Almost everyone is a victim of something. Whether it's happening now, happened in your childhood, on 9/11/2001 or 400 years ago. We all
(individually, societally and culturally) have situations in our lives or in our past that have a direct effect on our lives today.
Adopting a "Victim Mind-set" around these circumstances is so dangerous to us individually and as a society. Yet I see more and more people falling
into the chasm of that mentality and I'm concerned that our society as a whole will be swallowed up by it.
I believe that the government would love for us all to become completely dependent on them, for that dependence gives them the 'upper hand' and
would enable them to have complete control. A person or society that chooses to be a victim, blaming someone or something else for their situation,
gives over complete control to that someone or something else. After all, if "they" put me here and they're keeping me here, "they" have the
controls over my life.
That's a Victim Mindset.
On the other hand, if we examine our choices (and yes, there are always
choices) we can begin to make the necessary evolution toward a mindset
of accountability or empowerment, either personal or societal. For accountability is the opposite victimhood. Accountability is where the real power
lies. A person (or society) that operates from a position of accountability holds the reins of their future and has control over their lives.
The only "downside" in eliminating one's Victim Mindset is that we no longer blame other people or circumstances for what happens in our lives.
Instead, we respond to the circumstances before us. We observe and respond. We have response-ability (the ability to respond).
The "upside" of full accountability is a feeling of power and control over one's destiny. And I gladly give up the 'security of blaming' for the
position of power. Giving up blame and replacing it with accountability is a life-altering decision and brings about a position of true autonomy and
But how do we go about giving up our victim mentality that we've grown so comfortable with? Read this beautiful and inspiring example of Sojourner
Truth, a woman who, even though she was clearly a victim
to adopt the "Victim Mentality" stance.
Elimnating Our Own Victim Mentality
Refusing to think like a victim:
Sojourner Truth, an African American woman who escaped slavery and was a strong abolition activist, attended the National Women's Suffrage Convention
in Akron, Ohio, where she delivered her powerful "Ain't I a Woman?" speech.
Only women were allowed to speak and she was such a powerful speaker that an effort was made by opponents of the movement to discredit her by
humiliating her. She was ordered to go to the women's room and bare her breast to prove that she was a woman.
Sojourner Truth was offered a choice between not speaking and being humiliated. But she refused to stay in the confines of that
"no-win" choice. She refused to think like a victim. She chose to speak — and as she went to the women’s room to "prove" she was a woman, she
said with power and grace, "It is to your shame, not mine, that I do this."
My God! What power! Even under the circumstances
of victimhood, SHE made the choice of total personal accountability and robbed her
'victimizers' of the power that they tried to assert over her.
A victim mindset would posit that she didn't have a choice in the matter. But Sojourner Truth saw her choices (either don't speak or bare your
breasts and then speak) and she
made the choice. In fact, she made the more difficult choice and her victimizers weren't counting on that.
They thought they could shut her up.
But she prevailed and SHE was in control!
I had no choice but to...
We slip easily into victim mentality when we try to get exactly what we want in less than ideal circumstances and when we can't, we allow
ourselves to be trapped in no-win choices. Often, we aren't even willing to consider any choice other than the ideal choice. When we are in
victim mentality, we don’t see the range of choices we have and we wallow in resentment. We feel helpless.
In order to eliminate our victim mentality, we must:
1. Start by accepting the reality of the situation instead of trying to achieve the ideal.
2. Find the best choice available within the reality of the circumstances, and then
3. Accept that choice instead of resenting it.
No matter what situation in life you are in, there are choices. I've heard people say that they were in a bad situation in life and they had tried
everything to make it work but they just weren't happy. Finally they realized that they "had no choice" but to leave (or quit or submit or
whatever). The point is they felt that they "had no choice". That's total victim mentality. There are always
choices. You may not
the results of the choices, they may not be ideal
, but it's important to realize the choices and choose one! Because then you are
responsible for the choice and the outcome. No one else to 'blame'. There is only personal responsibility and accountability. And they belong to
Don't confuse "responsibility" and "blame" as used here. Responsibility just means that I brought about the result with my choices. No fault or
blame is involved. Sojourner Truth brought about the result of speaking to her people because of her choice.
Blame is making the result someone else's fault.
She didn't "blame" her victimizers for not allowing her to speak. She made her choice and
she refused to give them that power over her.
The Part Forgiveness Plays
The most powerful thing a person can do is forgive their victimizer. All the anger and resentment we carry around on our shoulders and in our hearts
only weighs us
down. It doesn't bother the victimizer(s) at all.
How would you answer this question: I am out of my abuse and have moved on with my life... How and when does the abuse stop playing a significant part
of my life? I have seen others who have moved on and I would like to know how they did it.
The woman who asked this, asked a valid question. There are many men, women and children who no longer are victims, but feel like they cannot leave it
behind. It stays as much a part of themselves as it did while they were being abused. The only difference may be there is no physical or
emotional abuse happening in their worlds.
It may seem impossible to forgive someone who did something terrible to us, but forgiveness doesn't mean that we approve of what they did and it
doesn't make it right, instead it frees us
up to move on. Continuing to play the role of a victim even after the abuse is over gives total
power to the abuser and locks us into a stagnant position making forward movement impossible.
When she was living under the victim mentality she found herself angrier. She found herself swirling in a sea of resentment towards her abuser. She
stayed locked in that cycle and never seemed to move forward... Life is easier when you can play the blame game. The blame game makes it easy
for your life not to move forward or for you to grow.
The blame game also always insures that there's someone to blame when something in your life doesn't go exactly the way you had planned. Don't like
how something in your life worked out? You can always find a way to blame someone if you carry the victim mentality:
- My marriage fell apart because my father never told me he loved me and I couldn't accept love from my husband.
Clearly, this person's
father abused her in some way. But because she hasn't forgiven him, she carries that abuse into every aspect of her life. Instead of letting go of
her father's abuse (by forgiving him) and taking responsibility for making her marriage work she can fall back on 'blaming' her father for her
failed marriage. It's easier than working hard at a marriage (which is HARD work!)
- I didn't get the job because the other applicant was white.
This person allows racism to be the controlling factor in their lives. Anytime
something happens that doesn't quite match up to their expectations, whether it's true or not,
they can blame racism. Instead of forgiving
people who practice racism and instead being accountable and responsible for their employment, they always 'blame' the fact that they are a member
of a minority. Unfortunately, they may never know that the real reason they didn't get the job was that they didn't make a calm, confident
impression on the interviewer.
- I'm afraid to fly since 9/11 so I got fired because I refused to take the business trip. How can they blame me? It's Osama's fault!
person is blaming fear for losing her job. Since 9/11, she has been unable and unwilling to forgive whoever destroyed those buildings and every
situation in life that requires her to step out, challenge herself or take a risk is now halted because of that nagging fear that she carries around
with her. Blaming her fear makes it so she doesn't have to take the risks that get people ahead in life and keeps her stagnant and prevents her from
It is my hope that one by one, people will decide to make the choice to leave the victim mindset completely
behind and replace it with a
position of accountability, responsibility and empowerment. Because if we continue to default into the victim mindset and let other people and other
circumstances dictate our choices, we will soon be a nation completely under the power of its government and the wealthy corrupt.
Thank you for reading this.
[edit on 14-2-2007 by Benevolent Heretic]