Were You a Victim?
Most of us have been
There are swaths of humans walking the planet who have been victimized by someone or something. I include myself in this category and will use my experience to explain what it means to have a victim mentality.
I was mercilessly bullied as a child. I have been victimized in other ways, but the truth is, if you have been hurt in any way and lived in fear because of it, you have been a victim. The circumstances are important, of course, but to change your mindset, they don’t matter.
The Victim Mentality
Life is Happening to Me
I created coping skills that served me as a child. I became withdrawn and quiet and tiptoed around the school to avoid adding to the ongoing hurt. When I was bullied, I was stoic and acted unbothered by it.
I took the beatings and verbal abuse as though my feet were fixed in cement. I was so paralyzed with fear that I didn’t know I even had the option to run away. Those coping tools served me in that situation.
Unfortunately, I used those tools, born of dysfunction, in other relationships. I carried them into adulthood where they no longer served me. In fact, they hurt me.
Trauma is a mental mind game. It feels as though life is happening TO YOU and that you are powerless to stop it. That powerlessness degrades self-will and your human rights.
If you are like me, you may carry that attitude forward into other relationships that have the potential to be healthy. Whenever I have carried that mentality forward, I have lost. The cycle of powerlessness continued and, the belief that life was happening TO ME was reinforced.
Changing the Victimhood Mentality
It’s time to take your power back
Here’s a hard truth. You have no power over the world. There will always be people who want to step on you or over you. I wish I could say the world is always kind. I believe that it can be. I even believe it will be. Until then, we who have been victims must stand up, kick some dirt around, and take what is rightfully ours back. And that thing that is rightfully mine and rightfully yours is POWER.
Here’s the best news EVER. You have power over yourself, and the dynamic of a relationship will change if only one person decides to challenge it. So, CHALLENGE IT.
I remember the very moment my feet were lifted out of the concrete. I was in an auditorium and was an adult and, a man with an imposing stature said something extremely offensive to me. For the first time in my life, my first reaction was not fear. Instead, I felt FREEDOM, and I stood up and walked out of that auditorium. I had nothing to fear from him. He was only uncouth and uncivilized. I was not twelve years old and, I decide how people treat me. So…Byeeee.
Once you take your power back, you transform from victim to survivor!
And build an imposing reputation
Take responsibility for yourself and your actions. Do the right thing – even if someone is doing the wrong thing to you. Do this for yourself. Do it so you can go to bed at night knowing you honored yourself. When you remain true to yourself day after day and do your best not to retaliate, seek revenge, or act a fool, you build a reputation for yourself that is iron-clad. You deserve that gift.
Make no mistake, that reputation is POWERFUL. It walks in a room before you. It is heard over the phone before you make a sound. It is maddening to those who wish to tear it down. And it is entirely within your control. Nobody can steal it from you.
When You Take Your Power Back, You Win
Even when it feels like you’re losing
Life is about patience. All you have to do is stand up longer than the person who made you a victim. This is about quiet strength. It is about getting up day after day and grinding and reminding yourself you can stand up longer. Use anger, use stubbornness, use empathy, use every tool at your disposal to keep standing while doing what’s right.
Karma is not fantasy. Bullies always lose. Karma eventually catches up with everyone. Time catches up. Conscience catches up. G d catches up. Something always catches them up.
I’ve had to stand up for long periods of time. I’ve stood even when I was sure I’d lose. I’ve stood broken and crying. It doesn’t matter how you stand. It only matters that you do.
The older I get, the easier it is. The day always comes when the victimizer’s legs give way, and they hit the ground. If I can stand, so can you.
Now You’re a Survivor
And your mental game is on point
I knew I’d lost the victim mentality when I was diagnosed with cancer. I did not lock myself in a dark room waiting to die. I did not give cancer the power to rob me of friendships, love, joy, grace, or G d. I didn’t dwell on why me or why now. I just fought and prayed I’d win. Cancer happened to me, but I controlled how my life was lived as I fought it. That go-fight-win attitude was everything. It gave me purpose and stamina and a sense of control in a situation I had no power over.
You too will know your moment when life stops happening TO YOU, and you start navigating the earth with a can-do attitude. The gravity will change, and you will feel it. You’ll soar like a helium balloon through the clouds and storms of life with your hands firmly planted on the steering wheel. You’ll experience joy and sadness and many things, but you will no longer be watching your life. You’ll be participating in it.
Live. Live. Live. And for the love of everything that is good and holy, STAND.