Updated: Feb 18
The victim mindset is a state of mind in which people see themselves as perpetual victims. This means they feel powerless to change their circumstances, and they tend to blame others for their problems. People with a victim mindset often have low self-esteem and a negative outlook on life. They may also exhibit passive-aggressive behavior.
Victim mentality is often linked to people who feel depressed and pessimistic about life. People with a victim mindset may constantly think about the ways they have been wronged in the past. They tend to live in a world of resentment and self-pity, and they rarely try to improve their lives or change direction.
The phrase "victim mentality" is also used in a broader sense to refer to any type of behavior in which people see themselves as targets. Some people claim that a victim mentality can be a barrier to success and self-improvement. Such critics believe that people who constantly feel sorry for themselves become immobilized, and this often leads them into taking life too lightly. In such cases, victims may even develop a sense of pride in their "victimhood".
How to Know if You Have a Victim Mentality
There are several ways to determine if you have a victim mindset. According to a case study by Teresa Andronikou on Understanding a Victim Mindset, here are some of the signs:
1. You constantly think about how people have wronged you in the past
A person with a victim mindset may dwell on the past and focus on how he or she has been wronged by one or more people. He or she might even be unable to look forward to the future. This type of thinking can become so vicious that it prevents victims from moving forward. The person may even be unable to see him or herself as a good person.
2. You have a history of conflict with people, and you tend to blame them for your mistakes
If you have a victim mindset, you might generally find it difficult to get along with other people. This is because victims often feel that others are responsible for their problems, and they tend to blame them for their own faults.
3. You feel as though you cannot control your negative thoughts about others
Very often, you might notice that you often think negatively about other people, even when there is no reason to do so. Victims often view the world in an extremely biased manner and have a habit of viewing neutral or even positive events in a negative light.
4. You have difficulty saying "no" to other people, even when you are being taken advantage of
People with a victim mentality tend to be pushovers who let others walk all over them. They might feel unable to set boundaries or express their feelings, even when they are being exploited.
5. You have low self-esteem and feel as though you are unable to change your circumstances
People with victim mindsets think of themselves in negative terms, which means they rarely believe that they can improve their lives or take control of the situation. Because they view themselves in this way, victims tend to have a negative outlook on life and feel as though they have no power to impact their own lives.
6. You think highly about others, but you think very poorly of yourself
With a victim mindset, you might exhibit what researchers call "allocentrism." This means that you tend to put other people on a pedestal and believe that they are better than you. Victims often perceive themselves as "lesser" than other people and tend to consider them more intelligent, capable, and competent. Because of this tendency, victims might rely on others for advice and guidance rather than taking their own initiative.
How to Deal with a Victim Mentality
If you tend to think of yourself as a victim, it can be difficult to achieve success. However, if you are willing to step outside your comfort zone and take responsibility for changes in your life, you might find that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to this mindset. Try embracing these strategies:
1. Learn to acknowledge and confront your feelings of anger and resentment
You might notice that you often feel angry or resentful towards others. Rather than suppressing these feelings, identify them and confront them in a healthy way. Try to remember that you are not the victim and that you do not have to let others hold power over your emotions.
Forgive those who have hurt you and try to move past your resentments.
2. Take responsibility for your role in every situation
When something bad happens to you, it can be easy to blame other people or circumstances. However, it is important to remember that you are never a purely passive bystander in the world. Even when things do not go your way, you play an active role in every situation. If you have anger or resentment towards others, try to think about how your actions might have played a part.
If something bad happens, try to see if there was anything you could have done differently or any way you might have been able to change the outcome.
3. Remember that nobody is perfect
When you think of other people as being better than you, it is easy to view them as "perfect." In reality, nobody is perfect and everyone has faults. If you have difficulty saying no or standing up for yourself, try to remember that even those who seem confident and powerful have weaknesses.
Try to focus on your own accomplishments instead of comparing yourself to others.
4. Focus on the things that are good in your life
People who have a strong sense of entitlement tend to focus only on their problems and ignore all of the good things in their lives. Try to remember that there are many positive aspects of your life, even if you feel as though you do not deserve them. Even when you experience difficulties, there are still areas in your life that you can be grateful for.
Though it can be difficult, if you are willing to try and focus on the positive aspects of your life, you might find that success is not as far out of reach as you once thought. Embrace these strategies and see how they can help you take control of your own life.
Remember: everything starts with your mind.
"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right." -- Henry Ford