Five Simple Steps to Stop Being a Victim

A while back, I wrote about victim mentality and how it could negatively impact you in many ways; including your financial health.  Mostly, it was a story used to demonstrate a point, but it didn’t offer any specific solution besides telling you to focus on factors that you can control.  In this article, I want to look at victim mentality a little closer and offer some specific ways to attack the problem.

Just a quick note…I said simple, not easy. It will take a lot of effort, especially if it’s your modus operandi.

1. Don’t Play The Blame Game

The most important step to stop being a victim is to avoid playing the blame game.  When you’re finding yourself in a problem or a situation, don’t start to blame others or even yourself.  That’s what victims do.

Seriously, how does placing blame help? Your goal is to solve the problem at hand, or to minimize the damage.  Placing blame doesn’t help you achieve either goal.  Yes, you may feel better or even feel a sense of closure when you blame someone or something.  Unfortunately, the problem is still there.

Example: Here’s a situation that just happened to me.  Yesterday, I got a $1,200 electricity bill — yes, ouch.  I could’ve easily blamed it on the rising electricity costs, the economy, or other family members for not being conservative.  For a victim, these justifications would have been enough to settle the problem without solving it.

2. Ask Why And Seek The Truth

The next step is to seek the truth, and I mean unbiasedly seek the truth.  What just went wrong?  Why did it happen?  Ask a lot of “why” questions.  Look for the cause and effect.  Your goal is to look for the underlying factors that caused the problem. Again, don’t think about whom to blame.

Example: Following the situation above, I might list the following reasons:

  • Rising electricity cost
  • Poor insulation
  • Too many appliances
  • Not being conservative

3. Identify Control

Now that you know the reasons, let’s take a look and see if you can make a difference.  Is it under control, or is it completely out of your hand.  If it’s out of your hand, then acknowledge it, but don’t fret.  In the end, it’s a waste of your time and energy to focus on things that are not under your control.  On the other hand, if it’s under you control, then there’s an opportunity for improvement.

Example: Continuing with our example, I could say that the first factor “rising electricity cost” is not under my control, but I can certainly affect the other three factors.

4. Search For A Solution

If you can get through the first three steps, you are on your way to finding a solution to your problem.  At this point, you should have a list of factors that caused the problem you’re facing.  Now, it’s a matter of reviewing each factor objectively, do your research, and write out a solution, or solutions, that address each factor.

Example: Following the situation above, I might list the following reasons:

  • Poor insulation – Close windows and doors when using A/C.  Close unused vents. Caulking.
  • Too many appliances – Turn off unused appliances.  Use power strip to stop power drain.
  • Not being conservative – Discuss energy saving ideas with family members.

5. Take Action

Last but not least is to stop procrastinating and take action.  It’s one thing to talk about solving a problem, it’s another to actually do it.

When you successfully work through problems without mentally becoming a victim you’ll gain confidence and power to break the cycle.  Being a victim is the easy thing to do, but fixing the problem is the right thing.

About the Author

By , on Nov 11, 2008
Pinyo is the owner of Moolanomy Personal Finance. He is a licensed Realtor specializing in residential homes in the Northern Virginia area. Over the past 20 years, Pinyo has enjoyed a diverse career as an investor, entrepreneur, business executive, educator, and financial literacy author.

Leave Your Comment (11 Comments)

  1. Uncle B says:

    Learn that nowhere is it graven in stone that life has to be fair. Shit happens. Man up, move on, and find happiness in the journey.

  2. Paula says:

    I searched on google about “stop being a victim” and this page showed up on top.

    Although I understand you refer to a given specific concept of “victim mentality”, I just think that your article title is a bit misleading. I agree that many times people put themselves in a passive position at circumstances they could solve their problems.

    But many times and in many other circumstances it is not so simple to just solve the problem. Some problems can’t be solved. You can’t solve the loss of a loved (murdered) one, you can’t solve sexual abuse, to name few. For those victims it is only left the pity and patronizing discrimination of a whole society saying “oh poor sweety”.

  3. eafrica says:

    Your site is A-mazing! I am going to put all this knowledge to use in East Africa, where I am living. Thanks so much!

  4. Pinyo says:

    @Fathersez – Hmmm, I haven’t even thought about Kaizen. That’s kinda cool. 🙂

  5. fathersez says:

    Yes, there is no point belly aching, though it is often the path of least resistance. Incidentally your method is similar to the Japanese Kaizen way of seeking improvements.

    Best regards

  6. Trevor says:

    It’s just easier to be the victim. That way, it’s not your fault when things go wrong- life just sucks and you’re the recipient of most of the crap.

    And you know what’s hard?

    You look around you and it seems like everybody else out there has ZERO problems! A good friend of mine once told me that “everybody gets WHACKED.” Some people just handle it better than others!

    Don’t be the victim; own the problem and do something about it.

  7. doctor S says:

    I think in any situation that someone thinks they are a victim, they are often at fault. What we all must realize is we control all of our actions. We should be responsible for our own actions and must understand that we can not control other factors.

    I think the best part of your post is the story that you tell from beginning to end b/c it really drives home the points that you lay out. Good one!

  8. poor boomer says:

    My problem (poverty-level income) is caused by inability to earn money. Apparently I can’t get a job despite having a zillion resumes and applications out there. One obstacle is that I do not have a car or a license, so there are many jobs (e.g. delivering pizzas) I can’t do or cannot get to (e.g. janitor on a swing shift that ends after buses stop running).

    Don’t know what I can do about that. (Can’t go to school since I have no money and can’t get financial aid.)

  9. Dawn says:

    I found this in my situation, the thing that turned it all around for me was someone who said, “Instead of spending all this time and emotional energy worrying about your situation, why don’t you refocus that into solving your problem?” That really hit home, I had been feeling miserable and powerless. She also said, “Look, people do it all the time. They fix problems just like yours. What can you do to fix yours?” Once I started thinking of it that way I got excited – even happy. Instead of blaming my situation on my divorce, I took control of it. It is one of the best things I have ever done.

  10. Folks who make themselves victims should also remember that if you blame others for when things go bad, who will get the credit when things go well? If you want the credit on the upside, man-up and take the blame for the downside.

  11. Miranda says:

    Great post! So often we become money victims and forget that — in most cases — we can take charge and DO something about it. I think your electricity example is great, and it can be applied elsewhere. I also liked figuring out control. Sometimes, there are things that are out of our hands, so we need to move on and concentrate on the things we can change.

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