Harsh… I know. Sorry. Except I’m not.
The reality of every single one of our lives is the fact that we are responsible for them.
We are responsible for our decisions, our actions, how we treat other people, and how we perceive the world around us. Most importantly, and most often forgotten, we are responsible for our own happiness.
Lately I have been pondering the victim-mentality on a frequent basis because I have seemed to be surrounded by a number of people who have it.
I am tired.
The truth is that being around someone who sees themselves as nothing but a victim is draining and uncomfortable. Ultimately, a relationship cannot withstand the victim/savior dynamic long term.
This topic is a sensitive one, because the people that I know that have a victim mentality are probably reading this and feeling personally victimized RIGHT NOW. I see you.
However, I do not write this from a perch of judgement. I see you, because I used to be you.
I allowed myself to live in suffering for quite a long time because I viewed things like they were happening TO ME, not that they were just HAPPENING. It wasn’t until I got sick of the stink of my own shit, that I took a good, long, hard look in the mirror and realized that ALL of my problems were of my own making. Not some. ALL OF THEM.
No, I am not naive enough to think that there are NO things that happen to us that are out of our control. Painful things most certainly happen to us that we have no control over. Often and a lot.
What we do have control over? Our reaction to the pain.
I used to be egotistical enough to think that I didn’t deserve life’s shitty cards.
The truth: Nothing happens in life because we deserve it or not. It just happens.
Why was I born into a loving family with a roof over my head in the heart of America, when there are people born every day into situations that I couldn’t even imagine, fighting for every meal and every peaceful night’s sleep.
Life doesn’t make sense. Life just does.
Pain is inevitable, but suffering is most certainly a choice.
The first step in over-coming victim mentality is taking responsibility for your own feelings, your own insecurities and your own life.
I wonder if sometimes people do not realize that they are capable of choosing their own values and changing their own reality. Maybe they have been dealt a shitty deck, maybe they watched a parent act like a victim their whole life, or maybe they have just been miserable for so long that they have grown comfortable in their own misery. Whatever the reason is for the thought process doesn’t matter, but what does matter is the defining moment when a person realizes that they are the author of their own story. The moment they take their power back and stop allowing outside influences to dictate their actions or how they feel about themselves.
(Hurry honey, because being around an endless-victim really sucks.)
Maybe you have been in an endless series of shitty relationships? Are you consistently being cheated on and/or left? Do you engage in the ever famous 2019 “talking” type of relationships with no commitment from the other party? Have you been unable to silence the voice inside of your head that tells you that you are “not enough” for your partner? Well, I hate to break it to you, but this is YOUR fault.
I get it. I once hung onto a long-distance relationship for TWO YEARS with a man who was unwilling to make the ultimate commitment to me, not because he was a bad person, but because I didn’t value myself enough to leave.
If you are constantly having problems finding and staying with a partner who treats you well, it is because you are making poor choices.
First off, you are CHOOSING to not do the work. You are choosing not to work on yourself enough to where you are at a point in which you know and feel comfortable with your own worth. You are also CHOOSING partners that are incapable of commitment because of your low self-esteem. These people are not doing this TO YOU, you are allowing them to do it. (You are also hand-picking the shit-bags that you allow into your world. I see you swiping. No one FORCED you to meet Tinder Brad, for drinks last night and get in bed with him. You drove your car there, Sweetie.)
We teach people how to treat us. If you are treating yourself like you are unworthy of commitment, you are giving other people permission to treat you as though you are unworthy of commitment as well. It is as simple and as complicated as that.
I am getting married in November of this year. Finding Garrett, the man of my dreams, didn’t happen like it plays out in the movies. We WORKED to find one another.
Separately, before we met, both he and I were coming out of unhealthy, toxic relationships with our previous partners. I knew that I never wanted to be with another man who didn’t love me the way that I deserved to be loved, so I DID THE WORK.
I spent countless hours self-reflecting on the choices that I had made (out of FEAR) that had gotten me to that point. I truly wanted to know WHY I felt like I only deserved the type of men that I had been choosing, so I would never choose a man like that again. I got my ass in the gym twice a day and got control of my diet, not to lose weight, but to regain control over my body. I read. I prayed. I meditated. I spent time with people who fed my soul in a completely platonic manner. I didn’t date. I made a list of everything that I wanted in a future partner and made the conscious decision that I was not going to settle for any person who didn’t meet that criteria.
Then I met Garrett. Unexpectedly, but not by accident. We met one another when we were READY, PREPARED, and OPEN for our forever relationship.
The difference between the beginning of other relationships and this one? He and I DID NOT hurry. We spent every single day together for four weeks before we simply kissed. **GASP** I know, we went the traditional route, and it actually worked… Imagine that. We got to know one another on a different type of level. We loved ourselves enough to give ourselves the time and space to decide if this was something that we wanted to continue.
Jumping into bed with someone right off the rip may be exciting and fun for the moment, but those feelings are fleeting.
To relinquish your role as a victim, you must stop confusing pleasure with happiness.
Do you constantly feel left out and/or like people don’t want to be around you?
Here are the three things that may be causing this feeling:
A.) You are too self-involved to acknowledge other peoples busyness, B.) You have chosen shitty friends, or C.) Your intuition is correct and they actually do not want to be around you
This is not an attack on your personality. It is simply an invitation. An invitation to DO THE WORK.
A. People are Busy!
Other people (other than you) have jobs, husbands, wives, kids, pets, houses, side hustles, school, and, hopefully (if they are lucky), HOBBIES. They also have to bathe, eat, and sleep each day. Throw in some of life’s unexpected messes, and you have one full cup.
None of these things include you, nor should they.
Yes, in a perfect friendship the other party in question would attempt to include you in some of these things occasionally, if possible, but on a day-to-day basis, most people are just out here trying to get their to-do lists done without falling asleep in front of their bosses. IT IS NOT PERSONAL.
I will say it louder for the people in the back: IT. IS. NOT. PERSONAL.
If you are past the age of 16, your “Best Friend” is not required to ask you to run errands with them or even binge watch Netflix on a Tuesday with them if they choose not to.
After a certain age, peace and quiet is limited and we all will take it WHEREVER we can get it. Honor peoples right to peace.
It is also not a personal attack on you if someone does not text you RIGHT AT MIDNIGHT on your 35th birthday. If someone does, great. That means that they have a smart phone and valued you enough to put an alert on it. Awesome. Otherwise, your friends are ASLEEP and have about 7,000 more important things bumping around in their heads.
They are glad that you were born, I promise, but sleep is more valuable. Fact.
B. You have CHOSEN shitty friends.
If you truly feel as though you have a healthy “giving” side to your being, and you can honestly say that you are being a good friend TO other people, yet you are still constantly being left out, or stood-up, or put down, etc., then you must find new people to associate with.
Step out of the victim role and realize that NO ONE is FORCING you to be around people who make you feel bad. YOU are making a CHOICE. Choose differently.
You have the right to feel valued and safe inside of a relationship. If you don’t, then it is not a friendship.
I honor that there are some bad eggs on this earth. This is a truth. So stop choosing them.
C. You are simply, unenjoyable to be around.
I understand that this is a difficult one to stomach. However, the harsh, but very true reality is that if you do not feel like people are making an effort to spend time with you, there is probably a very good reason why.
People gravitate towards kind, fun, light-hearted, and well-adjusted people. If you feel as though in general, people are not drawn towards you, then it is because you are not these things.
There are many reasons why people could be avoiding your company, but I believe there are 4 common reasons that are worth discussing:
1. You are the “I always have a problem” person.
Phew. I got exhausted just typing that.
Maybe you know someone like this? Maybe you are like this?
The problem person is the most exhausting type of human.Often, not only does this person always have an issue, but they act like no one has ever had it as bad as they have. If you are the problem person, then prepare yourself for the next sentence that you are about to read, because it may sting.
YOU ARE NOT UNIQUE.
Shocking, I know.
But this is something that you MUST accept and internalize. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US experiences trials and tribulations in our lives. If you are CONSTANTLY talking about your own, without any effort to take control and grow from these issues, then I promise, you are EXHAUSTING the people around you.
It is important that when REAL things happen, you have friends to talk to, and to support you in life’s difficult moments. HOWEVER, if you continue to talk about the same things over and over AND OVER again, without attempting to solve your problems, you are just immersing yourself in self-pity, which is self indulgent and cowardly.
Have you ever heard the story of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”? … Take notes.
If you are exhibiting self-pity over long periods of time, this means that you simply do not want to confront yourself and your own life. It means that you are expecting reality to change, rather than adapting to it. Justifying your suffering is the easy way out. You are doing nothing but avoiding life’s invitation to grow through your challenges.
I wonder if chronic “problem havers” believe that playing this part will give them attention and make others want to love and protect them?
It doesn’t. It actually has quite the opposite affect.
2. It is always about you
Friendships are a give-and-take type of a thing.
If people are always having to re-arrange their plans or filter their conversations to accommodate your schedule or your feelings, they will stop inviting you. It is as simple as that.
Life is hard enough without having to constantly cater to an adult who can not get control over their own emotions.
When people examine where they can cut out some of their OWN stresses or hardships from their life, you and your unstable-ness will be the first to go. It will not be an attack on you or your character, it will be an act of self-care for THEM.
Stop being the hard friend.
3. You are always talking shit
This one is simple. We are all humans, and we would be LIARS if we actually said out loud that we NEVER talked shit. We do, because none of us are perfect.
That being said, if you only have the capacity discuss other people for the sole purpose of putting them down, then you are uninteresting. Be more interesting.
Also, the more and more you speak ill of your peers, the less trust the person across the table from you will have in YOU.
If you are speaking this way about others, what faith do I have that you aren’t speaking this way about ME behind my back? If this is a pattern of behavior, I will begin to watch what I say around you, for fear of you spitting shame about me when I am not around.
Again, people are drawn towards kindness, not hatred.
4. You have unrealistic expectations
This could have been discussed under the “its always about you” portion, however, I feel as though it is important enough to have its own category, because expectations are the silent killer of all relationships.
If you are feeling perpetually disappointed, it is because of your own expectations about how the world and the people around you should behave.
Unfortunately, YOU HAVE NO CONTROL OVER OTHER PEOPLE OR HOW THEY BEHAVE. The more you try and control a person, the more you will feel helpless and insecure.
Having expectations inside of your friendships is living in the “shoulds” instead of accepting the present for what it is.
EX: “They SHOULD be on time.” “They SHOULD have asked me how my job interview went.” “They SHOULD have invited me to that dinner.” “They SHOULD understand why I feel this way.”
No. No one SHOULD do anything.
I promise you that people are doing the best that they can with what they have. I can also guarantee that no one woke up today with the intention to hurt your feelings. In order for YOU to feel better, you must let your friends up off of the mat.
For instance, if you have a person in your life that is perpetually late for the things that you plan to do with one another, you have TWO choices.
1.) Accept this person for exactly who they are, understand that they will most likely be late to EVERYTHING. (and possibly give them an arrival time 30 minutes before you actually want them to be there)
2.) Decide that this person clearly does not value your time, and choose to create distance between you and that person. You have a choice in who you decide to associate with. Your choices are YOUR responsibility.
Constantly reminding people of how disappointing they are to you will not change their behavior, instead it will leave you without their company.
Bad shit happens.
I mean really painful, unexpected, LIFE ALTERING shit.
It happens, and most often we do not “deserve” it. Nevertheless, evil persists.
The most important part of overcoming victim-mentality when you are going through life’s most challenging obstacles is to let go of the idea that “this shouldn’t be happening”.
It IS happening.
You are experiencing the most painful part of life, just as I am sure that you have experienced the most joyful parts at some point along your journey. Unfortunately, we can not have one without the other.
Again, you have a choice. You can allow yourself to succumb to your grief and anxieties, or you can hold your head up high and walk through your storm. You CAN figure out a way to grow and heal from it.
The sooner we acknowledge and accept responsibility over our own experiences, the more power we have over them.
Sometimes people are scared to take responsibility for their problems, because they wrongly believe that to take responsibility means to also be at fault for them. This is not the case. Fault is past tense. Responsibility is present tense.
You are suffering because you feel powerless and it is uncomfortable.
Well here is the fucked up and uncomfortable truth: You ARE powerless over the world. You ARE NOT powerless over how you show up to it.
So, suck it up, accept your role in the bigger plan, realize that you are not the only person on this earth that has ever felt this way. You must begin to have the willingness to heal.
Look, I truly understand that victimhood can feel like a safe place to stay. It isn’t, but I genuinely understand how it can feel that way.
After I was assaulted when I was 21, I felt like I was DROWNING. Each day that I woke up felt like I was being pushed further below the surface. I didn’t come up for air, because I didn’t realize that I could. I felt as though the agony that I was experiencing would NEVER end and that life should somehow go easy on me because of the pain that I felt in my heart. My victimhood felt safe, because I feared that if I let go of it, I would be left with nothing but emptiness. At the time, I didn’t have the awareness to understand that health and happiness after such an experience were also options.
The hard truth that I had to digest before ultimately healing from my assault was this:
It isn’t life’s job to “go easy” on me. It is my job to wake up, and to step up to the challenge.
What I finally realized was that I, again, had two choices:
1.) Forever allow those men to keep the power and strength that they took from me without my consent.
2.) Take my power back. Heal. Grow. Use this experience to help others.
It took a while, but I ultimately chose number two. The most painful experience of my life has been the most valuable to me along my journey of healing.
We have the power within ourselves to do the hard things. We have the capacity to change and to be better versions of ourselves. We ALL have the ability to use life’s hardest challenges to sharpen our personal tools and ultimately live better lives.
We must only be willing.