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How to Overcome the Victim Mindset After Divorce

July 24, 2023

No matter what you discover on your journey through divorce, recognizing unhealthy mindsets and patterns is an important step that will enable you to push fear aside and heal, create a new life and find happiness after divorce.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

aside and heal, create a new life and find happiness after divorce.

BY RACHEL S. RUBY • JUL 21, 2023

 

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

 

It is common knowledge that divorce usually is challenging and often filled with big emotions, but did you know that many people react by going into a victim state? By staying in a victim state, one can only expect negative situations to continue, as the brain will provide what we focus upon.

 

Let’s define what it means to be in a victim state. It is the place where we believe things happen TO us, and where we ignore or fail to believe the truth that we are the only ones in control of our lives – not other people or circumstances. This may cause us to complain or whine, express anger at what is happening to us, blame others for our unhappy situations or resort to poor health habits. Being stuck in this state means we literally cannot heal or find true happiness because our mindset is focused on the past rather than on the present and moving forward.

Many humans possess some aspects of the victim mindset at certain periods throughout life, as we are simply human, and others tend to settle into this state and may live that way for a while or even the rest of their lives. This is because they become comfortable there, and it is easy to blame others or the universe for bad situations or negativity. Such people do not understand what is happening nor how to get out of this mindset, but it is possible to learn how to take back control of our lives and be in harmony with ourselves. The following actions will help you get there.

Recognize the victim mindset

This is the first step in getting out of a victim mentality. The victim mindset usually comes from fear; divorce can instill much fear into our lives. Many people are not even aware they are in it, so more often than not, this is revealed when they seek help — either from traditional therapy, energy healers, coaches or conversations with those who care about them. It is impossible to move forward until one realizes there is a problem.

Commit to shedding the victim persona

Once you have identified that you are in a victim state, you can start taking action to get out to create a beautiful new life post-divorce. Some people may need help at this point — from therapists, energy healers or healing coaches. Just like with an addiction, it is necessary to choose to get out of this mindset and heal, so it is important to commit to doing so.

Stop blaming

Since people living in the victim mentality believe that bad things continually happen to them, blaming becomes part of normal behavior. Mostly this is done to get out of looking within oneself. In other words, it is easier to blame others for what is happening in your own life rather than accepting responsibility that you are the reason you are in a victim mindset and that only you can control your life.

 

More importantly, blaming does nothing to get you out of being a victim, healing and moving on; on the contrary, blaming simply keeps one stuck.

Forgive yourself and your former spouse

Once victimhood it is brought to the surface, it is essential not to let shame take over, but rather to acknowledge it, forgive oneself and move forward. It simply IS; there is no need to dwell on it or on the wasted time that was spent living in that mindset because that means attention is not focused on the present and making a plan to move forward.

Similarly, it is imperative to forgive the former spouse, as blaming and anger reside in the body and can manifest in physical symptoms (like illness), unhealthy behavior (such as drinking, drugs and other addictions, and over-eating) and emotional symptoms (like fatigue, lack of energy, or depression). All of the feelings need to be felt, but then let go.

Analyze triggers for the victim mindset

One must identify what brought oneself into the mindset to prevent oneself from sliding back into victim ether. With a divorce, this is easier to pinpoint since it is fraught with so many big emotions and negativity surrounding the death of a union, and many of the emotions come from fear. Likewise, societal, cultural, religious and familial beliefs surrounding divorce can also contribute to victimhood. Many of these beliefs were taught to us since we were children and are ingrained into our minds, so there is no wonder so much shame can accompany divorce.

It is important to go deeper into the feelings and fears that trigger the victim mindset, such as recognizing anger toward the former spouse and realizing that there are two parties in a marriage, thus not only one to blame (plus focusing on the past keeps one stuck), fear of financial security, fear of being alone, etc. Once these are identified, steps can be taken to conquer the fears, so moving forward is possible.

Create a plan for moving forward

Once the victim mindset has been identified and there is a commitment to let it go and move forward, it is time to make a plan to create a new life post-divorce. To get started, envision what you want your new life to look like — what will bring you joy? Some people can answer this right away; others need to dive a little deeper and look into career goals, living arrangements, financial security and more. Once the goals and desires for the new life are apparent, we can start taking steps toward making them happen. One step at a time is still progress, so do not become overwhelmed, as healing takes time.

Practice mindfulness

Being mindful means focusing on the present without blame or judgment. It is something we need to do all the time, and when we get sidetracked, which is perfectly normal, we must bring ourselves back to being mindful. Mindfulness allows us to tune into our ambitions, goals and dreams to focus on making them realities. Some great ways to practice mindfulness are through the expression of gratitude (even when you don’t feel it, there is always something for which to be grateful), meditation (sitting quietly and focusing on the breath) or praying, and finding ways to serve others (volunteering, mentoring, helping with a good cause). All of these practices will lead to feeling good, which makes it easier to bring positive change into our lives.

(Entrepreneur)

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