One area that people can struggle with after any form of abuse is the fact that they have been victimized. Accepting that we have been victims is different than taking on the mindset of being a victim. Part of the healing process is moving from victim to survivor to thriver. Victims are stuck in their abusive situation (at least mentally stuck there). Survivors have gotten out of their abuse. Thrivers live and share what they have learned, helping others to move through the process. It is possible to be stuck in our abuse and not move past the place of being a victim. If we do that we take on a victim mentality.

There are different views in Christian circles about the victim mentality. Some people dwell on it, others trivialize it, and others can spiritualize it.

“Unfortunately, there are those in the Christian community who trivialize what they term the “abuse victim mentality” and belittle the experiences of those who have been hurt by pastors and churches. To disparage or scorn such accounts of abuse will only further isolate the victims and drive them away from the church.”  (Stress-Making Churches by Ronald Enroth at

“Jesus was at all times, in control of what happened to him. He was going to choose exactly when and where he would allow the full extent of the abuse of man to be shown in all its gory detail. The whole situation never left Jesus’ control for a moment. The one thing Jesus never became until he chose that role consciously, and for a purpose, was a victim. Victim mentality is never of God. If we are in Jesus and know our Heavenly Father; then we too have the ability and right to be in control of our situation and it is good and right to do what brings us most peace. “

“Jesus refused victim mentality. He was never going to give satisfaction to man, or to demons in being cowed under by the power of abuse. He knew his own worth as God’s son, and nothing could alter that. He was in control of His own destiny. If we are following Him, then we also can take charge of ours. The only form of control we ever need to accept is that of the Holy Spirit and the will of God for our lives. The will of God is never that we should continue to be abused.” (A Devotional for the abused by Minister Jacky Hughes

As Christians what should our response be to our abuse? How can we accept that we have been victims, deal with it in healthy ways, and move to be survivors and thrivers? I have met many people who are not yet survivors, but very few seem to be actually living with the victim mentality willingly. How can we help others move forward and not get stuck? What has worked for you?