I see it quite often. It is not limited to gender, race, social position, financial status or life accomplishment.
It does not seem to be connected to the size of the problem or the breadth of the opposition.
It is not related to failure. It is not determined by whose fault the situation is.
Rather, the “victim” attitude is a mindset that completely precludes any future growth.
Let’s talk about “Victim Mentality”.
Victims see themselves as being unfairly treated. They view themselves as persecuted, misunderstood or abandoned.
To be fair, we may all be victims of someone’s anger, revenge or malice. Life happens, and people can be cruel. But that does not mean we need to embrace the feelings associated with this.
A victim views his own sincerity as a sign of his “rightness”. He says, “I am sincere, therefore I am right.” Criticisms and suggestions are viewed as opposition. Victims don’t like correction, because correction reinforces the belief that people are apposed to me.
The victim feel helpless, feels like his hands are tied; feels like things beyond his control with no positive solutions in mind.
It is possible to be sincerely wrong.
It is also possible that criticism is caused by our performance. Suggestions come from people who truly want to see things improve about us but we may have interpreted them as criticism.
When we are stuck in “victim” mode, 4 things may happen.
• all our mental energy is geared to survival.
• Protecting against the opposition becomes primary
• Our focus becomes on how we’ve been wronged rather than how we can live a healthy life.
• Sometimes we step over into a sick mental space where we over-spiritualize our trauma, blaming it on demons or demonically inspired people. (Granted, at times opposition within ministry environments does have a demonic component but for leaders why would that matter? If you are a Christian you have known since day one you have and will have spiritual opposition at times. This is not a picnic!)
We must move from victimization to leadership. Leadership is about creating positive change. No excuses, no complaints, no fault finding. I’m the leader and it’s up to me to make a difference. Where there is no leadership, nothing changes. That is the key; if nothing is changing for the good, no one is leading.
It is a sad commentary that Lots of leaders, even sincere, God-loving people who want to serve and bless and advance the kingdom of Jesus Christ, are stuck in the mud of the “victim mentality.”
Leaders are never victims. At least not for long. When it seems that everything is wrong and everyone is against us and nothing is growing or moving forward, the leader says, “Something must be done. I better do that something.”
That something is not the following:
• OFFENSE: attacking those who attack. It is not a counter strike.
• DEFENSE: It is not building a bunker to huddle down for the long fight.
It is exactly the opposite. This story illustrates what leadership rather than victimization is.
In William Manchester’s biography of Douglas MacArthur, there is an account that shows MacArthur’s sense of invincibility.
Often in the middle of a battle General MacArthur would stand up on the battle field to get a better look at the situation. Other officers in fright would yell at him to please get down lest he get shot.
He would always reply, “Don’t worry about me. You can’t die before your time.”
So there he stood in the line of fire and directed the battle. And he did not die there! He lived to be an old man.
I don’t advocate standing up for sniper fire, but I do advocate the mentality. When personal battles come, or your workplace is a battlefield, or even your ministry or church has struggles and differences and divisions, stand up and direct the future.
The only one who is truly a victim is the one who has given up. I’ve known far too many leaders who hide, or have themselves protected by others. No one gets to them. They are no longer out front working on the future. Now it’s all about protecting their legacy or staying safe.
Just a few things will turn this around;
1. WHERE. Take a long serious look at where you are and how you got there.
2. WHY. Identify why you are there.
3. HOW. Consider your options out. There is always more than one solution.
4. POSITIVITY. Do not complain about where things are.
5. MOVE. Make a decision to do something that moves your life, business, or people forward.
6. STOP WITH THE BOOHOO. Stop crying over what is not right. Joy comes in the morning.
Rise up and walk.
And guess what? Something will change. You will be energized, positive, and powerful.
YOU WILL NO LONGER FEEL LIKE A VICTIM.