I think a real victim is someone who feels like a victim. What is done to you and how you respond to what is done to you are two different things. When we talk about victim mentality we are talking about a feeling and the thoughts that go with the feeling.
It’s possible that you feel as though you are just waiting around to see what happens? Feeling stuck? Feeling as though you are not in control of your life?
Ask yourself when you learned to have that helpless and hopeless feeling? I don’t think that you came into that world with it, did you? Have people in your life behaved as helpless? Do your friends do it? Did your mum or dad or sister or brother do it? Did they get any positive results from it? Did they live their life to the full?
It doesn’t have to be like that!
Think about the bird who was kept in his cage all of the time and couldn’t get out. When the door was left open he still felt that he couldn’t get out and stayed where he was because that was the behaviour that he had learned. As soon as he poked his head out realized that there was no longer a locked door and made a plan to leave the cage he felt in control and could do what he wanted.
So what can you do to take control?
1. Thoughts. What are your thoughts that make you feel as though you are helpless and don’t have a choice? Could they be something like this? “It’s never going to change.” Here’s a way of changing that thought.
“It’s never going to change.”
New perspectives on this old thought:
Did you learn this thought from someone? Write in your journal if this is the case.
Do you think that this behaviour is useful to you? Write down the answer in your journal.
It’s never going to change? Something will change. What could that be?
Is never true? Of course it will change because in general things do. Could you decide when to make a change and say “It’s going to be different next week or tomorrow or next month”?
Take charge of your thoughts.
So here’s a process to change your thoughts:
Write the thought down.
Write the feeling down that you got from that thought.
Change the thought to something more positive.
Write down the feeling that that new thought gives you.
Then decide which thought you would like and write that down.
People believe that it takes 21 days for something to become a habit so write it down, say it to yourself, say it out loud and really feel the difference it makes. Journal about it and make it a habit to take charge of your thoughts, your feelings and your life.
2. Be proactive. Decide that it doesn’t have to be like this. Decide to make some internal changes in the way you think and this will lead to different behaviour. Say to yourself that you don’t have to be a victim or behave like a victim.
3. Make a plan. Any plan will do as long as it helps you to move forward. You can always change the plan as you go along. It’s the making of the plan and taking action that stops you from feeling like a victim!
Include some rules in your plan. They could be:
“I’m going to write down my negative thoughts and change them into positive ones.”
“I’m going to do something in my plan every day.”
“When I feel helpless, I will take action.”
Make some rules up for yourself. You can put them somewhere where you can see them and keep them in your mind as well. Does that feel better than being or behaving like a victim? You can be in charge of your life!