Ups and Downs are part and parcel of life. We all have our fair share of good and bad days. While good days bring us joy and pleasure, bad days are riddled with problems, challenges and despair. Bad experiences like failing an exam, not clearing the interview, breaking up with our partner or losing money are all common things we face. But there are some people who are always of the opinion that they are not responsible for these things and it’s never their fault. They will always say that these situations or problems are out of their control and will always be questioning “Why does this happen to me” “What did I do to deserve this”? Are you one of them?
Do you feel like bad things are always happening to you or you feel that someone else is responsible for your current situation? Do you reject solutions from your friends and are often countering their points? If the answer to these questions are yes , then it shows that you have something called victim mentality or victimhood.
What is a Victim Mentality?
Victim mentality is a state of mind in which the person holds the rest of the world responsible for the problems and challenges that he has been facing but never himself . It has the following key elements :
- There is something bad in the situation that I am facing and it is out of control..
- Its always other people who are to be blamed and they deliberately hurt me .
- Efforts made to change the situation will not be fruitful so I shall not try to do so.
We are not born with Victimhood . It is a result of acquired experiences over years.
- There must be some past trauma or hard times which couldn’t be coped with in a healthy way leading to a negative outlook of the experience which continues for long and resulting in developing victimhood as a defense mechanism for all these experiences. As it is a result of our experiences, it is a learned behavior and can be a part of our identity.
- Another reason may be distrust which can be developed through repeated incidents of betrayal. It is hard to believe someone when you have faced unexpected behaviour from your loved ones and you start victimizing yourself , loosing trust on everyone around you. For example, if a child ,who needs love and care of his primary caretaker , does not get the same amount of commitment as expected , he will loose trust on the parent or guardian and will never trust others.
- It can also be acquired through codependency when a child sees his parents or any adult in the family playing victim in the situation.
Signs You Have a Victim Mentality
Always Blaming Others
You always feel like that the negative experience you faced or the whole course of your life is somebody else’s fault even though they don’t have anything to do with it and you are solely or partly responsible. You would feel that you haven’t done wrong and would never try to change your behaviour , on the contrary, you would expect others to change .
You don’t want solutions to your current situation and are always ready with a counter to each point. You reject solutions to such an extent that it makes you angry if you can’t counter them. They may not accept help from others and feel comfortable being in a sorry state showing no interest in making changes .
Recognition as Victim
You feel the constant urge to be recognized as a victim by the others and expect them to register their wrongdoings and give you sympathy. You feel that you are being targeted and people purposely mistreat and hurt you .You start thinking that life is against you and you relive past unpleasant memories to firmly believe your notion of being a victim.
You are so much habitual of the current situation that the idea of changing it scares you. You surrender to the situation and feel powerless to change it. You don’t put any effort to come out of the situation or improving things so that you don’t have to face the same situation in future.
Your viewpoint regarding anything and everything is generally negative. You always apprehend negativity and if something is going right you feel that it won’t continue for long and the misery will return. If somebody else is facing a similar situation you will expect their outcome to be same as yours.
Birds of a Feather Flock Together
As you will tend to stay away from people who offer you solutions, you find comfort in people who are always complaining and blaming others. Getting along with these people will be very easy for you.
You are much bothered about good and positive things happening around, but will be susceptible to bad things that are happening or might happen. Your mind is always crowded with negative outcomes for any particular event.You will feel that everyone is against you and trying to trap you .Even if there is a discussion going on ,you will feel that whatever is being said is about you and has been said to tease you.
You always feel that other people are better off than you in any situation and you are meant to be this way. No matter what you do you cannot improve your life like them. This attitude of “poor me” bring in the feeling of pessimism and inferiority. Due to this complex , you feel attacked when you face direct criticism .
You have very low self-confidence and self-esteem. You always feel sorry for yourself instead of making efforts as it gives you pleasure. You will feel that people are trying to hurt you , making plans against you and then you start feeling sorry for the situation thinking “ why me always “.People are busy in their lives and have no other option but to avoid being around with such people. Seeing yourself alone or not with your friends anymore, you feel helpless and demotivated.
You have feelings like everything is stacked against you or nobody wants good for you or the world is an unfair place or you are destined for failure. You are not convinced by anyone trying to make you feel good and continue with negativity. You have low self esteem and feel powerless to change yourself. You will constantly keep complaining, considering yourself as a sufferer in all the situations. Its difficult for you to find anything good in a given situation. For example, if you have arranged a party at your place, you will find yourself working for long hours , serving others and getting tired rather than seeing it as an opportunity to meet friends and gelling with them.
Helplessness and Resentment
A victim personality will feel frustrated and helpless and he will always find the world against him, believing that this will never change .They feel resentful seeing people successful and assume themselves not to be smart or talented enough to succeed. The frame that they usually use to see things is mostly negative so they foresee themselves to fail in developing any skill or find any possibility to achieve their goal in life.
Escaping the Situation
When things don’t work out, you make excuses because you have the fear of rejection. As you don’t have confidence to face failure, you try to escape the situation by not putting yourself out . You don’t believe in yourself and find excuses for putting things off and avoid being answerable .The critic inside you make you give up and and justify why things could not work out .
To interact with such people is a challenging job indeed as they refuse to take the responsibility of their behaviour or action if wronged. But, it will also be unfair to label them as victims. All we can do is to empathize and communicate with them openly giving them a chance to express themselves without being judgemental. We can give them possible suggestions rather than giving direct solutions or advice ,making them feel confident about handling a situation or solving a problem themselves. This may not show immediate results but will surely make a considerable difference .Once he starts seeing himself as a survivor, he will start attracting right people and will feel positive.One can also take the help of a therapist as he/she can help you reach at the root cause of this mentality and work on identifying the goals to overcome it. Meditation can also help kill this self critic inside yourself and help you observe ,examine and reframe the negative thought pattern into a positive and productive one. Reading books will also help in educating yourself and avoiding the victim thought pattern .One needs to understand that he/she is the only one who can help the most in controlling the self-sabotage done to him/her through this Victim Mentality .