Shed your victim status.

“This above all, to refuse to be a victim.” –Margaret Atwood

It is a natural thing to become a victim when on the receiving end of an unwanted divorce.  The truth is you are a victim.  The trick is to avoid becoming a permanent victim.  Not so easy.

I have known people who had a “victim mentality” and that was their one defining characteristic.  I don’t know the official psychological definition of the term.  I can only describe what I’ve seen in others and what I’ve sometimes recognized in myself, especially since the beginning of my separation from my ex.  For me it comes in waves just like all the other aspects of working through a difficult time.  It consists of a refusal to take control of one’s own life and happiness.  I found that when I was very, very angry at my ex and the situation I was in, I was not a victim.  When I was alone in the middle of the night and couldn’t sleep and felt sorry for myself, I was.  When I was researching finances and how I would take care of myself, I was taking control.  Sometimes I would wring my hands and wonder how I could take care of the minutiae that life brings and how I would pay the bills and the victimized me was back.

I learned that there are certain benefits to being a victim.  Others will feel sad for you and with you.  I found out how kind friends, family and even acquaintances are when you let them know how badly you’ve been treated.  And that’s good, temporarily.  But I also know how much I don’t like to be around a person who is a constant whiner.  One who blames all of life’s unfairness on someone else or on circumstances beyond his or her control.  I have always believed that there are those who make things happen and those who let things happen to them.  Granted, we can’t always control what happens to us but we can, after a recovery period, determine how we’re going to react.

I don’t want to be defined by anyone as a victim.  I don’t want to be defined as a divorcee whose husband left her.  I think I’ve played both those roles to perfection and now it’s time to be the strong independent woman I’m supposed to be and that I’m certainly capable of being.  Parts of the process are naturally accomplished by the passage of time.  The rest is up to me.  I choose to volunteer.  I choose to try new things.  I choose to exercise and eat well.  I choose to become the best role model I can be for my daughters and grandchildren.  I refuse to be a victim!


4 thoughts on “Shed your victim status.

  1. I realized when I went through my divorce exactly how EASY it is to play the Victim. Everyone who heard the news wanted to console me and give me advice. Lots of people recommended that I “take everything” and go for monetary support. I think a lot of people (women mostly) fall into that role because that’s what others assume them to be.

    I prefer to offer congratulations to people I meet who are going through or have completed the divorce process. It offers the choice of “empowerment”.


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