A victim mentality can easily derail recovery for individuals with addiction to alcohol or drugs. The challenge is to notice what a victim mentality is, how it occurs and how to support positive change towards a healthy outlook in recovery. Learn more about a victim mentality and how to break the chains.
Past trauma is a common thread which comes up as it usually lends itself to focusing on negative historical events. An individual tends to feel defined by past experiences and is unable to succeed at life, still stuck in victimhood. This can include:
- Feeling stuck in a constant state of vulnerability
- Feeling hyper-vigilant
- Learned helplessness
- Difficulty adapting when things don’t work out the first time
- Focused on survival instinct rather than devising ‘Plan B
Drugs and alcohol offer an escape from reality and an effective way for individuals who experience trauma to reduce fear and increase social functioning. This works–for a time–until it stops working. Tolerance builds and the effectiveness of the drugs or alcohol wear off, leaving the person feeling more vulnerable and potentially addicted.
Power of Positivity
Too much focus on an event or events can unnecessarily re-trigger panic and cement an individual’s identity in victimhood. A trauma survivor can minimize feelings of victimhood by trying the following:
- Add new activities (hobbies, etc) to the daily schedule
- Meet new people
- Explore new skills and build on existing ones
- Find enjoyment in everyday things
- Flood trauma with new light rather than focus on the darkness
Imagine cooking dinner, a stir-fry that has many different ingredients. When the phone rings, keep cooking the stir-fry. As the food cooks, and the friend chatters on the phone, a child wanders in needing help and sees spices on the counter meant for the stir-fry. The spices get dumped into the food and becomes way too spicy. To this end, there’s a choice. Either dump all the food out or cut up more bland ingredients to break up the spice and dilute the dish to become palatable again.
The narrative of spicy stir-fry is useful when thinking of how addiction works. Spice can add layers of depth (like trauma) or can be life defining (victimhood). It is possible to integrate trauma into a person’s life experience and become more compassionate and kind as a result, rather than sad and bitter.
Learning to function without being debilitated by the past is key to recovery. A survivor can thrive because of trauma, not in spite of it. The individual no longer feels like a victim because hope and light reign over despair and darkness. This reduces also the need for drugs and alcohol, thus opening new pathways to healing in recovery.
Healing and hope are the goals of Hired Power. We will help you achieve those but you have to take the first step of admitting the need for help. Call us if you are ready to accept help. Together we will start the journey of recovery together.