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Reinforcing a victim mentality

By Dave Henning / May 11, 2019

“Well-meaning friends and family often reinforce a victim mentality because they see our pain and try to comfort us with the nearest tools in their emotional toolshed: sympathy and pity.  That tough love tool is always in the very back of the shed, where it’s nearly impossible to get to.”- Kyle Idleman

As Kyle Idleman continues Chapter 3 of Don’t Give Up, he observes that people who pity themselves rarely realize that they live with a victim mentality.  Therefore, Pastor Idleman offers one technique to identify an area where you have a victim mentality.  That tip? – pinpoint an area of your life where you feel tempted to give up.

Since it’s so hard to see this viewpoint in ourselves, Kyle describes three mirrors to help you discern this tendency in yourself.  Consequently, people with a victim mentality tend to:

  1. whine and complain.  When people feel powerless to change, they lament their circumstances.  In addition, they focus on what’s wrong while they ignore what’s right.  Also, they’ve created an exhaustive list of the ways people have treated them unfairly.  In other words, they’ve gotten the short end of the stick.  Most noteworthy, a whining, complaining spirit holds a dangerous quality.  It leads to quitting.
  2. blame and criticize.  People who feel sorry for themselves refuse to take responsibility.  As a result, they give up and blame God – or others.  Yet, like Florence Chadwick found out, the shore is so close.  So, keep perspective and push against the current.
  3. display cynicism and pessimism.  Kyle considers it futile to tell people things will get better if they refuse to give up.  They’ll look at you like you’re crazy – that you said the sky is green.  After all, they attest, any fool knows things never get better.  Therefore, Pastor Idleman notes: “Pessimism is the next block down from self-pity.  And self-pity is the last step before giving up.”

Today’s question: What events or people in your life reinforce a victim mentality?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Speaking courage into yourself”

About the author

Dave Henning