In an earlier post, I wrote about the vulnerability of highly sensitive people to negative types of people, like narcissists. Because of their compassionate and empathetic nature, many HSPs unwittingly attract people who will use the HSP for their own gain and consequently drain the energy out of them in the process. When this kind of relationship becomes a pattern, it is all too easy for the HSP to take on the role of victim.
Assuming the victim role is not a natural or inevitable consequence of being highly sensitive, but it is a common one. Highly sensitive people are often misunderstood and misinterpreted as being socially anxious, depressed, insecure or possessing any number of other issues. When you are constantly being told that you are too shy, too reserved, too quiet and too sensitive, you begin to think there is something wrong with you. And when other people begin to take advantage of your sensitive nature, you can easily begin to feel like a victim.
But thinking of oneself as a victim is often a belief we’re not consciously aware of. Feelings of self-doubt, and believing that we somehow deserve the treatment we’re receiving, however unpleasant, often stems from childhood. A repeated belief in oneself as deserving of some kind of victimhood is usually the result of actual victimisation at an earlier stage, such as facing a bully at school or a controlling parent at home. After many years of mistreatment or even misunderstanding, the victim mentality becomes ingrained to the degree that people begin to believe it, even when they are not even aware of it.
Thinking of oneself as a victim is not only bad for your self-esteem, it’s also destructive to your relationships. People who are mired in victimhood expect to be treated badly, which means that they will become attracted to anyone who wants to use or abuse them and will actually feel uncomfortable around someone who treats them with unconditional love, simply because it feels so unfamiliar.
So how does a person who is highly sensitive to their environment and to the feelings of others protect themselves not only from the malevolent intentions of narcissists, but from the negative victim belief that increasingly develops in their own mind? Here are a few first steps:
- Recognise the words in your mind that repeat themselves, such as ‘I don’t deserve any better’ or ‘I’m such a loser’
- When you hear those familiar phrases in your mind, remember that they were probably spoken to you by someone who was suffering themselves, and didn’t know the real you
- Recognise that none of those negative things about you are true – you were told lies but now you now the truth – you are a kind, compassionate person who deserves unconditional love
- Stop accepting anyone who talks to you negatively or treats you badly.
- Create a new belief system for yourself, beginning with the belief that you are not a victim
It is the beliefs in our subconscious mind that often control our behaviours, actions, decisions and choices in life. If you suspect that you have been treated like a victim, take the first step by refusing to act like a victim any more. You don’t have to be angry, but you do need to stop beleiving the negative talk in your head. Once you do that and start thinking of yourself in a more positive way, your life will begin to change for the better and the narcissists will stop beating a path to your door. All they will find is a door that won’t open to anything but kindness.