The Truth About Victim Mentality

Don't be a victim

by Annette Young

We probably all know people who play the victim so well. Yet, these individuals may be unaware that they are doing so. 

Consider this – it  may even be you.

So how does victim mentality actually start. Many of our behaviours are learned organically from our parents, our peers or, from other authority figures, but this is not necessarily the source unless you have witnessed someone close to you playing the blame game. Often, individuals begin to regard themselves as victims of life due to the behaviours of those around them even if there is no evidence to support this. Of course, sometimes, we all suffer as a result of another person’s negative behaviour but that doesn’t automatically create victim mentality where habitual thought processes become the norm.

Many blame their misfortune on others. They didn’t get the job, they didn’t have a pay rise, they lost out in love etc. These are all everyday scenarios but the victim is likely to blame these losses on the successful individual being luckier than them. They won’t necessarily consider that in order to achieve they should try harder or work smarter. After all, every day, there is the potential to achieve success or to fail in life.

Sometimes we lose out due to the misdeeds of others and this is known as victimism.  

You may notice those close to you playing this role. Perhaps they exude a sense of cuteness or, it’s a practiced role that they perform well. At the core of this behaviour,  there is intent – whether a conscious decision or a subconscious behaviour.

There are lots of signs to look out for:

  • Displaying heightened attention levels when with others
  • Believing that others are always luckier, happier or more successful
  • Attaching negative intentions in relation to others
  • Unwilling to take responsibility for their own actions
  • Gaining pleasure through feeling sorry for themselves
  • Gaining sympathy through relaying somewhat exaggerated stories about their situation or the misdeeds of others.

Playing the victim leads anywhere but to success. If you find yourself slipping into victim mode, it doesn’t mean you are a bad person, it’s a coping mechanism in the main. It enables you to accept failings before they even occur. Change is important – so, determine to monitor your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. No-one needs to stand behind the actions of others, it’s far more important to take ownership of your own actions than to blame those around you, even if on some occasions, it’s true.

Wouldn’t you rather be master of your own destiny rather than leaving the fate of your successes in the hands of others? Of course. Playing the victim and never taking the control of any real situation is a negative behaviour but one that can be changed. Self-help in respect of victim mentality works, it’s a case of changing negative thoughts so that you have a more positive outlook. It’s about accepting failures through your own doings rather than blaming others. It’s about taking ownership of your life and forging your own way in life, standing by your choices. Victim mentality is self-defeating, if you struggle to escape the clutches of this behaviour, seek out a professional counsellor or, try CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy).

Awareness is a wonderful starting point.

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