Janae B. Weinhold & Barry K. Weinhold
Beliefs form as the result of intense or traumatic emotional experiences during childhood. You cannot think away or eliminate trauma with your conscious mind. Trauma is wired into the central nervous system and operates through the autonomic nervous system and the reptilian brain, which is why it is so difficult to eliminate. Here are some of the core beliefs that are characteristic of people with victim consciousness:
I am not okay, neither are you and it’s someone’s fault. Someone has done something bad to me they are responsible for the lack of peace and happiness in my life. I wouldn’t be having all of these uncomfortable feelings if only ____would stop doing what they are doing. Most of my problems are cause by things outside of my control. The world is a big, scary place and I cannot change things. The whole world is against me and is trying to keep me down. It is my destiny to be crushed and sacrificed when the chips are down. I did everything for so and so and they just took advantage of me. I wish something outside of me were different so that I could feel better. If I listen to what others say, I’ll be talked out of my own beliefs and views. Every time I get close to someone, he or she sees how unlovable I am and reject me. I can’t listen to other people’s feelings because it may stir up my own. If people get to know me they will see how weak I am and lose respect for me. If I open up to someone, he or she will abandon me and I may die. If I cry, I will never be able to stop. If I get angry, I might kill someone. If I expressed my pain, it will be so much that I might go crazy or die. If I was rejected, I do not know what would happen to me.
While victim consciousness is part of virtually all social structures, it is learned first in families. From this view, victim consciousness is social problem. Once you recognize that you are contributing to the problem, you can graduate from victim consciousness. You can find a more complete description of this process in our book, Counter dependency: The Flight From Intimacy.