Victim mentality is not easy to overcome but if we are able to recognize the signs and its negative impact on life, the process to overcome it becomes easier.
Psychologists state that self-pity is not only addictive but very destructive as well. Its addictive because the ‘victim’ instantly feels comfort when people feel sorry for them. Its destructive as blaming others is a way of giving up power to stand up for oneself. Self pity does not let us grow and evolve.
Life is unfair and there are actual victims out there who are suffering a lot in different ways. Its a matter of perspective. Even if you are actually wronged, crying over spilled milk will not benefit anybody. Thinking about solutions and taking responsibility will give the strength to move on and focus on positive things in life.
The bitter truth is Victim mentality is nothing but a way of avoiding responsibility, Its an excuse to stay stuck in comfort zone and not doing the hard work.
People with victim mentality often do not have life purpose, because they do not know how to acquire them unless someone plans their future for them.Sunday Adeleja
What are the Signs?
The following signs will help to identify if you or any person you know is suffering from victim mentality.
- Saying self-defeating phrases like, ‘why only bad things happen to me’ , ‘this happened because so and so’ ,’i would have done it if i had the time’,’why am i so unlucky’ . ‘i have so many problems’ etc.
- Always feel used and controlled by others.
- Feel like god is always ‘testing’ or ‘punishing’ them.
- Constantly making excuses for not trying.
- Feel lonely and misunderstood.
- Lack self-confidence.
- Mostly frustrated, resentful and angry.
In most cases the person suffering from victim mentality is a narcissist, as they believe everyone and everything in this world is conspiring against them. When in reality neither the universe nor most people care that much about anyone.
How to overcome victim mentality in oneself
The biggest achievement is acknowledging victim mentality condition. Then its a matter of will power and commitment.
Stop blaming others and take responsibility.
Blaming others is a temporary relief. In the long run it makes you feel helpless and powerless. Start taking action and stop relying on others for help and validation.
There’s always something you can do and somewhere you can start from. Just start taking ownership of your life and feel the power within you.
Victimizing yourself has long term damage as it exaggerates the suffering. Stop negative self-talk. Motivate and inspire yourself to do better. Tell yourself that you are good enough to achieve whatever that is you want.
Befriend yourself and work on self development by listening to self-belief affirmations and motivational talks.
Shift your focus on the people who care about you or the things you have and life will seem like a wonderful blessing. There are many big and small things we can be thankful for.
Think of the more unfortunate ones in this world and suddenly you will feel guilty for complaining about your own life as it stems from a self-centered attitude.
Learn to forgive
Forgiveness is not for anyone else but for your own peace. Holding a grudge leads to frustration which is harmful both for the mind and body.
Let it go and relieve the burden.
Learn to say no
If you cater to everyone’s needs and later regret going out of your way to do what you shouldn’t have then Its time to step up. Have the confidence and courage to say No. It gives you the power to set your boundaries. This way you won’t feel used and overwhelmed.
Help someone/practice kindness
Helping someone adds value and meaning to ones own life. Be genuinely helpful and kind to others. This will help to get out of the ‘self pity’ bubble.
The simplest way to help someone is to listen, sometimes all that people need is to confine in someone. Be that friend or family member who listens without bias and judgement.
Mindfulness means full awareness of thoughts. Whenever you feel like a victim stop your mind right there to get in the loop of self pity. Shift focus on something positive or get busy. Being aware of how your thoughts affect you is the first step towards self improvement.(you can start by simple micro meditation techniques and then move on to formal meditation for self-awareness and clarity).
Work on developing self-confidence
Self-confidence can be build. Focus on what makes you feel under confident and work on improving that. Act like a confident and secure person and slowly you won’t need to act anymore.
There are various books, audios and videos that can guide you to be more confident. You just need the willingness to work on yourself.
I am not a victim. No matter what I have been through. I am still here, i have a history of victory.Dr. Steve Maraboli
How to deal with victim mentality in someone else
We might have a friend, co-worker or a family member who display signs of victim mentality. Spending time with them can be exhausting if they always seek attention by self pity.
There are few ways you can deal with them but remember to be kind as there might be a deep rooted unpleasant experience which made them this way.
Try to make them understand that negative self talk is of no use and they should focus more on finding solutions or do something productive. Make them feel loved and understood.
Be mindful of their situation as they might be actually suffering, offer a helping hand in that case.
Follow up if they are willing to work on themselves
Most people just need someone to make them realize their condition and once they do, they are ready to change. If you see someone trying to overcome victim mentality then become their support, appreciate their small victories. Offer guidance in form of books and other self-development material. Keep in touch and follow through their progress.
Set your boundaries
Some people are not willing to change and communicating with them can be exhausting. In such cases limit your interaction as you deserve peace. It’s not possible to avoid contact in case of close relationships, try to indulge in activities that you enjoy and focus on self-development to stay positive.
In case of a co-worker, try to avoid interaction by focusing on work and not responding to sob stories. In case of a bigger issue involve other co-workers and HR as people with victim mentality are ready to put the entire blame on others. Its good to have other people know the situation beforehand.
Victim mentality is an acquired trait, it can be due to actual trauma or it might be just an excuse to not get out of the comfort zone. In either case its harmful for career, relationships, growth and happiness. To feel empowered and truly happy, own up, work hard and be positive.
Develop empathy, compassion and gratitude as it helps to overcome victim mentality and makes it easier to deal with the person suffering from it.
At the end of the day let there be no excuses, no explanations, no regrets.Dr. Steve Maraboli