4 Things Abuse Teaches and How To Overcome the Victim Mindset
Abuse and the Victim Mindset
Abuse is a teacher that lays a foundation of lies and limiting beliefs. Those beliefs control your thoughts, cause you to self-reject, teach you to be a victim, and dictate all your reactions.
There’s good news! You have both authority and the right to choose your thoughts and who you become. Once you identify lessons abuse teaches and how you were impacted, it will help you overcome the victim mindset.
The prophet Isaiah shared an important principle for developing a healthy mind. From infancy, teach the child truth. Precept laid on precept, line upon line, here a little, there a little. Speaking truth on a regular basis teaches gratitude and appreciation for the beauty of the Lord, who is strong and mighty to save.
However, in the same way truths teach precepts that develop strength of character and good relationships, abuse teaches precepts that alienate and weaken character. Each little abuse lays down precepts, line upon line, here a little there a little, teaching the child he is a victim.
4 Lessons of Abuse
1. Abuse teaches mindlessness.
Abuse normally begins in infancy or even in the womb when the child’s brain is undeveloped. He has an inner awareness something is unfair but can’t analyze or discern truth. Thus, he learns to mindlessly accept abuse as normal.
2. Abuse teaches there are no choices.
The abuser’s power to rob a child of choice is because he or she is bigger and stronger. The child isn’t allowed to say no. If he does, his no is overridden.
To violate personal autonomy strips the child of free will and teaches him he cannot initiate or choose his own path.
3. Abuse teaches helplessness.
When a child’s not safe, she feels helpless. Abuse violates her boundaries. To feel safe, she escapes into her imagination. Unable to choose in real time, she is taught passivity and learned helplessness.
4. Abuse teaches a victim identity.
Victimized, the child is stripped of dignity and covered in shame. As an adult, she responds as a helpless child. Believing she is worthless, she views everything through the grid of a victim mindset.
Let me give an example.
Because my father was abusive, I learned I was a victim with no options. When I was an adult he said, “You can’t do anything right,”
I responded as if I was a child. My mind told me, “That’s true. I’ve tried to earn his love but failed. I failed because I’m a failure. I can’t do anything right.”
His abuse taught me a victim mindset. As an adult I came into agreement with his abusive words, which felt true. Accepting his lie as true, further locked me into a victim identity.
As a victim, I couldn’t think as an adult and say “No! That isn’t true.” He was bigger and stronger. Therefore, he was right. Locked into limiting beliefs, I felt worthless. I believed I was a failure. Therefore, I deserved to be victimized.
You don’t deserve abuse!
The secret is its a new day. The choice is yours. No one has authority to tell you that you are worthless, or stupid, or a failure.
God gave you the authority to choose your own path, to set boundaries, and to walk away from abuse.
Abuse is Real
But there’s a problem. The man who fathered me was still bigger and stronger and was still violent.
Did you know 11,000 women and children are daily turned away from domestic violence shelters in the USA because there isn’t enough space?
Their only option is to return home, which makes it is very difficult to set boundaries or choose what is best because the abuser will override their choices and their boundaries.
If you are in that situation – you still have the choice to be present in the moment in your own head. You may choose what you believe and what thoughts you listen to.
Do Your Thoughts Lie?
Abuse devalues you; it belittles and robs you of choices, even as it programs your mind to believe destructive thoughts that enslave you.
When you fail to confront negative thoughts with truth, the negative thoughts that feel true, tell you lies. Those lies develop your beliefs, laying down precepts, line upon line, here a little, there a little; beliefs that hold you into childishness and a victim mindset.
Did you know whenever you feel trapped, or unworthy, accused, a failure, or rejected – your thoughts are lying to you?
Be quick to turn away from those thoughts. Choose to think of something lovely and true. Choose your thoughts wisely!
Your Name is Beloved
Isaiah said in all their affliction, the Lord was afflicted. Jesus suffered everything you have suffered without becoming a victim. He says, “You are precious! You are Beloved!” He values you just as you are. He calls you His Beloved.
Right now you have a choice. You can believe what your husband, father, or significant other says about you. You may rehearse their words in your mind and accept them as your truth.
Or you can choose to set a boundary in your mind. You can say, “No! That isn’t true. Jesus loves me and values me. He delights in me and wants to spend time with me. That means I am valuable. I am special. I am beautiful. My Beloved Lord has chosen me.”
Just because a person is stronger and shouts louder doesn’t give them authority to determine your identity.
This is really important to grasp. Only you have the authority and the right to choose who you will be. Set a boundary in your mind. Choose what you believe. Choose to look at beliefs that hold you captive and make you a victim. Then choose to say, “No! That is not who I am.”
You were created by One who loves you deeply. He calls you Beloved.
Even if you are living in an abusive environment, you have the right to choose what you listen to in your mind. You can choose to set boundaries in your mind and walk away from any thoughts that diminish you. You also have the right to ask Jesus to help you establish a new identity.
Your Name is Beloved
You are not a victim. You are no longer that little child with no options. You are an adult. You can choose what you think, what you believe, and what your identity is.
You can choose to walk out of victimization and sit at the feet of Jesus. Choose to become a mighty warrior who is present in the moment.
Choose to listen to Jesus. He says you are valuable and deeply loved. He says you are precious and He is always with you. Wherever you go, Jesus is with you. He knows your pain; He see your tears. He cares.
Remember. At salvation, God placed you in Christ and seated you in heavenly places.
Let Jesus cover you with His love. Listen to His words of love. Let Him tell you who you are.
You have a new identity. You are Beloved! You are Chosen. You are a Mighty Warrior. Stand in the wonder of the beautiful treasure the Holy Spirit is shaping you to be.