on some level they continue to blame themselves for the misfortune that may have beset them, often circumstances well beyond their control. For them, being a victor is too scary, because to their brain, they are undeserving. After all, they believe it is something about them that caused them to be victimized.
3. Can’t let go of the past
For the victim, the past is their homestead. They will continue to tap into the past for evidence to support why they must stay a victim. Most of the time the knowledge they take from the past is not to learn and grow, but to reinforce and explain their hardship and disadvantage.
4. Benefit from it
Playing the victim role can confer certain benefits. In medicine, there is a term called “secondary gain” that explains the benefit, or gain, of remaining sick. If that’s the only way you get attention, well then there is motivation to remain down; to remain the victim. I recall being quite sick with pneumonia when I was merely seven years old. My father would bring me home a small gift every night for about two weeks. When I got better, I felt a little sad. Why? No more gifts! Thank God I got over that!!
5. Use it for power
Ironically, being a victim can place one in a position of power. Many quote scripture, to flex their victim muscle, “Blessed be the poor.” I challenge anyone to come up with something more powerful than God for an endorsement of victimhood. Additionally, through social media and other outlets, a person can use their victim status to malign someone or a group in order to get something they feel due them, simply by making the person or group look unkind or insensitive to their needs. This victim “power play” is perhaps the most insidious way for one to use their victim status and perhaps the most self-destructive.
6. Enjoy throwing their own pity party
The only type of party a victim seems to enjoy is a pity party. And to plan one, all it takes is a good dose of passive-aggressive behavior. “You go on, have a good time, don’t worry about me, I’ll be here when you get back. Some people are just luckier than me.” This “woe is me” mentality simply reinforces being a victim and makes this party sad and pathetic.
7. Provides a convenient excuse
Whatever makes you a victim can keep you neatly tucked in your comfort zone; albeit a zone that is ultimately uncomfortable. You can use being a victim as an excuse not to challenge yourself or seek personal growth. Additionally, confrontation is hard for most people, but especially if you have a victim mentality. Many victims remain passive, allowing the weakness of their “disability” to prevent them from being assertive and voicing their opinion.
Related: 10 Ways to Stay Healthy
Whether you consider yourself to be a victim or someone else, becoming aware of these behaviors is the first step to break from it. And though, there are many shades of grey when it comes to being a victim, one thing is constant for all: making it your life mission to change from a victim mentality to a victor mentality. this will expose a greatness within you, a personal power, a pure potential—the real you, the person you were meant to be. Shifting these mental and behavioral fortresses will connect you to a life where being a victor is the norm, as you develop a oneness with your destiny through your Divine nature.
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