Know the Signs of a Victim Mentality: 8 Behaviors to Recognize

Do you know the signs of a victim mentality? Learn how to identify them, what they reveal about a person, and whether or not you may have some of them.
Know the Signs of a Victim Mentality: 8 Behaviors to Recognize

Last update: 11 June, 2022

Most people try to surround themselves with others who improve their emotional well-being. This is done not just through their support, but by sharing positive energy when they spend time together.

Nevertheless, there are also toxic people out there. Far from making you feel good, these people can steal your energy with their negative thoughts and problems.

It’s not wrong to help someone when they’re in need. However, it’s also crucial to know if they actually want your assistance or if they’re just trying to manipulate you.

Thanks to your kind heart, some people start to victimize themselves. They do this in order to generate pity or avoid being responsible for something.

This behavior causes them to blame other people for the things that go wrong. Then, they hardly ever resolve any of the problems in their lives since they can always find a sympathetic ear.

Because of this, it’s important to know how these people behave and what kind of strategies they use to cause you to feel like you always need to step in and help.

Learn to recognize the following eight signs of a victim mentality:

8 signs of a victim mentality

1. They believe that the world is against them

Victim mentality.
Although some people aren’t aware of it, those who play the role of the victim often have a mentality that leads them to transform reality into something dark and pessimistic.

They’re constantly on the defensive and believe that everyone else is against them.

Often, when you talk to them, they’ll complain that no one loves them, or that no one else is able to understand what they’re going through.

Read also: What if We Stop Complaining?

2. They don’t assume responsibility

The inability to assume personal responsibility is one of the primary behavioral patterns for those who play the role of the victim.

In their minds, they’re so convinced that other people should help them. They believe that this is what is owed to them.

It makes it easy for them to ignore the role that they themselves play in their own problems. Thus, they point to other people no matter what the consequences are.

In fact, they can become so manipulative that once they earn your trust, they can make you feel guilty for not being able to help them.

3. They exaggerate their problems

A woman with a victim mentality.
As the saying goes, “They make a storm out of a glass of water”. They feel fragile and exaggerate their problems or any situation they don’t like.

Since they always want to be pitied, they may cry or get angry so that the “alleged” aggressor feels guilty and apologizes.

4. They feel like everything bad happens to them

Talking with these people can really wear you out. This is not only because they’re so negative but also because their stories are always tragedies.

They will constantly tell you how bad things are, about their family problems, or how mean other people are to them.

Consequently, they never see the opportunities that adversity can bring. Their minds are totally closed to the idea that everything can improve if they work for it.

5. They never apologize

A man complaining.
When a person who plays the victim apologizes, it’s generally not sincere. Actually, they rarely recognize their mistakes and apologize for those who are affected by them.

Their mechanism for manipulation is so effective that they can always find a way to justify their behavior and be the “good guy” in the end.

6. They feel sorry for themselves

People who are used to being a victim often have strong levels of self-criticism and are excellent at highlighting their flaws.

Their habit of feeling sorry for themselves makes them appear helpless or fragile to other people.

If they fail to generate sympathy or empathy in others, they use that to console themselves and become even more entrenched in their role as the victim.

7. They believe that life is flawed

Even when something good happens to them, a victim will find some flaw to continue with their negative and toxic line of thinking.

In spite of the opportunities that may come their way, life is always full of shortcomings. They can’t and won’t find happiness in anything.

If they have something, they’ll complain. Also, if they don’t have something, they’ll complain as well. If they’re missing something, or if someone has more than them, they’ll complain.

This locks them into a cycle that prevents them from overcoming that feeling that they lack something.

Visit this article: The 5 Types of Happiness

8. They’re spiteful people

A man with a victim mentality.
In order to continue to suffer, victims will recall events from the past when someone or someone caused them some type of personal injury.

They’re unable to leave behind the things that caused them pain. Thus, they almost always take the opportunity to bring them up in the present.

Do you know anyone with this kind of behavior? Be careful. Even if you’re very close and want to help them, it’s important to remember that many of their actions are driven by habits that are difficult to break. Don’t let them steal your energy and try to steer clear of their problems to avoid being manipulated.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Andrew Skodol, MD, University of Arizona College of Medicine .Trastorno paranoide de la personalidad (TPP). MSD Manual. Versión para profesionales. Last full review/revision May 2018.
  • Cleary, S. D. (2000). Adolescent victimization and associated suicidal and violent behaviors. Adolescence35(140), 670–682.
  • Gutiérrez De Piñeres Botero, C., Coronel, E., & Andrés Pérez, C. (2009). Revisión Teórica Del Concepto De Victimización Secundaria Theoretical Review of the Concept of Secondary Victimization. Liberabit15(1), 49–58.
  • Hartinger-Saunders RM, Rittner B, Wieczorek W, Nochajski T, Rine CM, Welte J. Victimization, Psychological Distress and Subsequent Offending Among Youth. Child Youth Serv Rev. 2011;33(11):2375–2385. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2011.08.009

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.