You know how they say life is not what happened to you but how you react to it. It’s true but how do you go about it when you’ve gone through immense pain and the only words you ever got were to ‘forget it and move on’.
How do you move on when you can’t get rid of the feeling of pain and misery that resulted due to those incidents. Worse still, it’s not just in that moment that you were torn, the repercussions are usually awful. People think it was just that one moment but often more damage is done after the incident.
You stop loving yourself, you stop valuing yourself, you find it hard to lead a normal life. You start thinking you don’t deserve to be happy or content with your life. It almost feels like life took a long pause in that one incident and now you can’t find your remote control to unpause.
Girl, you deserve happiness, you deserve self-worth, respect, and acceptance for what you are. You do. But, as hard as it may sound, the first person who needs to give all this to you is yourself.
So, today let’s go through the steps you need to take in order to overcome your victim mentality and go from victim to survivor.
Please note that this blog post is not intended as medical help, although it might help you find your way to the right kind of help you really need to fix things in your life.
Steps on how to overcome the victim mentality
#1 Regain your ability to say ‘NO’
When you go through trauma one of the first things it makes you lose is your ability to say ‘No’ to things. For a sexual assault victim, it could be saying no to sex when you don’t want to. For someone who went through childhood trauma or narcissistic abuse, it could be saying no to set your boundaries.
You need to stand up for yourself. If you don’t feel like going through a certain experience or emotion, you need to set healthy boundaries. Do what a person in your place who did not have to go through what you went through would do.
Do what feels healthy and acceptable to you.
#2 Allow yourself to mourn
One of the many things a survivor has to listen to is ‘move on’, or ‘forget it already’. But you know, it’s not that easy. When you go through a trauma you need to go through mourning too.
It’s nature’s way of comforting you. You can’t shun some truths in life and pretend everything is cool. As bitter as it may sound, you have to let yourself bleed a little so you don’t die. On the other hand, be mindful of stubbornness too. Sometimes because healing is such a challenge, you might want to stay in the victim mentality. Don’t let your stubbornness make an already bad experience worse.
You are allowed to cry, to feel down, to say you did not like whatever happened. But remember, this mourning can’t stay on forever. You have to keep in mind that if you are allowing yourself to mourn right now, you will soon allow yourself to start healing too.
#3 Forgive even when it’s hard
Forgiveness is a process, it won’t happen in any single moment, sometimes it might take you a while. But you have to forgive, not for them but for yourself. It’s hard, believe me I know, but it’s crucial.
I know you will never forget the pain and the hurt you had to go through but in order to move past it, you need to let go. By not forgiving you are in a way still holding on to it. Hate is hard to carry. Take this moment to decide for yourself, to put this weight down right here in life and move away from it lighter, happier, healed.
Do remember forgiveness can sometimes take you some time. It might require you to take action. Or it might require you to stop taking certain actions. It might require you to go no-contact with some people. On the other hand it might require you to open your relationship with some people. Whatever it is, it depends on your situation.
For more recourses and help on forgiveness follow these links:
#4 Confess whatever, wherever
It’s important to make confessions of what you are feeling. In a way, by making a confession you acknowledge the event. Many people think, by avoiding the thought or the feeling associated with that particular event you can cope up better. It’s hardly the case.
It will come back to your mind. Every time it comes back to you, you might feel the intensity of your pain grow. You have to redirect your thoughts there and then. By making a confession of what you are feeling and going through, you are being honest to yourself. Honesty is important as it lets you know where the root of the problem is. You can now focus on improving on that.
Be kind to yourself. Allow yourself the right to be human and vulnerable.
#5 Detachment can help
Often, grave circumstances act as a filter in your life. It filters the good from the bad in your relationships. You realize some people were only in a relationship with your for themselves. When the time came to give back to you, they disappeared or went toxic.
You don’t want such people in your life. It’s okay to detach yourself from them. Once you leave those places empty you can fill them with better people. People who actually care.
It’s important, believe me. Because you are already going through a tough situation, inconsiderate people will only worsen the process for you. You need to heal first. So, avoid taking any extra burden if you can.
#6 Connect with something higher than yourself
Connect with God. You need to have faith in a power higher than yourself to heal. Because if it were in your powers, you would have given anything to get rid of this pain. To get back the old you, the one that wasn’t tarnished with grief.
But since we humans can only do so much, connect with God. Spend time with Him. Ask Him to guide you through this rough phase of your life. Ask Him to give you the opportunities, the abilities, the environment, and the people to heal. To unpause your life.
For this, you might need to self-isolate yourself. Go into the woods, or somewhere you can be by yourself. Get hold of your solitude and try to connect with God earnestly. He will guide you.
#7 Stop rebelling
No, you are not at war with everyone else. No, not everyone around you is going to hurt you. It’s easy to connect dots this way when you’ve actually seen this for yourself in your life but it’s wrong and even you know that.
Don’t let one incident in your life blind you to the beauty life holds for you. Because when you start rebelling, you often rebel against the good too. Believe me, you really need good things in your life. Don’t be the one to push them away.
So, these were my 7 steps to overcome the victim mentality. If you need more help you can contact me for a 1-on-1 session by dropping me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Book a one-on-one session with Zainab to start your healing journey today!
You can come out of your grief, you can come out of your victim mentality, you can embark on the journey towards healing. Let me, Zainab, help you start your healing journey. Book a session with me so we can start working on you.
For more, listen to the latest episode on Overcoming the Victim Mentality with Faith Akano who is a 2011 rape survivor. Listen to her empowering story to find out how she went from broken to blissful.
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