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Shippy's avatar

Have you ever been called a victim?

Asked by Shippy (9857 points ) March 7th, 2012

I suffer with bipolar, currently I am very depressed. At this time, everything seems insurmountable, too much to handle and often I am filled with despair. I also live alone, have no job, and have incurred debt due to unemployment.

I have no insurance for therapy or medication which is not helping of course.

However, of late a few people who have cared, have called me a victim thinker. They also tell me to snap out of it, that I can achieve more than I am if I want to. So how does one change from being a victim thinker then, with positive thoughts? with different attitudes, or different actions? If one of my teeth breaks I am filled with panic, I don’t have the money to fix it, I fear dentists and am filled with all sorts of phobias. I wish I could have a brain transplant to be honest. How do I stop being a victim and so fearful?

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15 Answers

CaptainHarley's avatar

No, never.

You might want to see a doctor and perhaps get a diagnosis. It sounds to me as if you might have a homone imbalance.

tom_g's avatar

First of all, I’m sorry you’re going through all of this. Depression sucks (believe me, I know).

As for the victim mentality – this is a huge topic. One thing you might want to do is imagine explaining yourself to someone who has just escaped a war zone and had been tortured and raped for years. Or maybe imagine telling your story to an 8-year-old child who has been given 3 months to live due to cancer.

I’m not proposing that nothing is bad because there is always worse to compare it to. I’m merely suggesting that the act of imagining this might produce some emotions and perspective that you had never imagined before. For example, if you feel embarrassed – explore that.

Not feeling like a victim is difficult for most people who aren’t even suffering from debilitating depression. We go to the store and feel that people are violating our rights because they are going 5 miles per hour under the speed limit. The whole “first world problems” meme resonates with a lot of people because it is true.

Sometimes feeling like a victim and feeling that there is nothing good is just habit. Anxiety is often just imagination. We imagine a future that does not exist. The practice of being here for the present has worked wonders for me. Sometimes, when you are truly present you can truly see – all of the bad, awful things, as well as all of the beauty that you may be missing.

Anyway, I’m just rambling. The only suggestions I can make would be to see if there are any free mental health services you are eligible for, start a meditation practice (it’s free), and try a number of healthy practices that will get your mind leaning in the right direction (gratitude practice, loving kindness, etc). Good luck.

Shippy's avatar

@tom_g thank you so much for that, it made a lot of sense to me.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m bipolar, too. I know people mean well, but many bipolar folks don’t think the same as others. In particular, they like to blame the victim. They tell you that you should just “snap out of it,” as if you want to be sick. As if staying sick is your choice.

It isn’t. We would “snap out of it” if we could. In a heartbeat! We are sick because there’s a problem in our brain chemistry and it is not something we can control by thought—at least, not easily. Thoughts can make a big difference, but they take a long time to work and often times, we don’t have that long.

I don’t tell you this to discourage you. I say this to acknowledge the reality. It really helps if you have support. I was able to recover because I had a wife who loves me and who made sure I did the things I needed to to get better. I have a job with good health insurance. I could see a psychiatrist and pay for it out of pocket and I could afford therapy for several years.

One thing that supported me that is free is a support group. I found one at dbsa.org. They are a national organization and can help you find support groups around the country in the US. Support groups often can help you find resources for jobs and insurance and health care. You may be eligible for disability benefits.

Anyway, to answer your question about victim mentality, let me tell you my experience. First off, I can tell that you don’t want to be a victim simply by asking this question. I can also tell you that you do not have the victim mentality, whatever that is. But your people who told you about it don’t know what they are talking about.

Yes, our own expectations about our future affect how we think and what we think we can accomplish. I’m actually going through a bit of a spot of trouble of my own right now and I am feeling like I can’t do what I need to do, which has to do with pleasing my son. I am in danger of beating myself up for this, so I better get it done.

But the thing is, we aren’t in control of this and it isn’t our fault. In fact, what helped me get better was giving in. Realizing I had no control. I couldn’t control my attitude. I couldn’t just will myself to be better. Why? Because I’m fucking depressed! My brain doesn’t work that way and when I try to make it work that way, I fail, and then I blame myself for failing, and then I get worse.

The instant I give up (and it has to be real giving up, not pretend giving up because I know this works), a huge burden is lifted from me. No longer do I have to be responsible for succeeding against my depression. I’m trying. I know I’m trying, but it’s a hopeless task. I can’t succeed. I have no choice but to be depressed.

And just like that, the depression has nothing to go on. It lightens. All along, it was feeding off of my attempts to fight it. By fighting it, I was making it stronger and deeper. In giving up my fight, it got no more nourishment. I could no longer fail. It was the failure, it seems that made me worse. By being unable to fight, I can’t fail, and when failure is off the table, I am fine as I am, and that helps me get better.

You are fine as you are. You don’t have to do what others tell you. Don’t fall into that trap. Let yourself be depressed. Be ok with being depressed. Depression doesn’t like that. But if you are truly ok with it, it will have nowhere to gain sustenance. You will accept yourself.

Self acceptance, even acceptance of a flawed, depressed self, is the basis for a more relaxed existence. It buys you time to start learning coping techniques. Things like meditation and exercise and volunteering and doing creative things. Things that can help you forget what you think about yourself and allow you to focus outside of yourself, doing things that serve others.

Serving others helps you get outside yourself and it helps you stop obsessing about yourself. It helps you avoid the mental fog that depression delivers due to altered brain chemistry. When you sneak around depression, you can often start finding yourself being the self you want to be. Just don’t think about it. Do it, but don’t think about it.

Depression loves to eat up our thoughts. It loves to send things around in never-ending spirals that circle down to death. Oddly, I have found, if I give into it, I might find myself outside of it. Depression jujitsu, I guess. Kind of nuts all by itself.

Good luck. Your hope is justified. But it takes work. Work you are capable of. I know you can give in to your depression—if that’s the route you choose to go. This doesn’t make sense to everyone. It doesn’t work for everyone. It’s just an option out there.

Coloma's avatar

No. However, I let go of a friend that couldn’t get past their victim attitude last year. They were choosing to stay in a dysfunctional relationship and all they did was complain about their husband but took no affirmative action to either fix the relationship of leave.They were also manipulative and that was a large part of letting go as well.
Sometimes we are victims, but, most of the time we do choose our own fate and we are 100% responsible for ourselves and the course of our lives.

While you may need psychiatric intervention for a multitude of issues, you are still responsible for your actions, attitude or lack of and people will get sick and tired of listening to someone that complains and refutes all sound advice. If you’re serious about changing your life than you need to look into some county mental health services which are free, and start taking action to make some changes in your circumstance.
A library card is free, or nearly so, as well and obviously, you have a computer, sooo, start researching inspirational material and positive thinking articles.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.
Are you going to take it, or just complain how you can’t, won’t or don’t want to?
Make a mission statement! Do you truly WANT to change your life or is the payoff of staying in a victim place worth it to you?
What are you getting out of it?
Financial help from friends and family?
Tea and sympathy, attention?

You can change your circumstance, lots of people have dug themsleves out of bad situations. But first, yes, you do need an attitude adjustemnt and perhaps some mental health intervention.
CALL your county mental health services today, right now! Just do it!
Best wishes to you!

Shippy's avatar

@Coloma thank you for your reply, I do not live in the USA, so free help is not available. Apologies, I should have put that in my question. Again thanks for raising some thoughtful ideas. I am alone most the time, so no tea an sympathy, but at least here I can talk I guess.

annewilliams5's avatar

Ok. First of all you need to find someone to talk with, someone who will not judge you and will listen, just to you. If you can find that person, let it all out. Work with it, much like clay. Self-victimization is easy to label, by the outside world. People have a tendency to do that when they can’t fix it for you, and you are not “fixing’ it fast enough to make them comfortable around you. Everyone else is right. You can work within your circumstances, and find ways to cope and live with your limitations and challenges. But, that takes time. I often find it easy to visualize life as being a kindergarten room filled with stuff and you are told to neaten it up, by putting it all away in the cubbies. When you start out, you are careful to find the appropriately sized cubbie for the problem or challenge you need to put away. You do it methodically, perhaps going through it to make sure it’s going where it needs to go, so you can carry it around. But, there are messy and dirty items that have to be cleaned up, too. Those things you avoid, and they are left out for all to see. Your dirty laundry so to speak. What others don’t know, is that you are not wanting to deal with it because of all of the precipitating garbage around it. You’re afraid of reawakening all of the memories and “under-the bed monsters” you never have had the chance to deal with earlier on.
But you’ve turned a corner now. You are faced with the proverbial fork in the road-deal with it or carry it around as armor. Too heavy and hard to walk with. It’s time to help yourself now.
You have the choice. Carrying around the victimization or finding help and vowing to find exactly 1) Why you are a victim, 2) Why it perpetuates itself, 3) What can you do to change it.
This is an extremely simplistic version of the situation, to be sure. I’d start with the vow, that you make to yourself, to get all of the joy you can get, out of life. What do you want? We’re here to help. Just make sure that you are being heard. @Coloma is correct when she states that you are responsible for the decisions you make about how you live. You don’t have to be alone. I’ll bet you, that if you ask around there are support groups that can help.
And before you think that you’re alone-Remember this. Everyone, and I do mean Everyone has been a victim, big or small, at sometime in their life. I was about 7 years ago. It was hard work, journaling, writing, support, and speaking up that got me to survivor status. I hold onto that with both hands. You can get there, too. But you have to want it. You can’t be afraid of getting to the bottom of why you feel like you do. That’s hard word. I guarantee you, you’ll make it if you want it.
In the meantime, allow yourself to have down days. But, then you actually have to figure out what, exactly caused them. The monsters under your bed aren’t nearly as frightening as they’ll have you believe.

nikipedia's avatar

If you don’t mind, where do you live? There may still be some resources for you.

Shippy's avatar

@nikipedia I live in S.Africa. The Mental Health facilities are over crowded by underprivileged rural people and focus mostly on development and our demographic of under age 10. However I would be grateful if you do find some that can help. Much appreciated.

Coloma's avatar

@annewilliams5 Well said. I have been a victim, but I have never been called one. Yes, therapy, a lot of reading and journaling and finding a spiritual philosophy is always a good path to follow. We must all learn to become our own best friend, and best friends give you a kick in the ass when it’s needed. ;-)

GracieT's avatar

@wundayatta, I tried going to DBSA, but to me it seemed as if we were just sitting around playing the victim. I was extremely fortunate and found a doctor that is wonderful to talk to and he gave me medicine that helped. It doesn’t solve everything, I don’t have the periods of mania anymore but also my depression doesn’t take me to the depths of hell, either.

Mat74UK's avatar

A National Health Service would come in handy here. Is there absolutely no help you can get at all? Have you tried volunteer help groups? Samaritans? or such like?

Blondesjon's avatar

Only when I have played one.

wundayatta's avatar

@GracieT The DBSA groups are all different. Mine is really great. A lot of people getting healthy. But I can see how other groups might go the other way.

I doubt if they have DBSA in S. Africa, though.

GracieT's avatar

@wundayatta, I agree that all are different, I’m just basing my answer on the fact that mine seems to be full of people saying I have this, feel sorry for me. I understand that for some people they may be a lifesaver, because my TBI group helped several me and several friends. I guess that my main point is that self help groups ARE needed in many cases, because with them you can find other people who have “been there,” and would be good allies to turn to when it seems as if no one cares. I actually do appreciate having these people in my life.

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