Born of trauma, loss, chaos, and injustice, the Victim mentality often feels like a strange form of justice or protection. It can cause you to become so self-focused and defensive that you incrementally push others away. The Victim Identity continually seeks attention and opportunities to commiserate with others. Or, alternatively, it chooses isolation, believing the lie that a hidden heart is a protected heart. It can lead to a life numbed by self-pity and sympathy.
The reason the Victim Identity seeks attention is because of deeply embedded pain.
There is a story deep within that needs to be told. It might a story that produces feelings of shame, anger, and confusion. For many people, facing the truth of what they’ve been through is terrifying, so they accept this draining mentality because it seems like the safer option.
So, how can you stop feeding it?
You intentionally, carefully, and lovingly begin to create and practice tiny, new ways of responding to the prompts generated by that unhealed trauma. Also, you can choose to respond to your pain with tiny acts of self-compassion, rather than sinking deeper into self-pity. You must choose on a moment by moment basis to believe that, in Christ, you have been given a new and powerful identity –
You are a Child of God, and that means you are beloved.
The Victim identity is created and fed the exact same way that you can accept your identity as a beloved Child of God
– one tiny decision after the next.
So, it’s also untangled the same way
– one tiny choice
– one tiny habit after the next.
Understand the anatomy of every habit
One of the best and simple ways to start this new level in your healing journey is to first understand the anatomy of every habit you have. It’s as easy as A-B-C. There is always an ‘Anchor,’. This is something in your existing routine or it can a be a feeling that prompts you to choose the habitual Behavior. Then there must be an immediate reward – or a tiny Celebration. The celebration is what wires the new habit into your brain.
To starve out the Victim Identity you must decide to focus on your brand new, super simple, God given identity alignment. When you encounter an Anchor moment, simply say out loud, “I am loved.” Speak it out every time your prompted or triggered by the reminders of that pain.
Self-compassion is an art that requires care and attention.
This kind of recovery effort is often best guided by a professional. Loving accountability can steer you away from the road of self-pity
—the road that reinforces your Victim Identity and takes you in circles. (Ever wonder why you have the same conversations repeatedly about your trauma with no evidence of progress in recovery?)
The trauma that tempted you to create and feed the victim identity was created one tiny decision after the next – but you can recode and reprogram your mind because absolutely nothing is impossible with God. I know it’s not easy, trauma recovery is work – but you are loved by Him and you are worth the work.
Juni Felix is a member of New York Times bestselling author Dr. B. J. Fogg’s Stanford Behavior Design Lab Teaching Team, a C. S. Lewis Institute Fellow, a speaker, and odcst and radio host. As a Tiny Habits® Coach who has long used the method to help others transform their lives and relationships with God, Juni has gone on to be a leader in the church, and an encourager to people around the world through her speaking, broadcasting, and podcasting ministries.