What is a Victim Mentality and How Can You Overcome It?
What is Victim Mentality and How Do You Overcome It?
On May 25, 2001, Erik Weihenmayer reached the summit of Mount Everest. Seven years later he climbed the Carstensz Pyramid in Papa New Guinea. That day, he also completed the Seven Summits, the highest point on every continent. Only 150 people have accomplished such an incredible feat. I forgot to mention one important detail. Erik Weihenmayer is blind. At 14-years-old, Retinoschisis robbed Erik of his vision.
Most of us probably would have commiserated in feelings of regret and self-pity, but not Erik. Regardless of how unfair or unpleasant his circumstances, Erik was determined to find a purpose buried within his anguish. Instead of blaming others or becoming a victim of his condition, Eric:
- Decided to start wrestling.
- Represented his state in the National Junior Freestyle Wrestling Championship.
- Started rock climbing.
- Graduated with a double major from Boston College.
- Became a teacher and wrestling coach.
- Started an organization (he calls it a movement) called No Barriers with the motto, “What’s within you is stronger than what’s in your way.”
It’s Your Choice to be a Victim
What are some of the worst things you’ve been through? What painful experiences, unfair circumstances, or personal weaknesses stand in your way?
The answers to those questions really don’t matter. That may sound a little unsympathetic but it is true. There are people who go blind and use it as an excuse for why they can’t do much. And then there are people, like Erik Weihenmayer, who lose the ability to see and use it as a springboard to propel them to greatness.
Moreover, There are people who are dyslexic who will tell you Dyslexia is the reason they haven’t been very successful. There are also people with Dyslexia who tell you their disability is the reason they are so successful. It really isn’t about what happened to you. It’s about how you choose to respond.
A victim mentality is an attitude that results when one sees themselves as a casualty of the actions or circumstances of others. They are incapable of taking personal responsibility for their lives and excuse themselves by projecting blame on to other people or events. Additionally, someone with a victim mentality typically feels sorry for themselves and attempts to manipulate others to do the same.
SEE ALSO: How to Overcome the Overwhelming Obstacles You Face
It’s Your Choice to Overcome
A victim mentality prevents a person from seeing other people who’ve been afflicted by similar circumstances or who have overcome misfortune. Each of us has a choice in how we respond to the bad things that happen to us. We can be victims, or we can be victors.
It’s encouraging to know that we can overcome the difficulties in our lives, especially when we have a relationship with God. Romans 8:37 assures us, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
You overcome a victim mentality by choosing to overcome your victim mentality. It begins by recognizing this attitude in yourself and the realization that others don’t have to feel sorry for you. At the same time, it’s empowering to recognize a few facts about God.
God Has Not Abandoned You
William Frey, a retired Episcopal bishop from Colorado, tells of a time when he was younger and volunteered to read to a blind college student named John. One day Frey asked him how he lost his eyesight?”
“A chemical explosion,” John said, “at the age of thirteen.”
“How did that make you feel?” Frey asked.
John responded, “Life was over. I felt helpless. I hated God. For the first six months, I did nothing to improve my lot in life. I would eat all my meals alone in my room. One day my father entered my room and said, ‘John, winter’s coming and the storm windows need to be up that’s your job. I want those hung by the time I get back this evening or else!’ Then he turned, walked out of the room and slammed the door. I got so angry. I thought Who does he think I am? I’m blind!
I was so angry I decided to do it. I felt my way to the garage, found the windows, located the necessary tools, found the ladder, all the while muttering under my breath, ‘I’ll show them. I’ll fall, then they’ll have a blind and paralyzed son!’ But I got the windows up and I found out later that never at any moment was my father more than four or five feet away from my side.”
God is never more than four or five feet from your side. Perhaps you’ve experienced difficulties in life. Maybe you feel like God is forcing you to do things that seem beyond you considering your circumstances. Most likely, he’s pointing you towards a path where you can overcome your past. He is with you, whether you realize it or not.
You Can’t Imagine What God is Doing
There once was a story in the news about Mary Ann Franco, who completely lost her sight in 1995. In August of 2015, she took a hard fall and injured her neck. Suddenly, she was blind and living with intense, chronic pain.
Eventually, she had an operation to help alleviate the pain. When she woke up from surgery, she could see. Somehow, the surgery restored her sight. The surgeons said it medically made no sense and could only speculate how it happened.
Talk about a raw deal in life. First, Mary Ann went blind. Then it seemed like God was allowing more problems in her life. Turns out her fall was the best thing that could have happened. During all her time without sight, she never imagined God had a purpose for her anguish.
Based on what you’ve been through, you may have some assumptions about what God is or isn’t doing. The truth is, you have no idea. God is at work in your life, and his purpose is to give you abundant life (see John 10:10).
You Are More Than a Conqueror
The three people who went blind, Erik, John, and Mary Ann, all teach us that we are not victims because we choose how we respond to our circumstances. When life hit them hard, they chose not to give up.
You have a choice to give up, too. In all these things you are more than a conqueror through God, who loves you.
Read more on how to identify and overcome a victim mentality and allow God to propel you to greatness in Don’t Give Up, the new book and accompanying resources, by Kyle Idleman.
Life can leave you feeling depleted and weary. Anxiety controls your life and circumstances leave you restless. But God whispers to you, don’t give up. Receive encouragement to keep pressing on with a new perspective! Sample our free Don’t Give Up 7-Day Devotional.
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