How do I stop feeling like a victim in my parenting?

mental models Mar 14, 2022

Not sure about you, but I am fairly confident that we all face challenges and difficulties in raising our children. Perhaps some of you might feel like you suffer more than the rest of us!

It is perfectly natural to feel overwhelmed, frustrated, or helpless. Modern life is full of pressures, demands and expectations bearing down on us in every direction. There's no let up!

Then, on top of that we can at times feel life is unfair, that our kids are ungrateful, or that we have no control over our circumstances. We may start to play the victim and blame others or the world for our problems and feel sorry for ourselves. 

It's normal to indulge ourselves at times. Playing the victim may seem like a way to cope with stress and pain, but it does us more harm than good. It stops us from taking responsibility for our actions and choices, and from making positive changes in our lives. It affects the quality of our relationships with our children, who may learn to adopt the same attitude or lord forbid, resent us for being passive, passive-aggressive and negative.

So how can we stop playing the victim and start taking charge of our lives as parents?

Here are some tips to help you:

  • Recognize your victim mindset. The first step is to become aware of how you think and talk about yourself and your situation. Do you often complain, criticize, or make excuses? Do you feel powerless, hopeless, or bitter? Do you expect others to solve your problems or pity you? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have a victim mindset that needs to change.
  • Challenge negative thoughts. Once you identify your victim thoughts, you must challenge them and replace them with more realistic ones. E.g.: instead of thinking “I can’t do anything right as a parent”, you could think “I make mistakes, but I also do many things well as a parent”. Instead of thinking “My kids don’t appreciate me”, you can think “My kids love me, but they also have their own needs and opinions”. Instead of thinking “Life is unfair”, you can think “Life has ups and downs, and I can handle them”.
  • Take action. Changing your mindset is not enough; you also need to take action to improve your situation. Like when Robert McCall (in the Equalizer) tells Teri to "change [her] world". Rather than waiting for things to happen or for others to help you, you need to take initiative and responsibility for your own happiness and well-being. E.g.: you can set goals for yourself, learn new skills, seek support, or make changes in your lifestyle. You can also take action to improve your relationship with your children, by communicating with them, listening to them, respecting them, and supporting them. This takes courage - change always does. 
  • One of the best ways to overcome victim mentality is to practice gratitude. Gratitude is the act of appreciating what you have, rather than focusing on what you lack. It helps you to see the positive aspects of your life, and to feel more content and optimistic. You can practice gratitude by keeping a journal, expressing thanks, or doing acts of kindness. You can practice gratitude with your children, by sharing what you are grateful for.

Playing the victim is a mindset that can be changed. By changing your thoughts, taking action, and practicing gratitude, you can stop playing the victim and start living a more empowered and fulfilling life as a parent. Remember, you are not a victim; you are a survivor, a fighter, and a leader.

You have the power to create the life you want, and to be the parent you want to be.

Do you struggle with your child’s meltdowns?

If you’re a parent of a child who has frequent and intense emotional outbursts, you know how hard it can be to deal with them. You want to help your child calm down, but you don’t know how. You feel frustrated, helpless, and guilty.

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This stuff is based on my personal and professional experience as a parent and a therapist. I’ve helped hundreds of parents like you overcome the challenges of meltdowns and create a more peaceful and positive family life.

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