The essence of this blog post is to talk a little bit about what victim mentality is, and how you can use tarot to regain
your power and control. Essentially I want to explore how to become a Victor, not a Victim.
A little disclaimer before we start – please remember that a tarot reading is no substitute for professional psychological advice, so if you are experiencing extreme anxiety, depression or similar, please consider contacting a counselling pro in your area.
Victim mentality describes the state of mind where you blame others for your circumstances, and don’t take responsibility for your own actions. This can lead to a devolution of your mental state into irrational beliefs such as ‘things never go right for me’ and often more passive behaviours are taken up as a result i.e. the idea that ‘it’s going to go bad so why should I bother?’.
Whilst it’s true that bad things do happen in life, it’s highly unlikely that nothing good has EVER happened. Whilst it’s true that sometimes we cannot control our circumstances, it does not then follow on that we are also powerless to control our reaction to these circumstances. There is always a choice in how we respond to what life throws our way. We can hide, and let life pass us by, or we can take the proverbial bull by the horns and ride the wave.
I’d like to look at how to use Tarot, to change our attitudes and actions towards our circumstances. Let’s regain some control back together!
I mean, it’s just a pack of cardboard with pictures on, there’s no way Tarot can change your life like this, right?
WRONG! Symbols and images have formed the backbone of human civilizations since records began (in fact – they ARE the first records!). We see pictures everywhere – who hasn’t sat and found faces in the wallpaper, or shapes in the clouds? It is an automatic human response to look for recognizable images on every surface and somehow relate them to our experiences. By consciously using Tarot cards to look for clues on where our beliefs stem from, through the imagery they portray, we can begin to build strategies to overcome the irrational beliefs, and build on the healthy ones.
There is a Tarot card for just about every emotion, state of being and action that you can think of. There are several cards that come to mind for victim mentality right off the bat. Let’s look at these a little closer.
I want to bunch these two cards together as I feel they can be very similar when thinking about the victim mentality. The Devil usually shows figures bound in chains, relinquishing control of their fate. Typical of a person who is addicted to something (anything) that does not do them much good, they blame the addiction, or the crowd they run with, when often, they simply enjoy the smokescreen fantasy that their addiction offers them, for however long that may last. They have the power to free themselves at any time, yet choose to remain in the illusion of being shackled. The 8 of Swords carries similar imagery. An individual who is usually in the centre of a ring of swords, looking downright lost. However, she could easily slip between the swords and escape if she so chose to – it’s almost as if she is trying to blend in with the swords, and become one of them. Her bonds don’t look very tight at all, either – another opportunity for escape. By staying in the circle, she is refusing to make a decision. Ironically, by not choosing her next course of action, she is actually choosing to remain in this state of limbo. Which brings me onto our next culprit.
Oh the martyr. This guy is self sacrificing, no doubt, however, he also remains in stasis for a very long time. Not very proactive at all – much like someone who is trapped in the victim mentality. A person under the influence of VM would see the negative aspects of this card – how many times have you seen someone having a rant about how they feel as though their friends take advantage of them and how they would be putting themselves first from ‘now on’ yet you see the exact same rant from them 2 months or so down the line. It would never occur to them that they have put themselves in that position, and continue to do so time and time again, because it is easier than making the choice to not be a victim of circumstances. Look at The Hanged Man in the Rider Waite tarot deck – he looks quite comfortable even though he is hanging upside down, he shows no desire to want to change his position. That is where we come in to help show this card in a new light. You see, it is perfectly healthy to take a pit stop along the way. It is unhealthy to remain in this position and stagnate indefinitely. It is completely acceptable to help out other people, if it is in our power to do so and if we WANT to. It is irrational to expect people to always reciprocate based on some imaginary contract that only you have the clauses to. Communication is a major issue when it comes to victim mentality and our relationships with others.
To some degree this card can be just what we NEED to hear. We cannot hope to win all the time in life, so there will be some defeats along the way. The 5 of Swords is often about an unfair victory – and therefore defeat, where innocent people may have suffered on one person’s path to get what they wanted. A person with a victim mentality will look at this card and just give up. A person overcoming victim mentality will look at this card and say, okay so what can I do after I get up to improve my situation.
Hmm, there seems to be a theme here with these swords cards eh? This card is a very obvious contender for top victim of the year. In RWS based tarot decks, this card is usually portrayed as an individual with 10 blades sticking out of his back. A person with victim mentality will zone in on all the backstabbing and betrayal, figuratively speaking they will stay lying on the ground with those blades sticking out. A person overcoming victim mentality will take stock of the fact that this is a ’10’, which often indicates the end of a cycle, to make way for a new spin on the wheel. Although today didn’t end very well, tomorrow does not have to end the same way – this isn’t Groundhog Day, after all! If you want to go one step further you can also take on the fact that at least all this backstabbing is out in the open and you know where you stand. You don’t have to like it, but it does give you a jumping off point for where you go next and who you want to leave behind! Of course, this card could also be saying that you really could use a good acupuncture session, to relieve all of this built up anxiety 😉 – so many possibilities! The point is that a person with victim mentality has a kind of tunnel vision, they hone in on the negative, and cannot see all of these possibilities to change their responses to their circumstances.
The daydreamer. The 7 of Cups warns us of fantasizing to the extent of avoiding real life experience. In terms of a person with VM, they would most likely obsess about the lives that people around them are living, placing negative connotations that not only are irrational, but also serve to promote bitterness and stagnation within their own lives. Effectively they start blaming others around them for having such ‘perfect’ lives (although the truth is that they are probably far from perfection), and then refuse to get up and do something about it because ‘good things only happen to other people. Bad things always happen to me.’ While they are busy checking through photos of ‘that bitch <insert name here>’ just getting married, though of course the VM person ‘deserves it so much more’, they could be out there meeting new people and opening the possibilities for their very own marriage.
Victim Mentality is a very real danger to our quality of life. I would be surprised if anyone HASN’T experienced (however secretly) some form of negative thinking akin to the examples shown above. Time to show it the door and move on! 🙂
Of course! There is a tarot spread for everything 😉
For example, are you extremely passive letting life walk on by, or are you on the other end of the scale and perhaps you lash out unnecessarily. Are you very anxious a lot of the time? Are you masking this by pretending to be confident and happy?
It could be people around you, or dependency on something. Before you jump the gun, we are not blaming these things here, we are simply identifying the root issues that we believe are causing our circumstances.
First accepting that you have an attitude towards your circumstances is a major step in identifying the causes of your mental state. Perhaps you already have started adopting a good attitude that is setting you on the path to freedom. Or perhaps you are still blaming everybody and everything for what happens to you, and staying put because you don’t see a way to change your life. If you are willing to be honest with yourself, this card can really help on the self awareness process. Which brings us to…
Self awareness is an extremely important part of any healing process. If we are not aware of who we are and how we think/behave, then how can we identify when such things become destructive, and restrictive. Furthermore, how can we then change these things?
The correlation between this card and the ‘How do I see myself’ card could be very revealing, and helpful when dispelling irrational fears. It can also make you more aware of how you are treating people around you. Are you constantly feeling down because you feel like no one is ‘there for you’, yet this card shows that you appear to be very closed off to those people you care about?
This is a very proactive card, and the ‘tip’ of the arrow in this spread. It points the way, but you have to consider putting in some leg work to get there. There is no public transport, Lamborghini, or space shuttle to ferry you to your destination on this occasion, unfortunately. Whatever comes up in this card could be the key to moving forward in your physical life.
We’ve already looked at what attitudes are keeping you rooted in victim mentality, now this card invites you to look at what new ways you can approach situations from now on.
This spread can be expanded to include multiple cards for each position if you’d like a more in depth look at this situation. However, people with a victim mentality are often consumed with a lot of things at any given time, so it might be a better idea to start off simple and build upon it in future sessions.
“You mean there is no quick fix? I have to work to be rid of VM? That’s NOT FAIR!” – that right there is a perfect example of how victim mentality can leave you trapped in stasis. Where is it written that everything MUST be fair? Where is it written that you HAVE to have everything that you want right now? It’s nobody’s fault, it’s just how it is. We’re all in this together.
These are just a few of the examples and possible translations you could make to explore the idea of victim mentality. Leave your comments on which other cards you feel describe this subject, and how you would give different interpretations to offer new possibilities to people who may not have considered them alone.
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