You are the victim, yes, you are! Not of your circumstances necessarily, but of your mind telling you that you are one.
The moment we start to believe that we are victims, we begin to act in a way that can be very self-defeating. One of the most powerful books I’ve read is Viktor Frankl’s ‘Man Search For Meaning’. In this book Frankl, a psychotherapist and a Holocaust survivor talks of his experiences and learning from this experience. Having lost his mother, wife and brother in concentration camps, he was a classic victim. Yet he focused his studies and book on the survivors of the Nazi terror and what he thought helped them to survive. That he felt was the choice they made not to feel victimized.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” ― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
Victim or Bully?
If you’ve ever owned or been around a boxer dog, you’ll know that they’re very good at looking like and playing the victim. So if you walked into our home and saw a sad faced creature like this hanging around his food bowl, you are bound to think that we are treating our dog badly! In actual fact, he’s the one bullying us. He sits around whinging or whacking us with his paws asking for a particular treat, when he’s just had a whole bowl of food!
People who see themselves as victims are often bullies in disguise. They feel the world and some people in particular owe them. They are constantly blaming others for their feelings. They deal in ‘shoulds’ and ‘musts’ making rules for everyone else’s behaviour, but giving themselves a free pass. They are very inventive when it comes to creating excuses for themselves and so shirk off responsibility.
How to stop playing the victim
There’s no simple way to do this for the person who has got into playing the victim. In fact, they’d have to rewrite the script playing in their head. It takes authenticity and the courage to change – but then, that is true of all personal efforts efforts.
I guess I’ll go with what Anthony De Mello offered in one of his talks:
Put this program into action, a thousand times: (a) identify the negative feelings in you; (b) understand that they are in you, not in the world, not in external reality; (c) do not see them as an essential part of “I”; these things come and go; (d) understand that when you change, everything changes.
You are no longer a victim if:
- You do not believe the world owes you a living.
- You know you have to go through thorns to find roses.
- You refuse to hang around with victims.
- You know the grass is not always greener on the other side.
- You refuse to use your past as an excuse.
- You take setbacks as an opportunity to gain strength.
- You spend more time thinking about others.
- You replace excuses with action.
This post is written in response to one of the #FridayReflections prompts. Please note I am not saying that there are no real victims – there are – I work with many innocent ones indirectly. However, I’m talking about the victim mentality that often abounds both on social media and in real life.
As long as you feel like a victim, you are one. – Morgan Freeman
Friday Reflections is a link up hosted by Shalini at KohlEyed Me and me, Corinne at Everyday Gyaan. We invite you to join us every Friday to share a good cup of tea and your reflections based on the prompts we provide.
Here’s how #FridayReflections works:
- Write a post using one of the prompts for the week provided below.
- Use the hashtag #FridayReflections. Please follow us on Twitter @FridayReflect and join our Facebook Group.
- Add your link to the linky below.
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Prompts for 5th January 2018 – choose any one:
Write about an interesting conversation you overheard recently.
“As long as you feel like a victim, you are one.” – Morgan Freeman
Picture prompt – credit (Corinne Rodrigues)
Image Credits: Shutterstock