The victim mentality began with one violent act. A beautiful young girl who had a whole world in front of her. A half-brother who was obsessed with her. A violent crime that had devastating effects.
If your first guess was a tacky novel, think again. This is actually an abbreviated story of Tamar, King David’s daughter. Her whole story is in 2 Samuel 13. Here is a quick synopsis.
Tamar was the daughter of King David and Maacah, a princess from a neighboring kingdom. Tamar is described as a very beautiful young woman who would marry a Prince.
King David had many children. Ammon was David’s son and Tamar’s half-brother. Amnon became obsessed with Tamar. He concocted a plot to make her join him in her chambers. Tamar, her father, and her family had no knowledge of this plan. Tamar was lured to his room under false pretenses where he raped her. Following this, Amnon loathed her and refused to marry her.
Tamar told her family what happened to her. Her father, King David, covered it up and never punished Amnon for his crimes. Years later Tamar’s brother, Absalom murdered Amnon for what he did to her.
This devastating act against Tamar had consequences that extended throughout the rest of Tamar’s life. She should have married a Prince. Instead she spent the rest of her days in the royal harem. As far as we know, she never married or had children due to this one violent act.
My heart breaks for this poor girl!
- She endured a horrible act against her that she was not able to stop.
- She had the world at her feet, and it was taken away from her. Not because of her own actions, but because of the actions of another.
- Her horrible violation was brushed under the rug by her father.
The fact is many people who have a victim mentality were victimized at one point in time. They have every right to be hurt. In my last blog, Three Things All Victims Need To Know, I discussed how victims need time to grieve and mourn in these situations.
The problem is whenever you are years down the road still holding onto bitterness and hate. you could burn a house down with it. We were never meant to hold onto those things indefinitely.
We were meant to grieve and mourn. Then hand over all of the pain, frustration, and anger to God. We cannot heal ourselves. We cannot make ourselves not be a victim. God does that. We just have to be willing to allow him to do the work.
So what should you do if you realize you have never given up hatred and bitterness in your heart? Or if realize you have a victim mentality that is keeping you from living life to the fullest.
Here are 5 Steps to Releasing the Victim Mentality in Your life:
First, pray, and pray, and pray, and pray, and keep praying. You will not be able to heal on your own. It is a supernatural ability given to you by God through constant submission to Him.
Second, believe that you are an overcomer. Releasing the victim mentality begins with what we say. So we want to use language that reinforces the overcomer in you. For example, instead of “I can’t” say “I can with God”. Your language, both internally and externally, has a huge impact on your beliefs about yourself.
Third, surround yourself with people who support you and don’t allow you to hold onto those old feelings. You need people who are willing to say what you don’t want to hear because they want what is best for you.
Fourth, be open about your story. This might take time, but telling your story has the opportunity to be very healing. It allows your story to be about you overcoming not you being victimized.
Fifth, write a letter to the person who hurt you. This letter should not be given to the person who hurt you. This letter is for you. Once you are at a place of being able to forgive and move forward, burn the letter as a demonstration of proof that you have released a victim mentality and embraced an overcomer’s mindset.
For those who identified with Tamar’s story or you have been victimized in other ways, I pray you will find healing as you begin trading the victim mentality for being an overcomer in Christ.
For everyone born of God overcomes the world.
This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
Who is it that overcomes the world?
Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
1 John 5:4-5
Taylor Draughn, M.A., LPC, LMFT