10 Ways to Stand Your Ground and Stop Being a Victim in Your Life
The sad reality is that many women find themselves in the role of victim in their life, for any number of reasons.
The thing is though that no one is born a victim. Victims are created.
It’s a process.
So when someone becomes a victim, it means they have either unknowingly invited it to happen, or simply allowed it to happen.
It can be prevented however. And pretty easily too. All you need is to know what to look out for, and to take steps to stop it happening or going any further.
Here are 10 ways in which you can stay in control of your world and avoid ever becoming a victim in your life:
1. Don’t look like a victim
There are many reasons for someone taking on the role of victim in their life, and one of the most obvious and fundamental ones is that they simply look the part.
In the absence of any other information, people will generally treat you based on what they see.
A slim, attractive-looking woman will almost always be treated better than a woman who’s obese, for example. I know it’s not right, but it’s a hard fact of life. She’ll enjoy more opportunities, will have more chance of getting a job she wants, will find it easier to get help from someone when she needs it, and so on.
So does that mean you need to be slim and beautiful to avoid being a victim?
Of course not.
The thing is though, how you look often reflects how you see yourself. If you don’t see yourself in a great light, you’ll probably dress accordingly. And that message then gets passed on to the people you meet each day and associate with. So then they don’t see you in a great light either.
And in turn, they treat you like crap.
It’s important therefore to be conscious about your appearance, and how you portray yourself to the world. Remember that how you dress, how you wear your hair, how you’re groomed, and even your body language and facial expressions, all send out a message.
Nothing succeeds like the appearance of success.
It doesn’t mean you need to dress up in designer label clothes everywhere you go. But you probably don’t want to go out looking like a homeless person who’s just been hit by a bus either.
Some people dress for success. Make sure you don’t dress for victimization.
If you want to attract good people and good juju into your life, then give some thought to how you look. Make sure it’s an accurate representation of who you’d like to be – of your ideal self.
Over time, that’s who you’ll become, rather than someone that people ignore and step on.
2. Watch out for the little things
A few years ago I was watching an interview with a security expert who was talking about women that were victims of abuse and domestic violence in their relationship.
One thing that stuck with me was what he said about how their partners almost always gradually and imperceptibly increased their control over them over time.
It would start as something quite silly and innocent. For example, during one of their first dates he might offer her another drink at some point, and would continue to insist if she refused, until she finally agreed.
Innocent enough, right? No one would think twice about something like that.
But in reality, it’s a small victory for him.
And those small victories would continue. And they would slowly get bigger and bigger over time as he grows more and more confident with his control over her. Because each individual incident seems insignificant on its own, they all go unnoticed. Until it’s too late, and his level of control over his victim becomes too powerful.
If I was meant to be controlled, I would have come with a remote.
It’s not until the relationship is finally over and the woman looks back on everything that has happened that she can see all the little red flags that were unnoticeable to her at the time. Only then can she can see the gradual process of how she became a victim under her partner’s control.
Generally speaking, no one becomes someone’s victim overnight. More often than not, it’s a gradual process. And it’s important to watch out for the signs.
It’s vital that you be alert to someone gradually increasing the power of their control over you.
That doesn’t mean you need to become paranoid and a totally inflexible person. There will always be people in your life who are naturally pushy and even overbearing individuals. That doesn’t make them evil. They can still be harmless enough. And it’s important that you as a healthy adult be able to co-exist with all types of personalities.
The danger to be wary of however, is someone escalating their level of control over you. The signs may be small, but they’ll be there if you watch out for them.
And it’s not OK.
It needs to be put in check. Immediately. Whether it’s your partner, a family member, friend, work colleague, or boss. Whoever.
Put your foot down.
Let them know it’s not acceptable. Lay down the law if you need to. Leave if you must.
It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.
Just don’t let the situation snowball. Because it very easily will.
Remember, it’s far easier to avoid becoming a victim than it is to come back from being one.
3. Always remember that you don’t deserve it
Sadly, it’s not uncommon for women who are the victims of someone else’s abuse, prejudice, unfair treatment, cheating, etc., to feel as though they deserved it.
They’ll make excuses for the offender like, “I shouldn’t have spoken to him like that”, “I should have tried harder”, “I’m not good enough”, and so on.
Most often, women become victims of someone because they allow it to happen. Sometimes they may behave in such a way that actually invites it, especially when their self-esteem is low (more about that later).
Either way however, no one ever deserves to be a victim.
What every individual does deserve is to be treated at very least with a fundamental level of respect that one would afford a stranger.
There’s never, ever a valid reason that makes it OK for someone to control, abuse, or treat you or any other person poorly. Regardless of what you said, what you did, what you didn’t say, what you didn’t do, or anything else.
When someone is mistreated in any way by another individual, it’s an indictment on the offender, NOT the victim.
Of course, excuses are always aplenty as to why the treatment is justified. But think about this:
A perpetrator of a crime always has an excuse to justify his actions. Does that mean his victims deserved what happened to them? In his mind, perhaps. But in reality, absolutely not. A terrorist who murders hundreds or even thousands of innocent civilians has his own reasons that justify his actions in his own mind. Does that mean his victims deserved to be slaughtered? Of course not.
The bottom line is, excuses mean nothing. Regardless of who makes them.
They’re nothing but convenient tools to help people feel better about either doing the wrong thing, or being wronged themselves.
I’ll say it again – no one deserves to be a victim.
The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.
If you believe otherwise then you need to be aware that what you’re experiencing is a defense mechanism that’s trying to protect you from your fear of the unknown. Your fear of uncertainty.
And that uncertainty is what your life would be like if you refused to stop being a victim.
Remember, the first step to being able to rectify a problem is to recognize that it exists. If you’re a victim, then acknowledge it and do whatever it takes to change that.
4. Choose your company wisely
American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, once made a very profound observation about the company you keep:
You’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.
Very interesting, right?
Look around at the people that are closest to you in your life.
Are they mostly the kind of people that you aspire to be? Are they strong, motivated and capable individuals? Because the reality is that if they are, it makes it very difficult for you to be a victim. Their influence would most likely prevent that from happening too easily.
Are they predominantly weak individuals, or victims themselves, on the other hand? If so, you have a problem, and you need to do something about it.
An unfortunate fact of life however is that you can’t always remove someone who’s less than a great influence on you from your life. They might be a family member or a life-long friend, for example. And you can’t just disown them.
But that’s OK.
You can limit how much time you spend with them.
And you can also do your best to fill the remainder of your inner circle with empowering, uplifting people. With this approach, no one individual can ever bring you down, since you’ll have too much support and encouragement from the others.
The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.
They say there’s power in numbers, and although your chosen friends of course aren’t going to be with you 24/7, you’ll still benefit greatly by having good people in your corner, wanting the best for you and supporting you when things aren’t going your way.
The reality is that the people around you can make you who you are. So choose those people wisely if you want to be a strong, confident woman rather than a victim.
5. Empower the one person who you know will always be there
As great and as empowering as it is to have the support of trusted loved ones around you when you need them, you can’t afford to always rely on that support implicitly. You have to also learn to stand on your own two feet if you want to avoid ever being a victim.
People will always come and go in life, whether or not it’s by their own choosing. Sometimes it’s no one’s choice, life just makes that decision on its own.
So there’s only one sure thing, and that is that there’s only one person in the world who will always, unfailingly, unquestionably be there with you in hard times, and that’s yourself.
There will be times when other people can’t or won’t help you. You’re the only person you can rely on, one hundred percent of the time.
And when those times come along, you’d better be ready to step up.
Freedom comes from strength and self-reliance.
So how can you be sure that you’ll be ready?
Well, think about a woman that’s a victim of a very controlling relationship. What behavior does her partner almost always exhibit?
First of all, he controls the money – she will only be allowed access to some on his say so. Secondly, she’s kept isolated – that means no friends of her own, just friends of theirs as a couple, where he can supervise the interaction. Thirdly, she’s stripped of her independence, and is taught to rely on him for pretty much everything. Often that means that she can’t even have a job. And finally, no further education to allow her to improve herself as a person – don’t want her to start thinking for herself, right?
That’s the making of a model victim.
With these four bases covered, the woman is virtually powerless to escape her situation. That’s because the uncertainty of a future on her own with no one to look after her is far more frightening than her present misery.
If you don’t want this to ever be you, then you need to put ticks in those four boxes – finance, social and family support (as we spoke about in the previous point), independence, and education.
I was raised to be an independent woman, not the victim of anything.
These are the four cornerstones of empowering yourself against being a victim of anyone’s control.
If you don’t have a handle on these areas of your life right now, it’s time to start doing something about that.
6. Never forget your worth
One of the most tragic things for a woman is when life causes her to lose her self-worth and self-esteem. Once you’re in that frame of mind, it’s very hard to convince yourself that you deserve to be anything more than a victim.
When you experience those low points in life, it’s important to take the time to remind yourself of exactly who you are.
Even if you’re not thinking of yourself all too highly, I’m sure you still think very highly of your children, your partner, your parents and your close friends. Well, you happen to be a mother, a partner, a child and a valued and loved friend to those important people.
So you too are important and you do matter.
As long as a person isn’t doing harm to another, they’re never worse or lower than any other individual in this world.
But when a woman is the victim of someone else’s control, they start to feel inferior, less capable, less worthy, less confident, and so on. The irony, however, is that it’s the offender who is doing harm and they are therefore the inferior and less worthy human being.
When you're the victim of the behavior, it's black and white; when you're the perpetrator, there are a million shades of gray.
It takes no strength and character to be a bully.
It does take strength and character however to rise up against being bullied and victimized. Remember that if and when you find yourself in that position, you have an opportunity to show the world your true colors and be great.
I am a survivor and not a victim. Life isn't perfect. When you get a knock, you have to get up, dust yourself down and get on with it.
I was watching a great episode of Derren Brown’s program some time ago where he did an experiment to show that we make our own luck. One of the participants in the experiment, Wayne the butcher, considered himself an unlucky person, and Derren’s experiment clearly showed how it was only his attitude and mindset that was causing him to pass opportunities by and create his own misfortune.
It was quite amazing to watch. If you’d like to watch this episode yourself, you can find it here.
The lesson is that if you see yourself as unlucky or as a victim, then that’s the life you create for yourself. You basically make yourself a victim of life.
So don’t ever, ever do that.
Always remember that you’re not a victim, and you don’t deserve to be. No one does. You’re just as worthy as anyone else of a happy, successful life.
7. Never tolerate disrespect
Unless someone is totally socially maladjusted or has other psychological issues, it’s unlikely that they will treat you with disrespect, be overbearing towards you, or try to control you from the very first time you interact, without a specific reason.
Generally, if one of these things are going to happen they will do so gradually and progressively. The mistreatment will usually start as some relatively minor incidents, which then escalate over time.
Or, looked at from another perspective, they’re allowed to escalate over time.
Don't let people disrespect you. My mom says don't open the door to the devil. Surround yourself with positive people.
Once you meet a person for the first time, there’s a period over which your relationship is defined, whether it’s a romantic one, a working one, a friendship, or whatever. And by the end of this period, how you interact as individuals is pretty much also defined.
Or at very least, the direction that that interaction is going to take is defined.
So if someone is going to treat you as a victim or treat you disrespectfully, the seeds of that behavior are sewn early on. That’s when the offender figures out how much he can get away with with you.
It’s very important, therefore, that you send out clear and unmistakable signals over this time that you won’t tolerate being treated disrespectfully.
The sad fact is that with some individuals, you need to show strength to avoid being victimized by them. That’s because, given their insecurities, psychological issues, or character traits, they’re always looking for vulnerable targets to prey on.
Stand up for yourself from the outset, when their infractions are still pretty minor and easy to deal with, and they’ll look for easier prey elsewhere.
Let them have their way without any repercussions, on the other hand, and their power over you will gradually increase. You can’t allow that to happen.
8. Draw strength from the inspiration of others
Many of us have heroes and role models in our lives that we look up to. They might be celebrities, entertainers, athletes, world leaders, business people, or any other type of high achiever.
Whoever your role models may be, they can play a very important role in inspiring and motivating you to achieve things in your life as well. They can set an example that great things can be achieved when you put your mind to it and work on it.
Sometimes in life it’s easy to become discouraged and to start thinking that it’s all too hard. In other words, to lose hope and start giving up. Especially when your self-esteem isn’t great.
When you’re in that mindset for too long, it makes it easy for you to start becoming a victim. Of others and of life in general. That’s where drawing inspiration from role models can really pick you back up.
Find some who really motivates you, and draw strength from their example.
Find someone who has a life that you want and figure out how they got it. Read books, pick your role models wisely. Find out what they did and do it.
I was lucky enough to meet my all-time fitness hero about four months ago and I’m still on a high. I always work hard, each and every day, but meeting her inspired me to work even harder towards my goals.
Your role models can empower you and make you stronger as well. Their uplifting example will infect your thinking, so that you believe that you too are good enough to overcome and achieve anything you desire in your life.
That will help make you a survivor and an achiever, rather than a victim.
9. Be cool
Have you ever noticed how some people just seem to exude a commanding presence? They just have this air about them that says, “Don’t mess with me”.
They command respect.
Not in a threatening or aggressive way. But rather, just out of some kind of cool confidence.
A big part of that comes from being calm and in control, in any situation they happen to be in. They never get frazzled, they never panic, and they never lose it. They always have their emotions in check, and their communication is always well thought-out and purposeful.
Nothing gives a person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.
Can you imagine someone like that ever being someone’s victim? Not likely, right?
That’s because people subconsciously recognize, deep down inside, that those attributes are signs of strength. They know that someone who keeps their composure, who’s cool and collected under pressure, or under threat or attack, isn’t someone that can be walked over.
When you get emotional and upset with people who are doing you wrong on the other hand, you’re letting them know that they can easily get to you. Even kids pick up on this. It’s instinctive. Once they find a behavior that gets an emotional response out of you, they know they’ve got you. And they’ll use it against you at every opportunity.
So always keep a cool exterior, no matter what. Regardless of what anyone says or does, and how out of line they are.
Take a deep breath if you have to, but keep your emotions in check.
Always measure your responses. Better still, respond to bad situations in your own time, on your own terms, after having given it some thought. This will put you in the position of power. By being impulsive in your reaction to situations, you give up that power.
Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment.
So remember – respond, don’t react. And be cool.
Being in total control of your emotions sends a clear message that you’re no pushover and that you’re not going to be anyone’s victim.
10. Get yourself a wingman
What’s a wingman?
OK, well, it’s a male term so basically a wingman is like a right-hand man. Only in your case, it’s probably a woman. Someone beside you who you can trust and who will look out for you, and you for her.
And why should you have one?
Well, have you ever noticed how when you’re in a relationship crisis, the people around you suddenly seem to be so wise? They seem to be able to see things that you don’t. If you’ve never noticed that it’s probably because you didn’t want to believe what they were telling you. But trust me, they see things.
When you’re emotionally invested in a situation, it’s hard to think clearly. And it’s sometimes hard to see what’s actually staring you in the face. That’s why they say that love is blind – your emotions pretty much blur out everything else.
For example, where your loved ones might see an abusive partner, you see someone you love who really does have a good side and said he was sorry. Where your loved ones might see an untrustworthy cheater, you see someone you love who just bought you roses and promised you he’s going to change his ways.
You get the picture.
The fact is that we women are emotional creatures. And sadly, that can sometimes be used against us. And when we’re in a situation where we don’t have the benefit of clear, rational thinking, where does that leave us?
This is where your wingman comes in.
You need a close, trustworthy friend or family member by your side to be a sounding board, a support, a shoulder to cry on, and a voice of reason when you need one. Someone to keep you connected to reality.
Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.
It should be someone who you “get”, and who “gets” you. Someone you put in time with and bond with. After all, she needs to know who you are and what you’re about. And you need to know that she’s looking out for you and is going to steer you the right way when the time comes.
And of course, it’s a two-way street. You both basically must be able to entrust your life to one another.
I mentioned in a previous point that a controlling partner will often prevent a woman from having her own friends. That’s because instinctively he knows that a close, supportive friend will strengthen and empower her, and give her clarity and courage.
In other words, she will save her from being a victim.
That’s what a good wingman will do for you. And not just in a bad relationship, but in any situation. There are many circumstances that you’ll come across in life where you can really benefit from a second perspective to keep you out of harm’s way.