Victim vs. Survivor Mentality

It would seem unlikely that many people will have the good fortune to escape being a victim of something during their existence. Life, after all, is not for the faint hearted! If one manages to escape disasters, natural or otherwise, there is always illness, disease, accidents, external threats, internal threats, death of loved ones, mental cruelty, physical violence, poverty, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, starvation, bankruptcy.....the list is endless.

Being a victim of any of these things often brings about negative and painful consequences, none of which are easy to endure. The fact of the matter is though, once one gets through it. Once the act or abuse or disaster stops, if one has come through it alive and relatively intact, even if damaged or delicate, they are no longer a victim, but a survivor. To my mind there is an absolute world of difference between the mental state of someone who considers themselves to be a "vicitm of" and those that consider themselves survivors.

It is my opinion that while survivors of tragic events need every ounce of support, empathy and understanding they can get, it isn't at all healthy to continue to treat people as though they are still victims. IMO remaining a victim actually hands "victory" to whatever the source of the abuse or tragedy was. It allows the event, or the disease or the individual to remain in control. To win as it were. Where as treating oneself or others as survivors empowers. It allows one to heal, to become strong again and to move forward or past (as much as is possible) the dreadful thing that happened to them. Mentally it is a much healthier place to be.

For example I experienced a great deal of physical and emotional violence from my late teens into my early 30's. During all of that time I naturally felt very sorry for myself, did the usual pleading and cowering with my aggressor which invariably made the situation worse. I was a classic victim. A victim of both the aggressor and my own mental state. Thankfully there came a turning point in my own mind where I simply decided I was no longer going to put up with this nonsense and instantly I became a survivor. The change was palpable. Never again did I experience either physical or emotional abuse from my aggressor, because I went from a position of weakness to a position of strength and he knew immediately his power over me was gone.

It is a choice of course. There are undoubtedly all sorts of subconscious reasons people remain victims, just as there are reasons people choose to be survivors. I would suggest if one is able to adopt the position of being a survivor the road to getting past horrendous obstacles might just be that bit smoother.

Jeff Mowatt

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Victim vs. Survivor Mentality

I'm inclined so see things as Steve does, though my own experience in minor in comparison. When Steve describes the way others respond, or don't that's something I can relate to. First you don't want to say all you feel because of the discomfort it places on others. Observers will say as they have "I think it's great that you've put the problem away in a box and got on with things". It can be externalised, placing greater importance on other things. The bad news is something you don't want to talk about, the good news nobody has time to listen to as I found standing in a high street, asking if I might tell of something important. They didn't have time, I learned. - along with much about their being busy with divorce, travel plans blah blah blah. When good news came recently, I found myself going into Santander, just to tell someone - even though they sat behind a sheet of plate glass. Rather this as an emotional gambit than to be disregarded on a 'social network' . This can really make you feel unimportant folks, as do poignant anecdotes of taxi drivers battling on against all odds. Shades of the Wizard of Oz - with it all being right there in the back yard. With Ecademy, tellers of these inspirational tales seem often to correlate with those that at the same time fail to engage with the responder. This leaves a strong impression that you're being sold something. The recurring impression that "a man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds" As I was saying just today

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Loran Northey

lorannorthey-191391

Victim vs. Survivor Mentality

Thanks LaRae, my family always said Brush yourself off - it's all character building! We never went in for much sympathy in our house :) but it worked in our favour, I think Loran Northey www.waystowealth.co.uk Providing training and coaching to make money through your property knowledge

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Ann Andrews CSP

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Victim vs. Survivor Mentality

Brilliant blog LaRae - being a victim or being a survivor is a choice. We can choose to lie on the ground feeling sorry for ourselves or we can choose to get up and keep going. Sadly in many ways we have created a victim society rather than a survivor society - so when we read blogs like this it hopefully reaches the people who need to read it - after all who are the people we admire - the people who have overcome the most horrendous adversity and made a difference - like Helen Keller! My Gran used to say (if ever there was a danger that I felt sorry for myself) if it hasn't kiilled you it will only make you stronger! I'd love to post your blog on The Corporate Toolbox site as an article if you are interested in chatting LaRae - go well and keep sending out the message - ann Sign up for our Powertools newsletter and recive a regular supply of tips and tools for growing your business and receive 5 Truly Inspiring e-books as our gift to you. Ann Andrews CSP The Corporate Tool-box Online Business and Training Resources

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Ruth Edwards

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Victim vs. Survivor Mentality

I concur, another great blog LaRae! It is a choice of course. There are undoubtedly all sorts of subconscious reasons people remain victims, just as there are reasons people choose to be survivors. I would suggest if one is able to adopt the position of being a survivor the road to getting past horrendous obstacles might just be that bit smoother. Some of us are natural survivors - others are not - yet those skills can be learned. I believ. When do you think a victim changes their mindset to that of a survivor? Is it when the 'survivors' show them how to open their minds to learning from their experiences and they see the alternative or is it when they make that decision by themselves to do so and then act upon it? Perhaps a bit of both, but what about those who do not have the opportunity or caring of others to see the alternative? There are those who will never look at life in any other way than as that of victim - it is in their makeup in my opinion. Life owes them a living and good things without any effort on their part or at least because they have been dealt a bad hand to date and its now time things changed for them they think. But it is not within their makeup to discover how to or want to take action and really change their 'victim' attitude despite the fact their life may be quite privileged in many ways . I know a few people like this and this is their default mode. There are others who simply need that guidance from those who have trod the path and survived and learned and moved on, who give of some time and empathy and sympathy combined with selfless interest in supporting others and helping them to grow and flourish. In giving ,like this they can help others to help themselves and to quote a famous song - " to pick themselves up and get back in the race". Hopefully, most will get that from parental sources and those closest to them to care... I think you are right to a point that pandering to that victim mentality is unhealthy - because we can be feeding them exactly what they crave. But, what if you were just a few feet away from making a difference and you withdrew that help? You would never know I suppose. And sometimes i think of those times when I have felt the need of sympathy in times of bereavement and pain and have been hurt by the inability of others to put themselves in your shoes and share your pain, as Steve says,. Even for just a few minutes instead of ignoring it as if it does not exist. That is a lonely place to be, yet I still hang on to the belief that there is much scope for the survivors to teach others - and help their path to be 'smoother'. All the 'victim' needs to bring to the table is a desire for change and an open mind. Ruth "Unlock the heart and voice of your business and bring your brand to life"

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LaRae Wilkins

laraewilkins-501505

Victim vs. Survivor Mentality

Thanks very much Sally, I am truly humbled by your response and the response of others here. Yes, there are people who subconsciously relish the role of victim, sadly. I've known several, and invariably pity them for it is a trap that is difficult to escape from once one is snared. I am so glad you were able to shed that state of mind Sally. Thank you again for your kind words. L.

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Sally Asling

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Victim vs. Survivor Mentality

LaRae This is by far the BEST BLOG I have read on Ecademy in A LONG LONG time. Everything you write is so correct. There are so many people who have had XYZ happen and stay in victim mode forever. Yes, I mean forever, as they may beyond the initial situation but have found they positively thrive on the attention that the victim gets, and need the constant reassurance and sympathy means there is ALWAYS a situation in which they perceive themselves as the Victim - and I know ALOT of women in particular that can reach into late mid life still in this mental framework. I am speaking from experience of someone who allowed themselves to be the victim for considerable time. Like you so rightly say, La Rae, until you move from that and into Survivor mode, you keep attracting more of the same, and dealing with it the same, stuck in a karmic loop. GREAT BLOG Sx Sally L Asling Author - Appreciating Angels: Sarah's Story Appreciating the angels in our life and learning we can all be angels to each other www.appreciatingangels.com

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Nighet Nasim Riaz

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Victim vs. Survivor Mentality

To grieve, then to pick oneself up and move forward is the way I deal with most matters. By constantly 'living in the moment' where one is most vulnerable is detrimental not only to the person but to all those around them and the negativity becomes greater. Only by moving forward can we help that dissipate, but it has to be done in the person's own time. To push someone can backfire. I do sometimes lapse into victim mentality but these periods are becoming less and less, as I always pull myself out of this mindset by focusing my energies on all the things which have really meant something to me and the reason for feeling low will pass. To me, its not taking control but being aware that only you can make the change you want to see. Feels as if I am rambling again! :o) N N Riaz nnriaz@googlemail.com

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LaRae Wilkins

laraewilkins-501505

Victim vs. Survivor Mentality

"It is no fun at all living without legs or with any serious impairment or disease, nor is being desperately ugly or poor or depressed or exhausted or in grief. Why on earth should people in those states, which everyone will be at some time, why should they have to pretend it's no big deal? Who for? Give me real, at any time, over chirpiness." I couldn't agree more Steve, and would never suggest otherwise. I am not talking about false chirpiness or telling people in those circumstances what or how they should feel. Listening and feeling genuine empathy is the only truly human response. And no, none of the things you describe are any fun, nor should anyone suggest they are, but nonetheless they came through it. They survived where many would not. That in and of itself is a victory of the human spirit. Strength can come from that knowledge.

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Martin Dewhurst

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Victim vs. Survivor Mentality

Yes, I hear what you're saying Steve and conclude that pain is a right of passage in itself. I've cried more tears in this past 10 years than I did in a lifetime before and through that I learn each day that my pain is still fractional compared to the pain some people endure, you for one! And I can't serve anyone, do anything, shift anything if I'm on my knees, to stand I reach for the clarity within me and within you, for the affirming signs, for the possibility your / our triumph demonstrates. Martin

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RealSteveHolmes Fading away soon

cvsage-38854

Victim vs. Survivor Mentality

There is a world of difference between actually being there, and surviving, and the fashionable alternative: spouting positive thinking of the kind that claims that a little faked cheerfulness will deal with any ill. You have to be there before you realise what pain lies behind courage and how very much it takes to find that courage. You don't just turn on a tap and start acting all chippy so as not to scare the nice people who don't want to know about your pain. Far more useful would be if those nice people had enough empathy to show some willingness to share the pain, if only by listening to what the brave have to say. Generally speaking, they do not. The moment the sufferer begins speaking they get out their whitewash cannons and start spray their cheery platitudes over every surface to drown out their own fear. All suffering should be OUR suffering, but we treat those who get the really bad luck like lepers because we can't even bear to imagine it happening to ourselves. It is no fun at all living without legs or with any serious impairment or disease, nor is being desperately ugly or poor or depressed or exhausted or in grief. Why on earth should people in those states, which everyone will be at some time, why should they have to pretend it's no big deal? Who for? Give me real, at any time, over chirpiness. YOU DON'T KNOW ME -- YOU PROBABLY DON'T LIKE ME I DO NOT WANT YOU FOLLOWING ME I may invite you here if your "blogs" are interesting enough: New forum here.

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Stan Wright

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Victim vs. Survivor Mentality

Hi LaRae I think you are right; one of the best examples of this I have seen is the brave soldiers coming back from the front line with numerous limbs missing and saying "I was lucky". That says it all for me; in the face of some of the worst things life can throw at them they are survivors not victims! Stan

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Martin Dewhurst

martin-dewhurst-30038

Victim vs. Survivor Mentality

Brilliant LaRae, here's to affirming our peers, celebrating each others victories, encouraging each others positive steps towards the greater part of us. Straight after reading your blog I found this by Adam Eason about inner dialogue and in it he writes ... As I wrote about last week when I discussed our cognitions in mood development, many people have a positive and progressive internal dialogue that encourages them - especially when they have done something good. It is like they have their own personal inspiring coach: "You can do it." "Go for it." "Good for you!" You did it!" "Wow, that was amazing!" Some people, especially people with self-esteem issues or that are overly critical of themselves have an internal dialogue that holds them back and puts them down: "Who do you think you are? You can't do that." "What an idiot." "Why are you so stupid?" "You can't do anything right." "You're so clumsy." These are just put-downs. Martin

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Fraser Hay

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Victim vs. Survivor Mentality

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