“The victim mindset dilutes the human potential. By not accepting personal responsibility for our circumstances, we greatly reduce our power to change them.” -Steve Maraboli
Victim posture is when someone is “externally referenced”. That is to say someone who believes that their circumstances are dictated to them by external influence (i.e. my mom did this to me, my boss is an idiot, my boyfriend beats me, my brother stole from me, my best friend got everyone to hate me, the police did nothing to help me, I don’t have the money to see a doctor, etc., etc.). Truly, the victim mindset dilutes any potential the victim may have to make to change their lives. They become paralyzed by victim posture. And to make matters worse, most systemic responses to victimization uphold that victim posture.
Yes, victims of natural disasters, crime, economic deprivation need an unconditional, non-judgmental, validating initial response. This is what I call the Phase-One Response – debriefing, validation, pain buffering. The second phase of victim response needs to be an honest, fearless and systematic “segregation of control”. The victim needs help identifying those individual parts of the overall circumstance that they cannot impact/control, and absolutely let go of those things. Then identify those individual parts that can, in fact, impact/change focus on those things. This second phase is where true empowerment begins. Most victims I have worked with in the past 35 years go into this second phase kicking and screaming. The notion that they have any personal responsibility for their situation is like asking them to let go of the life preserver that has kept them just above water for years, and promised them that they will not drown. Have you ever worked with someone who has a reason why any sort of action on their part simply will not work? Many times they can give you a dissertation on why it will not work. This second phase requires skillful, thoughtful, gentle, firm and consistent nudging; baby steps toward accepting the notion of personal responsibility and the power that accompanies being able to heal, move on and make change in our lives and the lives of our children.
It’s all about PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. You can do it and we can help. You’ll be amazed by what you can accomplish.
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I couldn’t agree more! This is the hardest thing a person will ever do- I know because I did it. I changed my life at age 40. It was not an overnight process. I’m still advancing my personal skill at age 62s. It is so worth it! Unfortunately, my sisters didn’t change. Their lives are so different from mine. I’ve accepted i can’t change them. That’s hard too. We’ve become a society where everyone can be a victim of something. It has to change. My work involves helping people learn skills that can make a huge difference in their personal and economic lives. I love it. God bless those who are in the process. As Yoda said “Do. There is no try.”