What does being a victim really mean?

Name tag that says I'm A VictimAdopting a victim mentality and surrendering to life’s circumstances will not improve those circumstances. We will encounter many challenging situations on our life’s journey. Some will be of our own making and others will be thrust upon us by external forces seemingly outside of our control. Some we will have the experience, skills, aptitude or support to deal with successfully, while others will result in an undesirable consequence and personal hardship.

The fact is they are all just events and it is up to us to choose how we will respond to them. Whether we let them overpower us and bind us to them for perhaps many years, or whether we choose to seek to understand why the event occurred, learn from it and use it to empower us to be wiser, more experienced and learn new skills, is entirely up to us.

Our life’s journey is one of experiencing, learning, adapting to what we have experienced and continually creating a better experience for ourselves and others. Along the way we will make mistakes and poor choices; so does everyone else. Those mistakes are part of the learning experience. If we are negatively impacted by our own or others’ errors then we need to make the most of them, try to understand them and look for some positive to be found (and there always is).

Don't blame me! A man doesn't understand why he is being blamedMy definition of being a victim means you choose only to see the negative of an undesirable eventand you surrender to the circumstance as a helpless, powerless sufferer. Sure, through seemingly no fault of our own we may be a ‘recipient’ or a part of some misfortune, though as the age old saying goes, when life hands us a big sour lemon we could choose to find some sugar and make lemonade from it. There is always some good to be found in everything, if only we give ourselves permission to earnestly look for it.

Having a victim mentality means you do the opposite of looking for the hidden opportunity in an unwelcome situation, instead favouring to dwell on the hurt, suffering and losses experienced. Instead of us using our own innate power to rise above the initial negativity and to re-establish feeling good about ourselves, we hand our power over to whoever is willing to treat us like a victim and bestow ongoing sympathy and pity. It may be quite reasonable to display sincere empathy for an appropriate amount of time after someone has experienced a significant setback in life, though I believe the best solution is to also help them see the way forward by focusing on the good, the learning and strengths to be gained.

It is all too easy for us to feel sorry for ourselves and unfortunately people that like to adopt the victim mentality also like to reinforce that attitude in others when unfortunate circumstances befall them. This ‘pity party’ helps those willing participants feel it’s OK and that their victimhood is out of their control. That it is quite OK that they remain ‘stuck’ where they are because it’s not their fault; it’s someone else’s job to make them feel better.o.

Intersecting street signs that point in different directions ... all of them have a phrase that relates to assigning blame.For many years I felt like a victim of the circumstances of my childhood and upbringing. That I developed my alcohol addiction because of those events and environment and therefore I was bound to them for life. My victim mentality dictated that because I became dependent on alcohol to feel good at a very young age, I would have to live with that for the rest of my life. However as the story of my journey is told in my book Alcohemy, I turned that victim mentality into one of positivity and power to develop my 13-element self-help alcohol treatment program, resulting in me being permanently alcohol-free, without even the desire to use alcohol.

I would be very interested to read your comments or about experiences you have where you (or someone you know) has had problems with a victim mentality. Please add your comments below.