What the Victim Mentality Is
The victim mentality is a psychological term that speaks to a type of dysfunctional mindset in which a person seeks to feel persecuted in order to gain attention or avoid taking responsibility. People who have the victim mentality are generally convinced that life is not only beyond their control but is out to deliberately hurt them. This belief causes the person who holds this mentality to engage in pity parties, blame and do all sorts of finger-pointing that originate from pessimism, fear, and anger. People with a victim mentality blame other people and outer circumstances for their unhappiness and failures.
Granted; at some point in our lives, we were all probably victimized to a certain extent. Whether as children, teenagers or adults; we all have suffered emotional, physical, or psychological abuse to some degree. For example; no matter how emotionally tough you may be, you are bound to feel sorry for yourself for being bullied at school, after being betrayed by a trusted friend, being cheated on by your lover or being a victim of a car accident that leaves you wheelchair bound – it’s normal! In spite of all these negative life circumstances, it’s important to not wallow in self-pity and ruminate on how bad our situation is.
Staying a victim can be tempting because it has its perks but is not healthy for our emotional well-being and success. At some stage, we need to move on and sometimes the pain gets so overwhelming that no matter how much we try to move on, we just can’t do it by ourselves and we need help. If you find yourself in this place, get the help you need to get out of this black hole fast, otherwise, you will remain stuck in victimhood. We need to realise that we cannot move on and take charge of our lives unless we step out of the victim mindset and into the conqueror mindset.
Having a victim mentality goes far beyond the experience of being victimized. When we carry a victim mentality, we are basically filtering our entire existence through a narrow mental outlook that we adopted as our primary way of perceiving the world.
13 Signs That You Have the Victim Mentality
Do you suspect that you, or is someone you know is playing the victim? Here are some common signs check out:
- You have a cynical or pessimistic outlook
- You constantly blame other people or situations for feeling unhappy
- All your problems are catastrophes that you blow out of proportion
- You feel other people are purposely out there trying to hurt you
- You always believe you’re the only one being targeted for mistreatment
- You like reliving past painful memories that made you feel like a victim
- You always find something to complain about, even when things are going right
- You refuse to consider other perspectives when talking about your problems
- You feel powerless and unable to cope with life problems
- You feel comfortable being in the company of those who complain, blame, and feel victimized like you.
- You expect to gain sympathy from others, and when you don’t get it, you feel upset
- You feel attacked when you’re given constructive criticism
- You refuse to analyse and improve yourself
The Benefits of Playing Victim
In fact, it feels very comfortable to avoid responsibility. It’s never pleasant to take responsibility for our lives and circumstances, especially when those circumstances are unfavourable or completely out of our direct control.
Playing the victim actually has a number of benefits. These psychological rewards make it very difficult to break out of such a mindset, which is why most victims seem to be so emotionally invested in perpetuating this type of toxic behaviour, and here are some:
- Not having to be responsible for anything
- Entitlement – others have to do things for you
- You have the ‘right’ to complain
- Others lavish you with attention and always feel sorry for you
- Others are less likely to criticize or upset you
- You’re more likely to get what you want through emotional manipulation
- You don’t ever feel bored because there’s always drama going on around you
- You feel in control of others
Usually, the idea of taking responsibility can make most people very uncomfortable. Responsibility often brings up thoughts associated with hard work and a commitment of some sort that we would rather avoid as much as possible. In fact, responsibility for most people is something that is hard to swallow. We would rather live our lives with the freedom and flexibility to do whatever our heart desires without limiting our own personal choices.
When things don’t quite pan out as we had expected; people will typically complain, make excuses and/or blame everything and everyone but themselves.
The Benefits of Taking Responsibility
Taking responsibility doesn’t mean you are weak or powerless and therefore you blame yourself for everything. This is not about blame. It is about responsibility. There is a huge difference.
Blaming yourself comes from a position of weakness. It comes from a victim mentality that doesn’t have any control over life or circumstances. To take responsibility means to take ownership of every situation. It means fully accepting how things are and committing yourself to make things right. That’s personal power!
When you fail to take responsibility, you put yourself at a disadvantage. You are disadvantaged because you are approaching the situation from a place of weakness where you become the victim of circumstances. Moreover; from this weakened position, there is nothing you can do to improve your situation. In other words, you are resigned to the fate that you are powerless and incapable of changing the circumstances.
But the key to gaining personal power and strength is to take full responsibility for your life and circumstances no matter what kind of predicament you find yourself in. For that to happen though, you must openly acknowledge and accept how things are without any resistance.
In order to live a responsible life, we need to fully accept the fact that we always get what we deserve. Yes, this might often be exactly the opposite of what we may want, but nevertheless, it’s something that we must take full responsibility for.
Life always gives us what we deserve, and what we deserve is to improve and develop ourselves; to grow smarter, stronger and sharper in order to achieve our goals. To experience all these things, we need to learn to face challenges and solve problems that are designed to help us become a better version of ourselves. The only way to become this better version is to embrace all these challenges by taking full responsibility for our lives and circumstances.
To take responsibility for your life and personal circumstances are incredibly empowering. It’s empowering because it becomes a measure of your self-confidence, self-worth, mental strength and resilience. Taking responsibility puts you in control of every situation. It encourages solution-based thinking that can lead to a myriad of creative ideas to help you solve your problems more effectively.
Taking responsibility for absolutely everything; whether you’re in direct fault or not, is an important character trait that distinguishes the most successful people from the rest. However; if success isn’t something you value highly, you can continue to derive pleasure and comfort from blaming other people for your results.