Is there an actual disorder that causes people to feel they are victimized by everyone in life?
Some people I have noticed have a tendency to feel they are always a victim to others. They never accept accountability for their own actions and always blame everyone else. I have seen this quite frequently with alcoholism in family members - but what about when there is no substance abuse issue? Is there an actual disorder where the chronic sense of victimization is the primary characteristic? That and the constant misunderstanding or twisting of people's words to go with it?
I am wondering if Narcissism would cause and individual to perceive themselves to be a constant victim. A personality disorder definitely appears to be at work in said individual.
Wikipedia states, "Self-victimisation (or victim playing) is the fabrication of victimhood for a variety of reasons such to justify abuse of others, to manipulate others, a coping strategy or attention seeking."
I'm not a mental health professional, but this sounds like paranoia to me. When a person feels constantly victimized and threatened by those around him/her, it's a frightening world, whether it's real or not.
Must everything have a name or be called a disorder?
It seems we live in a time where every behavior or trait has to be called something rather than regulated to that individual. "Restless leg syndrome, Overactive bladder syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, adult attention deficit disorder, borderline personality disorder, Adjustment disorder, Anxiety disorder, and so on)
It's as though if we can give it a "name" then we can say it's something that "happened" to us. Ironically (naming) something or calling it a disease such as (drug addiction, alcohol addiction, food addiction, gambling addiction, and sex addition) is part of the problem that keeps people from taking responsibility for their actions!
There is even something called "Oppositional Defiant Disorder" or (ODD) defined as "a childhood disorder of ongoing pattern of anger-guided disobedience, hostility, and defiant behavior toward authority figures" We all had that one! LOL!
Certainly actual body organs,skin issues, or extreme brain issues should be called something. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders also known as DMS contains a list of assorted disorders. They even list "Binge eating disorder" and "Impulse control disorder". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mental_disorders
I'm inclined to agree with you actually, and it's more just a question of interest - not that I'm trying to diagnose something, but the case I'm thinking of is extreme - which does suggest a physical component as well, not just lack of accountability
Errr...sorry to burst your bubble, but not all people had ODD as a child - it is just that those under 18 cannot be diagnosed with a personality disorder (sociopath, psychopath, Borderline etc) as they haven't developed. ODD is more than NORMAL anger
jlpark. (My bubble is intact)! :-) The ODD line was a little bit of joke. Most kids did have the "terrible twos" and most children do want to be in charge of their lives BEFORE they are mature enough. Most teens hated being told what to do. NORMAL?
Hello dashingscorpio. I agree with your assessment. I ask any if that is a result of coding for insurance purposes? Does that mean it is a business opportunity rather than an action of compassion offering help? I ponder society's wellness diagnosis?
Is this self appointed victim you speak of at all physically or mentally abusive towards others? If yes, then the sense of victimization is a self defense strategy to justify their abhorrent actions to themselves and to others around them. Sometimes done on purpose, sometimes subconsciously. If they aren't physically or mentally abusive towards others then it sounds like a form of depression to me, or paranoia.
Some people thrive on positive vibes and happiness, others are like a bottomless pit that seek out hatred and misery to suck up and buzz off. Both parties are looking for the same things in life, it's just they're on the opposite ends of a scale.
Hello...I really believe that people, certain people, have individualism. This "individualism" creates them to be themselves. Although their attitude reflects victimization, they have neurotic tendencies. I really believe that you know what you are talking about and that people really act this way. I have seen it myself. I looked up neurotic behaviors and it is a form of mental illness. I see this in people that repeat themselves over and over and in individuals that like to question others, especially by using the word "what." It is almost like they do not want to listen to certain tones and sentences. This is my interpretation. Some people, like family members, really want to reach out and hear what they want to hear, e.g. my family thinks I am somebody that I do not reflect. So...they question my actions, behaviors and tendencies. All in all...people will act how they want. This is all I can grasp but people, the victimization "crew," seem to blame others more often and act as though their behaviors are more warranted than their counterparts.
It seems to be reasonably well accepted that there is a genetic tendency for these types of addiction. These type of behavior is generally referred to as "pathological".
I not a Dr. and I'm not claiming to be expert. I also don't know if there is a physical neurological factor like a brain chemical / hormone thing going on like there often is in clinical depression.
I've never heard of a drug based treatment for pathological disorders.
As far as the victim part, it is a psychological defense mechanism that allows them to push off bad behavior, that society doesn't accept and the vast majority can control without difficulty, and pretend to be just like everyone else but unlucky or cursed.
Since I'm not qualified to say with any authority I can only say that I don't consider these things to be diseases in the since that they can do nothing about it.
Making excuses is almost always a ruse to try and save face or to delude yourself rather than owning the problem.
We all do it to some extent and once in awhile we are just unlucky or maybe a bit cursed. But if you are having the same thing happen over and over its usually your own doing. I believe it most often becomes generational as a learned behavior rather than a genetic one.
In the case I was thinking of, I am thinking maybe anxiety or depression due to other traits and others around them not having the same issue. I def agree many people make excuses and don't own some things, but this seems more than that in this case.
When it comes down to personality disorders everyone is unique and if there are multiple causes.
If others in the same group aren't having problems it is more likely to be the individual.
In some cases, people are bombarded with negative attitudes and experiences from others. Maxwell Maltz called it "excessive negative feedback signals". It is not imaginary. People are deliberately using deception, projecting hate, misery and unhappiness at others. Each person must develop a strategy that will free them of it. Some people choose forgiveness. Some people try to love everybody regardless of their behavior. Others ignore it, and remain happy. Zen teachers suggest mental and emotional detachment and a change in perception. They say, see others as empty forms with no power at all. Then by eliminating ones own thoughts about people and situations, freedom and peace is attained easily.
Yes! I totally understand the energetic aspects of it and how certain energies seem to feed off themselves and grow - fortunately it works with positives too. I know when I feel down I focus intently on gratitude and it elevates my energy immediately
Munchausen syndrome is a condition where someone uses an illness or other issue to constantly gain attention. Quite often they can use the victim card to gain that attention on a regular basis. It is a very real condition and sometimes I wonder if more people have it than know it.
Everything is a disorder if you discriminate against a certain pattern of brain activity. Other than that everybody is neurologically wired to certain climates which are continuously absorbed into their gene pool. Meet life on Earth.
I see what you're saying, but it doesn't really explain why some people feel they are chronically victimized by everyone around them when they aren't. Where is that disconnect I wonder that dictates their wildly different interpretation of reality?
There is no mindset that isn't fundamentally associated with a condition. For instance, although one can argue that fear and paranoia are sometimes misplaced, no rational person would suggest that the fight or flight mechanism should not exist.
True.. I agree fight or flight is a necessary response, it does make me wonder why it seems to get "stuck" in some people though like they are chronically stressed emotionally. Interesting to ponder - thanks
I don't know about any disconnect for the person who MAY have a disorder, but for healthy people a disconnect can exist when those who know and even love them underestimate their strength, capability, or good sense - don't know them.
Some people seem to think they've been victimized by everyone in their lives. Does that always mean they're mentally ill, or might they actually be as victimized as they claim? read more
I'm in the process of finishing up a Hub that addresses this, but the short answer is that whether a person actually believes his account of his victimization, or whether he's just presenting things that way to others, may make a difference. Of all the personality disorders, Narcissistic Personality Disorder may be most known for a person's painting himself as a victim of "everybody". Even so, though, the "victim thing" isn't particularly the primary symptom/sign.
I read your comment below about the person you have in mind seeming to have a kind of extreme "story"/situation. I can tell you from first-hand experience that there are people who have some very bizarre "collections" of being victimized and yet the fact is they have been victimized time and time again.
I'm one of those people with a "bizarre" story, and I know very well what I sound like whenever I try to tell it (or when, years and years later, I keep talking about it because it involved seeing my children hurt long-term, and it also involved someone's putting so much stress on my elderly, double-medical-condition, mother that it wasn't long before she had a heart attack, suffered for fifteen months, and passed away after awful surgery. The point is that I want justice, which any normal person would; but aside from that, part of the original "victimization" - and I'm a strong and otherwise effective individual who has never seen herself as, or wanted to be, a victim - involved being believed to "maybe have mental problems" because I spoke up/acted on my own behalf.
In 20 years my life and family have been disastrously affected, and nobody has ever said to me that they figured out I'm about as healthy as anyone could be. Instead, I'm still living in emotional abuse as if no victimization had ever taken place. Having been "accused" of being mentally ill, I'm reluctant to tell my story or express my anger because I know how it sounds at this point. I still want justice. I still want someone to acknowledge what happened. I can't move on, not just emotionally but "pursuit-of-happiness-wise", without at least some acknowledgement; and if I remain silent and angry as far as I can tell there's NO chance anyone will acknowledge what happened so long ago.
On top of it, I face a world that can't/won't believe that a person might be victimized so extremely by more than one person; so instead of support, I face, essentially, further emotional "attack".
I believe extreme cases and there are people legitimately victimized in life and I would never judge if I didn't know the truth in the situation. I know this person well and it's largely a perception problem. You sound very resilient I admire that.
I'm NOT second-guessing you about the person you have in mind; but I know that there are folks in my life who would tell you that I'm the one who doesn't perceive my own experience "correctly" either.
I believe that also, people are quick to judge without walking a mile in another person's shoes a lot and that is also unfortunate.
Thank you for sharing LisaHW. If memory serves me I remember a year or more back you shared of this tragic reality in life. I will check for the hub . . . tim
Hello ChristinS. I was fascinated by the question. However, discovery with research says there is a large gamut of possibilities with the Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders version V or 5, which is newly released this year I believe. I must share emphatically I am not a doctor of any sort from Ph.D to otherwise and inclusive of M.D.
The studies taken were at the community college level, online classes, and home studies seeking understanding a personal diagnosis of bipolar disorder. The hope of serving those with that diagnosis in other venues beyond hubpages in the past, and soon with National Institute for Mental Health or NIMH and/or the Depression Bipolar Support Alliance. Thus, the plan of learning how to write at HubPages these past two years and becoming mainstream within a larger society and those cultures.
Bear in mind a psychiatrist is an M.D. first and then becomes a psychiatrist as an elective specialty. Next, along with more years of training and experience they seek psychiatry. A total of twelve years of study is the norm to become eligible for board certification. A lot of dedication, learning, training, and study. After that if a chosen field of study such as asperger syndrome, autism, and etc. is desired more study and practice within that field of specialty.
That said, reviewing on & off today the DSM-IV-TR I have turned up two general possibilities that a professional may apply. The first being Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and those associated extremes like panic attacks and the smaller nuances such as eating disorders. The second is General Anxiety Disorder or GAD.
Both are specific and have clear identifiers that must be specified with the five axis assessment of a professional. That at times is on going receiving a classifier as chronic, which PTSD is becoming more and more with the events in society today compared to yesterday. PTSD has three main classifies - chronic, acute, and delayed onset.
I am not sure if that answers what you asked or not. I can presume at this point with the sociological perspective today we have many more diagnosis than we did in the 70's when attributed to Viet Nam veterans historically. I think the old term was shell-shocked for WWI & WWII, although many say there are differences too. What is interesting is when one reads of PTSD with sexual abuse cases & rape victims of both sexes as presented on CNN this week with testimonials. MST or Military Sexual Trauma is a new coined term.
PTSD is certainly a sad and unfortunately too common occurrence. I don't know how it ties into this situation exactly, but certainly more can and should be done to understand and help those with it to cope.
Hello CrhistinS. Thank you for the response. You are probably right. Doing a Google Search of Chronic Victimization + DSM-V the top 10 articles are Complex PTSD. Another was Chronic Victim + DSM-V is the same & DESNOS related to extreme stress
Look up Histrionic Personality Disorder. I think you'll find your answer!
Just to name a few of the characteristics of HPD:
Blaming personal failures or disappointments on others
Constant seeking of reassurance or approval
Excessive sensitivity to criticism or disapproval
Being overly dramatic and emotional
I have dealt with people like this personally, so I know exactly what you are talking about.
Christin.....Absolutely, what you describe is a serious disorder, which, in the world of psychiatry, can be referred to in several terms, for specific reasons. The "perpetual victim," may just be the single-most pathetic individual we can encounter. These self-absorbed, sad sacks are extremely difficult to deal with, both on a personal level, as well as for mental health professionals.
Literally unable to assume personal responsibility for any and all misery and woe that comes their way......they are the blamers, haters and pointers. "It's not my fault.....if only he/she had not......I COULDN'T, because of him/her/them" The disorder begins in failure to mature, mentally and emotionally. These people thrive on always being a "victim," never responsible for anything that comes their way. Frustrating and exhausting as they are, you will normally find that they have no friends or close bonds with others. Who can blame those around them for avoiding these whiners?
If you insist upon a specific name for this unfortunate disorder, it would be necessary for each person to be thoroughly diagnosed by a Behavioral Health Specialist. As I mentioned, these individuals fall into various categories of mental disorders. Narcissism and/or Borderline personality disorder, are two that come to mind, off the top of my head, without in depth study of these folks. It may not surprise you to know that their greatest talent is their ease and ability to lie and deceive......both themselves and others. They have mastered the art of "denial." They are seriously unpleasant to be around and do NOT make for loyal friends or devoted family members. Bottom line? Years of aggressive therapy.
I can agree definitely in many cases it comes from a lack of accountability certainly. It can be difficult to be around people like this, but in some cases I think there really is a disconnect where they can't recognize they are doing it.
You are correct Christin....in terms of how this behavior is so constant, it becomes a blatant part of their personality...and they cannot differentiate truth from fiction, at some point. It's a tightwire walk.
I’ve known a few persons like that, and one in particular comes to mind. He’s never made a mistake in his life, and the first words out of his mouth are “it’s not my fault” when it clearly is. My mother used to think he was a spoiled child because he came from a “comfortable” almost wealthy family. It was just the opposite. He worked hard and was given a lot of responsibility, probably more than a child should have been given. Too, there was inadequate love in the family. This person is a Vietnam veteran and has chronic PTSD.
I look at what the war has done to some of our veterans. It has matured and hardened some veterans like John Kennedy, John Kerry, and John McCain into national leaders. Then some like my example become whining complaining misfits in society. There are already some very good psychological answers to your question, but I think some people are born that way. I will just add that I think there may be some metaphysical answers too, but the average person doesn’t want to hear them.
It is a psychological disorder, to blame someone else; like when it rains, and the umbrella has been forgotten.It may be the destiny, the people, the circumstances, the weather, or a lot more to blame.To escape from the responsibility, is a sign of weak mentality.Such people yearn for the sympathy of others.They cleverly and knowingly follow this course for their own vested interests, and often succeed in their designs.
This question can be a subject of new hub.
There's Victim Mentality - a subject I have written about on hub pages. I know people like this who play the victim but most are suffering with paranoia due to cannabis usage. I also covered ODD in a previous hub dashingscorpio!
As someone who has struggled with depression (albeit a relatively mild case), I would probably point to that as a serious contender in terms of diagnosing a cause for such a worldview.
While this is painting with pretty broad strokes, I can definitely attest to the fact that depression in almost every form tends to put one "on the back foot," so to speak. One feels constantly defensive, and every bit of criticism offered by someone else feels like an attack that must be warded off via argument or counter-attack. This is because the afflicted individual often subjects lives under the harsh glare of constant self-criticism, the upshot of which is a constant sense of exhaustion and a need to justify oneself and one's position with regard to any given issue.
If the individual you're trying to match these answers to also says they have a hard time experiencing feelings like they once did, and they describe a lack of joy (or even happiness) in life, it may be worth looking up dysthymia--a distinct type of depression which features defensiveness as a prominent symptom.
Best of luck to you, and to the struggling individual...
What a fascinating collection of responses your question attracted!
I add my disclaimer to that given by others.
My experience has been as a care provider, counselor and houseparent for people with dementia, chronic illness, autism spectrum disorder, developmental disabilities, and a variety of mental health diagnoses.
ChristinS, it seems you just would like to expand your understanding and awareness.
Like others, I question the helpfulness of overemphasis on the mental disorder label. Perhaps it is useful for comparing notes. And for treatment with psychotropics, etc. I think most here would agree to find a balance, that is, to look at the whole person as mind/body/spirit.
My observation of people who shortchange or cripple themselves with victim mentality when no abuse has actually occurred is that the emotional state has remained undeveloped since childhood.
Various factors are influential, and perhaps it is not so useful to place importance on why this happens but rather on a positive response, and what can help such people, who want help, to change their lives.
The approach by Lisa HW seems judgmental and non-compassionate, ""perpetual victim," may just be the single-most pathetic individual we can encounter. These self-absorbed, sad sacks are extremely difficult to deal with, both on a personal level, as well as for mental health professionals."
I prefer a viewpoint that accepts all behaviors as belonging to all humans, as we are all connected. Few of us have been totally free of playing the victim to some degree in certain situations.
"Look up Histrionic Personality Disorder. I think you'll find your answer! Just to name a few of the characteristics of HPD:" says CraftytotheCore.
Yet do all the disorder and syndrome labels bring any real understanding? I would rather ask, "What are the core causes of any behavior which cripples a person mentally and emotionally and prevents them from maturing into their full potential as an individual?"
Sri T has a noble response by emphasizing the way out of debilitating self-inflicted behaviors - "...Then by eliminating ones own thoughts about people and situations, freedom and peace is attained easily."
What are the most positive and pro-active approaches, both to help us relate with understanding to individuals with this behavior, and to help them help themselves when they make that choice?
Your question at the end is certainly the next question in line - how can you help someone who has that much of a disconnect from how things really are? If u point it out, they perceive it as you persecuting them or something.
Yes, I have encountered this, from people with Paranoid schizophrenia as far as the disconnect from actuality and unwillingness to hear anything else. Remember Robin Williams as Patch Adams playing along with the cellmate who was afraid of squirrels?
Emanate, "The approach by Lisa HW seems judgmental and non-compassionate". Respectfully, really??? That's what you get from something I've said?? I'm the one who says there are people who are real victims and not just people who THINK they are.
Lisa HW, your name was attached to someone else's quote in this post.
My apologies, Lisa HW. I misquoted you. It was indeed from another post. Anyway, it was unwise to label a quote as judgmental. An emotional reaction. Thanks for remaining 'respectfully, really'!
Emanate Presence, Thanks. No need for any apologies. I was just kind of confused to think my words had been interpreted that way. Anyway, "returning to regular programming" as they say.
I ponder the connection of childhood development agreeing with reservations of how. An example is an amnesia person (victim?) who had or has no recall of childhood. Could disruption as cohesive with developmental be applicable? Alzheimer's?
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