cartoon woman being pointed at as the victim

Empowering Resilience: Breaking Free from the Victim Mentality

In my Peak Resilience Accelerator programme, we are working with Positive Intelligence® to uncover our ‘gremlins.’ Find out which inner saboteurs are holding you back here. This week, I’m looking at the Victim gremlin, and how breaking free from victim mentality can help to cultivate resilience. Learn to shift focus from internal pain to personal growth and empowerment!

The Victim

The Victim gremlin focuses a person’s beliefs and actions on the painful internal feelings they feel, as a way of getting sympathy or even affections. They are life’s martyrs. They feel all of life’s emotions deeply.

However, it’s not a complete glass half-empty situation. Positively, this saboteur means these people can often inspire introspection in others. They quite rightly appreciate people as unique, and expect the same empathy in return.

Your Mindset is Holding You Back

Because of the types of high-achieving women I tend to work with, I don’t meet many who have reached their professional heights whose primary saboteur is a Victim. 

However, we all know or work with those who rely on their Victim mentality. Indeed, while it is not a saboteur or gremlin with whom I personally identify, there are some who might say my focus on diversity and inclusion puts me in a ‘Victim mindset.’ 

My sensitivity to the slights others may experience because of their non-status quo background is a key driver for me; indeed, the Hyper-Achiever in me! This is the focus in my last book, ‘The Con Job.’

The truth is, all of my books dig deeper into the experiences of people who are often in the minority at work. So let’s dig deeper into this mindset, so that more people can break free from victim mentality!

Victims seem: 
  • Dramatic and emotional – ‘I’d love someone to rescue me from this mess!’
  • Sensitive – ‘No one understands me.’ 
  • Individualistic and temperamental – ‘Why do bad things always happen to me?’
  • Sullen – ‘It’s alright for some.’

Pros and Cons

More positively, victims are often perceptive, and can use that to teach, connect and help others heal. That is what I try to do with all of my work, no doubt as you do as well. Breaking free from victim mentality is key for people who want to enjoy life and feel more in control of their happiness.

However, if criticised, those with this Victim gremlin tend to withdraw, feel misunderstood and often sulk. This approach is not compelling to anyone. When challenges occur, they often want to crumble and give up. They are unconsciously often attached to having ‘challenges’ and difficulties they are facing. 

Victims often feel lonely, even when surrounded by others. They tend to brood continuously over their any perceived slights or real challenges, as it gives them a ‘reason’ their life isn’t better. Victims often feel abandoned and show envy towards others and make unfavourable comparisons. Breaking free from victim mentality is key to an improved perspective, and how much happiness you can actually drive! 

Self-Pity ≠ Self-Love

A Victim’s justification for their saboteur is that it sometimes gets them the love and attention they feel they rightfully deserve. However, their brooding costs them the time and energy they could put towards making things actually better for themselves. This is wasteful, as self-pity is not a substitute for loving and accepting who you are, warts and all! 

Their desire to be understood backfires by pushing people away in a constant test of whether they care enough to stay. This means the people around them feel frustrated, helpless, or guilty that they can’t put more than a temporary Band-Aid on the Victim’s pain. And if you try to help, the Victim will tell you why it didn’t work out in any case! If you’ve had these conversations, you know how hard breaking free from a victim mentality can be!

Is This You?

If this is you or someone you love, ask: 

  1. What does it cost you to selectively pay attention to the bad things in your life?
  2. What are the good things you might be overlooking? 
  3. How is the other side even 10% right? 
  4. How could you use what you’ve experienced to help others?
  5. What else do the people who care about you have going on in their lives that means they can’t be focused on you 100%?

Perspective is Everything

I’ve found the most headway with the first two questions with Victims I know. Asking these questions encourages them to slow their litany of complaints and focus on new ways of thinking.

In my own experience, the results have been remarkable. Even if they identify one new thing, however small, that they could do to change their situation, it pushes them out of their comfort zone towards a more self-reliant way of thinking. And who wouldn’t benefit from that?! Breaking free from the victim mentality is in reach with just the right questions to kick-start the thinking. 

If you want to learn more about what your saboteurs might be doing to hold you back in your career, keep an eye out for my next round of Peak Resilience Accelerator sessions! Or get in contact for some executive coaching sessions, or a webinar talk.

Empowering Resilience: Breaking Free from the Victim Mentality
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Empowering Resilience: Breaking Free from the Victim Mentality
Explore ways to break free from the emotional rollercoaster of the victim mentality and cultivate resilience. Learn to shift focus from internal pain to personal growth and empowerment.
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InclusIQ Ltd.
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