We are all victimized at some point in life. While it’s important that we come to terms with what has happened to us, we cannot move on with our lives unless we step out of the victim role and into the survivor role.
Having a victim mentality goes far beyond the experience of being victimized. When we carry a victim mentality, we are basically filtering our entire existence through a narrow mental lens that we have adopted as our primary way of perceiving the world.
So what is a victim mentality?
Victim mentality is a psychological term that refers to a type of dysfunctional mindset which seeks to feel persecuted in order to gain attention or avoid self-responsibility. People who struggle with the victim mentality are convinced that life is not only beyond their control, but is out to deliberately hurt them. This belief results in constant blame, finger-pointing, and pity parties that are fueled by pessimism, fear, and anger.
So are you, or is someone you know, playing the victim? Below is a list of signs of people with a victim mentality.
1. You’re constantly blaming other people or situations for feeling miserable.
2. You possess a “life is against me” philosophy.
3. You’re cynical or pessimistic.
4. You see your problems as catastrophes and blow them out of proportion.
5. You think others are purposely trying to hurt you.
6. You believe you’re the only one being targeted for mistreatment.
7. You keep reliving past painful memories that made you feel like a victim.
8. Even when things go right, you find something to complain about.
9. You refuse to consider other perspectives when talking about your problems.
10. You feel powerless and unable to cope effectively with a problem or life in general.
11. You feel attacked when you’re given constructive criticism.
12. You believe you’re not responsible for what happens in your life (others are).
13. You believe that everyone is “better off” than you.
14. You seem to enjoy feeling sorry for yourself.
15. You attract people like you (who complain, blame, and feel victimized by life).
16. You believe that the world is a scary, mostly bad, place.
17. You enjoy sharing your tragic stories with other people.
18. You have a habit of blaming, attacking, and accusing those you love for how you feel.
19. You feel powerless to change your circumstances.
20. You expect to gain sympathy from others, and when you don’t get it, you feel upset.
21. You refuse to analyze yourself or improve your life.
22. You tend to “one-up” people when it comes to sharing traumatic experiences.
23. You’re constantly putting yourself down.
No one is born with a victim mentality, just as no one is born clinically depressed or anxious. The victim mentality is an acquired personality trait. It is the result of early life conditioning and coping mechanisms.