During a discussion with a lawyer friend a few years ago he told me that men were hunters, able to sense the vulnerability within women who had come from abusive backgrounds. They were “easy prey” he said, adding, “Many women set themselves up as victims.”
I think both men and women do this when they don’t value who they are, when they look for someone to ‘rescue’ them from problems and dilemmas, and when they have unrealistic expectations of others.
If we believe we are a victim, we attract further abuse and can become scapegoats for other people’s unwanted anger and bad feelings about themselves. Enmeshed in grievances and self-pity, victims become caught in a trap of their own making, becoming easy prey for predators.
The way out of the victim trap is to start seeing oneself from a different perspective. The best protection against ‘hunters’ is to strengthen oneself from the inside by building a healthy foundation of self-esteem.
Here are ten ways in which to begin:
- Learn to recognise yourself for the unique and beautiful person you are. List your talents, special qualities and attributes.
- Become your own best friend.
- Face your fears and work through them, one by one.
- Change negative self-talk to positive self-talk.
- Nourish yourself with healthy food, positive company, inspiring reading material, nature, exercise, adequate rest and relaxation.
- Heal the past. Go back and face the parts where you got hurt. Look to see what you can learn from those experiences now.
- Listen to your inner voice rather than asking others for advice.
- Open yourself to receive and let your giving be a sharing of what you value within yourself.
- Learn to be more assertive. Realise that those who try to victimise you are victims of their own fears and low self-esteem.
- Learn to become whole by developing all the qualities within yourself you look for in others. Make a list of what they are. You may be surprised to find that you already have many of those qualities lying sleeping within, waiting for you – not Prince Charming – to give them the kiss of life.
A person who as built up their self-esteem from the inside out will feel good about themselves no matter what may happen in their external circumstances.
First published in the Ballarat News, August 31, 1994