Breaking Through a Victim Mentality and Learning to Take Responsibility

breaking through victim mentalityThere is an issue that is frequently seen amongst with the women here at CCR, which is a constant battle of the victim mentality. Many of the women in our program admit to having been victimized in some form or fashion at some point in their lives. This victimization may have involved physical, sexual, or emotional trauma. As a direct result of this trauma, these women may have never been fully capable, or allowed to take responsibility of their lives, or even shown what that entails, due to their trauma. The question now is, how can these two vastly different occurrences, trauma and a victim mentality, go hand in hand? Below I will provide a breakdown so that hopefully it makes much more sense.

We have found that when someone has been victimized at some point in their life, whether it be bullying, rape, childhood neglect, sexual, physical, or emotional abuse, or someone has wronged them in some way, they tend to get stuck in that moment and are left defenseless against what next steps they are to take in life. At this moment, the trauma of being victimized goes so deep; it’s like being stuck in mud. A natural defense the mind tends to exhibit is to leave the person in a victim like state, which is virtually impossible to get out of it until given the platform to look deep into the trauma or victimization that occurred. Unfortunately, when left in this victim-like state, they are unable to successfully navigate through life’s ups and downs or even minor obstacles, as their mind continues to tell them they are a victim and unable to recover.

This is where we come in. It’s important to note that with anyone who has been victimized feel heard and be given a chance to fully express themselves and the deep level of hurt, trauma, and pain they feel. Once we are able to get into the causes and conditions of the victimization, then we are able to provide these women with proper tools. Unfortunately, being victimized tends to drastically decrease one’s ability away to take responsibility for anything in their lives. Say, for example, the person in the victim mentality was scheduled for work and didn’t show up. Somehow, this becomes the boss’s fault the moment they assign a consequence for the action. The person with this mentality will twist and distort reality and perhaps say that the boss treated them unfairly, and that’s why they were fired, and will refuse to take responsibility for the fact that they didn’t show up, and that’s why they were fired. Or say a person with this mentality steals something from someone, resulting in charges being pressed. The person with the victim mentality will blame the person pressing charges by saying something to the effect of, “I didn’t even steal that much- it’s not that big of a deal.” Meanwhile, this person is blaming the person they wronged, and are completely unable to see their part, or the fact that they clearly broke the law by stealing. Again, due to the victimization that occurred at some point in their life, they are unable to see their part and or take responsibility for their actions or choices. People in this state of mind are constantly stuck in the “it’s not my fault” mentality, which to an is true when speaking of their trauma, but does not exempt them from responsibility for the choices they make in their lives today. The majority of the women we come in contact with have had experienced some sort of trauma and victimization, and they have been stuck in that place ever since. Being stuck in a victim mentality continues to create issues for these women on a daily basis, and causes severe challenges in learning to become a responsible adult.

So this is where it can get complicated. The goal is to have someone who’s been victimized go back to the point in their life where the real victimization has occurred and really have them identify with how they were wronged. At this point, it’s important to be completely supportive of this person, as processing this trauma is going to affect all areas of their life. Most likely, once they’ve seen where they’ve been harmed, they will be able to identify how they have been acting as if anything and everything that happens to them isn’t their fault, and the light will turn on for them.

“As someone who was victimized many times in my life, I was constantly stuck in a victim mentality. It was the only way I felt I could protect myself and many times I made the choice to victimize myself without even being conscious of it. Therefore, I was constantly blaming everything and everyone else and never fully able to recovery. I was finally able to see my part in situations in life when I was given the opportunity to express and feel my deepest traumas. Once I did this, I saw that I didn’t want to blame anything else on anyone, especially if they really hadn’t done anything to harm or hurt me. I finally found that I felt more power in addressing my pain and being able to take responsibility for the choices I made in life up until that point. Yes, it was obvious that when I had been victimized I had stayed stuck in that which ultimately wasn’t my fault. It was a natural response to trauma and the only way my mind knew how to protect me. With that happening, the only way for me to move on was to take ownership, responsibility, and choices back into my life, all of which had been taken away from me at the times when I had been victimized. You see, the type of responsibility I needed to take for my life wasn’t saying that the trauma or victimization I experienced was my fault, but rather that the choice to continue to allow it to own me was. I asked myself- did I really want what the person who hurt me the most to be the reason for every choice in my life from that point forward? My answer was no! I wanted freedom, I wanted change, I wanted choice and more than anything, I wanted to be a survivor, not a victim. See, this was one of the most impactful choices I ever made in my life. I wanted to take responsibility for choices I made, and wanted to enjoy life. When I was constantly in that victim mentality I hated life, and I hated and blamed anyone that remotely made me take responsibility for my choices and actions. And more than anything, my victimization continued to give me an excuse to drink, use and create harm to others, so essentially the victimization that had occurred to me, that truly wasn’t my fault, became my reason to kill myself and all those around me that loved me.”

This story from one of the women who attended our program is a great testimonial to what letting go of a victim mentality and taking responsibility can do to, and for your life. Somewhere along the journey, no matter what has happened, we’ve got to take responsibility in order to recovery. We can’t continue to blame people, as there is no freedom in that.  We have to start seeing that what happened to us doesn’t have to be our excuse to continue killing ourselves. We will soon be able to identify that the hurt, harm, trauma, and victimization is not our fault, but we have to make a choice that it doesn’t continue to hinder us in making healthy choices in our lives. And more than anything, we’ve got to take responsibility for our choices, otherwise the world will continue to fail us, and we will never feel ultimate freedom. For many of us our lives absolutely depend upon this. We have to stop blaming the world for our problems. Let’s get to the root of the victimization, pain and trauma, and by doing that we will find the independence, freedom, choices, and responsibility that was taken from us. We can only be as free as we CHOOSE to be, so CHOOSE to take back responsibility for your life and all else will fall into place!

Benefits of Residential AddictionTreatment

You cannot heal in the same environment that made you sick. This is the philosophy behind our residential addiction treatment program. At Canyon Crossing, women learn to live life on life’s terms while staying in a safe, substance-free setting. This gives our clients the space and peace needed for lasting recovery.
Our residential program combines high-accountability sober living arrangements with first-rate clinical care. While staying in our homes, clients participate in process groups, one-on-one counseling sessions, and hands-on learning opportunities. They also receive ongoing training; in these meetings, life skills like financial management and conflict resolution are imparted. All of this happens with 24/7 encouragement, guidance, and supervision from our clinical team.
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