Victim Mentality: What is it, How to Identify, and How to deal?

Last Update on July 2, 2021 : Published on July 4, 2021
What is victim mentality

Do you also snatch at someone by playing the victim when you have no control over situations? If you also blame other people or someone in particular for all the situations in your life, there are chances that you are dealing with victim mentality.

The common sign of victim mentality is that they think that the world is against them and all the bad things only happen with them. You also might feel that everyone is against you like your family, your partners, your co-workers, and friends.

When someone is not willing to be responsible for his/her actions even when they can fix the situation are the people who experience victim mentality. They also become resentful a lot of the time. This article covers what exactly victim mentality is, signs of victim mentality, causes of victim mentality, and how to deal with it.

Introduction to Victim Mentality

Let’s first understand what victim mentality is. Well, first of all, victim mentality is not a mental health condition, it is just a behavior that someone carries towards problems and shortcomings of life. The other names of victim mentality are victim complex and victim syndrome.

Someone who experiences victim mentality generally holds three beliefs:

  1. Bad things always happen to me and they will happen to me in the future as well.
  2. Others are responsible for my misfortune.
  3. There is no point in trying as things are never going to work.

People who have victim mentality, keep sinking into negative thinking even when someone tries to save them, and not only this, they try to transfer this mind-set to other people as well. Research shows that victim mentality is related to distress, trauma, and chronic mental pain.

Through the experiences of a traumatic situation, people learn that they are helpless and nothing is going to make a major difference in their life. This leads them in blaming others and making excuses even when they are responsible for their actions.

Signs and Symptoms of Victim Mentality

If you think you or your loved one is experiencing victim mentality, here are some signs and symptoms of victim mentality that will help you to gain insight:

  • Blaming others for everything
  • Feels like everyone is going against you
  • Trouble in coping with setbacks
  • Negative thinking and negative attitude towards everything
  • When someone tries to fix it, they lash out with anger
  • Constant urge of feeling sorry about themselves
  • Hang out with people who keep the same mentality
  • Lack of self-confidence
  • Lack of self-esteem
  • Wanting to be tagged as a “victim” in all situations
  • You want people to recognize what they did wrong with you
  • You don’t keep grey areas, it’s either black or white
  • Lack of empathy
  • The habit of ruminating about situations
  • You think everything is unfair
  • Hyper-vigilant towards bad things
  • Not emotionally available for everyone
  • You have a feeling that failing is permanent
  • Constant feeling of helplessness and worthlessness
  • Habit of catastrophism
  • You have a feeling that other people are better than you

Behaviors of people with a victim mentality

  • The tendency of blaming other people
  • Not being responsible for your things
  • Always being hyper-vigilant and over active
  • Being aware of bad intentions
  • Feeling that you can’t do it
  • Feeling of relief when you receive sympathy from someone

Attitudes of people with a victim mentality

  • Over pessimistic behavior
  • Repressed anger
  • No sympathy for others
  • Always defensive no matter what other people have an opinion about you
  • Feeling as there is no point in looking for solutions
  • Unwilling to take risks
  • Exaggerates situations
  • Putting self-down all the time
  • The habit of learned helplessness

Beliefs of people with a victim mentality

  • Bad things always happen to them
  • There is no point to change
  • I deserve bad things
  • Nobody cares about me
  • I can’t fix it because I have no choice
  • I must accept whatever happens to me
  • I can’t take risks in my life.

Causes of Victim Mentality

Below are some common causes of victim mentality:

  • Experience of past trauma which led to this negative mind-set as a coping mechanism
  • Experience of multiple negative situations wherein you lost sense of control
  • On-going emotional pain made them helpless
  • Someone betrayed or broken trust in the past
  • Secondary gain intention (making another feel guilty)

Outcomes of Victim Mentality

Below are some most common outcomes of victim mentality:

  • Feeling of guilt
  • Depressive episodes
  • Constant feeling of shame
  • The feeling of frustration with everyone
  • Feeling hurt and thinking that nobody cares about you
  • Feeling of resentment
  • The feeling of loneliness or isolation
  • Feeling manipulated or blamed
  • Having problems with relationship or work
  • Engagement in self-destructive behavior
  • Feeling as you thrive on drama
  • It takes a long time to trust someone even a therapist

How to Deal with Victim Mentality

If you think you or your loved one is going through victim mentality, you might take the help of the below strategies or ways to help yourself or someone with victim mentality:

  • You can always choose to accept or leave your situation.
  • Try to be responsible for your situations
  • Speak out and take charge of your own situations
  • Read self-help books that will help you in empowering yourself
  • Try to forgive others and yourself to relieve yourself from trauma responses
  • Seek professional help for having proper guidance and support to reduce hostility
  • Try to develop your own emotional intelligence
  • Be responsible for what you can control and try not to react
  • Try to engage in self-love and start seeing yourself as a worthy person
  • Try to journal your feelings to release negative thoughts from your mind.
  • Start saying “no” whenever needed and start valuing your life and self-worth
  • Identify your personal goals and start working towards them
  • Try to change your victim mind-set with something that offers you more benefits (self-love).
  • Practice gratitude for people who support you

How to Help Someone with Victim Mentality

If you think your loved one is having difficulty while dealing with a victim mentality, it can be really frustrating. However, you can help your loved ones with the below ways or strategies to help them with victim mentality:

  • Try to make them learn empathy and try to listen and acknowledge their painful past or events that led them to feel such away.
  • Do not label them as victims, try to understand their behavior and adopt coping mechanisms accordingly
  • Try to be a good listener and encourage them to share their feelings
  • If they blame you, do not blame yourself, try to ignore, and do not apologize
  • Set boundaries and do not let them invade your personal space
  • Offer them help to find solutions but don’t try to be overprotective.
  • Help them in brainstorming personal goals
  • Ask a lot of questions and help them in deciding their own things.
  • Validate their feelings; it will help them in recognizing their own responsibilities.
  • Encourage them to seek professional help and help them to join in.
  • Prepare them for conversations
  • Be gentle towards them and encourage them to grow thoroughly.


If you or someone you know is going through a phase of victim mentality, learn that it’s not anyone’s fault, it’s just a habit that needs to be changed. Try to apply the above-mentioned ways or strategies in your life to improve your behavioral attitude towards life. Moreover, if you or your loved one are still unable to get over it, try seeking professional help. If you are looking for help online, connect with BetterHelp today.

To connect with a mental health professional from BetterHelp, click here.

I hope this blog helps you to understand victim mentality in brief. Comment down and share your experiences while dealing with someone with the victim mentality. For more such content, connect with us on all social media platforms.

Thanks for reading!

About The Author

Aayushi Kapoor
Aayushi Kapoor

Aayushi is a Content Creator at Calm Sage. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Food Technology and a Master's Degree in Clinical Nutrition. Her constant interest in the improvement of mental health, nutrition, and overall wellness embarked upon her career as a “full-time educational writer.” She likes to make an asynchronous connection with her readers. Her mantra for living life is "What you seek is seeking you".

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