I’ve been noticing a trend among those living with the diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder that is so self-defeating it begged written about here. I normally get in trouble writing things like this in the DID community, but the truth is the truth and I will not ignore that.
Living as a forever victim is one of the most horrific self-imposed prisons that anyone can inhabit. Victim mentality forces survivors to never learn to advocate for themselves calmly and without judgment on those who try to help them. In other words, victim mentality keeps us living in misery when we could move on and learn to accept the cards we received in life.
What is Victim Mentality?
Wikipedia gives the following definition for victim mentality:
“Victim mentality is a learned personality trait in which a person tends to regard themselves as a victim of the negative actions of others, and to behave like it were the case—even in the absence of clear evidence.”
Now, do not worry, I am not going to invalidate anyone’s history of childhood trauma and the negative effects it has had on our lives. That is not what this article is about. It is about getting unstuck from a mindset that says, “I cannot ever heal because I am a victim.”
Victim mentality is a natural circumstance of having lived in a dysfunctional family and in the case of multiples, carrying horrific effects into adulthood. However, it takes a lot more energy to stay a victim than to go on past that phase. Yes, we have been harmed horribly by people who did not care and wanted to only please themselves. However, the ball is now in our court and we are the ones who must choose to stop victimizing ourselves. We are in control of our lives now, no one else.
The Devastating Effects of Victim Mentality
One might think that forever identifying as a victim would be not only harmless but deserved. However, that is completely wrong on both counts.
Loaded with stinking thinking, victimhood rips power away from the person who identifies as a casualty leaving them forever angry and impotent. When these unfortunates look for help or experience a perceived injustice, they often react with anger, resentment, and lose the ability to advocate for themselves. Although sometimes justified, the anger causes a forever victim to quit doing what must occur to help themselves.
Another tragic consequence of living as a forever victim is what it does to survivor’s relationships. To be honest, no one wants to be with a person who constantly talks about how they are helpless victims and allows any helpful suggestions to bounce off like a ping pong ball. It’s highly frustrating, definitely not easy to listen to, and many people will be kind but slowly walk away.
Even finding and keeping a romantic relationship can be tough for forever victims. Normally, people who are not identifying as victims are not attracted to forever victims, and so those living in casualty mentality end up in a relationship that either mirrors the abuse they experienced in childhood or reinforces their victimhood. This unfortunate turn of events leads to more and more stinking thinking, reinforcing the message in the victim’s mind that they cannot escape.
What to Do About Victim Mentality
I’m not going to sit here and type out a cure for you if you recognize yourself at all in this piece. I am neither qualified nor if I were would you hear me. However, I do have some suggestions.
The first and most important suggestion is for you to begin taking complete and total responsibility for all your actions and words. Stop blaming others for your life today and take charge of it yourself. There is no one else who can rescue you but you, so if you are awaiting rescue, it will never come. Stop it. You ARE completely and utterly responsible for what happens to you today. Do not ruin your life or your health looking for someone else to blame. Be assertive, be aggressive in your looking for areas where you CAN take charge and then set about doing that well.
Second, stop always feeling like you are an abused and rejected adult because of what happened to you when you were a kid. Even if your abusers are still alive today, they are no longer in charge of your happiness, you are. By not allowing yourself the chance to enjoy life, joy, and peace, trading it for suffering, you will never go on to be the person you were meant to be.
Third, begin to take stock for what you are grateful. Cannot think of anything big? Then start very small. Can you hear? Speak? See? Have you a roof over your head? Food in the kitchen? Clean clothes to wear? Are you warm in winter and cool in summer?
Then, every day, sit down for just a few moments and record a new item for which you are grateful. You need only add one or two to your gratitude list.
What is the reason to make a gratitude list? Because it is very difficult to feel like a victim when you have so much to be thankful about. Being grateful is powerful. It enables us to move forward and out of our self-imposed prisons.
Lastly, (check out this article on Huffington Post), stop sabotaging yourself by trying to always control what might happen to you. Instead, concentrate on ways you can avoid only things that are inevitably going to happen. If you don’t, you will forever undermine your efforts to enjoy life and instead practice self-destructive behavior.
Look at yourself honestly, do you have a part of you that wants to stay a victim? Isn’t being a victim more comfortable than healing? Be honest, doesn’t it?
I know it did for me. I lived for many years feeling like I would never be well enough to live a happy life. Now, I realize that life isn’t easy or fair for anyone no matter who you are or where you live. However, the only way to gain life is to resist faulty reasoning by not participating in the stinking thinking process. It is vital to resist feeling you don’t belong or cannot ever enjoy success because of your childhood. That is wrongful thinking in its highest form.
I realize I’ve stepped on some holy cows this morning, but I feel so strongly about this topic that I could not in good conscious not tackle it.
Yes, your childhood was horrific. Yes, the people in your life as a kid were abusive and deserved punishment. But, why allow them the power to rule who you are today? Do you want them to win? If you remain a forever victim, that is exactly what they are doing. Your abusers are running your life, even if they are dead, and causing you to rot away and waste your life via your consent.
Don’t let the bastards win.
“Self-empowerment is seeking the solution rather than fixating on the problem.” Coach Bobbi
“Stop giving people the power to steal your peace. It belongs to you and no one should be able to run away with it.” A. Elle
“It is never too late to be who you might have been.” George Eliot