So I thought it was time I did a blog post on what I’m learning in therapy. I have been going to therapy consistently for over a year now. And I have learned a lot about myself and about my psychology in general. Something that recently came up was the idea that I was taking a part in the ‘Karpman Drama Triangle’.
Sounds complicated? Well its actually very simple as my therapist explained it. Think of a triangle where each point is a type of mentality – the victim, the rescuer and the persecutor. If you feel yourself identifying with any of these mentalities, you are taking part in this triangle, and this is not ideal.
Ideally, you should live your life not part of this triangle at all, because to take on any one of these personas is not good for your mental health.
Today, I am going to talk about one point of this triangle – the Victim Mentality, and how to stop identifying as the Victim.
5 Signs You Are Experiencing the Victim Mentality
- You constantly blame others or blame ‘the universe’ for you being miserable.
- You feel powerless to change your circumstances and experience negative emotions consistently as a result
- You constantly put yourself down
- You believe you are the ‘only one’ being mistreated
- You never do anything to analyze your own behaviour or improve your life
People with the Victim Mentality are themselves responsible for how they are feeling. I am not saying that actual victims of crimes etc. aren’t valid, because they are, and their feelings are valid. But that does not mean that you have to live your life in this negative mentality. If something happened to you, it does not mean that you need to live as a negative person for your whole life.
So, if you do identify as a victim – as I have found myself doing at certain times in the past, it is time to change your actions and improve your life.
How To Get Past The Victim Mentality
- Take responsibility for yourself
In other words – stop blaming others for your unhappiness. Nobody has the power to MAKE you unhappy. You are in control of your own emotions. So next time you find yourself blaming that other person for your crap morning in work – let it go. Let go of the grudge you are keeping against somebody else because I can guarantee that that other person isn’t being negatively affected by your unhappiness. It’s you that is being affected.
Which leads me on to my next point…
- Be compassionate with yourself
If you feel like you just can’t let go that easily and you’re blaming yourself for not being able to be positive straight away – stop! It’s not easy to change a mindset. It takes practice. But give yourself a break for trying. That’s the important thing – that you are trying.
- Be kind to others
One way to take the focus off of yourself and your woes is to practice focusing on somebody else. Smile at that person in work who looks down, and ask them how their weekend was. Compliment someone else on doing a good job or on an aspect of their personality that you enjoy. Think about volunteering for something in your locality. Focus on making someone else’s life a bit better, just by being in it.
- Challenge your own self thoughts
Stop thinking of the worst case scenario. Give yourself a break and think about changing your perceptions of situations. Are your thoughts negatively affecting your life? Well good news is – they’re just thoughts. And you have the power to think what you want. So next time you see yourself thinking the worst, turn it around and try thinking about what is probably the simplest explanation.
- Be grateful
Practice being grateful for what you DO have. Do you have a home, friends, family? Do you have your health? Do you have the ability to wake up in the morning and think clearly? Do you have the ability to go to work, to meet with others, to be independent? Write down a list of things you are grateful for and look at them every day.
I have talked about my role in the Karpman Drama Triangle extensively with my therapist and I have realised that it is self-imposed. I put the label of victim on myself. Nobody else thinks of me as the victim so what is my ‘why me?’ mentality doing for my health? Nothing.
I have been working on these tactics to change my mentality and I can safely say they are working. I keep a regular journal and write what I am grateful for every day. I have applied to be a volunteer for a local sports club and I am working on challenging my self thoughts.
Disclaimer: I am not a mental health professional. I have simply written this blogpost from my own perspective and from what I’ve been working on in therapy. If this is something that is affecting you, make sure to talk to a mental health professional about it.