Overcoming the Victim Mentality
Being in recovery can be a time in our lives where we get clarity on many aspects of ourselves. We begin to see where we choose to blame versus when we accept responsibility. Blaming someone or something else for the outcomes in our life is the active choice of operating from a victim mentality. When you don’t have to accept and take responsibility for the things that you don’t like about your life, you don’t have to blame yourself. When you’re blaming others, you gain attention and validation from others around you who are likely also operating from a victim mentality. When in this mentality, you assume no responsibility and you live a life where virtually everything that is happening to you is out of your control.
Personal Journey Towards Control
In my personal journey through recovery, I had to go through the process of choosing to accept my food struggles as my own. I had to stop blaming my childhood, my friends, past lovers, my parents, celebrities, the media, and anything else that I could even remotely justify placing the blame on. I had to begin understanding just how important it is to accept the situations of my life in a manner that placed the responsibility in my own hands. I couldn’t blame my past anymore because that’s not where I lived. I live in the present and the only one affecting my present reality is me. I was the one waking up each morning choosing my mindset for the day. Am I going to decide to spend another day pushing blame away from myself and searching for validation from others to tell me that I’m right? Or can I wake up today and choose to accept that I am responsible for myself and my reality and make decisions that support my goals, my intentions, and the life that I want to wake up and live every single day.
It’s easy to use our past as a justification for staying in a victim state of mind. We’ve all had experiences in our past that make us sad, uncomfortable, or downright upset. But in choosing to accept your share of responsibility for whatever happened, you free yourself. You free yourself from the chains of the past and can create a new beginning. Our past doesn’t have to be the end all be all of our lives. What happened one, five, or fifteen years ago can be shifted into something that gives you power and strength because you are stronger than you were before. You are stronger than you could have ever imagined. But all this starts with choosing to move away from a victim mentality filled with blame. Do you want to create a life that you’re proud of? Then accept your part in creating the world your experience and choose to create something new and different.
Why Be a Victim?
Why do we choose to operate from a victim mentality? Why do we actively choose to give our power away just to keep from being responsible for something that we don’t like? It’s because we enjoy the benefits of being a victim. When we don’t have to take responsibility for our actions and life experiences, we seek attention and validation. We are constantly turning to other people to validate our existence. This happens in relationships, and this happens within ourselves. Being a victim is needing someone outside of you to tell you that you are a whole person. We may choose a victim mentality because it means we don’t have to take risks. We are safe and comforted through our bubble of victimization. When we don’t have to take risks, nothing can go wrong and we can expect more of the same to take place. The victim mentality is where complacency comes into play. When you don’t have to take responsibility, you become accustomed to blaming others and feeling right about not needing to be responsible for the actions that you take or what’s happening in your world.
Shifting your perspective is one of the most important things that you can do throughout your journey of recovery. Shifting gives you insight on what’s been holding back and the limiting beliefs that are no longer (if they ever were) serving you. When you shift your mindset and perspective, you change how you relate to your life and story. You take the driver’s seat of your life and begin to steer yourself in the direction that you want to go. Think about it, are you the driver or the car in your life? When you’re the car, something else is steering. When you’re the driver, you are in charge of where you’re going. You can only decide on where you want to go and go there with confidence when you leave behind the victim mentality.
When you feel entitled to something and take no responsibility for it, you are operating from a victim mentality. This isn’t freedom, it’s confinement. It’s possible to be chain yourself and prevent opportunity from presenting itself in your life. How? Through attempting to control all the situations in your life. You can only control the things that you can control, nothing more and nothing less. Why spend your time on the things that you can control with the mindset of a victim? Change the way you relate to your circumstances because a victim state is not freedom.
Taking Back Control
During my journey of recovery from eating disorders, I felt out of control and stuck. I victimized myself and my situation because it felt safe. But this state of mind is a learned behavior and can, and most often does, result from your needs not being met as a child. Childhood is a critical time in your life. A time in which you are absorbing energies and learning behaviors and ways of being. When neglect and abuse happens as a child or parental figures don’t act and care in the way they should, you learn to blame others for your unhappiness and dissatisfaction. When our Higher Selves are inured through traumas, we have a natural survival instinct to protect ourselves. But what we don’t realize is that once we grow up, once we become capable of understanding and making choices for ourselves, it’s time to give up that survival instinct. This is why you can’t blame yourself for the things that you went through as a child, but you do have to accept the responsibility that you now have to find strength through the pain and choose to shift the direction of your thoughts to reflect what you want to create.
Something that I always tell my clients is that you must first feel in order to heal. You can’t expect things in your life to just disappear, because if you don’t take the time to heal from your past, it will stay with you and dictate how you live your life. When you can have gratitude for the lessons of your life, you can think about them as a source of strength and fuel to your fire. Confronting your masks gives you clarity where you have been holding yourself back. Take responsibility for yourself, your actions, and your life and watch the world change around you.