Old-fashioned melodramas featured hapless heroines who always seemed to find themselves tied to a railroad track or evicted from home into a fierce storm as the villain twirled his oily mustache. Only a white-hatted hero or the cavalry could rescue them as they cried, “Woe is me!”

Times of stress or a need to respond to fearful situations can stir up the victim in all of us.

No one likes to think of themselves as victims. It’s not a fun thought. I have found throughout my life that I have lived in that mentality. It serves a purpose for a time being yet it isn’t a place to stay. Do you agree?

Here’s a Thriving quiz to help you see if you’ve been carrying around a victim mentality that may be robbing you of your sense of personal power. Answer true or false to the following statements.

T /F – My first response to a setback is to blame someone else for what’s happened.

T /F – No matter what I do, things are not really going to change for me.

T /F – I often find myself beginning thoughts with phrases like “I can’t…,” “I’m no good at…” or “I’ve never been able to….”

T /F – When things go wrong, I tend to beat myself up.

T /F – Sometimes I’m lucky, but when bad things happen it’s because I messed up.

T /F – When angry, I rarely begin sentences with “I.”

T /F – Conversations with friends are often about how hard my life is.

T /F – When friends offer advice, I usually counter it with “Yes, but…” since they can’t know how difficult my situation really is.

T /F – I spend a fair amount of my time thinking about past failures and mistakes.

T /F – Other people usually cause me to feel the way I do. I’d be more centered if it weren’t for them.

T /F – I’m always so busy with work and the things I need to do to survive that I just don’t have time to do things I want to do for myself.

T /F – I’d like to exercise more and eat in a healthier way, but I just can’t right now.

T /F – If I weren’t tied down to all these obligations, I could really do some of the things I always think about doing.

T /F – Someday I’ll find a new partner who will really change my life. In the meantime, all I can do is hope.

T /F – I must have done something really horrible in a past life because nothing I do ever works out.

T /F – If only I had had more support, I could have… (fill in the blank.)

“Victimhood” is usually a way of staying stuck in old patterns and can be an externalizing way of dealing with unacknowledged anger or fear of change. If you answered true to more than a couple of these questions, chances are you’d benefit from a closer look at what’s happening in your life right now.

Getting curious is a wonderful way to discover new ways of being. Let’s get curious together.