How To Banish The Victim Mindset

How to banish the victim mindset

We are all vulnerable to setbacks, disappointments and hurts. That’s part of the uncertainty of life. Still, it´s how you respond to these setbacks that determines how satisfied you are with the life you lead.

While you can´t always control your circumstances, you can control how you choose to respond to them.

Even so, it´s easy to let setbacks take the upper hand, in the hustle and bustle of everyday life...

Sometimes to the point of where they leave you feeling beaten and broken.

So, instead of getting back up when something knocks you down, you find yourself staying down - on the ground - wallowing in your defeat.

How do you know if you´ve fallen into this kind of victim mindset?

Here are a few tell-tale signs to watch out for:

Victim Mindset #1: All-or-Nothing Thinking

This type of thinking is characterized by absolute terms like always, never, and forever. Few situations are ever this absolute. Life is generally made up of gray areas and most situations have both a negative and a positive side to them. Also, seeing things in black or white can lead you to classifying anything less than perfect as a failure. In fact, you can even get to the point where you feel life is always against you...

Victim Mindset #2: Falling Into The WHY Trap

You ask yourself “why”...a lot. Why does everything in my life have to be so hard? Why can’t everyone just leave me alone? Why do others constantly make demands on me? Why doesn’t anyone understand me?

Sound familiar?

Victim Mindset #3: You Spend A Great Deal Of Time Mulling Things Over

The psychological term for this is "to ruminate".

Picture a never-ending spiral going on in your mind when thinking about your life. The same old script running around and around and around in your head...

Thoughts like: nothing ever works out for me, I never seem to get... (fill in the blank), why bother since I always... (you fill in the blank).

Victim Mindset #4: You Suffer From Low Self-esteem

Do you find yourself not thinking very highly of yourself? Do you find you don’t need others to put you down because you are your own worst critic? Most of all, you feel like there´s something wrong with you, which means you have this belief deep down that you just don’t deserve what it is you want most.

Victim Mindset #5: Anger Is Your First Emotion

When anger is your first emotion, you´ll find that it´s always simmering just beneath the surface. And you probably feel resentful a lot of the time.

Here´s an example: You resent the fact that your best friend just got a $7,000 bonus at work. After all, she already has all the nice things she needs and you can´t even scrape together the money you need to buy new tires for your car. As usual, these things always seem to happen to others and not to you.

Do any of these sound familiar?

Sometimes it´s possible to fall into the victim mindset in some areas of your life and not in others. It can be a subtle shift that is still powerful enough to hold you back, damage your self-esteem and keep you from living your dreams.

So, let´s take a look at what you can do to break out of this negative way of thinking...

Empowering Action #1: Cultivate Confidence

Build your confidence by creating small achievable goals. Think of it like starting with a 10 piece baby puzzle and moving up to the 1000 piece mega puzzle. If you have convinced yourself that good things never happen to you, you have to retrain your mind to see that you can win at something even if it’s something small.

Most importantly, give yourself time to reflect (or ruminate) on these small goals with the intention to move on to bigger accomplishments.

Empowering Action #2: Focus Outward

Turn your attention to giving to others. Victimization breeds neediness. The needier you are, the more opportunity you´ll find to be disappointed when all of your needs aren´t being met. Adopt the approach of getting by giving.

When you focus on meeting other’s needs, you can rise above the victim mode by being someone else’s hero. The satisfaction you gain from showing love to others gives you a reason to love yourself. And when you love yourself, you strengthen the outer layer of protection around yourself that helps guard you against future hurts.

Empowering Action #3: Count Your Blessings

Make a gratitude list. When you are in victim mode, you are focused on what you don’t have. And you lose sight of the things you do have. So, change your perspective to spend more time counting your blessings. By writing these things down, you can easily remind yourself of these blessings when you slip back into feeling sorry for yourself.

Empowering Action #4: Practice Forgiveness

Get closure on your past hurts. Perhaps this will involve forgiving someone. It may even involve forgiving yourself. If you blame yourself for continuing to make the same mistakes or trusting the wrong people etc., this is what you need to do:

Understand what draws you to these bad decisions

And the final step is to "press the reset button"...

Trust that you can move on and make better decisions in the future

Take responsibility for yourself and your life. No one can make you feel a certain way unless you allow it.

Most importantly, understand that it takes courage to take risks and venture into unfamiliar territory. Victims let their circumstances rule their lives, handing over their power in the process. On the other hand, survivors recognize that personal power lies in the ability to control their own thoughts, behaviors and actions.

Movies are a great motivator when it comes to seeing and feeling how others deal with some of the difficulties and setbacks life throws our way. Yes, they may be fictional stories but even fiction is inspired by real life situations...

So, take a look at these ten films with great stories about people overcoming adversity.

  • Pay It Forward
  • Life of Pi
  • The Blind Side
  • Eat, Pray, Love
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • On Golden Pond
  • Coalminer’s Daughter
  • Stand and Deliver
  • Pursuit of Happiness
  • Searching for Bobbie Fischer

And don’t let past hurts define you. Identify how you may letting a victim mindset control your life and what you need to do to put a stop to it.

The Power Is In Your Hands

You have the opportunity to live a beautiful life. The power is in your hands - and it always has been. Creating a positive mindshift is an on-going process that requires daily effort, particularly in the beginning...but the rewards are beyond compare!

First, identify one way you may be wallowing in victim mode. Do you indulge in countless pity parties? Do you have a “why bother?” attitude because you’ve failed at something too many times? Are others always having to give you a pep talk?

Next, choose the solution above that applies best to your situation and put it into action!

Lastly, share your thoughts and experiences with me here. I´d really love to hear them 😉

About the Author Jan Marie Mueller

Jan Marie Mueller is founder of the inspirational blog ThinkBrilliantly and The Brilliance Community, a free Facebook group dedicated to empowering women to let their inner brilliance shine! Her mission is to help women everywhere shift the way they think about themselves, their world and those around them so they have the confidence to do, be and have what they want most in life!

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