Take special notice of this article’s featured image. See the Wolf in Sheep’s clothing? It’s the Spirit, Totem, and Power Animal of those with a victim mentality or victim complex. Learn how to work with Animal Spirit Guides to identify and shed the victim mentality, reclaim your freedom, and live an emotionally empowered life.
Please know I am not a medical professional and see the special note regarding such.
What is ‘Victim Mentality’ or ‘Victim Complex’?
Victim mentality and victim complex are clinical psychology terms describing the personality of persons who believe they are always the victim of the harmful or negative actions of others, even if evidence proves differently.
Wait. Huh? If someone has been harmed by another by definition that makes them a “real” victim, right?
True, abuse of any kind can be thrust upon us through no fault of our own. It’s also true some deliberately seek out relationships and create situations that allow them to be and feel persecuted.
Folks who are trapped in the victim mentality paradigm live for the pity party. Pessimism is their warm blankie. Suffering is their safe place.
Sound familiar – about yourself or someone you know? It doesn’t have to be this way. Unhappiness is not your soul or spirit’s natural state of being. The good news is when you identify as a survivor instead of a victim, beautiful transformation happens and happiness blooms!
What Causes Victim Mentality
Victim mentality is a learned behavior that (generally) can be traced to childhood trauma and dysfunctional family actions. Maybe the adults who influenced you always felt the world was out to ‘get’ them and, so, constantly complained. Maybe somehow you came to believe being a victim is the only way to get attention, compassion, or love from others. Maybe you suffered abuse and still carry feelings of deep shame and helplessness that cause a lack of self-esteem.
Additionally, there are those who have committed acts which they feel they deserve to be punished for. These acts can be real (theft, lies, adultery, and more) or perceived (parents divorce and the child believes it to be their fault, and more). These victim mentality sufferers create an infinite loop of punishment (having bad or wrong things done to them) and relief (emotional, physical, and mental support/love and more).
That said, I believe we can carry patterns over from past lives. Though there’s no conclusive evidence, scientists who study past lives are looking into the possibility cellular memory affects current lifetimes by carrying data into the present from the past. To get an overview of how this might work, read “Cellular Memory and How it Works” by Elizabeth Molyneux-Dickson.
Why Would Anyone Want to be a Victim?
Oh, there is great power in playing the victim.
By way of example, I know someone who repeatedly loans money to people who he has only just met and who have already demonstrated they are not to be trusted. And we’re not talking a few bucks. He loans them one or two hundred dollars – sometimes more. When these virtual strangers take off with his money, never to be seen again, he posts all about it on Facebook.
His story goes something like, “I was so kind and generous. I loaned money to this poor down and out person, and they took advantage of me. I just don’t understand why I’m always getting taken advantage of.” His feed then fills with comments such as “so sorry this happened to you,” “you’re such a good man,” and “you deserve so much better.” If it’s not the money lending story, he’s got a dozen others; this pattern cycles through just about every month.
Those who perpetuate their victim status frequently enjoy the following ‘perks’:
- never having to take responsibility for anything;
- gives you the power to manipulate others;
- being showered with attention;
- being pampered with praise;
- getting what you want;
- feeling important because people listen to your stories;
- feeling cared for because people feel sorry for you;
- never having to face reality because you constantly create so much drama;
- rarely being criticized; and
- having “good” excuses for why relationships and things just never seem to work out.
Though it can be completely draining to deal with someone who suffers from a victim mentality, the keyword here is “suffer.” They use manipulative and, sometimes, unscrupulous behavior to place blame on others and circumstances for the misery that is their life. If that’s not suffering I don’t know what is.
The Shadow Side of Victim Mentality & Complex
The average person’s victim mentality actions, though irksome and exhausting, are rarely dangerous. However, in extreme cases, abusers flip the tables and play the victim. You’ve likely heard the scenario of an abusive (physical, mental, or emotional) person who insists “it’s not their fault.” The abuser claims because of the actions of a friend, spouse, child, co-worker, pet/animal they had no choice but to take action – that they were forced or coerced into performing abusive actions.
Conversely, a person who is caught up in the darkness of victim mentality behavior might stay in an abusive relationship so they can claim to the world “Look at what the horrible abuse I’m suffering. LOOK what this person did to me!” It’s a trifecta. This gains them sympathy, usually sends those who care about them into a tizzy (drama), and it’s an attention buffet. They can get lavished with care and concern from family, friends, law enforcement, the medical community, and more.
For most, the victim mentality doesn’t go as far as these scenarios and doing Shadow Work can help you emerge from the miseries of victimization into the beautiful light of bliss.
A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing:
The Victim Mentality’s Spirit, Totem, & Power Animal
The definition of a Wolf in Sheep’s clothing is:
Someone or something that seems to be good but is actually not good at all.
To be clear, I’m not labeling anyone a “bad” person. What I am saying is those who play the victim (consciously or subconsciously) engage in destructive behavior which they perpetrate upon themselves and others. That’s not good, but that doesn’t make them “bad.”
Now, if you take a look at the animals which make up the Wolf in Sheep’s clothing, you have a Sheep and a Wolf. It’s important to consider the symbolism and meanings of both. Click to read about Wolf Meaning & Sheep Meaning.
On the surface, it can appear Sheep are good and Wolves are bad. Nothing could be further from the truth. Both animals have extraordinary traits humans can only dream of possessing. And, both animals can show us the shadows. Sheep can be cowards but incredibly gentle and loving. Wolves can be vicious but incredibly playful, loving, and loyal. However, in the case of the metaphorical “Wolf in Sheep’s clothing,” combining these two Animal Spirit Guides alerts us to the energies of dark, hidden, and alarming agendas.
Those with the victim mentality frequently portray themselves as Sheep – the innocent who needs protecting. Yet, they’re really Wolves – waiting and watching for the best opportunity to attack their prey.
Have the courage to face yourself. You don’t have to live in this nightmare. You can wake up. If all this describes someone you know, the choice is yours to approach the subject or not. On the flip side, if you’re constantly catering to a victim mentality sufferer, perhaps you might consider the possibility of your being codependent.
As with everything in life, Spirit, Totem, and Power Animal Medicine and Energy can help! Keep reading to find out how.
Before moving to the next section, take a moment and discover the difference between a Spirit, Totem, and Power Animal.
How to Use Spirit Animals to Identify & Heal Victim Mentality
A Spirit Animal is the guide who appears to offer love, support, and inspiration. Sometimes we consciously ask the Animal Allies to show up, and other times the Animal Spirit Guides keep presenting themselves until you take notice. These animals usually change throughout our lifetime as we need them.
STEP 1: Identifying the Victim Mentality Personality with Your Spirit Animal
If you’re not sure you have a victim mentality personality, you can do a Spirit Animal Meditation to find out. At the outset of the meditation set the intention to be shown if you are suffering from a victim mentality.
Some scenarios for answers might go something like this:
- A fluffy Bunny shows up and curls up in your lap. As you begin to pet its soft fur, it transforms into a poisonous Snake and springs forward to bite you.
- Trickster animals show up (Fox, Coyote, Wolf) and they show aggressive behavior.
- The animals you’re most afraid of show up. Usually, these are the traditionally “scary” animals (Sharks, Snakes, Spiders, Alligators/Crocs).
Take note of the following:
- Did the animal fly, crawl, swim, walk, run, or limp?
- Did the animal seem angry, sad, hurt, or sick? How did that make you feel?
- Was it uncomfortably hot (anger) or cold (I’m alone and everyone is out to get me)
- What color was the animal? Dark, muddy, or extreme hues of colors can indicate “inflammation”, something or someone “out of balance” or “illness”.
There is no one answer that reveals all. It can take time and earnest effort to interpret what the Animal Allies reveal to you. You may have to repeat the steps several times. Don’t give up. If at the end of the day you do not live your happiest life and find yourself feeling victimized more often than not, know by doing the work, you can live a life full of joy!
STEP 2: Healing or Shedding the Victim Mentality with Your Spirit Animal
When I read up on the victim mentality, from both healthcare professionals and alternative healers, one of the first things I read was for the person on the healing journey to be gentle with themselves. OK. But not everybody responds best to this method. You might do better by telling yourself to cut the shit, jerk yourself up by your bootstraps, and get moving! And, if you can’t do that for yourself, find a friend or family member who can give you that gift. You may have to try both methods – Sheep (gentle) and Wolf (aggressive).
Below are some specific exercises that can help you shed the victim mentality and complex:
- A sick or injured animal shows up. Offer the animal love, and healing and ask it what parts of yourself it represents.
- Ask the animal if it wants to get better. Intention is everything.
- Ask the Animal Allies to show you the Animal Energy that will be by your side as you work through the process. Maybe a Horse shows up. How did you feel when you saw it? Is it Black (power or darkness), White (divine protection and purity), Cinnamon (Sacral Chakra, grounded, zest for life). Take a look at Horse meaning
Horses represent virility and sex drive. Is there sexual abuse in your background? It’s one of the biggest causes of victim mentality and complex. Horses also represent freedom, travel, and power. Maybe Horse has shown up to tell you it will be your trusty steed and help carry you to liberation; that you’re strong and you got this!
It’s so important you journal these experiences. For most, the journey to healing is a process. What you think something means today can change a week, month, or six months from now. Having your thoughts and feelings documented is a powerful way to gain insights and decide on solutions.
How to Use Totem Animals to Identify & Heal Victim Mentality
A Totem Animal is who you “are”. This begins with your Zodiac Sign Animal and Birth Totem. It can also be any other Animal Spirit Guide you most relate to. This is a lifelong relationship.
Know thyself, right? Working with your “self” can be a bit scary because you’ve got to be willing to get down into the underbelly and face what’s inside you.
STEP 1: Identifying the Victim Mentality Personality Through Your Totem
The first place to start is with your Birth Totem and Zodiac Signs. Make a list of your signs and Totems from all Astrology systems (Western, Chinese, Celtic, Native American, & Mayan/Aztec). Then make a list of positive and negative traits for each.
Some scenarios for answers might go something like; let’s say you’re a…
- Virgo (Western Astrology) – Does your need to be perceived as perfect cause you to create major drama in your life, so you don’t have to face the fact nobody is perfect?
- Gemini (Western Astrology) – Are you a truth-teller? If not, ask the Animal Allies to show you what parts of your life you’re lying to yourself and others about.
- Salmon (Native American Zodiac) – Do you constantly need attention? What lengths will you go to in order to receive it?
- Dog (Chinese Zodiac) – Are you really codependent and not a victim mentality personality? Do you stay in toxic relationships and situations because you can only find value in yourself when others need you – even if it uses up every resource you have (mental, emotional, financial, physical, and more)?
STEP 2: Healing or Shedding the Victim Mentality through Your Totem
Once you take a deep look at your Zodiac Sign & Birth Totem Animals, ask yourself what other animal(s) with which you most identify. Make a detailed study of their meanings and symbolism.
Just as when working with meditation to communicate with your Spirit Animal, you can do intentional meditations to meet your “self” – your Totem Animal. This is not an exercise you want to take lightly.
A student of mine meditated on her true Leo nature. It was revealed to her the fear of not getting the male attention she craved helped cause her son’s drug problem. Her husband left the family when their son was very young. From that time on, she expected and pressured their child to be the “man of the family.” She wanted her son to give her the male attention she so desperately wanted but no longer got from a husband; this was shown to her in a “movie” of a Lioness dragging around a Lion Cub that had her son’s face in place of its own. The Lioness carried the Cub around like a kid with a rag doll. The Lioness kept saying to the Cub, “Well your dad abandoned us so now you, being the man, have to…”. Through the vision, she watched the Cub mature into a sickly adult Lion – underweight, listless, and sad.
When she came out of the meditation, she called me. I’ll remember the pain in her voice as long as I live. I told her I was so proud of her. As I’m not a medical professional, of course, I lovingly suggested she and her son seek counseling. Some months later she called again; this time to let me know her son had been clean for six straight months. Their relationship was on the mend.
How to Use Power Animals to Identify & Heal Victim Mentality
A Power Animal is an Animal Medicine or Energy you call on or invoke from within for assistance in a specific situation. You “are” every animal, every living thing. And every animal, living this is “you.” So those energies are available to you at any moment you choose. You’ve read the stories about mothers who suddenly became strong as an Elephant or Ox and are able to lift cars off their children or other loved ones — same concept.
It’s important to remember there’s true power in many different attributes; you may need to invoke patience as your superpower – particularly if you’re impatient by nature. Perhaps you invoke Bee energy to aid you in the process of working with others on a hive-mind solution or project that needs many hands working in harmony. Personally, I’m such a solitary person I turn to Bee often. As a result, I’ve become a little obsessed with honey. I can’t wait to find and try new kinds! LOL, Each time I pick up a jar of honey I’m reminded of all, it took to get that jar in my hands, and I’m humbled. In this, Bee also gifts me with an and even bigger attitude of gratitude!
STEP 1: Identifying the Victim Mentality Personality by Invoking Your Power Animal
Again, intention is everything. Invoking your Power Animal to discover or identify if you are living a victim mentality lifestyle works something like this:
- Let’s say you’ve worked hard to understand if the victim mentality is part of your story but aren’t sure. Pack animals work together. Ask trusted medical professionals, friends, or family for their observations and insights. Ask for honesty and be open to everything.
- Maybe you’ve already been told you have a victim mentality personality but can’t see it. Invoke Eagle, Hawk, Owl or any other animal whose keen eyesight is legendary. Calling forth this medicine can give you the courage and power to see what you’re hiding from yourself.
- Once you’ve identified your victim mentality and commit to the healing process, call on the power of animals who make the most miraculous migrations and transformations. The Monarch Butterfly is GREAT for this! Hummingbirds, Snakes, Salmon, and Tarantulas are fantastic Animal Allies, too.
STEP 2: Healing or Shedding the Victim Mentality by Calling in Your Power Animal
To heal anything at its deepest level, we have to find the trigger event that caused the trauma and process it out. Remember, this trauma can carry over from past lives. Sometimes, a past life regression can give the answers you’re looking for in this lifetime. Other times it’s a combo pack, part this life and part past life. Fun, right? But you can accomplish whatever healing you wish!
There at least a zillion ways to use Power Animal medicine and energy to heal victim mentality. A few ways to help you get started are:
- Remembering humans are animals. In my opinion, be Spirit, Totem, and Power Animals. Maybe you will benefit from trying to invoke the energy of a famous or respected person who’s been through great adversity and emerged successful. Oprah, Gandhi, Charlize Theron, Einstein are great resources. Maybe someone in your own neighborhood has an inspirational story you can keep in your heart to help you through your own transformation.
- Victim mentality behavior can be addictive. After all, there are some awesome perks that can come with it (see “Why Would Anyone Want to be a Victim” above). Call in an Animal’s Energy you know can protect you from yourself and others who might be unconsciously feeding your victim behavior. Dogs, Mama Bear, Elephant – pretty much any female mammal.
- Power Animals make it possible for you to be anyone and anything you can dream. So, first, start dreaming! Spiders are the best Animal Spirit Guide for dreaming. Their webs are natures dream catchers and meditation mandalas! The middle point of a Spider’s web is said to be the center of the universe: A portal to other worlds. Love yourself enough to step through that portal and dream your biggest dreams. Spider can help!
- Once your dreams are allowed to come into the light of being, begin each day with a Power Animal meditation. Whatever you wish to accomplish on that day call in the Animal Energy that can best assist you. Admittedly it will take a bit of research to find the Animal Ally that best suits your goals each day. BUT– the SECRET to all this is once you become accustomed to invoking your Power Animals, your confidence will take on a life of its own! You’ll move through the world – your life – in a wild and free way you never knew you could.
Well, Wild Ones, that’s all for this article. My greatest dream is the information shared here helps you (or someone you care about) shed the victim mentality and transform into a blissful being living life in the light. I can’t wait till you begin! You’re gonna do great!
*Special Note* I am not a medical professional of any kind. The advice and opinions stated here are my own and 100% based on my personal metaphysical and spiritual beliefs; none of which should EVER take the place of licensed medical professional services. If you are experiencing emotional and/or mental health issues I urge you to see a medical professional ASAP.