The Mindset That Can Keep You From Escaping Abuse!
It is very difficult to escape from an abusive partner or spouse no matter what the circumstances are. It takes support and planning but it also takes changing and working on yourself.
I often encourage the ladies that come to my support group to begin to educate themselves, to work on themselves. By doing this, they not only grow stronger and gain self esteem but they also gain a healthier perspective.
When I encounter someone full of self pity and a victim mentality I may as well be talking to a wall. The sad truth is, when someone comes for support that has self pity and a victim mentality they are not seeking support and change. Maybe deep down that is what they want but can’t move past the place they are in. When they don’t get what they came for which is validation for the mentality they are currently in, they will stop coming rather than do something to help themselves.
Fortunately, I don’t encounter this often with the ladies that come for help. There is a process with coming out of abuse and most commonly denial is the first major obstacle I have to get them through. Sometimes that takes awhile to break while they are growing in other areas, but once they get there it is a huge leap for them.
The first time I had a victim full of pity come to my group, it caught me off guard because I had never dealt with it. I was kind of at a loss and honestly to put it bluntly….it kind of freaked me out. A person with this mindset will take over your support group and make it all about them and I was not prepared. Fortunately, I had a couple strong ladies in the group that helped me out. It was a learning experience for me in many ways and I now know how to handle these situations pretty well.
So what does self pity and a victim mentality look like?
Victim mentality is a learned personality trait in which a person feels powerless and unable to cope or take action in difficult situations. This person tends to see herself as a victim of the negative actions of others and circumstances.
But any negative, traumatizing event that makes us feel powerless can foster a victim mentality. It becomes a coping mechanism to survive fear, pain, and to reclaim our basic psychological needs of safety, love, affection, belonging, and self-esteem.
Unfortunately, this mindset causes them to be like stagnant water. They stay in the same place, never making any changes to change their situation or better themselves.
Here are some of the behaviors I experience from ladies in abusive relationships that have a victim mentality.
- tend to want all the attention on them. Even after they have had plenty of time to talk about themselves, they will keep jumping in when others talk and pulling the attention back to them.
- has a “poor me” attitude
- tries to elicit sympathy or pity from others by feeling sorry for themselves or telling stories
- makes excuses when ever options are presented that they can use to better themselves, stay safe or get help.
- tends to have a negative outlook .
- can be defensive and self-absorbed
- tends to focus on the past and blames past events for current circumstances
- tends to reject constructive criticism or attempts to help them move past victimization
- exhibits low self-esteem and self-confidence
- expresses feelings of shame, self-blame, and depression
Even though one with a victim mentality might feel some short term pleasure from getting sympathy, avoiding difficulties or discomfort, or reliving past events, that’s pretty much all they get.
As the leader of the support group, I will give someone grace when it is their first time while still speaking truth. I have to consider the other ladies that are having struggles by not allowing the self pity attitude take over the whole group. I also can’t allow myself to satisfy the kind of attention they are seeking. I do speak encouragement to them but I also speak truth and that is not what they seek when coming to the support group.
Sadly, self pity and victim mentality will keep someone from ever experiencing freedom. Not only will it keep them in an abusive relationship but they will never become healthy emotionally. They will remain in bondage mentally and physically.
In an upcoming blog post I will share with you what you can do to bring yourself out of the victim mentality and change your life.
Peace and Blessings,