It might surprise you to hear that victim thinking could actually be a gift. After all, our work is about supporting people to shift out of victim thinking that produces the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™ roles of Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer. We are all about stepping into the creative TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)™ roles of Creator, Challenger and Coach.
From time to time, we are all victims of situations such as a car accident, a random crime or health issue. We are victimized by the situation, but our thinking does not have to take on a victim mentality.
When we refer to victim thinking, we are referring to the way we think about life events. Victim thinking includes a pretty nasty list of characteristics such as:
- Resentful and “me” focused when you don’t have what you want;
- Blame of others or external circumstances for what happens;
- Feeling powerless and believing you have little or no control in your life;
- May feel “entitled” and angry about what you don’t have;
- Saying “poor me” or “why me?” to yourself and others, either out loud or unconsciously.
When it rains and you thought it was supposed to be sunny, do you have the “poor me” attitude? How about getting stuck in traffic? Do you pout and become angry as though you are the only one in the traffic jam? When your client suddenly cancels an appointment, do you feel fearful and make up a story of impending financial ruin?
These are examples of victim thinking. There can be a valuable gift in noticing your victim thinking if you are willing to observe the grip it has on you.
Next time you feel upset, pause for a moment and notice your thinking pattern. Ask yourself two questions:
“What did I expect that didn’t happen?”
“What happened that I didn’t expect?”
As you stay with those questions, pause and listen to your thoughts. If the victim thinking occurs, it becomes a red flag that signals you to alter your thinking toward a more empowered and positive response to the moment.
As you become more skilled at hearing the comments you make to yourself, you now have the power to interrupt the pattern and choose the more resourceful TED* roles of Creator, Challenger and Coach. If you are willing to be open and listen, then noticing your victim thinking can be the gift that propels you down the road toward personal empowerment.