Do you often feel that you deserve to be treated better or that life is unfair? Do you feel that people treat you badly and always look down on you? You may have a victim mentality, a way of thinking that makes you unhappy in your life and feels too weak to change it. Life won't go the way you want it to, but that doesn't mean you're a victim. By changing the way you think and behave, you will stop feeling victimized and start feeling more confident and happier.
Part 1 of 2: Changing the Way of Thinking
Step 1. Recognize and be aware of your anger
Most of us position ourselves as a victim by denying the anger we feel and taking it out on others. When we vent our anger on others, we anticipate their aggression when they don't show it at all. Instead of denying your own emotions, you better feel them. Feel without labeling your emotions “good” or “bad”, “right” or “wrong”.
- Don't try to rationalize your anger. If you do, you'll only be burying yourself deeper into feeling the oppressed person. It's okay to feel angry, but it's healthier to let go of your anger and move on with the day rather than trying to rationalize your anger and/or vent it.
- People who constantly think about their anger and try to justify it will often distort the reality around them to match their thinking, for example, misjudge someone's facial expressions to reflect how they feel rather than the actual reality of a situation.
Step 2. Understand that the world owes you nothing
When we feel we deserve something, and feel that the world owes us a lot, we will feel cheated if we can't get it. This will lead to anger and feelings of helplessness (eg feeling oppressed).
- Psychologists recommend eliminating words like “fair”, “should”, “right”, and “wrong” from your vocabulary. These words can suggest expectations, and when your expectations are not met, you will feel frustrated and become a victim. Let go of all expectations and feelings of entitlement to something. No one owes you.
- As an example of how this works, imagine that your best friend's parents pay for their schooling, while you have to pay for your own school. While you're trying to pay off your piling education debt, he can spend money on travel, clothes, a new car-he even has a nicer apartment than yours. Instead of feeling cheated, angry, and resentful towards your best friend, your parents, even the whole world, you can choose to acknowledge your anger and move on with your life. It's good if your best friend is not in debt because you know being in debt is bad. But this is not a matter of right and wrong, fair or unfair. This is life. You will feel happier and more successful in the world if you accept your situation and how you feel about it and move on with your life.
Step 3. Identify and counter negative self-defeating thoughts
Such thinking is referred to by some experts as the "critical inner voice". This includes self-defeating thoughts that want to lower your self-esteem. This thought springs from a place within you that is full of anger and sadness; its purpose is to make you feel sad. We all have this inner voice, but while most of us fight it with positive thinking, people who feel they are victims believe that inner voice.
- Many of us are not aware of our own negative thoughts, which makes it difficult for us to identify and combat them. When we identify the thought, we can recognize it. The only way to do this is to find out why your mood shifts from cheerful to gloomy. Stick to what you tell yourself when you're in that state.
- An example of an inner voice that includes feelings of injustice is when you think “This is unfair”. You'll also find yourself generalizing other people's behavior, for example, thinking "No one is asking how I'm doing." You will also compare yourself to others, for example by asking “Why do they always get better grades than me?” When you realize you're doing this, stop and ask yourself why you're doing it.
For example, if your inner voice says "No one will listen to me", ask the voice, "Why did you say that?" Do not immediately accept the thought because the thought is not a fact. Even if that's true, the more important questions need to be directed at you so you can identify and act to get rid of your negative emotions. After you reflect on yourself, you'll realize that the reason you feel like no one is listening to you is because you have nothing to say, or do (for example, speaking slowly or not speaking at all in social situations)
Step 4. Take responsibility for your feelings and actions
You are not someone who is hopeless in your life. If you can change a situation that makes you unhappy etc., change it; if you can't change it, adapt your approach, and change your attitude. The situation you're in may feel unfair or awful, but constantly thinking about it won't change anything. Fight passive thoughts that can hurt yourself with constructive action.
The need to be proactive is also related to this. Some situations are unavoidable, but by being proactive, you can anticipate them and have control over them rather than simply responding when they happen. You'll find that you can stop some unwanted things from happening-for example, you can avoid bad test scores by studying and getting the help you need before the exam starts
Step 5. Write a daily journal
Keeping a daily journal will not only help you keep track of your moods and feelings, but it can also help you "deal" with those emotions. Again, don't try to justify your feelings. Use your journal to research them and to adapt-to learn how to understand your feelings without being controlled by them. If you are in a situation that you want to avoid, use a journal to find a way out of the situation.
Step 6. Find an activity that makes you happy, and do it regularly
The more time you spend doing the things you love, the less time you will have to dwell on negative things that make you feel oppressed. Make a commitment to actively participate in your life rather than just looking at your life passively and hopelessly.
- Take dance lessons, join a sports team, play music, or learn a foreign language.
- Spend more time with someone who makes you feel confident. If you don't know someone who meets those criteria, join a certain club or community (such as a community of people who share a movie-loving relationship), and make new friends.
Step 7. Live a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and eating nutritious foods
Taking care of your body is part of taking over your feelings and emotions. Regular exercise will reduce stress and increase self-confidence. Eating a healthy diet will help with mood regulation-and also, it will be easier to understand your emotions when you're in a bad mood because of a bad diet.
Step 8. Be kind to yourself
It will take time to get into the habit of taking charge of your own life and learning to stop being a victim. Don't make yourself feel worse by getting angry when you find out that you're reverting to a victim mentality. Take a deep breath, forgive yourself, and start over.
Part 2 of 2: Changing the Way of Communicating
Step 1. Be assertive
The way you communicate should let the other person know what you want and need, but you should still respect their wishes.
- When being assertive, make statements with lots of "I" words; use facts rather than assumptions; control your thoughts and feelings; and make it as clear as possible. Make direct requests instead of making questions that can be answered with a "no".
An example would be saying, “I see you often pile dirty dishes in the sink and don't wash them. When I come home from work/school I always feel uncomfortable when I see it, and I always feel like I have to clean the kitchen first before cooking dinner. Let's make a dishwashing schedule that the two of us can do."
- If assertive communication is a new habit for you, be prepared because people who know you will be confused by the changes you are going through. You should first explain to them that you are trying to change the way you communicate.
Step 2. Set clear boundaries
Part of being assertive is setting clear boundaries. The goal is to protect yourself as well as to give others clarity on what you can and cannot tolerate.
Examples are: if you have a relative who is alcoholic, say that you like the company of him, but you don't like his behavior when he is drunk; as a result, if he calls or comes to your house while drunk, you are free to hang up or not let him into your house
Step 3. Radiate confidence
Confidence mostly radiates through your body language. When you're communicating with someone, the key to appearing confident is maintaining good posture, making eye contact, and being calm and positive.
- Good posture when you are standing is to keep your shoulders straight and relaxed, draw in your stomach area, bring your legs together, keep your weight balanced on both feet, and swing your arms naturally to either side of your body. Additionally, you should bend your knees slightly (don't lock), and keep your head balanced on your neck, not tilting forward, backward or sideways.
- Assertive body language includes eye contact with the other person; standing or sitting up straight; avoid gestures that indicate boredom such as rolling their eyes or waving their hands as if to dissuade their response; stay serious but still fun to talk to; and maintain a calm, non-violent tone of voice.
- Reflecting on other people can make you feel more comfortable and can create a better environment for communicating.
Step 4. Know the difference between empathy and sympathy, and stay away from sympathy
Empathizing with someone means understanding and feeling the same way; To sympathize with someone means to feel sorry and sad for something that happened to him. Expressing or eliciting a sympathetic response will only encourage suppressed thinking.
- When you seek or give sympathy, it means you seek/give pity. You will find that when you share your problems, you are encouraging the other person to feel sorry for you by emphasizing that you are powerless in such a situation. They may provide a solution and/or try to save you. The desire to save someone usually comes from a good place, but it can also make the person you want to help feel that you don't believe they can help themselves. An example of a sympathetic response to a problem is, “I feel sorry for you. Have you tried ABC?”
- When you seek or provide empathy, you are also seeking/providing support. An empathetic person will offer understanding without pity. Someone who empathizes with you will understand your emotions but still believe that you can help yourself. An example of an empathetic response to a problem is, “I can imagine how questioning you are right now. What do you need now?”
- When we look helpless and seek sympathy, we will put ourselves in the position of a victim and we will ask others to help us. This is unfair to ourselves and our “potential” helpers. An empathetic approach emphasizes respect for one another and the belief that we care about each other but know that we can work things out on our own.
Step 5. Breathe
If you're feeling angry, stressed, worried, or upset, take time to relax yourself by breathing. Inhale deeply through your nose, directing the breath into your stomach, not your chest.
- If you are in a relationship with domestic violence, please consider seeking help.
- If you are in any situation that puts your life at risk, please consider seeking assistance from the authorities.