It was a Saturday. Her husband had gone fishing, leaving her at home, just as she was all
week, with their two sons and no plans of their own.
Immediately the thoughts flooded in. Why am I the one who has to take care of them? Why can’t I go do something that I enjoy? Why am I stuck here again?
Her energy level plummeted. She felt heaviness in her chest and a constant chatter amounting to poor me in her mind.
It lasted all day. She didn’t know how to pull herself out of it.
She also found comfort in it, in paying herself that kind of attention.
My client’s story* probably feels familiar to you. Maybe you feel this way in your day-to-day existence or maybe it’s when you’re under stress. Either way, especially for moms of young children, feeling like you’ve been totally screwed over is a common experience because:
- You’re often the primary caregiver for your kids and the primary keeper of your home. That amounts to a lot of work, responsibility, and even stress.
- You tend to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, and you do so without receiving much validation, affirmation, or reprieve from your family, your friends, and your culture.
- You may have sacrificed yourself for the sake of your family. You put everyone else’s needs before yours, don’t take care of yourself, and aren’t even sure who you are or what you want anymore.
It’s no wonder then that you sink into this hole and don’t know how to climb out.
You’re a giver, a compassionate caretaker, who hands over all she has and in doing so, falls exhaustedly into victimhood, into being an individual at the effect of her circumstances.
You may notice your victim self when your kids track mud on the floor you just cleaned, or when you partner goes out with his friends and leaves you alone (again) at home, or when a friend isn’t available for a cocktail play date you desperately need, or when you live far from the I-need-to-leave-the-kids-with-you-right-now-because-I’m-losing-my-shit kind of help can extended family can offer.
Along with feeling as though you’re at the effect of your situation, you may feel guilt, worry, self-doubt, or fear. You may feel disengaged from life or bogged down by it. You may feel like you don’t have any options, and if you do you may have trouble choosing one.
To better understand what being the victim looks like for you consider these questions:
- When do you feel as though you have no power or choice in your situation?
- What triggers you—what thoughts, feelings, beliefs, experiences, or perceptions—to feel like you’re at the effect of your kids, your partner, your role, your situation, or your life?
- How does victimhood serve you?
When you’re in victim mode you accept no responsibility for the situation or your reaction to it. You allow your mental and emotional state to be influenced by the actions of people and things outside yourself. You’re at their mercy. You’re dependent on them to tell you what to think and feel. You’re their unintentional victim.
And you get something out of it.
Yes, you. The strong, independent, kickass woman depends on others to determine the thoughts in her head and feelings in her body. And then you, to one degree or another, thrive on it.
Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.
As you become more away of your tendencies, and to begin moving out of victimhood, ask yourself:
- How does being the victim hold me back?
- How would reducing or eliminating my victim energy/mindset help me?
- Instead of going into victim mode what would I like my response to triggering situations to be?
Victim mentality is a pattern, a habit. You don’t have to be stuck with it—victim to it—for all time. You’re capable of changing. You’re capable of anything, actually.
Want to bust out of victim mode and take charge of your thoughts and feelings? Schedule a complimentary coaching session and ask how the Energy Leadership Index Assessment and Debrief ($97) can get you there faster.
*Shared with permission