“Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the nonpharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.”
John W. Gardner
Do you have the sinking feeling that you have fallen into the trap of thinking, talking and acting as a victim? When God gave me the topic to write about I had no idea of the rabbit hole I would be going down. The more research and reading that was done the more conviction I have that I have been slipping into a victim mentality and God is saying it is time to walk in the victory He has made me walk in as His child. From today I choose to walk with a victory mindset, no matter what the circumstances look like. I pray that you are able to read this article and not only address any issues you may have with operating with a victim mentality but learn to walk alongside others who are struggling in this area. My prayer is that like me, you learn to walk in total victory!
When looking at victim thinking, we can either have a victim mentality or victim complex. A victim mentality is something that is short term and quite common. We all slip into this way of thinking The victim complex, on the other hand, affects a person's total view of themselves and life and defines a person's life. It is insidious and deeply rooted and can totally destroy a person's life.
As I have left my work, friends, family and church, God is encouraging me to not get caught up thinking, acting and talking with a victim mentality, but to keep alert to ensure that I am walking victoriously in everything I do. This does not happen naturally, but God is teaching me to constantly be aware of what I am thinking and to challenge any negative thoughts. As a child of God, I am choosing to trust God and walk in victory.
What are the dangers of a victim mentality?
When we have a victim mindset, we can easily control others as we talk and act to draw out their sympathy. This craving for negative attention is unconscious and re-enforces the victim thinking. As a victim, we do not need to be responsible for our behaviour because we are subject to the actions of others. We are also stopped from feeling uncomfortable emotions like anger and guilt and feel superficially cared for by others. We can also be abused and controlled by people who use a victim role to keep a tight emotional leash on those close to them. They justify the way they abuse, for example, because they say that they put up with the abuse of the other person, which could be you! An example of this could be when they believe they have the right to put you down constantly because one day you called them a "monster"! This is not healthy and is destructive to both people. Victim mentality is not linked to one type of person but is portrayed by all sorts of people. God is wanting this thinking in us to be exposed and dealt with, and for people in relationships where the other person has a victim mentality, God is calling us to walk with them in a different way.
What does the Bible say?
Are you aware of the plans of the evil one for your life? To begin with, Satan is trying all his tricks to take you away from your identity in God and to stop you from walking in the destiny He has made you for. In Peter, we read about Satan being like a lion and doing everything he can to devour and destroy us. Causing us to walk on the earth as a victim is one way!
8 Be well balanced and always alert, because your enemy, the devil, roams around incessantly, like a roaring lion looking for its prey to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 TPT
The second thing that we should be aware of is that we are in a tremendous battle. The culture we live in is an "I" culture. When we fall prey to the thinking of our culture we will gravitate automatically towards the victim mentality. We will be paralyzed by the circumstances that are happening around us like a rabbit caught in the headlights. To get out of this way of thinking, God is calling us to be transformed totally by the Spirit. When we are transformed by His Spirit we learn to see the world through God's eyes and not our own. We can then hear God's voice and live in the will He has for us, His creation and His people. Our lives change from being out of control to lives that are pleasing to our Heavenly Father! This is the way I desire to live!
2 Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes. Romans 12:2 TPT
When we look at the world and our difficult situation, God is calling us to trust Him. Jesus has come to bring not only hope but an assurance that through what He has achieved by HIs death and resurrection will cause us to walk in victory as his children. Satan has been defeated and Jesus has overcome everything in the world. No matter what you are going through, Jesus has overcome the world, so when you walk with Him, you can overcome the world as well.
33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”John 16:33
When we understand God and HIs purposes, we start to see that the trials and hard times can be amazing times of growth in maturity. The suffering is needed to get us to a place where we can grow and develop godly character and ability to hope. In Romans, we read:-
But that’s not all! Even in times of trouble, we have a joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures will develop in us patient endurance. 4 And patient endurance will refine our character, and proven character leads us back to hope. Romans 5:3-4
Looking at troubles, we can see in James that they are invaluable in our lives to bringing the greatest joy. This is totally different from the world's thinking! When we face difficulties and have our faith tested, God stirs up in us a supernatural power through Him to endure. Only through these trials can we come to a place of perfection. I believe that is becoming the person God created us to be. This involves cutting off everything of our past, our family of origin and spiritual baggage including ways of thinking that hinders our ability to walk as children of God. As God does this God can grow us from infants to mature sons and daughters of God who are able to walk with integrity, wisdom and in the authority only fully grown sons and daughters are given.
2 My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! 3 For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up power within you to endure all things. 4 And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking. James 1:2-4
Will we get it wrong at times? When I look at my life I can say a resounding "YES!" This is part of the growing process. As soon as we get it wrong, we must learn to go to God and repent and choose to walk in the right way. Ask God to uncover all of your sins and when He does, quickly confess them, ask God for forgiveness and choose to walk in righteousness. God's heart is to remove all sin and unrighteousness until we walk as the spotless bride Jesus is coming back for!
9 But if we freely admit our sins when his light uncovers them, he will be faithful to forgive us every time. God is just to forgive us our sins because of Christ, and he will continue to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
One of the tactics of the evil one is to cause us to fear. As we take our eyes off our problem or situation and on Jesus, our perspective starts to change. God is bigger than any of our problems. As we are filled with His Spirit, this spirit of fear can no longer live in us, and we walk in power, filled with His love and have supernatural self-control. That is walking in victory!
7 For God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love, and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7
Will we be able to be victorious? Is there a possibility that we will fail? When we understand God as our Heavenly Father, and who we are as His children, we walk each day knowing that God has guaranteed that His children will overcome the world. Faith in God overcomes the evil one and allows us to walk in victory every day.
4 You see, every child of God overcomes the world, for our faith is the victorious power that triumphs over the world. 1 John 5:4
57 But we thank God for giving us the victory as conquerors through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. 1 Corinthians 15:57
Three Key Biblical Figures – How They Walked
What people in the Bible can we learn about walking in victory? There are so many, but three people stand out; Esther, Joseph and David.
Esther / Mordecai - In the book of Esther, we read about a strong Jew, Mordecai, who even though he was unfairly treated, he never saw himself as a victim. As a result, he was able to speak to Esther with wisdom and with God's help support the queen to save the Jews. In Esther 4:14 Mordecai says the famous words, "Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Mordecai helped Esther to see God's placement of her into the king's household and God led her as a victor to speak to the king and bring not only victory but for long term peace to the Jews. She had impossible circumstances BUT chose to walk in victory. Her uncle, Mordecai was instrumental in causing her to have the courage to walk as a victor. How can you encourage someone today to walk in victory?
Joseph / Brothers - In Genesis 37 we start to read about a young man who was the favourite of the family consisting of 12 brothers. Joseph had all but one brother who wanted him dead. Not a good start! Due to one brother standing up for him was not killed but sold as a slave and taken to Egypt. He was seduced by Potiphar's wife, his owner, but instead of giving in to her, he ran away. Potiphar did not believe Joseph when his wife told him that Joseph tried to force her to have sex with her. As a result of doing the right thing, Joseph was thrown in jail for over 10 years. Instead of being a victim, when Joseph finally was taken from prison to interpret Pharaoh's strange dreams, Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?”(Genesis 41:38) No matter what "life" threw at Joseph, he refused to give up but when God raised him to walk in his destiny as the second in charge of Egypt, he was ready. He had a trust in God and an unswerving trust in his God... No matter the circumstances! He walked a life of victory and as a result saved his family, including the brothers that wanted him killed, from the terrible drought. When his father died and he had the opportunity for revenge but instead said: "But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive." Genesis 50:20.
King David - Absalom - In 2 Samuel 18 and 19 we read of David's army pursuing and killing the favourite son of the king, Absalom. Even though Absalom was working hard to destroy David and take his throne, David was unable to deal with this issue. If it was not for Joab telling David to stop disgracing his warriors, the soldiers who saved his family from death, his army would have left him and he would not only have lost his son but his kingdom. If David had have treated the initial incident between Amnon and Tamar (2 Samuel 13) with wisdom and justice the whole issue with Absalom may have been avoided. David was an amazing warrior on the battlefield but appeared to walk like a victim in his own house. Even when we walk as a victor, it is easy to get caught up in the wrong thinking. If we do, not only our destiny but the destiny of our family, community, country and even the world can be affected for the worst. Evaluate your thinking each day so you are walking as a victor.
What To Look Out For
When we walk with a victim mentality we can fall into the following ways of operating. We may:-
Be stuck in the problem and are unable to seek possible solutions.
Believe life is against us
Think everyone around us is better off than us.
Blame, attack and accuse those who love us for how we feel.
See our problems as catastrophes and as things bigger than what they are.
Have a sense of powerlessness
Operate with Negative self-talk and constantly self-sabotage
Live a life full of frustration, anger and resentment
Have a mentality that the world is a bad or dangerous place.
If you can identify these characteristics in your life, ask God to reveal where this has come from. There are a number of ways this victim mentality can enter your life. Ways this thinking could have entered your life include:-
Ask God to reveal any entry point for victim thinking. Through repentance, forgiveness and any way God leads you, cut these events off your life and any influence they have had so you can walk fully in freedom.
If you discover that you have been walking with a victim mentality, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any time you are thinking, speaking or acting like a victim. Below are some ways of moving forward and some things you can do, but if you are struggling with this, please check the links below for more information on how to do this. Some ways to help yourself move from a victim to a victor include:-
Know the root perceived benefits of being a victim and no longer desire them. Be OK not being the victim - you may feel empty when not being the victim and change how you speak. That is healthy. Perceived benefits of being a victim include:-
Attention and validation
You do not have to take risks
Don't have to take the sometimes heavy responsibility
It makes you feel right
Take responsibility for your life - stop blaming others for what happens to you.
Find the root cause for your victim mentality thinking. Ask God to reveal the root causes for this thinking and have the courage to get help the deal with this and cut this off your life.
Seek God and ask Him to reveal the times you feel powerless and why. Develop ways of trusting God to show you how to walk in the power He gives His children.
Have compassion for yourself. God has compassion on you …... so practice having compassion for yourself. Change takes time.
Ask God to both reveal your needs and to meet them. Trust Him! He has promised in His Word He Will.
Develop personal goals. Ask God what His goals are for you. Write them out and give them to God. Set a plan on achieving these goals.
Stop sabotaging yourself. Work always towards success. As soon as you start thinking about sabotaging your success, confess this to God and choose to walk down the path of success.
Live a life of gratitude. Spend time each day thanking God for all He has given you and the good things He has for you ahead! Being thankful for what you have takes the focus of what you do not have.
When a problem occurs, stop blaming others. Learn to be responsible for your decisions and being empowered under God to walk in the power He gives us through His Spirit. (2 Timothy 1:7) Work on solving problems and coming up with solutions.
Learn to look outside yourself. Seek ways to help and bless others. Complete random acts of kindness expecting nothing in return. pend time by giving value to others and stop thinking about yourself.
Learn to forgive everybody who has hurt you. As God has forgiven you, so forgive others. Both forgive and let go. Cut off all negative ties with others who have hurt you by forgiving them. Unforgiveness links you with others through resentment. The only way to dissolve the link and be free is to forgive.
Watch your language. Start speaking from "I" and not "you". Eg: "I felt sad when.." Not "You made me feel … when …"
Challenge your thinking. Are your perceptions of reality accurate? If you have a belief that is mistaken, have the confidence to change it. Get help if needed...Is how you currently see things really the truth? How does God see your situation? Is this a blip in your life or something that will hold you down forever?
See yourself as a victor, not a victim. Change your thinking from one of being subject to others to being one that God has set free and is leading you to grow and become all He made you be. As you submit to Him, God will direct your path.
Give yourself a break - Getting out of victim mentality is hard and you will have days that you get it wrong…. Get up and start again the next day and you will be OK. It is not the end of the world! Have the courage to start this process.
What do you do when others act as victims? Stop Being the Victim's Victim
Most times, the victim in your life that you are close to is a person that you love and you do not want to hurt. When we directly confront someone with a victim mentality, they experience a sense of being persecuted. There are four things you could do to walk with them but not "feed" their victim mentality:-
Do not get sucked into their feelings. Victims unconsciously crave attention and validation, and when you give it you get emotionally entangled with them which is bad for you both. Learn to be a passive listener and do not give sympathy to the things they are saying. Learn to remain neutral.
Always make it their problem – A victim believes their situation is entirely caused by the actions of another person. They will want you to agree with this position. Instead, let them know you are confident they are mature enough to handle this situation and you believe in them.
Agree wholeheartedly – Use reverse psychology to blow the problem out of proportion. If they say life is bad, say it is truly awful and almost impossible. See what they say.
Do not give advice – Victims need problems to feel like victims so they really do not want their problems to be solved. They do not want to hear any advice that will help them get out of the mess. They do not want help. They just want evidence you care. For them, pity equates to love.
As you learn to walk differently with people with a victim mentality they will do one of two things. They will start taking responsibility for their life OR go elsewhere for sympathy. Whatever they do, you will no longer be the victim of the victim. A victim complex is a form of mental illness so do not be an enabler but be compassionate and always walking love, thinking about what is best for the other person.
Finally, in Ephesians 6 we are told how to walk. Each day ensure you are fully prepared for the spiritual battle you will face, by being supernaturally equipped to deal with the ruthless enemy. Be prepared for every strategy of Satan, the accuser. As you do battle with the principalities and powers, wear every piece of supernatural armour so you can not only continue to stand but walk in victory in every situation in your life. Equip yourself in truth, faith, salvation and most importantly, the Word of God. Pray in the Spirit over your life and destiny and learn how to intercede with every form of prayer.
10 Now my beloved ones, I have saved these most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus. Stand victorious with the force of his explosive power flowing in and through you.
11 Put on God’s complete set of armor provided for us, so that you will be protected as you fight against the evil strategies of the accuser! 12 Your hand-to-hand combat is not with human beings, but with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms. For they are a powerful class of demon-gods and evil spirits that hold this dark world in bondage. 13 Because of this, you must wear all the armor that God provides so you’re protected as you confront the slanderer, for you are destined for all things and will rise victorious.
14 Put on truth as a belt to strengthen you to stand in triumph. Put on holiness as the protective armor that covers your heart. 15 Stand on your feet alert, then you’ll always be ready to share the blessings of peace.
16 In every battle, take faith as your wrap-around shield, for it is able to extinguish the blazing arrows coming at you from the Evil One! 17–18 Embrace the power of salvation’s full deliverance, like a helmet to protect your thoughts from lies. And take the mighty razor-sharp Spirit-sword of the spoken Word of God.
Pray passionately in the Spirit, as you constantly intercede with every form of prayer at all times. Pray the blessings of God upon all his believers. Ephesians 6:10-18
Now…. Go out and walk in victory in every part of your life, and no longer have any thoughts, actions or words that come from the place of being a victim. When you walk as a child of God, your victory has been guaranteed in the Word! Step out in faith and be known as someone who thinks, speaks and acts as you both know and trust God's words in your life. You have an exciting adventure ahead! Choose life!