Do you know people who have been through trauma in their lives? How have they responded to this experience? Many people have survived all sorts of trauma, but their reactions vary greatly. Why do some people overcome the experience while others choose to live their lives as victims? In my work as a psychologist I witness the varied reactions to traumatic events everyday and often wonder about factors that contribute to one’s resiliency. In some cases it’s related to their support system, coping skills, psychiatric history, or learned behaviors. Some other variables include: insecurity, need for attention/approval, and fear. There are those people who would rather be a victim and/or martyr and rely on others to take care of them. They often manipulate others through guilt, shame, anger or fear in order to get their needs met. The people helping the”victims” sometimes become enablers assuming responsibility and perpetuating the “victim position.” The classic codependent is in the business of rescuing others. People become projects to them, but the result is rarely positive. Remember, the more we help others, the less they help themselves. So what’s the answer to helping people through difficult times? Encourage a positive attitude that focuses on their abilities to overcome the adversity. Support their efforts to grow and be sensitive to their emotions without assuming responsibility for them. Establish healthy boundaries and foster self-reliance. There is a choice; do you want perpetuate the victim or reinforce the survivor?
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