Pursue a Peaceful Solution Schedule a Free Consultation
Tiny man looking up, ready to fight looming giant figure

Victim No More

{4.5 minutes to read} How can we address the consequences of harm done to us without perpetuating a “victim” mentality? Sometimes the actions of others hurt us. We feel disempowered and objectified. We feel victimized. However, we do not want to be victims, so this is something that needs unpacking.

Is there a new way to talk about — and actually attend to — the aspects of ourselves that have endured harm without collapsing into a “victim” identification?

Divorce and regular daily life are replete with opportunities to feel — and be! — mistreated and overpowered. And while we want to acknowledge this reality, that something happened and hurt, we are collectively discovering that residing in a place of victimhood is also problematic. “Victim” is not a way one wishes to describe oneself, say, on a dating app. It is not how one wishes to be cast indefinitely - its bear-trap limitations dictate finite outcomes. It’s not how one wants to contextualize oneself in one’s hero’s journey.

A “victim” stance begins to solidify when energy continues to be poured into the telling and retelling of the story. Interpretation, commentary, and judgment of the narrative aid in atrophying the victim’s self-view and his relationship to what occurred. This often involves holding the other accountable, retribution, revenge, punishment, and compensation for the harm done. Often there is compulsive energy that fuels this, revving oneself up — a need for others to hear and agree with your point of view, how wronged you were, and so forth. Once in the grips of “victimhood,” you are neither integrated nor in control. Except in a false way that tends to bleed out self-regard.

I applaud the boisterous cry of the injured: “I don’t want to be a victim!” This is terrific, and also needs a bit of care. As we just explored, viewing oneself as a victim can trap one in an airless paradigm of blame. It can lead to vilifying and aggrandizing others, robbing the victim of the relief that comes from gaining a fuller, more nuanced understanding of the complexity of the situation and the players. A victim stance requires loyalty to only one interpretation, and to re-vitalizing what was unpleasant in the first place. The intention to shed a victim's view is a step towards freedom.


It is still important that the hurt with which the “victim-no-more” is grappling does not get discounted in an attempt to disidentify as a victim. The hurt, however it occurred, now needs our attention. To neglect it or overrule it in the interest of not being a victim, victimizes you again by invalidating the experience you are currently having.

To care for oneself as a non-victim, but one who is nonetheless hurt requires turning towards the injury itself and determining what it needs to be soothed. This requires a setting down of the narrative of how this happened, who caused it, and that it shouldn’t have happened at all. However true, it does not require more energy invested at this time. The energy poured into the retelling, advocating, interpreting, and judging is energy that needs to be redirected into attuned self-care. Is there a way to turn towards whatever hurts, like a good parent, apply the [literal or figurative] salve and bandages needed so the injured one can recoup a sense of safety and wholeness? What support, what tenderness is needed now?

Moving out of victimhood means loosening the grip on the story, and turning attention toward healing first and the next steps (actions) second. As your feet are more securely under you, consider what actions are needed given what has occurred.

And that I think is not a victim stance, but is instead a care-taking, active and responsive way of rescuing the self; of leading with the hero.


Alexander Mediation Group

Schedule a free initial consultation.