We are using victim mentality thought patterns whenever we find ourselves saying “He/she did this to me”, or any version of this, according to Brooke Costello (The Life Coach School). Why is this being a victim? Because anytime we make this statement, we are giving away all our power to the person who supposedly “did something” to us. We are allowing that person to be responsible for how we “feel”.
For example, imagine if I am told, my co-worker is saying negative things about me to other people. And my thinking is “how dare she do that. She has no right to say those things!” The result of my thought is that I feel angry. This would be me, using a victim mentality thought pattern. I am allowing my co-workers behaviour to make me feel angry, which means I am giving her the power to control weather I feel good, or feel bad.
A healthy response to her behaviour would be to realize that other people get to do, think and feel whatever they chose and we cannot control them…..even if we disagree with what they are doing! We can only control our own thoughts, actions and feelings.
From there I would think different thoughts such as “She is telling lies about me. So what! Anyone who knows me will not believe her anyway”. As a result of my thoughts, my feelings would be calm and I would not be upset. Not only would I feel better, but I would not have given my co-worker any control or power, over me.
Please note: I am not talking here about people who have been a victim of some crime. This is a discussion about everyday human interactions.
There are endless examples of victim mentality thought patterns; Someone says something mean to us and we let it upset us, our boss promotes someone else and we feel hurt and spend time thinking about how unfair the boss has been to us, our ex-husband takes us to family court over where the kids live, and we feel angry and we tell anyone who will listen that it is unfair etc etc.
In all of these examples we are placing ourselves as a victim because of the way we are thinking. And as a result of what we are thinking, we are feeling negative feelings. And in every single case, we have given the other person, the power to make us feel good, or feel bad, because we are saying something along the lines of “he/she did this to me”.
A healthy response to all of these examples is to remember that everyone gets to do, think and feel whatever they chose and we cannot control them. We can only control our own thoughts, feelings and actions. From this place we are able to have clear, productive thoughts that will benefit us.
Any time we are using victim mentality thought patterns we will make yourselves feel unhappy. That is ALWAYS the result. We will never get a good feeling from running a victim mentality thought pattern. And it’s not that we are weak or clueless if we have this pattern running. It is just that we have picked up this way of thinking at some time in our life, (usually when we are very young).
Most of the time we don’t even know that we are using this thought pattern until we pay close attention to what we are thinking. Once we realise, we are using victim mentality thought patterns we can start working on changing them and make our life a whole lot more enjoyable and fulfilling.
Written by Lynda Timperley Btch, Dip Psych, Cert Life Coaching
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