No Longer A Victim

Why do we continue to feel like victims in certain situations and with certain people?

Can others make us feel this way, or is it something about us that generates our internal victim experience? Being a victim is part of a ‘power over’ belief structure that says someone has the power and someone doesn’t. You may be the victimizer or the victim and many of us play both roles in different relationships. A client of mine plays the victimizer of her son by blaming him and telling him all the ways he disappoints her, and she then plays the part of the victim at work by denying or rationalizing when she receives the same treatment from her boss.

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One of the reasons we stay stuck in this victim ‘loop’ is based on our early experiences of not being able to get our own needs met. As children, we felt vulnerable and that we had very few choices when a situation came along that we didn’t feel good about. When we combine this with what we learned in our earliest years; what we need comes from others/outside of us, – we feel out of control to get what we need.

Most of us work hard to find a way to feel we are in control by finding the safest/best way to respond to our experiences and the people in them.  This may look like trying to control what others do and say.

Most of us work hard to find a way to feel we are in control by finding the safest/best way to respond to our experiences and the people in them.  This may look like trying to control what others do and say. However, when we blame others and deny our role in the situation, we end up being the victimizer leaving victims in our wake. Being in control may look like rationalizing our way as right so we don’t have to feel the uncertainty of the unknown or submit to what others want. Some of us hide what we want/need/feel just to keep the peace when someone else wants something different. In that case, we become the victims by our own hand. Some of us find a way to ignore what others do and say to stay in control. This has us disconnect from other people and situations where there is pressure for us to perform – leaving us again feeling like a victim.

What to do? The first thing is to realize that you ALWAYS have a choice. To discover what the best and most loving choice is for you, it’s important to first have an intention to be accountable for your experience, instead of falling into the victim ‘loop’. When a situation or circumstance occurs that doesn’t feel good, the FIRST STEP we need to take is to Recognize how it is for us. What we are feeling, thinking and experiencing. The next step is to Own what we are thinking and feeling and how it is familiar to us. A strong negative reaction to a situation happens when we feel triggered by past experiences that feel the same. If we felt like we were not enough when our mother criticized us, we may feel the same thing again when someone criticizes us now. Taking these first two steps may stimulate some emotional release/ movement. The goal is to allow these emotions to come to the surface and give them the space to move through us without trying to change or fix them. We do this by focusing on the physical experience of the emotion moving through and by pulling our thoughts away from the ‘story’ going on in our mind.  This allows the energy of the emotions to move through, complete and release.

Once we have recognized and owned our experience, the next step is to Forgive ourselves for ending up here in this familiar place that doesn’t feel good. Remember that we didn’t have the awareness or ability to do anything differently before, and we need to let ourselves off of the hook. With our new awareness, we can clarify what we do want with the next two steps, Self-Examination and Learning.   Lastly, we can Take Action on our own behalf in ways that feel good without making anyone else wrong.

How will you choose to step out of the victim loop today?


Wendy Watson-Hallowell | The Belief Coach
Wendy Watson-Hallowell | The Belief Coach
WENDY is passionate about enabling individuals, organizations and communities to value themselves and each other in the ongoing process of change. Wendy has guided hundreds of individuals and over 750+ public and private sector organizations to achieve tangible increases in impact and performance. Her successful practice in mentoring and coaching has led to authorship of the book, ‘Live a Life You Love and Make a Living Doing It’. Over the last 30 years, Wendy’s skills have been honed in leadership roles at MTV Networks, The Rensselaerville Institute, and a variety of community based projects in her town. In 2015 she launched BeliefWorks and offers Belief Coaching as a way to address the root cause of what limits the results we can achieve both personally and professionally. This is an 'upstream' solution to change. Instead of changing limiting behavior, she focuses on changing the limiting beliefs that drive that behavior. In all cases, her clients and partners speak to the specific increases in achievement that her consulting, coaching and partnership roles make possible.

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  1. An interesting article, Wendy; Thank You! Taking a keener look at your mastery on the subject of beliefs, and how they hold the power to move us from one side of the fence to the other, I am sure we can delve a little deeper into this topic and see how our mutual thought-process can come to a common ground in terms of converting the negative into a positive bent of mind.

    Warm Regards!

    • Hi Bharat and thanks for your comment. Yes, by all means, let’s dive deeper into the topic. Where does your thought process differ and/or what questions do you have? Delighted for the opportunity to respond. Wendy

    • Thanks for your comment Larry. Even better when we can help victims advocate for themselves with support from us in ways that feel best to them. Everyone gets to see a choice that works for them. I’m delighted to hear that you are blessed with a great life. Wonderful! Wendy

  2. Wendy, I enjoyed your article and will save it and pass along as I feel whether in the work place, growing up, at home, or just in life in general playing the victim gets one no where and by doing so makes one weaker. Thank you

    • Thanks for the comment Lynn. I’m so glad you find it useful. The place I notice that most folks get stuck is in taking a step back to recognize how THEY feel and owning how it is for them and what it reminds them of. THEN there is a chance for the emotions to arise and release which clears our minds and hearts. Then the rest of the steps become much easier. Us left-brained folks tend to jump over how we feel and go right to solving the problem. My ego has used that tactic for years! Let me know if a further dialogue would be helpful. Have a wonderful week! Wendy

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