There are so many “societal norms” about being a woman that really grind my gears. The way we feel required to apologize for everything, even if it’s not our fault. The insecurities we may have around other women. Different but similar, the insecurities we have around men. Also, the way we can crave unhealthy or unnecessary attention.
But of all of the “expected” female traits that society carries these days, the one that irritates me the most is having a victim mindset. Women who can’t take responsibility for their own actions. Women who constantly place the blame, but never take it.
The Victim Mindset
One of my good friends and colleagues once told me, “Weak women really piss me off.” I had never heard it said so simply, and her words are so true.
In a world where we are trying to raise strong women, the victim mindset really can put a damper on things, and push negative examples onto impressionable young minds.
Carrying this personality trait- the victim mindset- is detrimental to everyone who has a relationship with you. It causes negative impacts in your personal and professional life.
Let me give you a couple of very basic examples.
At work, Marcia was given a project deadline. She delegated a few parts of the project to others, including Sally. Sally ended up failing to complete her part, and Marcia missed the project deadline. When Marcia’s supervisor asked her why she did not meet the deadline, she replied, “Well, Sally didn’t get me her part in time.”
Instead of blaming Sally, Marcia should have said, “I failed to follow up appropriately with my team to ensure the work was being done. I apologize, and can assure you it will not happen again.” Marcia should have pulled up her big girl pants, and owned it.
Another example: Leslie struggles to get into a home routine, and regularly stays up too late, then hits “snooze” on her alarm a few too many times each morning. Subsequently, she dropped her daughter off late at school five days in a row. When confronted by the attendance coordinator, she said, “Well, there were lots of other parents dropping their kids off at the same time!”
Instead of projecting her personal failures, Leslie should have said, “You are right, I apologize. Truthfully, I have been struggling with our bedtime and morning routines at home. I will correct the issue, and it will not happen again.” Leslie should have owned up to her mistakes.
There is nothing wrong with making mistakes. We are human, we all make mistakes. As an adult, if you make a mistake, own up to it, apologize, and correct it.
The more times you fail to own up to your mistakes and instead blame other people, the more you really start to believe yourself. The victim mindset can overcome you to the point you actually believe you had no role in the things that have happened to you.
If you’ve found yourself in this nasty habit for too long, now is the time to change your ways!
You are not a victim of your circumstances, but rather, a product of your responses.
Ladies, it's time to own up!
The Workaround for the Victim Mindset
I would love to research and develop a plan to assist those in the victim mindset on how to overcome it; however, I don’t think that would be effective. There are other people out there better suited for that job, like psychologists.
For now, in this forum, I want to provide by best advice for how to deal with those in your life who may possess this trait so that you don’t lose your sanity in the process.
Do Not Engage in the Behavior.
Part of why people fall into the victim mindset is because of the attention they receive. Therefore, to cope with the person in your life who is stuck in the victim mindset, do not feed into it.
When those around me are placing blame in the wrong areas, I simply move the conversation forward, ignoring the comments.
Set a Good Example.
Those operating under the victim mindset may be placing blame on others because they do not want to seem flawed; they want to be liked. Therefore, it’s important that you model good behavior, and perhaps it will rub off on them.
If Leslie really wants to fit in with the PTA Moms who get their kids to school on time, maybe she will start getting her kids to school on time, just to fit in (this is like Fitting-In-101… do what they do).
Protect Your Emotional Well-Being.
Don’t let those in the victim mindset suck you in by using emotional blackmail tactics. The “woe is me” persona is exhausting to be around, and it only gets worse if you engage and amplify the behaviors.
As those in this mindset are often attention seeking, it’s common for them to turn the tables on you if you allow it. By not engaging, you can upset them, driving them to tell you that you are now a cause of their emotional distress.
Do not engage, lead by example, and protect yourself.
Ladies, let’s rally together as strong women. Let’s set a good example for our children and for the generations to follow. Let’s stop apologizing for things that we had nothing to do with. Let’s stop being so dang insecure about ourselves.
Most importantly, let’s stop blaming other people or situations for our shortcomings and instead, let’s own up to our mistakes, then create a plan of action to move forward like a boss.