There are many negative situations foster youth experience while they are in foster care and/or before they come into the foster care system that is beyond their control. Youth are abused and/or neglected due to no fault of their own. Unfortunately, foster care is not a place where many of these youth are able to work through the trauma associated with these situations. The memories of the traumatic experiences haunt youth well into adulthood and is accompanied by feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, anger and frustration.
Many adult alumni do not know how to deal with their trauma and very often choose to maintain a “victim mentality”. According to Wikipedia, a Victim mentality is an acquired (learned) personality trait in which a person tends to regard him or herself as a victim of the negative actions of others, and to think, speak and act as if that were the case - even in the absence of clear evidence. This Victim Mentality does not serve us well. As adults, we cannot continue to dwell over past circumstances. Our mental health is as important as our physical health so be sure to seek out a therapist or incorporate healthy self-care activities into your daily routine.
What we must understand as Alumni is that no one owes us anything. You cannot carry around baggage from the past and expect others to hold it for you. You cannot treat people with disdain because you’re dealing with your pain in the wrong way. In fact, you burn bridges and destroy relationships before you even have a chance to build them.
I’ve heard a lot of horror stories and have lived through some of my own; however what I have learned is that as an adult, no one cares. Everyone has their share of heartache and pain whether they have been in foster care or not. Everyone has a story; I can’t call out of work because I miss my mother. I can’t walk around with a nasty attitude because I’ve been wronged by others in my childhood.
At some point, we have to take responsibility for our own misery. There will be times when the pain from the past creeps up to remind you of what you’ve been through and this is okay; it is normal. Deal with it as it comes in a way that is positive and that works for you. If it is true that you feel things just keep happening to you, take a look at your role in it. Your thoughts become words and your words become your actions. If you’re constantly thinking and speaking negativity into your life, that is all you will attract.
We have to realize the power we have over our own lives. Life is not happening to you. You are the Author of your story. Change your perception of yourself and what you’ve been through and recognize that you are victorious. You have made it through situations that many would have succumbed to. Every painful memory, every insidious word from people in your childhood has built you into the resilient individual you are today. Do not give those negative people and things from your past the power to render you a victim because at this point, the only one to blame for the consequences will be YOU! Don’t expect people to understand your attitude or where your anger comes from; it is unfair to treat others who had no role in your pain as though they’ve caused it. Don’t be the perpetrator of the same pain you experienced, in the lives of others.
I understand that sometimes it is easier for people to remain a victim because it is familiar. Change, even when it is good, is uncomfortable and many people do not like to be uncomfortable or feel as though they are not in control of their situation. It is easier for some people to live in chaos and confusion because it is all they know and all they are comfortable with. I can assure you that as long as you live in chaos and confusion, you will never realize your full potential. You will always be unhappy and blind to what you deserve and what you can achieve.
The first step from the Land of Victim to the World of Victorious is to begin to look in the mirror. Examine who you are and how you handle certain situations. This could be by reaching out to a therapist or joining a support group of others who are working towards the same goals as you are or even listening to those who love you without becoming defensive. Understanding your trauma triggers is extremely important as you work to gain an understanding of how you interact with others. It takes time to work through the imprint of pain from the past, but you must be willing to do the work.
Unfortunately, the world will not understand your pain; it will not bend to accommodate your feelings. We are not entitled to anything. You have to do the work to earn what you want from this life.
We are not victims, we are VICTORIOUS! OWN IT!