Over my life, I've met many victims. I have even been a victim myself. Here's the definition of a victim:
"a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action."
With that definition, you could say that most of us have been victims - some moreso and some less.
If you've been hurt, and I am betting you have, then it's understandable you would identify with being a victim.
But identifying as a victim is a slippery slope. Because seeing ourselves as a victim can be closely tied to dis-empowerment.
One definition of empowerment is:
"the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one's life and claiming one's rights."
It seems that once we become a victim, we begin a process of dis-empowerment. This would then be:
"the process of becoming weaker and less confident, especially in controlling one's life and one's rights."
It's natural that when you are hurt, you would expect to feel powerless, especially if the hurt happened as a child or young person... because in many ways you are truly dis-empowered then.
Maybe you didn't understand someone was hurting you, because as children it's confusing. Maybe you felt like you did something wrong and even deserved the hurt you were receiving. Maybe you did tell someone you were hurt, but no one believed you. Or you were threatened not to tell.
Flash forward 10, 20, 30, 40 years... and you may still feel stuck in this pattern of being a victim.
If you are dis-empowered, it's easier to get sucked into believing problems are all your fault or you are hopeless and helpless.
But problems are never all your fault. And, it is not hopeless. And, you are not helpless.
And, most importantly of ALL >> YOU CAN TAKE YOUR POWER BACK!
Here's a list of things you can do!!
1) Decide that you will be powerful, you are willing to be powerful. When you let yourself get stuck in old victim patterns, then you are really stuck in old situations and letting that rob you of joy now. Decide to stop this.
2) Realize that you are no longer a child, and in all liklihood not actually subjected to being stuck with someone abusing you. If you are an adult, you can figure out a way to change your life for the better. Decide to do it.
3) Ask for help. Sometimes you may be afraid to ask for help. And asking for help can be risky. You want to make sure and ask people who are trustworthy and won't hold things against you. Even if you don't know what you want, just ask for support.
4) Go to therapy, life coaching, spiritual direction and get help. It really helps to have a regular safe space to go and be able to share what is really going on. This support is truly powerful and important. You are worth committing to, so invest in your own healing and transforming trauma and hurts by getting help.
5) Rewrite your script. Being a victim involves having a victim script. You can rewrite this to move from being power-less to being power-full. How can you rewrite stories and thoughts to new, better feeling ones? You can!
6) Change behaviors and take action. In the end, you will have to make new choices. You can think new thoughts and that is so important. But you will need to make new choices in your actions and behaviors too. Maybe you can make a list of what you will and will not do. Check it regularly!
There are many books to help overcome a victim mentality - "Codependent No More," "You Can Heal Your Life," and "The Four Agreements" are three of my favorite ones. Being with people who have overcome hurts and gone on to heal and create a life they love is another great thing to do. Know that you can leave victimhood behind!
Have animal friends. Animals are great at NOT being victims. My friend Pip lost an eye, and he keeps going. You can be hurt and you can keep going too.
As the saying goes, Victim > Survivor > Thriver!
You can be powerful. You are powerful. Thrive!!
Photos: (top to bottom)
Life is TOUGH, But So Are YOU! Love this little sign I saw in NYC. You are tougher than you know!
Here are some barnacles on a wall at Hilton Head Island, SC. I often think how I've let other people be barnacles on my ship... slowing me down. Eventually I might be a barnacle to myself. So I want to scrape off the negative thought barnacles and behaviors to be free.
Here's an Indiana sunset I captured heading west to visit my parents. Remember that every new day is an opportunity to try again. Let go of the past as much as you can, and know that every day is full of possibilities.
Here's my friend Pip the Pug. He lives in the family where my beloved Pandora Pug came from. Pip lost his eye and got me thinking how animals just keep going and loving and that inspires me. Does it inspire you?