VICTORY OVER THE VICTIM MENTALITY 

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Overcoming Being Victimized 

“You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.”

(Psalm 10:17)

Do you live your life coping with a crippling crisis from your past … hoping to somehow get beyond it … to forget it? Well, the good news is that God wants so much more for you than just to cope.… He wants to help you overcome your painful past and conquer the destructive patterns that have developed in your life as a result of your past victimization. He wants you to grow in maturity through His grace … and to reach out and help others in similar pain.

Feeling powerless doesn’t have to be permanent. God wants to set you free from the cage that has far too long held you captive and robbed you of peace! He offers you His power for healing and for changing. And when you experience true healing and personal transformation, you also receive true freedom. Like a bird out of a cage, you can experience freedom today and have bright hope for tomorrow! All because of the fact that…

Feeling powerless doesn’t have to be permanent. God wants to set you free from the cage that has far too long held you captive and robbed you of peace! He offers you His power for healing and for changing. And when you experience true healing and personal transformation, you also receive true freedom. Like a bird out of a cage, you can experience freedom today and have bright hope for tomorrow!

Here they come again … those painful memories that permeate your heart and pummel your thoughts and emotions. You feel caught like a frightened bird in a cage with no way to freedom. It happened so long ago.… You had hoped to move on … yet your heart again feels like it is under attack, as though arrows were whizzing through the iron bars on your cage—piercing arrows that penetrate your heart with deep, debilitating pain.

Do you live your life coping with a crippling crisis from your past … hoping to somehow get beyond it … to forget it? Well, the good news is that God wants so much more for you than just to cope.… He wants to help you overcome your painful past and conquer the destructive patterns that have developed in your life as a result of your past victimization. He wants you to grow in maturity through His grace … and to reach out and help others in similar pain.

Feeling powerless doesn’t have to be permanent. God wants to set you free from the cage that has far too long held you captive and robbed you of peace! He offers you His power for healing and for changing. And when you experience true healing and personal transformation, you also receive true freedom. Like a bird out of a cage, you can experience freedom today and have bright hope for tomorrow! All because of the fact that…

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

(Galatians 5:1)

She is the daughter of a king … she becomes a desolate woman. Her position guarantees a lifetime of honor and recognition, but instead she spends most of her life in seclusion and disgrace.

Tamar’s earlier years are characterized by beauty and innocence, which both captivate and torture a certain young man, her half brother, Amnon. “Amnon became so obsessed with his sister Tamar that he made himself ill. She was a virgin, and it seemed impossible for him to do anything to her” (2 Samuel 13:2).

Amnon’s shrewd cousin comes up with a plan that makes the impossible possible.…

“For your ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all your paths. The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them; the cords of their sins hold them fast. For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly.”

(Proverbs 5:21–23)

 

What Is a Victim?

Jonadab counsels Amnon, “Go to bed and pretend to be ill.… When your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘I would like my sister Tamar to come and give me something to eat. Let her prepare the food in my sight so I may watch her and then eat it from her hand’ ” (2 Samuel 13:5). Amnon has no trouble figuring out the rest of the plan.

King David attends to his “sickly” son Amnon and dutifully honors his request to beckon Tamar to his bedside. Tamar prepares cakes and brings them to Amnon, but instead of grabbing hold of the cakes, he grabs hold of Tamar.

“ ‘No, my brother!’ she said to him. ‘Don’t force me! Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don’t do this wicked thing. What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from being married to you’ ”

(2 Samuel 13:12–13).

Tamar’s voice of reason goes unheeded, and Amnon, determined to satisfy his fleshly appetite, proceeds to forcibly rape his half sister. “He refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her” (2 Samuel 13:14). In so doing, Amnon proved himself to be “one of the wicked fools in Israel!”…

“In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises.”

(Psalm 10:2)

  • A victim is a person who experiences adversity, who is powerless to change the situation.

Example:  A victim of neglect as a result of alcoholic parents, an unwanted divorce, infidelity, spiritual abuse, suicide, elder abuse, stalking, or sexual harassment.

  • Tamar was clearly the victim of Amnon. And as his victim, she experienced all three of the following definitions of a victim:
  • A victim is a person who is tricked or duped.

Example: A victim of robbery, identity theft, fraud, kidnapping, cult entrapment, and other dishonest schemes 

  • A victim is a person who is injured, destroyed, or sacrificed.

Example:  A victim of incest, domestic violence, rape, satanic ritual abuse, drunk driver, homicide, natural disaster

  • A victim is a person who is subjected to oppression, hardship, or mistreatment.

Example:  A victim of any verbal, emotional, sexual, physical, racial, or economic abuse …

“People cry out under a load of oppression; they plead for relief from the arm of the powerful.”

(Job 35:9)

God Sees Your Grief

Question:  “Does God even see the grief I carry in my heart as a result of being victimized?” 

Answer:  Yes, He sees your grief, He takes it seriously, and He acts on it.…

“You, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.”

(Psalm 10:14)

What Is the Victim Mentality?

Tamar was devastated by Amnon’s heartless disregard for her feelings and wishes … her plans and her dreams. And the deep disdain he felt toward her after forcing himself on her was more than she could bear.

How could he disgrace her as though she had no worth and then discard her as though she had no value? How could she ever hold her head high again and take pride in her position in life?

He had not only taken her purity, he had taken her future as well.

To express her deep sorrow and shame, Tamar tore her richly ornamented robe, which symbolized her status as a virgin daughter of the king, and placed ashes on her head. And…

“She put her hands on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went.”

(2 Samuel 13:19)

  • The victim mentality is a mind-set in which a person who was once a victim continues in old thought patterns that foster feelings of powerlessness, even when the victimization has ended.
  • The victim mentality causes individuals to see others as powerful but themselves as weak and powerless.
  • The victim mentality leads those who were genuinely powerless to stop abuse in the past to assume the same powerless state in the present. In order to fully embrace the future that the Lord has planned for them, this faulty assumption needs to be replaced with God’s truth.
  • The victim mentality can consciously or subconsciously be used to deny responsibility for a person’s present actions. The individual continues in self-destructive attitudes and actions while blaming others for the undesirable results. Victory requires a new mind-set.…

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

(2 Corinthians 10:5)

 

Victim Mentality

Question:  “What will help me overcome a victim mentality?”

Answer:  You can overcome a victim mentality by changing the way you see God and the way you see yourself in relationship to Him. This will then result in changing the way you see yourself in relationship to others and to events in your life. As a past victim, you may have been defenseless, but now you are no longer without power.…

“In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

(Romans 8:37)

 

What Is the Profile of a Victimized Person?

False guilt brings death of the soul! Victimizers leave their innocent victims with abiding feelings of rejection and personal defectiveness. The constant fear that their “stains” will be exposed causes victims to develop destructive ways of relating to others. These self-protective patterns of behavior are pitfalls to healthy adult relationships and decrease the ability to know God intimately as explained by righteous Job in the Bible.…

“If I am guilty—woe to me! Even if I am innocent, I cannot lift my head, for I am full of shame and drowned in my affliction.”

(Job 10:15)

A victimized person typically exhibits several of these characteristics:

A—Ambivalent Experiences conflicted emotions about pain and pleasure and gives mixed emotional signals to others

B—Betrayed Expects rejection and is unable to trust or have faith in God or others

U—Unexcitable Lacks passion for both good and bad, merely seeks to be free of conflict with others, flat affect without emotional highs or lows

S—Self-Absorbed Consumed with self-protection and unable to be sensitive to others

E—Emotionally Controlled Disengages from true feelings and becomes blind to the feelings of others

D—Dependent on Self Seeks to be in control because of a reluctance to depend on God or others

The constant cry of many victims is…

“My soul is in deep anguish.”

(Psalm 6:3)

What Are Some Spiritual Side Effects of Victimization?

Not only do the Israelites suffer crippling emotional, physical, and mental side effects from generations of slavery in Egypt, they also suffer spiritual side effects.

After years of suffering and crying out to God for a deliverer, God answers their cries and sends Moses to them at just the right time. However, even then they have great difficulty trusting him. Their hearts are full of doubts not only about him but also about God.

Moses tries to reassure them with words of God’s plan to free them from the yoke of the Egyptians by performing mighty acts of judgment. God has promised to take them as His own people and give them the land He swore to give to their forefathers. However, despite Moses’ efforts, their bitter bondage is a barrier to their belief in His words to them.…

“Say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.  I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God.… And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob.…’ Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor.”

(Exodus 6:6–9)

As with the Israelites, those who are repeatedly victimized often struggle with obstacles to their spiritual growth. They …

  • Possess a knowledge of God but little personal experience of God
    • Know God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present.
    • Know God is a force to be reckoned with
    • Know God is eternal and sovereign
  • Are angry with God for not stopping the abuse
    • Think God is responsible for the bad things that have happened to them
    • Think God is cruel and unloving
    • Think God is unfair and unjust 
  • Have difficulty forming an intimate relationship with God
    • Struggle with being honest and open with God
    • Struggle with believing the promises of God
    • Struggle with giving their hearts and lives to God 
  • Distrust God for allowing the abuse
    • Consider God to be unrestricted and undiscerning in the use of His power
    • Consider God to be a liar
    • Consider God to be undependable
  • Fear God’s anger and displeasure
    • See God as impossible to please
    • See God as punitive and vindictive
    • See God as condemning
  • Have feelings of rejection and unworthiness
    • Feel God has abandoned them
    • Feel God has ascribed no value to them
    • Feel God has thrown them on the garbage heap
  • Project the attributes of their abuser onto God
    • Believe God is hurtful and insensitive
    • Believe God is selfish and controlling
    • Believe God is inconsistent and unpredictable
  • Seek to gain God’s approval
    • Hope God will bless them for their sacrificial giving
    • Hope God will bless them for their church-related activities
    • Hope God will bless them for their service to others 
  • Harbor warped, negative perceptions of God
    • Perceive God as being distant and disinterested
    • Perceive God as being indifferent to their pain
    • Perceive God as being unavailable

Some spiritual strugglers become so embittered …

“They say to God, ‘Leave us alone!   We have no desire to know your ways.’ ”

(Job 21:14)

Others, however, choose to reach out in faith to lay hold of the promises of God.…

“… the gospel … is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.… ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.… ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.’ ”

(Romans 1:16; Revelation 22:17, Matthew 11:28–29)

Healing

Question:  “After someone has been victimized, is healing really possible?”

Answer:  Yes, through the power of the Lord. It will take time, but healing is a positive process through which you will experience spiritual growth.…

“Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved.…”

(Jeremiah 17:14)

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God desires to give you hope as you face life challenges, problems and difficult trials. The good news for us, God specializes in redemption and transformation. He takes that which was lost and restores it. He takes that which was dead and gives it life. He takes that which had no hope and rewrites its story. This is our God! As you pray today, ask God boldly to transform the thing inside you that you want to see changed forever!

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