September 1, 2015 by Cathy Vartuli

Mental Muggings: Victim, Survivor, or Thriver?

I’ve so enjoyed reading your responses and questions about Mental Mugging and being a victim of your own thoughts. Thank you for sharing so vulnerably and honestly!

As I promised, I’ve read every reply you sent about this, and I’ve pulled the questions together. I have an idea for answering them… I’ll tell you more in the next email after I spend a bit more time with it.

In the meantime, I wanted to send you one of the tapping emails I talked about.

Some of the questions you sent were so profound and thought provoking. I so appreciate your courage and the depth of your thoughts and wondering. And I welcome your feedback, questions, and sharing on this. (Please hit reply and let me know!)

Here’s where to start:

The actions you take to stop Mental Muggings depends on where you’re starting from.

Victim Mode: A lot of people use the word “victim” as a judgement or negative description. To me, the word describes a set of beliefs and fears that isn’t empowering, isn’t fun, and can be changed.

Someone who’s had a lot of trauma and stress will often feel powerless. They can feel like nothing they can do will matter, and they can feel passive about making their world different because they just don’t know if it’s possible.

They may feel dependent on others in ways that don’t feel good. (I’m quite dependent on the electric company, but that isn’t a bad thing. The electric company adds a lot to my life, and I give them money. It’s an equal, empowered relationship. A disempowered relationship is when I have to depend on someone else’s goodwill and feel I have no choice if they leave or say no.)

We can all have moments of feeling like a victim. A day (or a year or a childhood) of things going poorly, illness, breakups, job loss–they can all create a feeling of powerlessness.

The main key is to take responsibility for what you’re feeling and take small actions to move yourself to more power.

The bad experiences may not at all be that person’s fault. And at this stage, it does feel like earlier experiences are dominating life. But the only person who can fix their life is them!

There are many things we can do to help heal from that space. Gentle baby steps that can empower us and make a big difference. Looking for solutions, tapping, doing small things to help heal like meditation, asking for support, all can make life better.

To me, victim is only negative if someone is waiting passively for life to change, demanding support because they hurt, and not doing anything to make a difference.

Survivor Mode: At this stage people feel lots more empowered and know they can make changes, but they may experience their “thoughts thinking them,” and can often feel mugged by negative experiences and thoughts.

They’ve healed the biggest hurts and are making a positive difference in their life, just maybe not as fast as they’d like to.

The past doesn’t rule this person, but they may experience the habit of negative thinking to be pretty powerful and almost compulsive. They’ve survived and overcome things… and are stronger for it. Yet there’s a sense that they could be doing even better if they just knew how… If the negative fears and patterns didn’t ambush them quite so often.

This person’s done the ground work, and they can dive in and make big changes quickly, rewriting the stories they tell and being firm with the “hamsters” in their heads. I’ll tell you how soon!

Thriver: A person at this stage is feeling powerful and in control of their lives and their thoughts and either is developing or already has the habit of gently but firmly directing their hamsters and their thoughts.

That doesn’t mean everything always goes right for this person, but they quickly recover and identify what they can change and how they can make a difference.

If their hamsters start spinning in negative wheels, it doesn’t take them long to recognize it and transfer that to a positive and actively empowered one that leaves them feeling more filled up and hopeful.

And there is always room for fine tuning and upgrading this process. People at this level are powerful and can make dramatic changes in less time than you’d think!

We’re not static either. There are days when we may feel like a thriver and days when victim or survivor seem more accurate. If we do what we can at each step, we’re doing great!

(If you found yourself feeling hesitant or reluctant at any level during the description of the the thriver, pay attention to that. It’s an important clue about your Mental Muggings that we’ll address in one of the next emails. Don’t worry–it doesn’t mean you’re defective… It just means your survival brain is set at safety rather than thriving. And luckily, tapping is great at changing that set point!)

Hamster Help Needed! Let’s do some tapping!

Karate Chop: Even though I’ve been mentally mugged, I’m really glad I recognize it now, and can take action to tame my hamsters and my thoughts.

Even though these thoughts feel so compulsive at times, I take a deep breath and just notice them. This is good data! And I can clear this pattern and give myself more energy, power, and ease!

Even though I’ve been the victim of my own thoughts, I choose to take steps to reclaim my power now. And in this moment, I’m clearing and changing those old patterns.

Top of the Head: I’ve been the victim of my thoughts.
Eyebrow: My thoughts have been thinking me!
Side of the Eye: The negative and fearful…
Under the Eye: Spinning in my head.
Under the Nose: Wearing me down.
Chin: Making me tired and hopeless.
Collarbone: It hasn’t been fun,
Under the Arm: And I’m making a difference now!

Top of the Head: I want to be more positive.
Eyebrow: I want to be more abundant…
Side of the Eye: Inside and out.
Under the Eye: I’m ready to release the pattern of fear.
Under the Nose: I invite my brain to look for good outcomes…
Chin: Rather than preparing for every possible negative problem.
Collarbone: This is an old habit…
Under the Arm: And it’s ok to thank it and start something new.

Top of the Head: It did protect me all those years ago.
Eyebrow: The negative thoughts cushioned me.
Side of the Eye: They prepared me.
Under the Eye: They brought me down to a level that felt safe.
Under the Nose: But now they’re holding me back.
Chin: Now, they’re sucking my energy away.
Collarbone: I choose to reclaim my thoughts.
Under the Arm: I invite my energy to move higher.
Top of the Head: I’m ready to do what I can to transform my thoughts.

Take a deep breath.

Notice what you’re feeling. Jot down the ideas that seem strongest.

And feel free to reply and share what you’re notice with me. Like before, I won’t be able to reply to all of the emails, but I will read each one and use that to guide what I share.

And watch for the next email where I’ll share more tapping for releasing these old patterns!

To Ending Mental Muggings!


  • Shirley Jones says:

    i am so glad that i have come accross mental muggings. it is great for my of work as i do front of house in a cafe.feeding young adults. which can l tricky. i find i speak more fluently. and my enjoy my job more. its amazing how your mind give you the answer.

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