I tend to talk about mindset a lot and there’s a good reason. Mindset can make or break your dreams and goals. It is the difference between joy and bitterness, success and defeat, faith and hopelessness. This particular mindset can take root and be very difficult to fight out of. I’m talking about the victim mindset.
Remaining in a victim mindset is the most destructive thing you can do to your mental and emotional wellbeing. Notice I said “remaining in a victim mindset”. The truth is we have all been victims of something hurtful in our lives. Some have been physically and/or emotionally abused, some sexually assaulted, mistreated, hurt, betrayed, the list can go on forever. We live in a broken world with broken people. We have all been a victim and we have every right to feel what we feel about that situation. However, sometimes we get stuck there and never move on. Sometimes we can’t get over being a victim and we start to see ourselves as a victim in every other relationship and situation.
Why we can’t live in our victim mindset:
True, you have every right to feel victimized. You have been deeply hurt. And sometimes we have to spend a little time in the victim mindset to even wrap our heads around it. This is where it gets dangerous. After a while, we either pick ourselves up and rise a stronger person, or we let that familiar mindset take deep root in our lives, allowing bitterness, anger, and distrust to play a leading role in our lives.
When we live in the victim mindset, we sabotage ourselves. We become jealous of all the good things others have and take it as a personal attack that we don’t have those things too. Our unhappiness pours out from us no matter how hard we try to hide it. We tend to have negative responses and attitudes about everything, effectively causing our bosses to look elsewhere for advancement, spouses to shut down, and friendships to end. At that point, we feel sorry for ourselves because everything is a mess, not realizing how different it could have been if we’d been in a healthier frame of mind.
We see everything as a competition. Your sibling might have a bigger house – you feel envious, your coworker got a promotion – you start to look for their weaknesses and criticize them to others to make yourself seem like a better choice, someone has a talent that you feel you should have, so you come up with a weak excuse not to like them. In this state of mind, we are unable to truly be happy for others.
So what does it take to break out of the victim mindset?
First, and foremost, seek God. He is the ultimate healer. You may find that you’re mad at Him for “allowing” whatever you went through to happen. That’s okay. Tell Him. Yell at Him if you have to because here’s a little secret: He already knows. So tell Him. Tell Him how much you hurt. Tell Him you need healing. His promises are true. He will not leave you to go through this alone. Only He can reveal how this awful situation will be used for His plan, but trust this: His plan is perfect. He will not leave nor forsake you. He will heal you.
Talk to a counselor. There is something about just talking and being real with no filter that is therapeutic. You can’t hold all of the emotions, thoughts, memories in forever. You have to let them out if you’re going to move on. They can also give you helpful emotional/mental exercises and tools to help you on your way to a healthy mindset.
Make the decision. Ultimately, you have to want to stop feeling sorry for yourself. I know it’s hard. We get comfortable in our pity party, but that is not a party we need to attend. We have to choose to move on. It can be a long road, but the grass truly is greener on the other side. Imagine a life of joy! You can have that again.
This world is full of heartbreak. We all have a story. But we must remember that with God, all things are possible! All things. If you are residing in a victim state of mind, you may have felt a bit attacked in this post. Please let me assure you this was written with so much love. God’s plan for you is joy, wholeness, and a close relationship with Him. It is possible! You just have to take the first step toward healing – seek God.
“LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.” Psalms 30:2
The righteous cry, and the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. Psalms 34:17-20
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28