It’s not a secret that life can be a real struggle at times—and every one of us has had our share. Like bumps in the road, there are good times and bad, highs and lows. One of the keys to getting through the tough times we face is resiliency—the ability to adapt, to bounce back from problems, and to keep pushing forward.
It's not always so easy to put those things into practice. Some of us have a more challenging time getting through the bad spots, feeling as if we are powerless in the face of more significant forces at play. We may tend to feel like the world around us is us at fault. Frequently, those who suffer from a victim mentality see themselves as a victim—always the brunt of some unseen force, problem, or target. People who feel they are victims feel like others are continually slighting them. They may frequently feel they have been a target of injustice.
Keeping a victim mentality in place might feel like a suitable coping mechanism because it allows us to feel safe in some way by pointing the finger at something outside of ourselves, and to have some defense mechanism to fall back on. Finding something or someone to blame our situation on allows us to feel as if we have control over our environment and like we have some strategy with which to go through life.
This type of behavior is self-defeating as we get stuck in an endless cycle of blame and, ultimately, feeling weak and powerless. Seeing ourselves as a constant victim doesn’t offer us any solutions or the power to change our situation or the world around us. We can become stronger once we learn to let go of the victim mentality.
How to Let Go of the Victim Mentality
The first step is to recognize that we tend to act like a victim. Awareness of ourselves and our actions is key to seeing the cycle and to making changes. Finding ways to take ownership of the course of our lives, even with the smallest first steps, can help us start finding ways to attack problems head-on and to let go of the helplessness that comes with feeling like a victim. Taking responsibility for our lives and shifting our view to ourselves and how we’re reacting to a situation can help us change our way of thinking and seeing things for the better.
Recognizing our boundaries can also help us from succumbing to situations in which we feel powerless. Having clear boundaries means that we recognize situations in which we either are or are not comfortable and can communicate that to others. When we stick to our boundaries, we are less likely to find ourselves in situations where we find ourselves powerless, reinforcing the idea that we are always a victim.
As we start to take responsibility for ourselves and draw needed boundaries, we begin to see how our thoughts and actions can shape our lives for the better. We become more resilient. Taking control and getting through the tough times in our lives shows us that we can do so again in the future, which gives us the confidence to face things head-on when needed. This resilience also gives us the tools to tackle challenging situations in the future.
It's never too late to learn a new way of thinking and coping, one that can introduce significant change in our lives. One of the beautiful things about self-awareness is that we alone have the power to change our minds and to change our thinking for the better.