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Victim Mentality And How To Break Out Of It

We might come across people who claim “it is never their fault”, they “have no control over the tough situations and problems they encounter” or “It is simply always happening to them”. Don’t we all know someone who seems to become a victim in nearly every situation? 

People with a victim mentality feel as though only bad things keep happening and the world is against them, be it their partner, co-workers, or even their family or friends. Even though there might be things they can do to help fix the situation, they don’t take responsibility for anything and feel as though everything is out of their control. In addition, they might take things personally even when it’s not directed at them, like, “What did I do to deserve this?”. They might also feel resentful a lot of the time. 

But it isn't just fate that causes a "victim" to experience more difficulties than other people. They may seek out disappointment because it can give them a "kick", psychologists refer to this as “secondary gain”. This is when not resolving a problem can have benefits. For example, someone with a victim mentality can feel pleasure when they receive attention or pity as a result of their misfortune. They may also get a "thrill" from showing off the injury caused by others and creating a sense of guilt. Refusing to accept responsibility for a problem can be liberating, too.

But there are a few dangers associated as well with having a victim mindset or being associated with someone having this mindset.

  • Damaging morale: with self- morale, they also happen to damage the morale of the people with them
  • Damaging productivity: they may make mistakes or cause delays that they could have prevented, so they can blame others or highlight some perceived difficulty in their working conditions.
  • Damaging relationships: their behaviour can swing from "victim" to "victimizer." One minute they may play the "victim" and seek attention, the next they may blame someone else.
  • Damaging trust: they likely have an external locus of control. They believe that everything that happens to them is beyond their control, and is down to fate, luck or other people. As a result, you may not be able to trust them with any important tasks or expect them to take responsibility for an outcome.

Those with victim mentality also known as “victim syndrome” and “victim complex” hold a specific belief system where-

  • They think that bad things have happened in the past and will continue to happen.
  • Others are to blame for misfortune
  • There is no point in trying to make change because it will not work and nothing is under their control

No one is born with this mindset. Instead, the victim mentality is an acquired personality trait, meaning that it is the result of early life conditioning and coping mechanisms. So, with a good amount of time and conscious and deliberate effort, you may be able to reverse it. Here are some tips that can help you-

  • Start replacing “you” with “I”, that is the first step to taking accountability
  • See yourself as a survivor and not a victim. Reappraisal of past experiences, changing perspective.
  • Set clear goals and boundaries for yourself.
  • Learn self-compassion and also be consciously kind to others.
  • Question yourself when you see going down the “victim” path again. “What is causing this?” or maybe “What can I do to change this situation?’
  • Practice gratitude.

If you think managing it yourself is becoming a bit overwhelming and tough, then seeking help from an expert is a good idea. You can reach out to us and book a HappiTALK session with an expert.