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The 10 Warning Signs of Having a Victim Mentality

When you feel like a victim, you’ll end up stuck.

It can be depressing to be around someone who is always negative and constantly complains about everything.

Someone with a victim mentality and negativity bias usually finds things wrong with their life or feel that they do not deserve the good things in life. Thus, their life goes nowhere.

In order to detect if someone is playing the victim, they usually look at the glass half empty as a reflection for what is really going on deep down inside, within themselves.

Sometimes, even when you offer them some hope, they can make you feel like you do not understand them, so they will complain more to show you how miserable they are. If you offer a solution, they will give you another problem to that solution to make excuses for why nothing will work out.

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Nothing you say will help someone with a self-defeating attitude that makes them feel like the victim, which sabotages their life. Somehow, there is some pleasure in seeking sympathy while being in crisis because a person gets love and support in that way.

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It’s not our job to rescue negative people who do not want to save themselves. All we can do is be there, and ensure the negativity doesn’t rub off on us. If we get caught up in trying to make them feel better, we can get caught in the chaotic negativity and go down with them.

To know how to deal with negative people who have a victim complex, the best antidote to helping someone who lacks gratitude and self-love is to point out directly that no matter what you say, they always find excuses or find things wrong.

Once they see that they’re caught up in the victim mentality, they can own their actual behavior and see how self-defeating it actually is.

So how do know whether you are self-sabotaging with a victim mentality that is ruining your life and controlling you?

Your internal critic tells you that you don’t deserve the good things in life, that you’ll be rejected or someone else will get the job. You end up sabotaging the things you want in life, so you do not get them.

You feel like a victim of circumstance. Bad things always happen to you, so you expect it or give up before you try. It feels inevitable that things will not work out, so why bother putting the effort in?

If you or someone you know believe you may have a victim mentality and a negativity bias, here are 10 signs to watch out for.

1. You Do Not Take Action or You Give Up.

You find any possible reason why it’s not going to work out, making excuses, and giving up before you get started.

It’s not fun to put effort into something if you are not confident it will work out.

2. You Lack Self-Confidence and Self-Belief.

You don’t believe in yourself, causing you to not follow through on your ideas.

You put things off, find excuses, avoid being accountable, find escape routes, or coast along rather than live life.

3. You Let Others Take Control Over Your Life.

You let others tell you how to live your life since you feel that they know more than you. By following others, you do not take control of your own life.

If you put your life in the hands of others, you have no control over your life. You do not take responsibility for your actions and blame others when things go wrong.

4. You Let Negative Self-Beliefs Sabotage Your Choices in Life.

You give up based on your internal critic.

You settle for things in life which support how you see yourself, not feeling good enough.

5. You Deplete Yourself Until You Need Support.

You run around trying to please everyone — to the detriment of yourself — until you hit a crisis and need to be rescued. You stop functioning for yourself when you are running on empty.

Then, it is everyone else’s fault because you carried them and forgot to think about yourself. Then, you can blame them for not meeting your needs when you didn’t meet your own needs.

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6. You Feel Bitter and Resentful That You’re Not Living Your Life.

You end up meeting the needs of others because you fear being alone. You give to everyone else, but you are not there for yourself. You don’t focus on yourself but instead on living everyone else’s life, rather than living your own. When your life falls apart, you end up bitter and resentful at life, not feeling in control.

You feel good when pleasing everyone else, rather than focusing on yourself. You rely on your happiness coming from others, rather than fulfilling your own self. You can feel like a martyr, but you’re not there for yourself.

7. You Make Excuses for Why You Give Up.

You make excuses or justify why things will not work out, sabotaging your chances because you do not want to put yourself out there to go for what you want and risk failure.

You end up escaping the fear of rejection, avoiding failure or being judged. You are avoiding your feelings of not being good enough but actually end up feeling worse, when you give up and never get to where you want in life.

8. You Engage in Self-Destructive Coping Behavior.

You seek instant relief when you’re not feeling good about yourself, so you attempt to feel better by engaging in addictions, affairs, or other self-defeating behaviors.

You end up destroying yourself and ruining your life by running away from these unwanted feelings.

9. You Beat Yourself Up or Self-Punish.

You attack yourself with self-blame, punish yourself and berate yourself when things go wrong, when you feel like a victim by self-sabotage and ruining your life.

10. It Is Always Someone Else’s Fault.

If you’re a victim, everyone else is to blame because you lack self-responsibility and blame others for things that go wrong.

So, how do you end up having a co-dependency or victim-hood mentality?

In childhood, you can internalize the belief that there is something wrong with you when you felt unlovable. By holding onto the internal critic within yourself, you can end up acting-out these self-loathing feelings with self-destructive behavior that works against you.

You may not see the self-critic deep within you when you lack self-love because you are the master at running away from your feelings with self-sabotaging behaviors.

You self-sabotage by giving up on yourself and making excuses, in order to run away from how you feel about yourself.

The actual truth is, that you are your own worst critic, and you let your internal saboteur shoot you in the foot.

You feel like a victim because nothing ever goes your way.

The truth is, you blame life, others, or situations for things that go wrong, rather than looking at how you run away to escape the feeling of not being good enough.

By ignoring your internal-critic you will continue to self-sabotage unless you deal with the critical part of you.

Living within the victim mentality will ruin your life if you let these feelings take over and impact you.

If you do not recognize the signs of having a victim mentality, it can destroy your life. You may not realize that you do not allow yourself to deserve the good things in life, find things wrong with your life, and see the glass half empty.

If you’re a victim, it’s everyone else’s fault, you find excuses, or you blame life for things that go wrong. You end up lacking self-responsibility and lose control of your life when your inner self-critic takes over you.

This guest article originally appeared on 10 Signs You Or Someone You Know Suffers From Victim Mentality (& Why You Need To Fix It).

The 10 Warning Signs of Having a Victim Mentality

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APA Reference
Guest Author, P. (2019). The 10 Warning Signs of Having a Victim Mentality. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 13 Apr 2019 (Originally: 13 Apr 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 13 Apr 2019
Published on Psych All rights reserved.