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The victim mentality

There is one thing I have never understood about some people, and that is the way they desperately cling to the victim mentality. I’m not talking about people who have been through traumatic life events, who for the most part I find quite brave and proactive in trying to change their lives for the better.

I’m talking about people who believe that everything bad that happens in their life is evidence they are a passive victim and that the universe and everyone in it is out to get them. So they hide away and moan incessantly about all the negative things they feel and see and do nothing to change them.

I came to the realisation long ago, that I was the master of my own destiny and my life is a result of what I put into it. If I don’t like something, then perhaps I need to change it to get a different result. I don’t think that is exactly rocket science.

imageI have a few acquaintances that fall into this victim mentality. One in particular bemoans the fact she has few friends, but doesn’t go out to make friends and flatly refuses to approach new people as she doesn’t want to get rejected. I have tried all sorts of suggestions such as joining evening classes, trying a new hobby, getting out the house, getting a new job etc. all of my ideas are firmly rebutted.

It’s a self fulfilling prophecy, she makes no effort to make new friends, actively refuses to try then sees the resulting lack of friends as proof she is right. It is like a badge of honour, look at me I’m a victim of life please shower me in pity.

Maybe I’m being a little bit harsh, but isn’t it common sense that in order to reap a harvest you have to first plough the land and sow the seeds?¬†We all have times when we feel sorry for ourselves, but in order to grow and become better people we need to accept responsibility for our lives and embrace change.

Be Honest, But Be Kind

It is all too easy when battling with a mental health issue like post-traumatic stress disorder to beat ourselves up mentally and emotionally. We are made to feel that we should be “over it” and that somehow because we are constantly reliving a traumatic event over and over in our minds that there is something fundamentally wrong with us.

I can recall interacting with a few individuals during my time who had no appreciation of what it is like to experience a traumatic event, and had no understanding that PTSD is like a physical assault on your soul. I was made to feel that I was a freak or a weirdo because I had trust issues with strangers, I was slow to open up to people I didn’t know and they couldn’t grasp why I didn’t want to divulge my darkest secrets to them even after their unkind comments. Every unkind judgemental comment had me scurrying into myself further like a hedgehog rolling into a prickly ball.

To my mind there is a vast difference between constructive criticism and comments made out of ignorance. I am all for friends and loved ones pointing out that perhaps I might need to re-evaluate my life, priorities and methods of doing things on ocimagecasions. However, it is not helpful to ignore someone’s feelings and make them feel even worse about themselves than they probably already do.

I think it’s doubly important with PTSD and the associated guilt, fear and self doubt that comes with it, to be your own cheerleader. To be honest with yourself but to be kind. Remember to focus on the small successes no matter how slow progress maybe, it is still progress. When things don’t go as planned accept that maybe there could be a better or alternative way of reaching your goal. But keep trying.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of people out there that won’t understand what an epic uphill battle you are waging, and will happily point out your shortcomings as they see them because you don’t fit into their neat little definition of “normal”. Don’t let their comments discourage you, and if they continually push your boundaries and don’t respect your feelings then maybe you need to re-evaluate if you need these people in your life.