People with a victim mindset feel that the world is against them. They blame others for their problems and can’t admit the role they played in negative situations. Consequently, they make every day miserable and harder than it should be.
What is a victim mindset?
A victim mindset causes people to think that they must feel tortured so they can get attention and sympathy. They’ll live their life blaming others, making excuses, and having pity parties. They live on a constant loop of negativity, fear, and temper tantrums.
This is the result of habitually thinking that they’ll always come up short with everything they do. Luckily, it can be cured.
What risks come from a victim mindset?
Blaming others and avoiding responsibility steals away your power and destroys your self-esteem. Your subconscious knows what happened and it’ll tear you down till you’re brave enough to admit the truth.
Here are some problems a victim mindset creates:
- Low self-esteem
- Relationship issues
- Procrastination or stagnancy
- Feeling powerless and weak
As you can see, this way of thinking can really mess up your life. However, it’s a learned behavior so you can unlearn it and free yourself.
Signs that a person has a victim mindset:
- These people will make excuses or explain away their faults. They never admit mistakes.
- They lack the self-awareness and confidence needed to admit that anything is their fault. As a result, they always play the innocent one in their stories. They’re always blaming others for their downfalls.
- Victims aren’t assertive so they’ll shout at others or even seek revenge.
- They believe that they were targeted and the only person who was mistreated.
- When arguing with someone, they can’t look at things from the other person’s perspective.
- They’ll complain about their life, but they never try to improve it. They refuse to examine their life and they’ll ignore any advice that would solve their problems.
- A victim mindset makes people believe they’re powerless and that others do things on purpose to hurt them.
- They’ve got low self-esteem and often have outbursts of anger. Also, they resent happy, successful people.
- They’re always complaining about how awful they were treated and they ruminate on situations where they felt betrayed.
- Constructive criticism is considered an attack on a person with a victim mentality and they’ll respond defensively.
- Pity parties are their favorite and they’ll catastrophize events to get them.
- They have an external locus of control or they feel uncontrollable outside forces are holding them back in life. Whereas those with an internal locus of control believe they’re in charge of their life.
If you have any of the above symptoms, then keep reading to discover how you can put an end to this destructive mentality.
How to escape the victim mindset:
1. Notice when you’re having a victim mindset
You can change this mentality with consistent practice. But first, you’ll need to be on the lookout for “woe is me” thinking.
For example, people with this issue say or think things like the following:
- “I can’t do that. Why bother trying?”
- “They shouldn’t have done that to me.”
- “It isn’t my fault. I did nothing wrong.”
- “I’ll always get treated poorly.”
- “You made me angry/sad/insecure.”
Catch these thoughts when they show up and rethink them. Ask yourself what you did to cause this problem.
Even if something terrible happened to you as a child, it’s up to you whether you bring it into your present. If you need some help then consider therapy so you can conquer this harmful mentality.
2. Be willing to defeat the victim mindset
There are reasons you’ve built this mindset. For one, it allows you to not admit to any wrongdoing. That’s because, to a victim, they can’t confess that they make mistakes or do anything wrong. They’ve become so fragile that one slipup could send them into a downward spiral.
Therefore, they believe that it’s someone else who’s ruining their life. Certainly, the world is against them, however, these beliefs make them more miserable.
3. Take responsibility and stop blaming others
“Accept complete responsibility for every part of your life. Refuse to blame others or make excuses.”
— Brian Tracy
Avoiding responsibility breeds depressing thoughts and emotions. Take control over your life and stop blaming others for your mistakes or failures. Pointing your finger won’t keep you from feeling lousy about yourself, in fact, it’ll intensify how horrible you feel.
On the other hand, if you admit your mistakes, you’ll gain people’s trust and respect. Deny them and you’ll look insecure and weak.
Victors take control of their lives and ownership of their mistakes. They fix their problems instead of whining about them, as a result, they’re happier and more confident.
4. Think of the advantages of your negative experiences
Instead of wallowing in pity about your painful past experiences, focus on the benefits they brought you. Shine a positive light on the situation.
- Being bullied can inspire you to become great.
- Rejection can help you improve.
- A breakup can open the door for you to meet someone worthy of your time.
- Traumas can allow you to help other people.
- Losing everything can cause you to value what you have more.
- Overcoming hardships can inspire others.
Feel proud of your scars and the things you’ve been through. Learn from them and become stronger and wiser because of them.
5. Forgive anyone you feel resentment toward, including yourself
Holding onto grudges will wreck your mental health. It’ll make a scenario that only lasted a few minutes, see drag on for a lifetime. Furthermore, you’re punishing yourself with these thoughts, not the other person. Decide today to forgive them in your mind, because that will free you from the pain. Otherwise, you’ll live in torment until you do.
6. Let go of the uncontrollable past
You must outgrow the past version of yourself. Realize that life is different now and it’s alright to let it go. You aren’t hurting the other person or situation by having perpetual anger towards them. So, you’re letting them continue to hurt you forever until you release it.
It’s much better to let go of what happened, that way you can move on with life.
Toss those thoughts in the trash and choose to move on to better things.
7. Rewrite your life’s story
Until you change how you tell your story to yourself and others, you’ll remain stuck in life. No matter how horrific past events have been, others out there can relate. However, they don’t allow those stories to direct their future. And you can do that too.
So, don’t continue reciting the same depressing tales or the excuses for why you can’t have a happy life. Instead, talk about the positive experiences you’ve had and how you can improve your future. Dwell on those memories rather than defeatist thoughts.
8. Journal about it
When you put your thoughts on paper and out of your mind, you can step back and realize where you’re slipping. It will be challenging to reveal this to yourself but it will help you in the long run. So, don’t be biased about your side of the story. If it helps, you can separate yourself from your writing and read it as if you were someone else.
Journaling is a valuable tool to realize where you are in life by using self-reflection. These benefits are valuable for defeating a limiting victim mindset along with many other benefits.
9. Replace the victim mindset with thoughts of gratitude
When you focus on all the worst parts of your existence, you reenforce your suffering. But if you pay attention to all the positive aspects of your world, you can transform the rest of your life.
Here are some examples of what to be thankful for:
- There are people who care about you
- You’ve got a place to live and a bed to sleep on at night
- You have one or more friends.
- Your hobbies and talents.
- You have a job or the ability to get one.
- Your unique qualities.
So, when you wake up or go to sleep, think of at least three things you’re grateful for and watch your outlook improve.
10. Have self-compassion, not self-pity
The next time you crave a pity party, focus on giving yourself encouraging words. Don’t direct hate and anger towards yourself or others, instead think about the ways you can improve.
Spend quality time alone to strengthen the one relationship you’ll never lose. Give yourself time to rest or have fun. Pamper yourself and cherish who you are.
11. Guard your thoughts against negative habitual thinking
Thoughts are powerful so practice being aware of your thoughts. You can do this by meditating or by paying attention and not allowing these negative thoughts to play on repeat. When they pop up, remind yourself that you’ve forgiven yourself and others for what happened and let it go.
12. Change how you respond to others
How you respond to other people can change how they react to you. Therefore, if you act like a victim you’ll get treated like one. So if someone is rude to you and you overreact, then you’re proving to them that they have control over how you feel. Not to mention, they’ll probably take advantage of this power.
13. Set achievable goals
A great way to break free from the victim mindset and build confidence is to accomplish simple goals. But the worst you could do is have unreasonable goals and then fail at them. So, be easy on yourself and aim at tasks you know you can finish.
In short, keeping a victim mindset is a constant attack on yourself. But when you take control over your life, you discover how powerful you can be. Therefore, it’s best to accept responsibility for all aspects of your life and stop blaming other people. It may feel vulnerable at first, but over time, it’ll increase your confidence and you’ll feel proud of who you are.
So, free yourself from complaining mode and take action on improving your life. You’ll realize that the world isn’t out to harm you. In reality, your mentality was tearing you down the whole time. That’s when you know you’re now unchained from the victim mindset.
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