When something bad happens to you do you always think that it is someone else’s fault? Do you feel like no matter what you do you have no control over what is happening to you? Do you usually blame others or your bad fortune for every negative thing that happens?
From time to time we may all act like drama queens, feeling like the whole world is against us, seeking for attention and sympathy. However, there are some people that seem to adopt this kind of behavior and mentality permanently.
I recently found out that there is a term to describe this kind of mentality which is called the “Victim mentality”.
“Victim Mentality. Some choose to believe that there is nothing they can do to solve their problems, even when they in fact could. Victims seek to blame others for their problems or blame outside circumstances.”Mark Manson
What is the Victim Mentality?
This term is not officially accepted as a medical term and actually most health professionals even avoid the use of it due to the stigma surrounding it. However, there are specific beliefs that people with victim mentality share and all of them are related to negative thinking:
1. Lots of bad things happened to you in the past and lots of bad things will also happen to you in the future.
2. Your bad fortune is a result of other people’s actions.
3. Trying to change your fortune is worthless since nothing will finally change.
Negativity is so much easier to people with a victim mentality than trying to actually take action to save themselves.
Experts claim that the root of this mindset is in many cases an old trauma experienced at the hands of others. People who have experienced something similar are instinctively taught that they are helpless and unable to change something through their actions.
They tend to feel vulnerable and afraid. They don’t take on responsibility, instead, they blame others and refuse to take action while they prefer making excuses.
“I have no physical symptoms, but psychologically there’s this burden. I’ve got to get rid of it somehow. Of course, when I first went back to work I was scared the same thing might happen again. It takes positive thinking to overcome fear, otherwise you’ll carry around this victim mentality forever.”Haruki Murakami
Benefits of Adopting a Victim Mentality
It seems that some people who get by as “victims” are not willing to do anything in order to change even if they realize that other people around them are getting tired or annoyed by their constantly negative behavior. This happens because it seems that there are some benefits when somebody adopts the role of the “victim”.
1. You are not accountable for your life: You take no responsibility for what happens in your life. Your life is the result of others’ people choices and actions and there is nothing you can do about it.
2. Secondary benefits: “Victims” receive attention and sympathy from other people. In some cases they may also receive medication or funds. People who receive these benefits may not even realize it and keep feeling truly distressed.
3. Satisfaction of unconscious needs: When you have a victim mentality you are in unconscious need of other peoples’ help, while you also seek for their validation. You play the “poor me” card which results in help and sympathy from others.
4. No risks: Everything is other people’s fault so there is no need to actually take risks and be vulnerable.
How to Identify Whether You Have Adopted a Victim Mentality
As stated above it is absolutely normal to feel dissatisfied from your life from time to time and to seek other people’s attention and help. However, this is totally different from having adopted a victim mentality.
This is a list of signs that indicate that you might have adopted a victim mentality:
· You believe that your life is against you
· Your life is this way due to other people’s choices and actions
· You cannot deal with the problems of your life and feel that you have no power against them
· You have adopted a negative attitude and feel like your life is stuck while you can do nothing to change that.
· You somehow even feel relieved and pleased when you feel bad and sorry about yourself
· When somebody says an opinion about your behavior, even if it is an honest feedback you feel like you are under attack.
· The people you attract are those with similar beliefs and attitudes towards life. They are those who complain about their lives and blame others.
· It is hard for you to examine your life, make decisions and changes.
“I was a redhead and a middle child; both can make you feel excluded. It’s like fighting to be included, in the swim of things. After a while you start to develop a bit of a victim mentality, which isn’t great for a happy life.”Shirley Manson
What Can You Do to Stop Being The Victim?
What experts say on the issue is that the victim mentality is not something you are born with but instead it is a learned behavior. People learn to adopt a victim mentality through their social life and family. It could also most commonly be a result of a trauma.
There are some steps that could be followed in order to overcome the adoption of the victim mentality.
1. Learn to be responsible: Take responsibility for your choices and actions. Of course you can never control others but your reaction to their choices and actions is still your choice. You are the person responsible for your life and her potential and nobody else.
2. Practice compassion and self-care: The victim mentality is in many cases adopted subconsciously after a trauma in order to cope with it. Be compassionate with yourself and practice self-care and self-love while trying to recover. Use journalism to better understand your feelings.
3. Say No: Learn to prioritize yourself and your needs. When you feel like you don’t want to do something it is totally ok to say no even if others feel like you’re letting them down.
4. Learn more about the victim mentality: If you identified the signs pointed above across different areas of your life, you might consider learning more about it and how it affects your life. This could be done through reading articles or books or you may even consider seeking therapy. Educating yourself about the victim mentality will help you recover and prevent you from returning to the old way of thinking.
“Defeat is a state of mind; No one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality.”Bruce Lee
Have you identified any of the signs on yourself?
Have you met others with victim mentality?
References – Resources
Further information about the victim mentality could be found at the following links: