What if I told you that your mind may actually like being a victim? Now before you get defensive and say, “I don’t consider myself a victim” – take a deep breath, open your mind, and accept the fact that most brains, including yours have been wired to make us want to feel like victims. In fact, we all play the part of a victim at one time or another, and some play victim their whole lives. Take me for example. Throughout my life, I never wanted anyone to feel sorry for me, but one time, not too long ago, I remember tearfully telling “my story” to a spiritual healer and then proclaiming that I wasn’t a victim to which he very matter-of-factly responded, “Well, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, guess what?”
Feeling embarrassed and quite self-absorbed, I then put my head down and said, “I get it. It’s a duck.” At that moment, I knew I had allowed myself to play victim, and looking back, I gotta tell you that it wasn’t a good look for me. I am very grateful for that Ah-ha moment and what it taught me. Now, I do my best to stay vigilant in watching out for any victim thinking that might try to enter my thoughts, so I can immediately stop those self-absorbing thoughts from spinning out of control. Because I am not perfect, victim thoughts may slip in from time to time, but due to my mindfulness, they do not last long at all.
For most of us, playing victim is something that we learned during our childhood and now is literally woven into the fabric of our brains. Although socially acceptable and highly contagious, victim thinking can hold us back in many areas of our lives and can often lead to pain and misery. The good news is that if you are willing to take inventory of your own victimizing behaviors, you can begin the process of change.
What if you don’t want to change? Well, unless you correct your victimizing behaviors, they will have a good chance of becoming worse. If that is the case, you put yourself at risk for the following:
- Fear of relationships
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Fear of being alone
- Severe mood swings
- Loss of energy
- Loss of interest in life
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
- The classic symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
So, what do you do? To prevent the above from manifesting or getting worse, consider these
5-victimizing behaviors and how often you engage in each behavior on a daily basis. Be honest with yourself, and keep in mind that it doesn’t make a difference whether or not you feel justified in your behavior.
- Ruminating: Talking or thinking about past events or people who hurt you
- Making excuses for not taking action
- Trying to control others and/or situations
Recognizing our victimizing behaviors can be quite humbling, but please be compassionate with yourself and don’t beat yourself up too much. Most of our brains have been on auto-pilot, defaulting to these behaviors without even realizing that they turn us into victims, stripping us of our own personal power. The good news is that once you have an awareness of your behavior, you can begin the process of change.
One way to create positive change is to consider each behavior, noting how often you engage in it, determining the triggers involved, and then deciding what might you do differently in the future, so you will become more empowered. To do this, I recommend making a reflection log of these 5 behaviors and reviewing it at the end of each day. Then, the next morning, review your log, so you stay conscientious not to repeat your behaviors again. If you are interested in truly eliminating victim behaviors from your life, check out Better Than Therapy Program: Reclaim Your Power & Stop Being A Victim. It’s helped many people rid their lives of victim behaviors, and it can help you, too.
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