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Stop Playing the Victim: How to Overcome the Victim Mentality

Have you been accused of playing the victim and felt offended by it? 

If it’s any consolation, playing the victim is often not done on purpose.

Some people are drawn to play the victim role without any intention to mislead or treat people.

Whether it’s you who has been accused of having a victim mentality or you recognize the trait in others, it is helpful that you have a deeper understanding of this state of mind.

What the Victim Mentality Is

In essence, a victim complex is characterized by consistent powerlessness and self-pity.

With the victim mindset, you look outside of yourself when trying to explain difficult or painful situations.

In other words, you don’t acknowledge anything as your fault.

For instance, if you have the victim mentality in relationships, your arguments and fights will revolve around you blaming your partner for whatever went wrong.

Whether it’s something you have done or a reaction to what you have done, your gut feeling will always be that the discord is caused by the other party.

If you have the victim mentality, you avoid engaging with your own vulnerabilities and flaws.

In other words, it keeps you in your comfort zone and helps you avoid any responsibility for anything.

However, the victim mentality can hold you back from healthy self-confidence and personal development.

It is self-sabotage as opposed to self-care.

If you always feel powerful against circumstances, if you don’t take responsibility and empower yourself, you will never be able to manifest anything you want or fulfill your full potential.

What Makes the Victim Mentality Emotionally Draining

Apart from holding you back, the victim mentality can leave you emotionally drained.

Playing the victim undermines your agency. And that’s just for starters.

When you play the victim, you are unable to do anything about the difficulties you are facing.

Whatever it is that you are struggling with, whether it’s money, career, your health, or relationships, you feel powerless to change it.

Your dynamics and relationship with others can also become exhausting. 

It is also rare that you will receive genuine empathy from others if they see you playing the victim card all the time.

How to Stop Playing the Victim

Overcoming the victim mentality can be challenging.

But it is well worth all the trouble and effort.

Below are best tips and practices to help you get rid of the victim mentality for good:

1. Practice Gratitude

Practicing gratitude is very straightforward yet it can drastically and dramatically change your view of the world and yourself.

Gratitude is a way of reassuring yourself goodness abounds and there are so many things you can be thankful for.

When you wake up and before you sleep at night, write at least 5 to 10 things that you are grateful for, no matter how trivial.

Pay attention to moments of empowerment and your accomplishments.

2. Take Control of Your Life and Live in the Present

When you live in the present, your mind is focused on whatever it is that you are experiencing and your attention is not focused on the past or the future.

This means you are not worrying about past behaviours or thinking about being a victim in the future.

One effective way for you to take control of your life and live in the present moment is to practice mindfulness.

Whether it’s guided meditations, visualization exercises, or daily breathing exercises, you are teaching your brain to stay in the moment.

If you are not familiar with mindful practices, you can start with just 5 to 10 minutes of focusing on your breath.

Allow your thoughts to drift by and return your attention to the movements of your chest.

3. Explore Any of Your Limiting Beliefs

When exploring your limiting beliefs, you can see that there is a connection between the negative beliefs acquired earlier in life and the victim mentality.

Challenging your old beliefs can help you recognize and shed your victim stance.

Write down any negative beliefs you have about yourself and write out a counter-reply.

For instance, if someone tells you you will never amount to anything, list down five of your greatest accomplishments.

Return to the list if you need to be reminded of how powerful you are and how far you’ve come.

4. Start Practicing Self-Responsibility

To move beyond being a victim, it is important that you first see yourself as someone with agency.

This will require taking responsibility for the things you do and for the things that happen because of you.

It can be difficult (and uncomfortable) to acknowledge if you have done anything that is not ideal but it would help if you see them as lessons as opposed to mistakes.

What can you do differently next time?

What have you learned about yourself from the experience?

5. Do Acts of Kindness Daily

Self-focus is one characteristic of those who play the victim.

You become so focused on your own struggles and pains that you stop connecting with others.

To broaden your view and engage more with the world, make it a habit to do acts of kindness daily.

Volunteer some of your time, do a friend a favor, find things you can donate to others.

Notice how great it feels to help others as opposed to constantly needing help.

Over to You

Playing the victim is self-sabotaging and keeping yourself small. It’s also a manifesting block that can keep you from living the life you truly want and deserve. Work on getting the victim mentality for good so you are in a better position to manifest your dream life.

Photo by Mike Hindle on Unsplash