Being a Victim in Your Own Life

by Stephanie on August 2, 2012 · 0 comments

in Heavy Stuff

When something bad happens in your life it is easy to play the victim.  There are lots of ways this occurs.  Questioning “why me?”  Lamenting that you didn’t deserve this.  Blaming others and/or being extremely angry with them.  Falling into depression.  Thinking you can do nothing to make it better.

All of these things are normal reactions to misfortune.  Things like bargaining, anger, and depression are not necessarily negative.  They are part of the 7 stages of grief and are often necessary in dealing with what has happened and moving on.  The key is that you must move past these stages.  If you are stuck for an extended period of time being angry, placing blame, or being depressed then you have may have become a victim in your own life.  You probably feel out of control and think that nothing will ever get better.  You expect others (most likely the people who hurt you) to fix it and make it better.  You believe that nothing you do can make it better.

Basically, being a victim is about not taking responsibility for your life and what has or is happening in it.  I’m not saying that the bad things that happen to you are all your fault.  That’s rarely the case.  Most people are good and don’t deserve to be cheated on, get a disease, or lose their jobs.  There are some situations though, where it is easy to overlook your (potentially passive) role in what has happened to you. 

Research shows that people who take some responsibility for something bad that has happened, even when it’s not the case, recover more quickly and fully. 

Why is this true?  Because taking responsibility is like taking control.  It means that while you probably can’t change what has happened, there is something you can do to prevent it from happening again.  There is something you can do to improve your current situation.

This may require looking at what has happened to you in a new way.  Take someone who has been cheated on (I fall into this category).  Really look at the relationship.  Were there signs that something was off?  Did you ever have an inkling, brief and fleeting even, that this person or relationship wasn’t right or healthy for you?  How about losing your job?  Were you doing your best work?  Were there issues you didn’t address?  Maybe it makes you mad that I’m even suggesting these things.  But the fact that it makes you mad may mean there’s some truth to it.  Our minds are experts at protecting us from painful information.  In a lot of situations, if you are really honest with yourself, you’ll find that you do have some responsibility.

This does not mean that everything is your fault and it does not lessen the wrongdoing of  people who mistreated you.  What it does is gives you control back.  If you believe that everything bad that happens to you is completely out of your control, you will probably feel like fixing it is out of your control too.  If you recognize that you played a part in what happened, it is easier to see that you can play a part in making it better.  This isn’t an easy mindset to accept sometimes.  You can’t control everything.  But you can control some things.  Embrace those things.  Focus on them.

It may not be easy, but you CAN move on and make your life better.  And you must try.  No one else will do it for you.

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