Stop Calling Yourself a Victim, You’re Not!!
People have a desire to be part of a larger group, something beyond just themselves alone. Part of this is our genetic makeup reinforced by thousands of years of association. Humans simply are pack animals. We don’t think of ourselves in those terms but look at our behavior. We surround ourselves by family and friends – that’s our pack. Studies by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar suggest the human pack is about one hundred fifty strong. That’s the largest number of people we each generally associate with to maintain social cohesiveness.
We are constantly looking for associations and to be part of groups. These groups help identify who we are. We tend to identify with the people within our groups because we share a common interest or common trait. This is the basis of clubs, sports fans, recreation leagues, and even criminal street gangs.
A friend of mine belongs to a victim’s group. When she told me they were having a victim’s retreat over the course of a weekend it sparked a thought in me. Part of our association within groups of like-minded people is in the furtherance of our group’s cause. Whatever the cause is, we immerse ourselves in it, and it becomes an identity that we take on. We entrench ourselves with these like-mined people, we talk about like-minded things, and it becomes who we are.
A lot of good work comes out of victim’s organizations, but we also have to see it for what it is. If we are entrenched with the victim role that means we are continuing the victim role. Our identity becomes that of a victim or the more popular recent term, “a survivor.”
These organizations can offer help to victims of events, or perhaps we can even find support for ourselves, we just need to be wise about our involvement. If you have been the victim of an event or situation you must understand that so much of your healing is your mindset. So much of your progress depends on your mindset. So if you are constantly surrounded by victims, and you see yourself as a victim, then that is not a healthy mindset for healing and growth. That is a mindset that keeps you in the lifestyle of the victim role.
We need support groups. We need mentors. We need people who have been through the same ordeals we have and understand our path. These are key figures to helping us get through our process, but we must find a balance. If being entrenched in a group slows our healing progress because the other people in the group can’t move beyond the role of the victim, then perhaps that particular group is not healthy for us.
Being a victim of some act that happened to you is an event in your life – it doesn’t have to be your entire life. You don’t have to identify with being a victim. If you have been victimized in some way, deal with the event, heal from it and move on with your life. You don’t need to categorize yourself as a victim. If you do, chances are it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy and you will stay in that lifestyle. This will affect every aspect of your life; career, family, future relationships, daily decisions and courses or action, etc.
Personally, I don’t consider myself a victim or survivor. I have never once used those terms to identify who I am. What I am is a person who has survived some pretty horrific events early in life. Here’s the psychology – being a survivor is a present tense context. We view being a survivor in the present – which means our adversities are also in the present. So if they are in the present, have we really moved beyond them? Whereas, I say that I have survived my events. Survived is a past tense word, which is where I have left my adversities – in the past.
It doesn’t change who we are and what we have gone through. What it changes is how we view ourselves – it changes our mindset. Our mindset is the key to our survival, growth and success. We are not defined by the adversities in our lives, we are defined by how we manage them. I am not a victim, nor will I ever be one.