A Victim Mindset
A victim mindset can be defined as a person that tends to recognize themselves as a victim of the negative actions of others, and behaves as if this were the case in the face of contrary evidence of such circumstances. It is someone that is being victimized, or wronged, in their minds all the time.
Victims (in general):
– play the blame game… well.
– think they have certain entitled “rights.” (More on this later.)
– dwell on the negative.
– aren’t resilient.
– are selfish, but unaware that they are.
– don’t take responsibility.
– are passive-aggressive.
– tend to be angry.
– want empathy… lots of it.
– are disillusioned.
– put themselves down.
– like to appear helpless.
This victim mindset serves a purpose.
Victims (in general):
– don’t have to take responsibility. Woohoo, it’s everyone else’s fault!
– get attention/sympathy.
– get everyone to walk on egg shells around them hoping they don’t get upset.
– can avoid having to change themselves.
– can get what they want by playing this way. (aka passive manipulation)
As you can see, it serves a purpose but not in healthy ways, especially when it comes to relationships. But it also keeps you stuck and unhappy, too.
Do you wish you could stop playing the victim, stop blaming everyone for everything, start taking some accountability, and make some positive changes in your life?
Here are six ways to end the victim mindset:
We can’t face our faults and change them without first acknowledging them. You have to end the denial and call it what it is. It’s ok if you’re scared to do this. It’s hard. Who wants to admit they tend to do something destructive to themselves and others? But you can’t make healthy changes in your life without first claiming what you’re doing. Use the statement: “I play the victim when I ___ but I can learn to stop doing this.”
Be aware of your thoughts and feelings.
A lot of times when we start playing the victim, it’s because we’re wanting something, and playing the victim card is how we’ve learned how to get it. Being aware of what you’re thinking and feeling can provide clarity to this cycle and help you to choose something different.
For example, I’m feeling unloved and ignored and am wanting some attention. Therefore, I make my friend at fault for something they did, stir up some drama, and before I know it, my friend is apologizing and giving me lots of love and attention.
Instead of playing the victim to get my needs met and feel differently, I could have gone about it in a more constructive, healthy way. I could have asked a friend to hang out with me, written a love note to myself, practiced gratitude about what I do have, distracted myself, or served someone else to get out of my head.
Get in touch with your thoughts and feelings. What’s beneath the victim strategy?
Ask yourself what you need.
Much of the time, when the victim mentality is used, it is because we need:
love, empathy, self-care, control, or attention.
Ask yourself what you need. You may first need to learn about yourself. What do you like? How do you receive love? What’s your temperament? If you’re an introvert, do you really just need a nap or space to be alone? If your love language is words of affirmation, has anyone told you lately what you mean to them?
While one person can’t meet all your needs as soon as you need them, being aware of what you need is a good place to start. Then you can best figure out how to get it met.
When you’re in full pity-party mode, it’s usually because you’re focused on what you don’t have. But on the other hand, you are typically at your best when you are practicing gratitude on a daily basis. Yes, daily. And don’t forget to write it down. Use a journal, an app, a planner, or whatever works for you.
How can someone be in poor-me, pity-party, victim-mode living when they are feeling blessed, grateful, and full? You’re right. They can’t. Grateful people aren’t selfish. Grateful people aren’t absorbed. Grateful people aren’t jealous. Grateful people aren’t entitled. Start practicing gratitude and notice your victim mentality melt away.
Practice forgiveness and grace.
Holding on to bitterness and anger toward someone doesn’t benefit you. In fact, it harms you in multiples ways. Remembering all the times when you’ve needed forgiveness and grace can help soften your negative feelings toward someone. Start there. Acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes and no one can read minds or get it right every time. No one.
No one lives in a bubble. No one is completely independent. The beauty of living is being in relationship. It makes us better humans.
It is strong, courageous, and humble to ask for help. We all need it. Why keep stumbling, keep making the same mistake, struggling to do it all on our own when we don’t have to?
Some of the most amazing people I know regularly have counselors or trusted, wise people they go to for support, correction, and guidance.
HWP would love to help you! It is much easier to see change if you go through it with someone rather try to go it alone. A trusted counselor is confidential, outside of your support system, and is skilled with how to help you.
* Please note: Bad things do happen and it’s ok to feel the feelings that you feel. This blog post is for people who have an unhealthy level of victimhood and want to unlearn this behavior or change this about themselves.
Kristi Schwegman is a psychotherapist specializing in helping couples develop healthy relationships, whether dating, engaged, or married. She also draws from her Christian-based approach to lead individuals in becoming aware of the limiting beliefs that can get them stuck.
We offer in-person and virtual services – contact us today to learn more!