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4 Signs You Have a Victim Mentality (And How to Break out of It)

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4 Signs You Have a Victim Mentality (And How to Break out of It)

Are you one of those who have succumbed to the victim mentality trap? Ask yourself: when bad things happen, do you take responsibility for them or do you blame the world?

If it’s the latter, you likely have. When challenges occur in life, it’s easy to let your emotions get the best of you and assume that the world is out to get you. It’s okay to have a pity party now and then. However, if it gets out of hand, it’s easy to start floundering in victimhood.

It is impossible to be the driver of your life if all you do is play the victim card. In my opinion, this is the fastest way to lose your power. You have two choices—believe that life is happening for you or to you.

What Is Victim Mentality?

People who have a victim mentality believe that life happens to them rather than for them. As a result, they are quick to feel victimized when something doesn’t go as planned.

Victim mentality is an acquired personality trait in which a person tends to recognize or consider themselves as a victim of the negative actions of others. At its core, a victim mentality is a form of avoidance. It’s a way of saying, “I refuse to take any responsibility for myself or my life.”

As a result, you may avoid stepping outside of your comfort zone, making difficult decisions, or doing anything to improve the state of your life. In short, you remain stuck and paralyzed by fear. I think we can all agree that this sounds like a bad place to be.

Steve Maraboli said it best,

“The victim mentality will have you dancing with the devil, then complaining that you’re in hell.”

Unfortunately, there is a huge payoff to adopting this mindset. You are given the space to have a pity party, to ignore messy emotions, and to get sympathy from others.

It’s only when you are ready to shift your perspective and see the events of your life as fully in your control that you can step into your power.

How Do I Know If I Have a Victim Mentality?

Let’s look at four signs that you have a victim mentality and find ways how to break free from it.

1. You Catastrophize All Your Problems

Individuals who catastrophize problems are always thinking the worst. Catastrophizing your problems is when you allow yourself to believe that even the smallest inconveniences are the end of the world.[1]

If you always assume that the worst will happen, the Universe will listen to you and give you precisely what you’re asking for. The next time that you catch yourself thinking about how awful something is, work to put your experience into perspective.

Ask yourself, “what is the worst thing that could happen?” This will help remind you that the outcome may not be as bad as you expect it to be.

2. You Feel Powerless

One of the hardest things to deal with when you live with a victim mentality is feeling helpless. When bad things happen, it’s easy to feel like you have no control over the situation.

When you find yourself in one of these situations, focus on the things that you can change. Finding something that you can control can help you feel like you have some of your power back, and that’s a big step.

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Another way to break free from feeling powerless is to practice saying “no.” You don’t have to do everything that is expected of you. It is okay to put your own needs first.

3. You Engage in Negative Self-Talk

Self-doubt is intimately connected to victimhood. Once someone falls for the victim mentality, they will subconsciously self-sabotage their best efforts so that they are congruent with their conscious mind.[2]

If you believe that you aren’t worthy, you will always feel as if the world is out to get you. Destructive beliefs will nourish victim behavior to the point where putting yourself down becomes a norm. It will be hard to stay motivated in life when you’re always talking down on yourself.

4. You Think That the World Is Out to Get You

If you feel like the world is constantly trying to hurt you or make you miserable, you know that you have spiraled into victimhood. Life isn’t out to get you. In fact, it’s always trying to work in your favor if you choose to adopt a growth mindset.

In life, many things will happen that are out of your control. It’s your job to decide how you are going to respond to those events. When you start seeing challenges as opportunities for growth, all of sudden, you start noticing that life is forcing you to level up, which is a blessing in disguise.

How Do I Stop This Mentality?

The first step to breaking out of a victim mentality is understanding and accepting that you have one. The next step is shifting your thoughts from feeling like a victim to realizing that you are a survivor. It’s incredibly freeing when you realize you are no longer a victim of your life circumstances.

If you want to be a true survivor, you’ve got to focus your attention less on safety and security and more on developing positive self-beliefs.[3]

Survivors know that they are the CEOs of their lives, meaning that they take full responsibility for everything that happens—both good and bad. Also, instead of seeing the world through a black and white lens, survivors are open to new ways of thinking and behaving if it will support their growth and evolution.

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1. Identify and Challenge Limiting Beliefs

Beliefs are conditioned perceptions that are built upon old memories of pain and pleasure. These memories are based on how we have interpreted and emotionalized our experiences over time.[4]

If these beliefs are disempowering in their nature, they lead to self-sabotage and a feeling of helplessness. If you want to stop being a victim, you have first to identify the critical inner voice that created feelings of victimhood and injustice.

When did feelings of self-pity, low self-efficacy, and false blame first take shape in your life? A victim mentality can usually be traced back to one’s childhood as a survival mechanism or as a learned behavior that we observed from our parents.

When you start to understand why you feel the way you do, you take responsibility for thoughts and realize that you have the power to change and shift the narrative from one of a victim to a victor.

2. Take Responsibility for Your Life

When you take responsibility for your life, you take ownership of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. You design life on your terms because you know that you have the power to create your reality.

The moment that you stop blaming the world is the moment that you shift from victim to victor. All of a sudden, life starts working in your favor because you chose to show up for yourself.

3. Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude

Victimhood is grounded in a feeling of ‘lacking’ as if there is never enough of something. The opposite of ‘lacking’ is ‘abundance,’ which is where gratitude comes into play.

The quickest way to stop being a victim is to adopt an attitude of gratitude. Make a habit of asking yourself, “what am I grateful for today?”

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Gratitude is simply the conscious acknowledgment of what brings you joy in the present moment. When you stop obsessing about your own stuff and look at the bigger picture, you start to realize how lucky you really are.

4. Think Positive

Victimhood thrives off of negative thoughts. The best way to shift from victim to victor is to change your thinking. Instead of looking for the bad in something, find the silver lining amidst every challenge.

Your thoughts create your reality. When you start focusing on the good, you attract more positive things into your life. That is the moment at which you will open yourself up to live an abundant life of positive growth and change that has the potential to transform your life.[5]

In the words of Martin Seligman,

“Optimism is very valuable for a meaningful life. With a firm belief in a positive future, you can redirect your life towards what’s most important.”

Final Thoughts

If you’re tired of playing the victim, decide that you are ready to become the master of your life and then act on it. You are capable of great things if you believe in yourself and act on your beliefs.

Now is the time to take back control of your life. Are you ready?

More Tips on How to Break Out of Victim Mentality

Featured photo credit: Remy_Loz via unsplash.com

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Reference

More by this author

Ashley Elizabeth

Resilience Mastery Coach and Motivational Speaker

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