What causes people to act like victims? When you believe that your feelings are a reflection of what’s happening around you, you’ll interpret your emotions as a result of what is happening to you. For example, you feel pain when “bad” things happen and pleasure when “good” things happen. You will interpret your emotions as indicators of right and wrong, shunning your painful emotions such as anger, resentment, anxiety and fear as “stressors.”
You may also blame yourself or blame others because of how you feel.
Common expressions of this belief system sound like this:
- “My co-worker hurt my feelings.”
- “My boss stressed me out.”
- “I’m having a bad day.”
If this feels familiar to you, you’re not alone. Mostly everyone acts like a victim from time to time, and we don’t even realize it.
Taking back your power means seeing your emotions in light of your basic needs. When your subconscious isn’t convinced that you are on track to meet a need, it will send up painful emotions such as frustration, fear or resentment.
You can take control and be responsible for your actions. Here’s how:
Don’t take things personally
Start by questioning your beliefs. Are you jumping to conclusions? Have you interpreted the situation and its meaning in a way that victimizes you? You might change the focus by putting yourself in another person’s shoes. You can ask questions of others to gain clarification.
Convert the cause of a painful feeling to a trigger
Being triggered puts space between you and your reactions. Notice when you are upset or tense and whether you are blaming things around you for how you feel. Instead, practice calling the external situation or person a trigger. Whatever is happening is a signal for you to look at a need you have that you aren’t meeting.
Take personal responsibility for your feelings
No one is making you sad, happy, angry, etc. There is something inside you that you can examine and understand more clearly. You are the only one who can control your reactions.
When you take full responsibility for your needs as the basis for your feelings, you stop acting like a victim and start taking control of your well-being.