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Victim Mentality: Does it Serve Your Life Well?

Updated on April 13, 2014

There are some people who have been victimized in life and they hold the victim mentality because of it, and there are some people who just have a victim mentality even though nothing major has ever happened to them. I want to talk about the second people; the people who think that life sucks and complain more than not.

I think we all have been there. Many times it is how people relate to each other. For example, your coworker may complain about how unfair your boss is, so you join in and complain as well. You are making yourself a victim by complaining, but it feels good to be able to relate to your coworker.

Even though we all have been there, some people choose to leave that mentality and start viewing things in a different way.

In fact, we all have the choice to become non-victims in life. It is just a matter of making that choice.

Victim Mentality
Victim Mentality

What is a Victim Mentality?

When you believe that you have been victimized, and you let it take over your emotions, actions, and life in a negative way - then you are carrying around a victim mentality.

Someone with a victim mentality may blame, accuse, and carry resentment around with them everywhere they go. Not much is their fault, if anything, and instead of standing up for themselves, they take it - because they either feel that it's what they deserve or that life doesn't get much better than this.

Yes, sometimes you ARE a victim and are abused in some way, but that doesn't mean you have to feel bad, sad, and horrible about yourself and others for the rest of your life. Everyone can rise above a victim status if they want too, but that is the key - you have to want to.

Being a victim in life can serve you in many ways.

  • You may have people pity you because your life is so horrible, and that pity can make you feel valued or good.
  • You may receive attention from others for your victim behavior (even negative attention) and feel that it is the only way you can receive attention.
  • It is much easier to blame, feel bad, and point the finger than it is to take responsibility for your own happiness and try to feel good.

However, even though it can be easier to carry around a victim mentality, it is much more rewarding to get rid of it and start taking positive action towards the life you want.

Are You In A Relationship With A Victim?

Just finishing up day 1 of the victims garage.
Just finishing up day 1 of the victims garage.

Victim Mentality Examples: Too Few Nails...Too Many Nails

My mother-in-law is a victim. She has had a great life, and she has two loving kids that would do anything for her; yet, I have never seen her not complain about her life or her kids. In fact, her voice has gone into a permanent whine.

Last weekend, we insulated her garage and put up Gibrock. After 16 hours of hard work (by my husband, me, and my parents) we had seen enough of her victim mentality. She complained, sulked, whined, nagged, and poo-pooed the whole way through. (Not to mention got in the way.)

In the end, she decided that there were not enough nails in her ceiling and that it was going to fall down. The fact that my husband put too many nails in the ceiling by our account did not phase her.

She also decided that we took too long doing the work. In short, she needed to feel like a victim, so she founds things to complain about.

If she has nothing to complain about then she creates something. For example, we all told her that we only wanted a small lunch, so she made pasta and sauce, roast and vegetables, green beans, and bread (yes, she is Italian). When we didn't eat all of her food, she complained, even though we had told her we only wanted a small lunch.

In the end, she didn't thank my parents for their help, and she went on with her life just as unhappy as before.

The point is, a victim mentality will always find things to feel victimized about. And trying to make that victim feel happy, can be a reward you may never get.

Why Change From a Victim Mentality?

Life as a non-victim is SO MUCH BETTER!

Whatever you gain as a victim is nothing compared to being someone who takes their own lives into their hands and see's the positive sides of situations.

For example, my mother-in-law would have a much more fulfilling life if she would just lose the victim mentality. She would realize that she has many great things in her life (and people) and she is surrounded by love every day. She would wake up happier, feel better throughout the day, and most importantly - she would make the most of her life instead of wasting it away in sorrow.

That is one of the best reasons to change: Your life will lived more fully, with more happiness, if you change your mentality to a more positive one.

Plus, you can contribute to the world in a positive way instead of a negative one. And yes, if you have a victim mentality then you are contributing in a negative way - somehow.

Our world does better with more positive, action orientated people. It's just a fact.

Overcoming Victim Mentality

It's not impossible, even though it may seem like that when you feel like a victim and have made it a habit to complain, poo-poo, and feel negative about everything and everyone (including yourself).

All it takes is a shift of mind-set. In fact, you could be feeling completely different about your life at the end of the day if you wanted to.

All you have to do is change the way you:

  1. React to situations and people - Instead of seeing them as a bother, see them as a blessing. Learn important lessons from them instead of complaining about them.
  2. Talk to yourself - Stop talking to yourself in a negative or depressing tone. Start saying "Yes!" and "I can!" and "Life is great!" You will find that changing your negative self-talk to positive self-talk will do wonders for your mentality, very quickly.
  3. Listen to people - If someone is telling you things that could contribute to your victim mentality, then choose to either stop the conversation or listen to them in a different way. This could include viewing them as a victim and speaking from that truth instead of the actual truth of the situation.
  4. Believe - Your beliefs are what hold you in your victim mentality. You believe that you are not good enough or do not deserve happiness. You believe that your life is supposed to be full of sadness, hardships, and negativity. Once you start believing that life is meant to be lived in a happy and action-orientated way, then you will start to notice a shift in your mind-set.

Do this by choosing moment by moment to do, react, and see things differently.

For instance:

  • Instead of saying what you want to say when something negative happens, such as "I can't believe that this happened!", say "How can this work to my advantage?"
  • Instead of complaining about how long a garage took to be built, be thankful that someone helped you.
  • Instead of looking for ways to make people pity you, look for ways to make people respect you.
  • Instead of complaining about the rain, talk about how much it is needed.
  • Instead of worrying about this or that, take action towards producing a result you want.

Start reading and listening to positive and encouraging things. These types of uplifting and positive products will help you change your belief system and habits.

A great place to start is Hayhouse Radio - It's free and it is full of inspiring radio shows.

Also, if you have a negative friend, or are surrounded by negative, victim mentality people, then you may want to limit your interaction around them. The people you surround yourself with directly influence the way you think and act.

Got Anything To Add?

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    • Relationshipc profile image

      Kari 2 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      @FU - I have had plenty of people screw me over, make bad choices that affect me, and treat me as though I wasn't important. But I choose not to be a victim in life.

      No one forces you to think positively or negatively. No one has control over you like that. Ultimately, you choose that mentality.

    • profile image

      Fuck Off 2 years ago

      Sorry, but some people are victims. Your mother was complaining about nonsense. People tend to get mad at complainers, not at what the person is complaining about. Its behaviors and not the subject matter. Be a good little citizen and don't stand up to anyone or anything. Sit down, shut up, and follow orders. Modern peoples are cowards. Not only that if you do the work and shut up you get the old "Why are you sulking? Why arent you talking?" Because if you did talk you'd get the old "Your complaining, your arguing!" No discussion of facts, or reasons for your actions are allowed.

      Not only that the negative actions of others in some instances can affect you for years. Explain to me how someone who has to base all their decisions around someone elses bad choices cascading into their reality is not a victim. Despite the fact I saw it coming and asked them to stop, discussed it with them, and they still did it anyway. Especially if that person was lied to and took action based upon those lies.

      The author of this article is truly blessed to be around people that actually give a damn about them, and don't screw them over for telling the truth, being different, or going after what they want. Not only that most likely has a low IQ as they have the ability to put their trust in people even after being royally fucked over.

      Fact is people are victims because no one gives a damn about you. This just forces you into an unhealthy DIY mentality which ruins any chance you have of having a well adjusted life.

    • profile image 2 years ago


    • Relationshipc profile image

      Kari 4 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Thanks for the comment and the heads up Leah.

    • nurseleah profile image

      Leah Wells-Marshburn 4 years ago from West Virginia

      Really wonderful hub. There is so much to be said for the way we think about ourselves and the world and how it affects our other thoughts and behaviors. Changing from the victim mentality to one of empowerment is a long, difficult process, but it can be done.

      I think there may be something going on with your quiz. I am 99.9% sure I know what the answers should be, yet the results are not correlating with what I would expect. You may want to take it yourself and see what the results are and if that's what you meant for them to be.

    • Relationshipc profile image

      Kari 5 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Thanks for the insightful comment Savvy! I agree one hundred percent! You are right, denying that something happened would be very similar to stomping our feet about it over and over again. Acknowledge that something sucky happened and get on with it in a mature, beneficial manner.

    • savvydating profile image

      Yves 5 years ago

      I think that when we remain in the victim's mentality, we are remaining like children who are mad because we feel life isn't supposed to hurt. Maturity is tough to come by sometimes, but it ultimately stops us from blaming and whining. We learn to see beyond and above the bad stuff. That is not to say we deny it. For to deny it would also be childlike. If we can help a situation to be better - that's great. If not, we have to let it go. A wise therapist once told her patient (with regard to her resentment about her mothers lack of nurturing) "Why are you trying to buy milk at Lowes? In other words, mom could not provide something she wasn't equipped to supply.

    • Relationshipc profile image

      Kari 5 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      I like that kj - a weed. I REALLY like that thought. Thanks for the insightful comment :)

    • kj force profile image

      kjforce 5 years ago from Florida

      Realtionshipc...Very well written hub..I agree with the " victim mentality" no matter what we do or say, they will continue..I choose to live as a weed, NOT in a negative way..BUT..a positive..I can survive anything as a weed and move on in life no matter what..which is why I wrote/published.." Whatever..I'm Still Here " I feel sorry for the negative people, but most of the time they are their own worse enemy..thank you for sharing such a personal experience..

    • Relationshipc profile image

      Kari 5 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Thanks billy

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I think we all know some of these people. Personally, I don't have room in my life for them; that may sound cold, but that's just the way it is. I agree with your hub completely; great job!