Have you ever doubted yourself, or felt like happiness and being treated well are things for other people to enjoy?
Many people don’t process this type of thinking as feeling or thinking like a victim, but that is exactly what it is, and it’s a cycle you can break by recognizing it and tackling it head on.
Victimization or Self-Victimization?
Victimization often begins in childhood, through abuse or bullying, where the child’s self-esteem becomes compromised.
This leads to an adulthood where the childhood victim begins to victimize himself or herself with constant affirmations of not being good enough or of deserving bad treatment.
The cycle of self-victimization then repeats over and over until it is recognized and new, positive affirmations of self-worth are instilled in the mind of the (past) victim.
How to Stop Thinking Like a Victim
“A strong, successful man * is not the victim of his environment. He creates favorable conditions. His own inherent force and energy compel things to turn out as he desires.” – Orison Swett Marden
No one could, or should, ever deny the validity of a pattern of self-victimization that began when someone treated you horribly, but it’s up to you, as an adult, to break the pattern and stop the cycle of victimization by choosing to stop the negative self-talk that is holding you down.
- Become aware of negative self-talk: This type of self-talk includes anything that is a put-down to yourself, including seemingly innocent self-deprecating humor.
- You can’t stop doing it if you aren’t even aware you are putting yourself in a negative pattern.
- Examine the truth behind negative self-talk: Things like, “I can’t do anything right” or “I always screw everything up” are rarely factual, because no one does everything wrong.
- Though those statements develop as affirmations over time and they do eventually emerge as personal truths – but they can be changed.
- Don’t let anyone else plant negative statements in your mind: It’s really common for people lacking in confidence to surround themselves with narcissistic people who maintain the imbalance in a relationship with a victim.
- If you can’t physically leave the person, then, at least refute the negative things they say inside your mind, and replace their words with your own, positive truths.
- Write down some simple positive affirmations about things you do: Whether it’s making a great dish of pasta or being kind to animals, write down some good things about yourself and look at it several times a day, and read your positive self-talk affirmations aloud at least once a day.
- If you catch yourself engaging in negative self-talk, then stop right there and review your positive affirmations.
If you are really struggling with self-esteem issues or are in a dire situation, and you need more than a bit of motivation from an article, it’s okay – and wise – to seek professional help to begin a new, healthy lifestyle. The information presented here is to help you find the motivation to start feeling empowered, but it is not intended to be a substitute for professional help if it’s needed.
Note: I would like to add ‘or woman’ to the above quote – where I added the * – for the purpose of this article – since Orison Swett Marden was a turn-of-the-century writer – when most everything was presented in masculine terms.