Overcoming a Victim Mentality
Woe is me. My life sucks! Nobody likes me. The world is against me. I'll never accomplish anything because no one will give me a chance. If only that thing or event didn't happen to me...
We've all heard these phrases from people who suffer from a victim mentality.
What is a Victim Mentality?
Wikipedia has a great definition: "It is a learned personality trait in which a person tends to regard him or herself as a victim of the negative actions of others, and to think, speak and act as if that were the case — even in the absence of clear evidence."
In other words, those who thrive in their victim mentality world often BELIEVE they have been victimized, but not necessarily so.
For instance, I've know people who claim they are a victim of racial discrimination, not because they have actually been discriminated against, but merely because the public and national narrative says they fit into a category that has been victimized.
Here's a GET REAL reality! We have all been victimized by someone or something such as a horrific and tragic event, the wrong doing of others (whether intentional or unintentional), and we will continue to be victimized because of this one simple fact - we live in a sinful world.
There are those who truly have been victimized and traumatized by the choices of others that caused harm.
But, what I have learned is that many people who have had experienced really bad situations or fallen prey to unfortunate circumstances are the ones that overcome and do not allow their victimization to hinder or define them!
While, at the same time, many "virtual victims" (those who BELIEVE they have been victimized) have no evidence to validate their accusations.
Neurotic people believe the world revolves around them and is out to get them. They trust no one because they feel they are going to be harmed - and because they believe it, they are hyper-sensitive when someone does harm them even in the slightest.
Secondly, they are all about themselves. They spend so much time focusing on their own lives rather than investing in others.
The key to overcoming a victim mentality is FORGIVENESS!
Forgiveness is not about letting a guilty person off the hook or excusing the bad and wrongful choices of another.
Forgiveness is the key that sets you free from the past, and stops others from having control over you. The faster you forgive, the faster you will be free from the bondage of a victim mentality, and give you the open door to move forward.
When you don't forgive, you are not only inviting more pain into your life, but you also send a message to God that you are more superior than He. You are the judge, jury, and executioner!
Isn't it funny how quickly we demand forgiveness when we screw up, but how quickly we demand execution or punishment of those who sin against us?
But if you do not forgive men their trespasses,
neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
- Matthew 6:15 NKJV
If you struggle with this are of your life, here are some simple steps to take to help you overcome a victim mentality:
1. Ask God for forgiveness. When you become perfect, you can expect others to be perfect too, so start by asking for God's forgiveness for your sin.
2. Pray for Him to reveal those whom you need to forgive. That person may be yourself or others (past and present). Then forgive them! Forgive is an action word. It's the action you take when you choose to let it all go!
"But you don't know what they did to me..." Oh, yes I do because you're wearing it around your neck, arms, and feet like a chained prisoner! Release it and let it go! Be free! You're the only one keeping yourself bound because you choose to not forgive!
Again, forgiveness doesn't let that person off the hook. All it does is hands over judgment to the rightful prosecutor - who is not you! God will do according to His will. After all you are HIS property and He will do what He deems just. That's not your call.
3. Be quick to extend grace. Don't wait five seconds after someone does something to you to forgive. Yes, of course, it's hard to not be angry or want revenge. That's part of human emotion. But, forgiveness will release you before you become rooted in bitterness.
Not all victims have a victim mentality. More often than not, it's merely a perceived thought as opposed to actuality.
Victim mentalities stop you from achieving success. It provides an unjust excuse, and you can't make excuses and achieve success in any area of your life. It requires a choice, followed by action.