Do you sometimes feel like you are your own worst enemy? Do people get in the way of your plans? Do you give in to the pressure of others? Victim behaviors are learned responses to the people around us. Stopping self-sabotage is a matter of identifying the signals we give that shout “victim.”
We unconsciously, unintentionally revictimize ourselves through our actions and words. Unaware of the consequences our trauma has on our behaviors, we act like victims to whoever is in our present sphere. We think we are acting “normal,” but we do not realize that our glance can be perceived as provocative, our voice as snappy and sharp, or that our body language screams “victim.”
Coping mechanisms are the patterns we develop to keep our world safe.
To deal effectively with people, one must be able to connect. When living in trauma, a person disconnects from mind, body, and – people. A social interaction is threatening because it requires connecting with others. The mistrust you’ve learned through your trauma is splashing over into every relationship you have.
It takes a nanosecond for people to form impressions.
First impressions and first intuitions seal the deal in a relationship. Once you make your mind up about someone, the impression usually doesn’t change over time. Just as you look for the negative telltale signs on first meeting someone, they do the same to you.
Predators sense fear on their prey – humans included. The slump of the shoulder, the lack of eye contact, the way you dress – these behaviors send out signals of “Victim.”
When looking at relationships in this light, it is no wonder we can’t seem to get it right. Why do we, throughout our lives, attract people with similar personalities?
Act like a victim and you will be treated like one. Victim behavior is a learned behavior, based on an individual’s response to trauma.
Children are not born shy. They are curious and in touch with themselves. A shy child is a traumatized child who is often victimized by her peers.
Children are not born hyperactive. An out-of-control child has an out-of-control brain, and to expect him to show the control of an adult is cruel. Children who are shy and withdrawn, or hyperactive and wild; they are are merely doing what their brain is telling them to do.
“The world is not safe and I must do what I can to survive.”
Victim thinking. Victim behavior.
The good news is we can unlearn acting like a victim. Once you realize your actions are a re-manifestation of the trauma, you can change your response.
It isn’t so much the trauma that revisits us, or even that we are stuck in a trigger, but how we respond to others and their reaction to that response. Reaction upon reaction. Mirror neurons bouncing vibrations off one another, mixed messages and confused communication.
When living in trauma, it does not take much to fire up the brain. A fired-up brain is where communication goes awry and perceptions of the exchange become skewed. Add to the mix, your negative self-talk. Thoughts of self-sabotage only add to the confusion. (I can’t do this, I’m not good enough.)
Once you realize where your thoughts are leading you, you can change your victim behaviors by stopping that self-sabotaging thinking.