How To Overcome Victim Mentality: 7 Experts Share Incredibly Powerful Tips + Strategies To Break Out of Victim Mindset


“There is a fine line between compassion and a victim mentality. Compassion though is a healing force and comes from a place of kindness towards yourself. Playing the victim is a toxic waste of time that not only repels other people, but also robs the victim of ever knowing true happiness.” 

― Bronnie Ware

Bronnie Ware Victim Mentality Quote

A sincere thanks to all the awesome experts who shared their best tips, insights and strategies on how to overcome victim mentality.

# Remind yourself that you have choice now to CHANGE how you relate to yourself and live life

Do you ever think, “Everything bad is happening to me? What about me? Why me? I cant do this.

These are signs that you may be collapsing into a victim mentality.

When we were children we were often powerless, but as an adult we typically have more options, choices and power to make decisions to take better care of ourselves. Every NO we state now inherently has a YES to it... if we can see it.

If I say NO to putting me down, I am saying YES to treating me with equality, mutuality and respect.

When I say NO to being silent, I am saying YES to having a voice and speaking my truth.

Too often we adopt a defense of freeze, collapse and flight - all VICTIM defenses.

If we identify with these defenses and they become automatic habits then we keep ourselves in a VICTIM state. Now the TRUTH is, it is not OTHERS victimizing us, but we are ourselves perpetrating against ourselves when we play the victim.  And we are perpetrating against others by blaming, attacking, criticizing others for our inner victim state and demanding that they change or rescue us.

Every time we play the victim we are perpetrating against ourselves and others.

Another common trap is to think about everything that went wrong in our past and often use these experiences to make excuses or justify our current inaction, staying in a victim state.

In this way we are actively keeping ourselves small - identifying with being little and incapable - can you see the perpetration in this? It is pity, sympathy, patronizing and infantilizing at its worst and does not honor our capacity or encourage growth.

So what is the practice to help ourselves get out of victim mentality?

Instead of saying, “it is okay you can hide and not work, see friends, do this task… you can’t do it it, is too hard, it isn’t safe”, you can instead understand you were afraid and learned to hide, acknowledge and have empathy for this past pain, and lovingly remind yourself that now you are older, have more resources, more choices, are safer and can be brave and face the world.

In this way you encourage yourself to get up, grow, and enjoy the fruits of growing up - a sense of self, self esteem, self efficacy and self empowerment.

Next time you notice wallowing in the past or collapsing into victim mentality, remind yourself this is a memory state, and you have choice now to CHANGE how you relate to yourself and live life.

Through this mindful practice you are claiming your ability in the moment to change, grow and evolve. This is respectful and loving. LOVE is not allowing yourself to stay stuck in the past, small or victimized… this is codependency and victim mentality.

LOVE is supporting your ability to say YES/NO, to engage fully in your life, to take care of yourself and grow.

Eloise Erasmus Ph.D., L.P. -

# Fall in love with self-responsibility and power

We all indulge the occasional pity party, but making that party our permanent residence makes for a difficult and joyless existence.

Victim mentality is about feeling entitled to something (love, money, safety, respect, etc.) while absolving ourselves of any and all responsibility in the matter. We feel justified in our blame (and may have every reason to blame). 

However, though most of us have the experience of being victimized, unless we see victim mentality as a choice we are making, we remain in a state of powerlessness and will not be able to overcome it.

My work is in inner liberation, and I know that when I catch myself indulging my Inner Victim, I am not free.

I am trapped in my desire for others to resolve my unhappiness and dissatisfaction. And in my identification as Victim, I'm not looking into myself for answers; in fact, that's the last place I want to look.

I will begin by framing victim mentality from my understanding and perspective, which is rooted in somatics and energy healing. I will then offer an example followed by concrete ways to shift out of this mode of thinking.

So how does this part of our ego develop?

For that, we need to back up slightly to the structure of the human personality, which has three facets: the Higher Self, the Lower Self, and the Mask. 

The Higher Self is our authentic self, what many refer to as the divine self, inner light, or core self. When we are born we are nothing but this light, full of curiosity, joy, and innately hard-wired for love and connection. As we encounter life, our Higher Selves are injured by traumas such as ruptures in attachment, inadequate mirroring, betrayal of trust, neglect, or outright suppression.

When this happens, we have a natural survival instinct to protect ourselves.

We contract muscularly, tightening emotionally and energetically in the body to shut down the unbearable pain of the trauma or injury. We also come up with ingenious strategies that help justify the contraction and help us block future injury, which I will illustrate in an example below.

The strategy that holds the pain of the original wound then becomes part of the Lower Self, or the Shadow Self, the part of us that emphatically says, “NO” to the flow of life because experiencing pain is part of life. Finally, the Mask Self is the aspect of the personality that we hold up socially. It is what we want others to see and who we had to become (hint: not our Real Self) to get love in our family.

The Mask distorts and hides the Lower Self so that no one, perhaps not even ourselves, can see the strategies we once adopted and incorporated into our personality structure.

Let’s say a child is raised in a family of distrustful people who believed the world wasn't safe and that others were out to get them.

This child, a naturally curious, open, and loving being, will learn in both unspoken and overt ways that these core qualities are a liability for her, that they are not safe to explore or express, and that she must shut them down in order to be loved and accepted in her family. 

Her strategy might be, “My trusting, loving self is not safe in this world and I must harden myself against it” and/or, “My trusting, loving self doesn't match the energetic vibration of this family and so I must disown my trust/love/openness in order to belong here.”  It bears noting that these decisions and strategies are totally unconscious and often preverbal. 

So in addition to banishing these part of her Higher Self, this child's Lower Self might cover up feelings of shame, fear, and disgust for these truly marvelous qualities that were not appreciated in her family of origin.

To protect these vulnerable feelings, this child might develop a Mask of invulnerability, false power, and suspiciousness to keep herself safe (which she believes she must do) and to continue getting approval from her family.

When she is hurt by other people, which is inevitable in our lives, she will rely on the belief that other people are bad and cannot be trusted, thus reinforcing her Mask and placing herself in the role of the victim.

I chose this example in order to illustrate the non-violent ways victim mentality can develop within our family of origin, though it can also get passed down through experiences with violence, epigenetically, and through experiences with systemic oppression. In fact, victim mentality can develop from a broad range of life experiences, but in every case it is a Mask emotion.

The function of the Mask in relationship to victim mentality is to keep us powerless and irresponsible.

It is someone else’s job to keep me safe, give me love, support me, and take care of my needs. All the power operates externally, keeping us childish, entitled, and disengaged from the game of life. We cannot engage fully in life without taking emotional risks or looking at ourselves as a co-creator in every dynamic we encounter. Moreover, we won’t allow ourselves to fully experience the healthy personal power that arises from self-responsibility and self-care.

The good news is that we are indeed able to break free from old, destructive narratives and reprogram new ones. Some of the specific strategies I recommend that are essential (and that I myself have used) to counteract and overcome victim mentality are:

Confront the Mask.

The first step in any personal growth journey is to crack through the Mask. Remember, the Mask is there to keep the Lower Self unconscious.To work on victim mentality specifically, listen to yourself when you are in Victim mode. Even better, write down your narrative. 

  • Notice if you have an agenda or of there is a payoff for being in victim mentality, for example, do you want others to feel sorry for you? 
  • Are you seeking support, compassion, respect, attention?
  • How does victim mentality feel in your body?
  • What parts of your body get activated when you are in that mode?
  • Are there parts of the narrative that feel satisfying and juicy? 

The Mask is sneaky, so get really honest, even when everything in you wants to look away. 

Part of Mask work is to explore your beliefs, as beliefs are mental structures that organize our perception. In whatever way feels right to you, whether it's through journaling, art-making, or psychotherapy, find out what beliefs are supporting and feeding your victim mentality.

Some examples are:

I can't trust anyone.

Life is too hard, I can't do it.

I don't want to be responsible.

I am not powerful/I am afraid of my power

An exercise I often use in my groups is to write down what you learned about yourself, others, and life from your family of origin and community. Focus on the ages 0-6 only, allowing yourself to get in your child memory (not your rational adult) and keep your sentences short and factual, for example: “I was too emotional,” or, “I wasn’t good enough.”

Write everything down, even if it doesn’t make sense in the moment. Some of the beliefs may be operating at an unconscious level, so it might take some digging to find the roots. Allow yourself to look at (and feel) how those beliefs are acting upon your life now, and especially how they are linked to victim mentality.

Release the Lower Self.

Lower Self work is fundamentally connected to belief systems and requires a real willingness to find the answers within yourself. You have to find the courage to feel the original "unfeelable" feelings (usually shame, sadness, fear, need, and rage) you repressed in order to survive your childhood. It requires brutal honesty, and victim mentality is all about the lie that you are powerless and helpless RIGHT NOW.

Lower Self release is best done with a trained professional so that you have the support you need to get through this process. Think of this as detox and decolonization of old narratives, since victim mentality is a learned experience and can sometimes feel like your best friend (think addictions).

An often unexpected but necessary part of the journey is a total shift in who you believe you are, which can be temporarily unsettling as your system reorganizes itself. Drink lots of water.

Work that mantra!

When I was working on victim mentality specific to my relationship, I walked around my house with my hand just below my diaphragm (at my 3rd chakra), repeating, “I am not a victim, I am powerful” whenever I found myself in the old, comfortable but destructive narrative.

It was a reminder to put my big girl pants on and to look within when the impulse to relinquish my power to others was so tempting. It helped me explore what choices I was making in the moment, and whether there were other ones that were also available to me. 

Did I need to speak my needs more? Reach out to others for support? Take better care of myself? Programming daily reminders on your phone that are empowering and choice-opening are helpful too, as are quotes around your house. I believe we all need reminders.

Develop gratitude for life's lessons.

Victim mentality is allergic to gratitude because it wants to remain small and entitled. Begin a daily gratitude practice (writing is better than just thinking about it) for basic things like breathing or running water. 

Do it even if you don’t quite feel it. It might even make you feel angry as the gratitude smacks up against the part of your ego that wants to hold onto being a victim. Structure time for your gratitude practice, post it online, or get a buddy to do it with you if you need to hold yourself accountable. 

Over time, you might notice an opening in your capacity to experience joy. As you continue in your daily practice, incorporate people, things, and events that are a little more challenging to feel grateful for.

Gratitude for life’s lessons is not about saying, “I am grateful this crappy life event happened to me,” but instead says, for example, “I am grateful for how this crappy life event helped me develop ___________ (skills and abilities) I now use to ___________(more wisdom).”  

As the late Mary Oliver wrote, “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”

Fall in love with self-responsibility and power.

Absolving yourself of responsibility and denying your real power are at the helm of victim mentality. Self-responsibility is setting boundaries, stating your needs, and practicing self-care, among other things. It is the work of the adult self, who is the only real “other” that can take care of and support your inner child.

We often associate responsibility with burden, but self-responsibility is about giving to yourself. We have a similar relationship to power; most of us are afraid of real power because we’ve only experienced toxic power and thus confuse one for the other.

Real power is recognizing yourself as a co-creator, and that as a co-creator you have the free will, choice, and creativity to shape your life regardless of circumstances. Real power is understanding that your mind is a tool to create freedom and happiness.

How do you do this? Practice, practice, practice. Practice taking risks to step out of the comfort zone of your victimhood and watch your life transform. 

Isha Vela, PhD –

# Follow the 4 tips below

The first question you must answer is: Are you a real victim?

A real victim is a person who has been mistreated and harmed and has absolutely zero responsibility. This person is the recipient of some type of destructive act or event such as abuse, theft, fraud, mistreatment, accident, natural disaster or crime.

A person can also have a victim mentality without being a real victim because he/she bears some responsibility for what has happened or can change the circumstances but refuses to do so.  

If you are a real victim, you have a reason to place blame on the perpetrator.

You didn’t deserve it. It isn’t your fault that someone who was very skilled at tricking you into offering trust took advantage of you. It isn’t your fault that someone who was willing to abuse you mistreated you and beat you down into submitting to the abuse. It isn’t your fault that a perpetrator took your innocence as a child. It isn’t your fault that someone who chose to break the law took something precious from you.

After you move out of the denial that it happened, allow yourself to feel the anger.

Anger has power. It helps you to feel powerful instead of powerless. Let your righteous anger reinforce the truth: you didn’t deserve it and it was wrong!

Someone took something valuable from you; something that didn’t belong to that person. But you cannot stay there, or you will be stuck in that place and it isn’t healthy to stay there forever. You will then go through a stage where you bargain. You will try to figure out how it could have been prevented. This is the “if only” stage. This is your mind trying to figure things out. 

When you finally realize that in spite of all those “if onlys,” it did happen, you move into sadness and grief. This is where you count your losses as a result of the tragic circumstances. After the sadness, you move into acceptance where you come to term with the reality that it did happen, and you cannot change it.

People with victim mentalities take on the identity of a victim.

They may have grown up in a dysfunctional family and felt powerless to change their families and brought that mentality into their adult lives. They may have been ignored and neglected but learned that when they told people a sad story that they got things they wanted: gifts, attention, money, pity and more. They somehow learned that they didn’t get what they wanted by asking directly, only indirectly through some type of manipulation.  

It is from here that true victims and those with victim mentalities can use the same process. It is the process of letting go of a victim state of mind and here are the steps:

1. Know the roots.

How did you become a victim? What happened and when? What changed in you that made you feel like a victim? This could be a single incident like an accident, an attack or it could be your whole childhood or a difficult marriage. Whatever it is, it is the beginning of you feeling like a victim which is someone who doesn’t have power or control over their life.

2. Count the cost.

What has this cost you? You may have lost opportunities, relationships, possessions, money and more by feeling powerless and not taking control of your life. If someone took something from you before, that’s the reality. But you don’t have to give that person the rest of your life too. You don’t have to voluntarily give up the power you have to make whatever you want of your past and your future.

3. Drop your excuses.

It’s scary to take responsibility for your life if you haven’t done it. It means you risk failing without blaming someone else.

It means you allow yourself to feel hope which could result in feeling disappointed. It could mean you realize you are responsible for things that you haven’t been accountable for and may need to admit it to people. Yes, you open yourself up to see the whole truth which means you search your heart to know yourself.

4. Grab your power

Don’t wait for someone else to give you permission to move forward and take control of your life. You can do what you need to do for yourself. Don’t sit back and wait for someone else to help you.

Don’t hint at what you need from people. Don’t tell your story hoping someone will offer to help. Don’t try to make people feel guilt, pity, fear or obligation so they will do something for you that you can do for yourself.

Take responsibility for your life by asking directly for what you want and need. Take the steps to move forward. Make plans and take the responsibility for putting them into action.

Your new motto can be: Victim no more. I am taking back the control of my life. I am powerful, not powerless. It’s up to me and I’m doing it. 

Karla Downing, MFT –

# Take a look at your role in life, your situations, and relationships

“This always happens to me!” “Everyone is against me.” “Can you believe this happened to me?” “I tell you they did this to hurt me.”

Do you know people who despite the circumstances can never take ownership of their actions? Blame the world and others for their unhappiness? Blame the world for their problems? Who has a poor me attitude? Those people who seem to drain your energy as you try to rescue them, fix help and support them?

Victim mentally is when someone sees the world as against them.

People who suffer from victim mentally blame others and the world for their problems, unable to take ownership of their roles in situations, relationships or circumstances. Victim mentally can be created as a coping mechanism and a way to survive, blaming others for their place in the world, hurts, and pains.

Victim mentally can create a false sense of safety, in that we do not have to deal with our role in our own suffering.

If we blame the others for everything, then we don’t have to risk being seen for all our beauty and greatness. We can stay small and hidden. When we blame others for our suffering, we do not have to accept painful and often harsh truths about ourselves. We do not have to own that we affect our own life circumstances.

Unfortunately, victim mentally can be learned and handed down generationally.

It can become a family attitude toward the world and others. It becomes a way to explain life. It becomes a form of oppression. It becomes the lens in which generations see the world, as something cruel that they have no power against.

Those who suffer from victim mentality can be draining (emotionally, mentally and energetically), as they tend to suck the life out of others. They always seem to be down, hurt or fighting a perceived injustice that happened to them.

If you suffer from victim mentally, start to look at your role in life, your situations, and relationships.

Where can you start to take ownership of what you experience? When we own our stuff we free ourselves to create change. Acknowledge that you are active participant in life. You have the power to change your circumstances. Look at where you can start to affect and create positive change in your life.

If you know someone who suffers from victim mentally, have clear boundaries.

You are not going to rescue them and even if you do, you will become the one who they turn to, to rescue them until you can’t and then you will the reason for their suffering. When dealing with someone who suffers from victim mentally be prepared. Mentally know who you are dealing with. Do your best to empower them, to help them see their situation from another perspective, if appropriate.

If they become angry or upset, it’s okay, they are not yet ready to challenge their worldview which has served them for a lifetime. Realize that you cannot change or fix them, that only they can do that. Emotionally, be compassionate and empathic but don’t take own their stuff or become sucked into the “drama.”

You don’t have to own their stuff to be compassionate. You can say things like, “that must be really hard,” “you feel angry,” “you feel like the world is against you,” “you are really hurting.”

Energetically, surround yourself with bright glittery light. Set the intention that only that which is for your highest or greatest good may enter your bubble. Consciously set an intention that the other person receives unconditional love and light. That they heal. Or anything else you hope for them.

Victim mentally becomes is a way in which we experience the world and make meaning out of suffering.

Often times to protect ourselves from addition perceived pain. However, when we see the world from a place of victimization we rob ourselves of our abilities to create and manifest. We hold ourselves down, depriving the world of the gifts we have to share.

As a friend of someone who sees the world from the place of a victim, remind them of their strengths, their gifts, their beauty. Gently challenge how they see the world. Empower them to see life from another perspective.

Margaret Bell, MA, NCC –

# Follow these 6 steps

If you‘ve been told that you have Victim Mentality, you probably feel quite misunderstood.

A quick internet search suggests that you have acquired a personality trait that causes you to continue to see yourself as the victim of the negative actions of others.

Reading further, you discover that you are seen as avoiding responsibility and criticism by focusing on the negative aspects of your life and trying to gain the sympathy of others for your plight. 

No doubt, you don’t identify with the victim mentality. It carries the negative connotation that you somehow enjoy the position of not being able to escape your pain.’’

These definitions ignore one crucial reality: You just want to understand how to stop hurting.

You’ve had multiple traumas and it has come to the point that it seems like every interaction reminds you of the pain you can’t seem to escape.

Trauma is painful.

When it has touched your life over a long period of time and in multiple ways, it’s easy to start to believe that you can’t do anything about it.

When you have experienced enough trauma that you regularly feel uncomfortable in your own skin, it’s hard not to spend every waking hour focused on avoiding pain - including the pain that comes from interpersonal triggers.

Let’s face it. The most difficult traumas to overcome are those that happened within the context of relationships.   

Those are the very traumas that lead to the real risk of hearing: “You have a victim mentality.”

Since we all carry the memories of trauma in our bodies (what I call Body History), that body history can “wake up” and remind us of our pain, overtake our senses with fear and disrupt our ability to focus on healthy responses.

What we end up doing is relying on old, self-protective strategies that don’t translate to safe, healthy relationships - responses cause us to wind up being labeled instead of really being seen.

To overcome, heal your pain and leave the “victim mentality” label behind you, there are several key concepts to understand, followed by six essential steps for healing your triggers.

Let me briefly outline the key concepts:

Your Body KNOWS How To Heal

Just like your skin knows how to repair itself given the right conditions, your emotional/mental system has a corrective, self-healing process. To access that process, you need to understand the Purpose of Your Feelings as guides directing you toward the self-healing path.

Once you understand how to listen to your body (your feelings) in a way that honors your feelings and allows them to direct you toward your best path, you can evaluate each new situation you find yourself in and realistically gauge whether or not you are safe. Then, you can make self-empowered choices that honor the boundaries you need to maintain for yourself in each new situation.

Your Attitude Toward Yourself Has Been Influenced Negatively By Your Trauma

During traumatic experiences, new beliefs are formed based on the specific details of the harm done.

The most common beliefs that may be impacting you without your awareness include: believing that you are always “in trouble” (leading to feelings of inappropriate guilt); believing that you are a mistake (leading to feelings of shame or being “wrong”);or believing that you are worthy of excessive criticism (leading to self-critical thoughts and feelings of anxiety).

Most of these beliefs are based on the circumstances of your trauma. They are lies or mistaken beliefs “frozen in time” that usually hold little objective validity in your present life - apart from the “programmed” thought patterns that feel true because they may have been or claimed to have been true at the time you were originally hurt.

The foundations of healing are based on your ability to recognize and correct these attitudes toward yourself in a way that will allow you to heal the trauma that continues to trigger you in your day-to-day life.

You Must Give Yourself Permission To Heal

Giving yourself permission to heal begins by making the commitment to yourself to no longer tolerate any internal discomfort without making a focused, directed effort to understand the source of the pain and to take the appropriate steps to heal that pain.

Take inventory to identify who or what keeps you from healing. Promise yourself that you will learn how to listen to your body in a way that honors your resilience and focuses on your strengths. Give yourself permission to heal, then learn the steps required to make healing a reality. You deserve to live free of internal discomfort.

It’s Necessary To Avoid Overwhelm

Life is overwhelming, especially for those of us who have experienced enough trauma that we struggle with stress and anxiety throughout every day. Getting a handle on overwhelm involves a specific stress management strategy and a focus on eliminating those optional stresses in favor of focusing on healing.

This means getting more exercise, more rest and saying “no” more often - whatever it takes to help you feel more in control of your emotions and your stress. It also means finding at least one person who is supportive of your healing process, as well as reducing optional stresses. Then, you can focus on healing so that you can reduce your body’s reactivity to the world and to your relationships.

With these key concepts in mind, here are Six Steps To Erasing A Trigger to help you understand how to reduce your reaction to the people and events that remind you of old pain.

1. Notice Your Out-Of-Proportion Response 

Often, out-of-proportion responses are signals that something that just happened reminds you of something that harmed you in the past. With that signal, your body activates your fight/flight response to get you to move away from danger.

Rather than trying to forget what happened following a startle response, ask yourself what you responded to and try to identify what you said to yourself about what happened that led to your fearful response.

2. Breathe

The correct, calming breath is required to get your brain out of the fight/flight response and to help you think clearly about what just happened.

3. Ask Yourself HOW The Out-Of-Proportion Response Makes Sense

Your body history holds all of your memories and the out-of-proportion response makes sense within the context of your history. Identify the story that makes sense of the response.

4. Gauge what percentage of the Out-Of-Proportion Response is OLD

It’s very likely that at least 50% of your response was based on something that used to happen or happened before, but doesn’t happen now. Assign a percentage to the belief/response to help you identify whether it actually applies today.

5. Ask yourself: “What’s Real Right Now?”

Based on the percentage you assigned to your reaction as related to something OLD, there should be differences between the circumstances that were true when you were first hurt and your circumstances today.

Were you smaller then? Are you more powerful now? Identify what is real today in a way that will help you soothe the anxiety that comes with the out-of-proportion reaction. Make a list of the differences.

6. When that same trigger happens again, repeat steps 1, 2 and 5.

The more you are able to combine breathing with the proper messages about the reality that you are safe, capable and more powerful than before, the more success you will have at completely erasing the trigger (out-of-proportion) response.

If you have been labeled with “Victim Mentality” and are ready to learn more about taking your life back from pain and truly healing, it is possible. With the right steps, openness and patience toward yourself and the right support, you can!

If you would like to learn more about Overcoming Victim Mentality using Tamara’s 6 Steps To Erase A Trigger, click here. (Or visit: You can also join Tamara’s Free Facebook Group supporting your growth/healing: The Self-Empowered Visionary Way.

Tamara Bess, LMFT –

# Know that you are 100% responsible for your life

Do you or someone you know tend towards some of these thinking patterns:

Blaming others or situations for feeling miserable, tending to feel “life is against me,” or feeling powerless to change your situation (  

Chances are if you tend more towards these thinking patterns you are falling under a victim mentality. Even though it can feel hopeless, it’s not! Our thoughts, behaviors, and beliefs can change because they are not the truth, even though it may feel like it.

There were parts of my life where I used to fall under these tendencies and sometimes I still catch that negative thinking.  

But I catch it so now I can come up with a thought that is more based in reality and facts. The one thing that helped me start to recognize when I was blaming things outside of myself for how I was feeling, which has also helped so many people I work with, is a statement I learned from my first yoga teacher training with my teacher, Prasad Rangnekar.

“I Am 100% Responsible for My Life.”

I wrote this down so I could see it every day to remind me to keep coming back to it.  Every time I started to blame my husband, situations at work, my family, situations with strangers, or had excuses to why I couldn’t do something, I reminded myself I’m 100% responsible for my life.  

What this means to me is that the external world is going to happen and we have no control over it.  

We only have control over how we respond to the external world. There is no guarantee of a Disney fairytale ending like we’ve all been conditioned to believe.

When something out of my control happens, like someone cuts me off driving, or it takes two days to figure out a mistake on a phone bill, or someone doesn’t do something I’ve asked them to do, I realize have no control over whether these situations happen or not. 

What is my responsibility is how I respond to them.

It’s my choice to either yell, cuss and speed up, tailgating the person who cut me off,


to slow down, breathe, hope that person doesn’t hurt anyone, remember I don’t need to drive that way, and wish that everyone on the road gets to where they are going safely.  

It’s my choice to yell, take personally the phone company employees who don’t know how to solve my problem, and say mean, hurtful things to them,


I can take breaks from the phone conversations as I need in order to calm down, ask to speak to someone who can help me, remind myself I’m not the only one who gets frustrated with the phone company, and thank the people who do help me.  

It’s my choice to yell, blame, and say mean, hurtful things to the person who didn’t follow through OR I can in a calm and firm tone, give the person an “I” statement about my reactions and work with them to find a solution or find someone else to help me.

By choosing to take responsibility for our reactions, we start to have more power and control in our lives.

We can move through challenging situations so we can enjoy life more fully.  Some of the challenging situations start to disappear because so many times our reaction creates the problem.

If you are tired of feeling powerless and angry with others and the world, commit to trying this for at least a month and notice what happens.  

This statement, “I’m 100% responsible for my life,” has been life changing for me. No longer a victim of the world, I’m empowered to take responsibility and find a different perspective that I have control over.

Twyla Gingrich, LCSW, LAC –

# Ask yourself the below questions

A true victim has little power in a given situation.

Nevertheless, it is common to view oneself as a victim without actually being one. The biggest hazard of having a victim mentality — a tendency to view oneself as helplessly suffering negative consequences regardless of the source — is that you undermine your own self-value and perceive the assessment of your worth as externally determined. 

People who have a victim mentality tend to attack themselves yet blame their self-attacks on circumstances or the behavior of others that they cannot control.

Passively, they also attack others with angry put-downs or abusive recriminations when they feel in danger and do not expect to be protected by a loving other.

Since something or someone else is causing the shame and distress felt by the person with the victim mentality, then the world (or some people in it) would have to change for everything to be fine. 

This perception disguises the fact that the real danger that exists for one with a victim mentality is actually linked to past experiences of shame due to helplessness and inadequacy.

When shame is intense and one assumes a victim mentality, the potential to use defenses that attack oneself or others can dominate the personality.

Defenses that attack oneself are an attempt to manage or control shame by what can be considered a compromise position:

If I am the one to shame myself then I control the amount of shame I feel. These scripts appear in people whose caregivers used attack as a primary method of socializing children. The children, therefore, learn to put themselves down to help blunt their caregiver’s attacks. 

The same scripts are frequently used by victims of childhood abuse whose shame-induced feelings of helplessness from others controlling their minds and bodies are reduced by them, assuming the position that it is all their fault and that if only they had been a better little girl or boy, these things would never have happened. 

Defenses that attack others are present when self-esteem is so reduced that the individual feels endangered, or when they experience themselves as incompetent.

If you view yourself as a victim you have an opportunity to learn about yourself by asking yourself some questions:

  • Are you perceiving that you are lacking in some quality that you would like to develop for yourself? 
  • Are you experiencing yourself as a victim because you want something more from a relationship that you are unable to obtain?
  • What do you think of yourself and who do you want to be?
  • What experiences of loss, abandonment, or trauma in your life have led you to fear that you are as helpless in the present as you were in the past? 

In any case, it is essential to recognize that feelings of victimization are perpetuated by the relationship you have formed with yourself as a result of your early experiences.

Mary Lamia, Ph.D. -