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Are You Living With A Victim Mindset?

by Jennifer on February 10, 2011

When you hear the word “victim,” what automatically comes to mind? A person who’s helpless to stop something from happening to them? Someone who is being attacked for no good reason?

What about: A person who’s full of excuses? Or a person who lets life happen to them instead of making life happen? Or a person who always places blame on outside people, events and circumstances?

There are different levels of victim, some much more severe than others.

But what if you’re just living with a victim mindset?

The Victim Mindset
When you have a victim mindset, you always think the world’s out to get you. You look at everything that happens (especially bad things) and justify it by saying you have no control over anything that happens to you.

When you live with a victim mindset, you always feel wronged or cheated. You live a story that has no power.

How This Affects Your Writing
When you live with a victim mindset, you live full of “reasons” why you can’t do something or why something happened to you. You make excuses for why you can’t write.

And let’s face it—If you’re never going to write, then you’re never going to be a writer. Period.

How To Recognize It In Yourself
Here are some signs that you’ve living with a victim mindset:

  • You’re constantly complaining—about everything.
  • You think the world really is out to get you; you truly believe the Universe is conspiring to make your life difficult.
  • You say things like: “Why does this always happen to me?” or “He/she always does this to me” or “life always gets in the way of XYZ.”
  • You make excuses—for everything: I can’t write because I have to help my husband do our taxes. I don’t have time to write because my boss is making me work extra hours this week. It wasn’t my fault I skipped my writing session, my sister called just as I was about to sit down at the computer.

The Real, Actual Truth
You are not a victim. I repeat, you are NOT A VICTIM. Not even a little bit.

In fact, you have so much more control over your life than you even realize.

But being in control first means you have to take control. And you do that by owning up to your mistakes, admitting that you continually make excuses and taking responsibility for yourself, your choices and your actions.

Once you can do that, you’ll be ready to take the reins of your life and steer yourself in the direction of your dreams.

My Victim Mindset Confession
Today is my first blog post in almost a month. A month!

And there’s a reason for it. Not a good one, mind you, but a reason nonetheless: I’ve been allowing my excuses to get the best of me.

That’s right, even writers like me who seem to have their shit together can let things like excuses get in the way of writing.

I’ve been sitting here since the beginning of January telling myself that “life” stopped me from blogging. I’ve blamed everything from my employer fucking up my paycheck when I was desperate for money to my dog peeing on (and ruining) my couch to my overall fear and lack of confidence.

Of course none of this is true. But that’s the thing about the victim mindset, once it gets a hold of you, it’s tough to get it to let go.

Over the last few days I’ve begun to own up to my excuses and am once again ready to start taking the reins and continue moving toward my goals for 2011. I’m back.

How do you deal with the victim mindset?

About the Author: Jennifer Blanchard is the founder of Procrastinating Writers. She is co-founder of the Better Writing Habits Challenge. For more great writing tips, tools and advice, be sure to follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kate February 10, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Nice post, Jennifer! I can say that I’ve fallen into the excuses portion of the victim mindset trap – the “ugh, why is the timing always so off!” feeling. But, it’s true that life is much more fun, productive and rewarding when you can admit and allow yourself to be fully in control of your success (and failure for that matter)!

2 Sonja February 10, 2011 at 5:13 pm

This is so where I’m at right now with my writing! I am finding every kind of excuse out there. The truth is i know better, it’s something I tell my kids all the time ” If it’s really importent to you, you will find time to do it!” If you’re not finding the time maybe you need to reevaluate your priorities!!! Thank You for reminding me I’m not the only one going through this and doing these things to myself!

3 Laura F February 10, 2011 at 9:16 pm

Ah, the victim mindset- I know it well. As the child of two self- professed victims, growing up the victim role it was all I knew. I had to fight tooth and nail to change my own ways towards being an optimist. Learned Optimist really helped me to do that. I started out having to consciously having to change how I thought, but as the habit kicked in I really stopped feeling sorry for myself.

Nowadays I’ve stopped not only blaming other people, but I’ve stopped beating myself up every time I make a mistake or something bad happens to me. I just put it in the “to be improved” file and start working on some kind of solution.

4 Ollin Morales February 13, 2011 at 5:00 pm

That was a huge paradigm shift for me as a writer. You always think: “Why does life not work FOR my writing career?”

But the truth is you need to take action and make it happen for you. You’re in control of life more than you think–and that victim mindset does get in the way. Thanks for addressing this issue! We all need to work to empower ourselves.

5 Jennifer February 14, 2011 at 3:45 pm

@Laura F Amen, sister! I think it’s awesome that you were able to see that just because you were raised a certain way doesn’t mean you have to stay that way. I fight against the things I was raised to believe every single day. It’s a challenge, but I know in the end I am better for it.

@Ollin Morales Yes, we do need to work to empower ourselves. Unfortunately, it’s really easy to get distracted by all the “noise” around us and we sometimes buy into the idea that life is against us or out to get us. But the truth is, that’s just what scared people who don’t want to take responsibility for their lives say about life. Now you know different 🙂

6 Vincent February 14, 2011 at 11:56 pm

That was a kick ass post, Jenn. You know the post comes at a very appropriate time, I really really procrastinating on studies these days. My exams are at hand and I’m not even bothered to touch the books, nevertheless, your post gives such a thrust and makes me realize I gotta take control of things if I want to change the environment around me.

Thank you Jenn! That was a motivating post as always!

7 Kristin February 16, 2011 at 6:06 am

Thanks for this post! I stumbled upon it as I was surfing sites on writing techniques, then copywriting and then…websurfing ADD – there you were…..thank you!
As a newbie writer (like I decided yesterday, I wanna be a writer. lol), I find it hard to sit and write. I can daydream of all of the things I want to write. I go over them in my head at length. I even plan how I will put them on the page and then “poof” the words are gone and I am not at my computer! “Life got in the way!” (that’s my excuse anyway) I am going to bookmark this post so I can re-read it when I fall victim.

8 Bree February 16, 2011 at 10:02 am

This is me to a T. Thanks for identifying my problem in written form. Mentally I knew it but to see it in print will hopefully cause me to change. I’m printing it and taping it to my wall of motivation. Thanks!

9 Jennifer February 16, 2011 at 2:19 pm

@Kristin I understand what you mean. What’s helped me is carrying a small notebook with me at all times (or now I just use a notebook app on my iPhone). That way I can write down anything that pops in my head immediately when it does. No computer necessary!

@Bree You’re welcome! It’s amazing the things we will hide from ourselves. Hearing the truth can be a major challenge, but it can also be a stepping stone to making an important change. Good luck!

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