Be a Victim No More with One Magical Question

I was sitting on the couch in my therapist’s office discussing how I’d recently been wronged. One thing I especially loved about this therapist in particular was her ability to be blunt but not offensive. She had to have sensed my meekness, but still asked me this very foreword and life changing question. “Did they do this to you, or did you allow this to happen?” My eyes widened and I couldn’t believe this had never occurred to me before. I pondered this for a good minute and have thought about it a zillion times since. Do I believe someone had wronged me? Yes. The question didn’t remove responsibility from the other party. But I ultimately allowed it to happen.

That one question made me reframe my victim mentality. I immediately felt powerful realizing I had enabled this unpleasant circumstance to take place. This reframing continues to give me power anytime I’m in a situation I’m unhappy with or any scenario that feels uneasy.

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People pleasers tend to get taken advantage of often. I’m not disparaging anyone feeling victimized. The difference now is, I remove the focus from the other party. The focus moves to me. Concentrating on my feelings, behaviors, and boundaries gives me more control to make change that benefits me.

Real World Example

I worked for an employer who talked down to their employees at my first job after college. I left this place crying what felt like every day. My mindset was that something was wrong with me. Why couldn’t I get the work right? Any mistake led to belittling until I was a crying mess to their face. This workplace treatment was not okay and shouldn’t have been tolerated. I didn’t know about boundaries at this time.

Looking back, this boss was most definitely mistreating me and other employees which makes me a victim in itself. However, I had the focus on them the whole time. I sat there like I had no say in what was being said to me or happening to me…when I actually did have options but wasn’t aware. What could I have done differently?

I could’ve told my boss talking to me like that wouldn’t be tolerated. Walking away from the conversation would’ve been appropriate. Quitting is an option although it doesn’t feel like it sometimes and can be extreme. Sometimes we have to quit a job or a relationship if they continue to cross boundaries though.

Make the Change

If you ever feel like a victim, something needs to change. But who has the control to make the change? Can you change the other party involved? I’m sure by now you’ve heard YOU CAN’T CHANGE ANYONE. The one and only thing you have control of on this planet is YOU. That’s it. So, if change is going to happen, it’s your responsibility.

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Don’t Forget

Think about the following if you find yourself in a precarious or uneasy situation.

  • Switch focus to yourself.
  • Ask yourself what changes you can make to benefit yourself.
  • Set your boundaries.
  • Leave the vicinity to get your thoughts together.

I recommend hiring a therapist if you don’t already have one or two. They train for thousands of hours to do their job. A therapist can help you reframe your thoughts therefore your behaviors. Remember, it’s important to connect with your therapist for beneficial and effective sessions. For online therapy via telehealth visit BetterHelp | Professional Therapy With A Licensed Therapist.


Jenn Kemp, PMHNP, is a dedicated psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner with a personal and professional commitment to helping others overcome people-pleasing behaviors. Having navigated her own journey through these habits, Jenn combines clinical expertise with genuine empathy to guide her readers towards healthier, more authentic lives.

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