How would you answer this question: I am out of my abuse and have moved on with my life. There is something that I have been wondering about. How and when does the abuse stop playing a significant part of my life? I have seen others who have moved on and I would like to know how they did it.
The woman who asked this, asked a valid question. There are many men, women and children who no longer are victims, but feel like they cannot leave it behind. It stays as much a part of themselves as it did while they were being abused. The only difference may be there is no physical or emotional abuse happening in their worlds.
What is victim mentality?
A victim mentality is one where you blame everyone else for what happens in your world. (Another definition not as commonly used is one that says a person thinks the future only holds bad things for them.) If you do not get the promotion it is because Mr. Johnson was out to get you. Not because he found you playing on the Internet every day. Your best friend called and said she could not have dinner with you. She is always doing that to you; not showing. You'll show her. You won't invite her when you go out again! Instead of remembering she has just started school and you did call her at the last minute. Victim mentality.
Recently I spoke with someone who no longer lives with a victim mentality. She has gone on with her life and is free from some of the extra baggage that come with being a victim. We discussed forgiving our abusers and how in that process you also need to forgive yourself. With that came loosing the victim mentality.
When she was living under the victim mentality she found herself angrier. She found herself swirling in a sea of resentment towards her abuser. She stayed locked in that cycle and never seemed to move forward. If she got sick, she became angry at him. If the kids messed up, she became angry at him. He was no longer in the picture, but it was all his fault. It was not hers; he made things this way... Life is easier when you can play the blame game. The blame game makes it easy for your life not to move forward or for you to grow.
The day came when she tired of the mentality. She wasn't a victim anymore and the time had come for her to move beyond the victim mentality. I asked her how she stopped the self destructive cycle. The first thing she did is something many abuse victims may have a hard time doing. She forgave her abuser. She did not say that she forgave him for breaking her ribs, she acknowledged that he had a problem and that he needed to get help. Wishing him ill will kept him in her mind more then he should have been. By acknowledging that he had hurt her, that he did have a problem, she was able to feel some relief. There was more though. As important as forgiving him was, she needed to forgive herself too. She needed to forgive herself for exposing the kids to the abuse. She needed to forgive herself for not reporting him to the police all the times he had hurt her. She needed to forgive herself for being afraid. She needed to forgive herself for not having walked away all the times she could have. She needed to forgive herself..
She did all those things so she could mentally move forward. Forgiving herself allowed her to get past some of the more intense things she had experienced. The physical bruises had all gone away. The emotional had stayed. It had clung to her and kept the victim mentality alive.
Next week we will go into Part 2 Two on victim mentality. We will talk about moving into a non victim mentality. Something to think on until then:
The average child receives 432 negative comments per day versus 32 positive ones.
The average child in America receives only 12.5 minutes per day in communications with their parents/caretakers. Of that time 8.5 minutes are spent correcting, criticizing or arguing, leaving a whopping 4 minutes per day for the instruction of values, morals, ethics, attitude and self esteem. You were once this child. You also lived a life of abuse, so where do you stand?
I live in Las Vegas with my husband and two labs, ATOM and Eve. I have 4 children and 8 grandchildren. I am the President of TEAMCares Inc. an online organization that provides support and advocacy for victims of abuse.