Have you ever known someone with a victim mentality? If you have, chances are likely you would know it. However, it is highly unlikely that the person who has chosen to believe this lie is aware of it. Of all the issues I’ve seen and ministered to over the years, this is one of the most difficult to get people to recognize and be willing to deal with so they can be free.
Someone with a victim mentality tends to wallow in self-pity. They believe everyone and everything is out to get them, and they feel powerless to do anything about it. When difficulties and disappointments come, as they do for all of us, they feel particularly targeted, as if nothing ever goes right for them. It seems to them that everyone else has it easier. They feel continually attacked by people, life in general, and even God, at times.
Often, this belief has its root in some traumatic experience. The “victim” felt violated, taken advantage of, unfairly accused, mistreated, etc. When it seems to happen over and over, they become convinced that this is just their lot in life; it will always be that way. This expectation then gives place to behaviors that actually set them up to be re-victimized. They usually become angry at the people or situations that have “done them wrong,” but underlying the anger is the feeling of powerlessness.
The belief of being powerless leads to blame-shifting, i.e., “it isn’t my fault; it’s someone else’s fault.” Victims refuse to take responsibility for their own behavior. They will make excuses for themselves, while blaming others, God, or life in general. Their outlook on life is negative. They find it difficult to trust anyone. It is a very debilitating lie!
So how does someone get free from this belief system? Often, inner healing and deliverance is needed first, so that the person is able to recognize the lie. We all choose to believe the things we do – no one can make us believe anything. Realizing they have chosen to believe this lie and live accordingly, is the first step to getting free. Repenting means, “to change the way you think,” and is necessary, for believing any lie is sin; it is coming into agreement with the enemy, the father of lies.
The next step is learning to take responsibility for their actions. This may take time, for old thought patterns don’t go away immediately. Meditating on the truth often, will accelerate the change in thinking. The truth is, God has given us free will, which means we can choose what we want to believe. Even when painful things happen that we didn’t choose, we can determine to respond in faith, believing God’s Word to work it all for good in our lives. He desires truth in our innermost being (Ps. 51:6) because He IS Truth and what He says about us is true. Growing in intimacy with God will further help us become aware of, and secure in, our true identity as God’s beloved child. We can be free, if we choose to be!