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Victim mentality: how to get rid of it

Автор статьи: Науменко Александра Игоревна Семейный психолог, детский психолог.
Опыт практической работы: 8 лет.

Written by: Alexandra Naumenko.
Family psychologist, child psychologist.
8 years of field experience.

We all are playing roles when interacting with relatives, friends, colleagues and even ourselves. Whether this is a role of a victim or a victor, it depends on individual traits of character, bringing up and life experience. It is interesting to note that the roles of people taking part in a conversation are evident within seconds before the actual interaction begins, most of the times it happens unconsciously.

Mentality of an individual is directly connected with how well he/she is capable of living through stress and negative experience, what effort he/she shows to solve the problem. This determines the role of victim or victor. It often depends on the type of stress, willpower, and character of a person. Today we are going to speak about the position of victim in psychology.

“Victim” – a term and a life scenario

We surely all know people who just can not stop complaining about life but at the same time do not want to do anything about it thinking that it is everybody’s fault but not theirs. Victim mentality is simple: instead of taking the situation under control and put all the effort to solve a problem, the person puts all the responsibility on others and just drifts along the stream.

Nobody is secured from victim mentality. Unsolved problems and increasing stress combined with inability to overcome life obstacles often lure a person into this trap. The real danger is that this role can “cling” to a person for years – he/she gets used to complaining about life and can’t imagine any other behavior pattern.

Victim is easily identified by the lack of interest to the world you can see in their eyes, hunched posture, inability to enjoy life.

Victim mentality in relationship is detected by the following markers:

  • complains. The victim is confident that everyone around oppresses him/her and uses all this suffering to highlight his/her importance. Given that, however, the victim can unintentionally put him-/herself higher than everybody else because suffering is “so painful”, “sad”, “unique” and only he/she can “get through all this ordeal”
  • need for love, attention, understanding, sympathy and support from others. It is quite often when people are afraid to ask for love or attention which leads to the conclusion or taking the victim’s role. In psychology it is an “anguished” call for interaction in a way. The victim, however, fails to see that it is merely a surrogate for attention based on negativity. The main goal is to get what is desired.
  • unwillingness to take responsibility for own life. The victim sincerely thinks that somebody else is responsible for his/her happiness and well-being and always finds a ton of people to blame for all the problems.
  • infantile attitude to life. Victim is when a child had to deal with the life circumstances that he/she couldn’t change. Lived where it was told to. Ate what was given. Did what was considered to be right by the adults.


Victim’s syndrome in psychology: causes

When we grow older we learn to build our life the way we think is right and the position of victim starts to be needless. However, for some people such position is very comfortable. No self criticism and responsibility, no need to be ashamed of your weaknesses and control your actions. At the same time such distorted thinking prevents you from building healthy relationship with people, working, and living a full life.

Another reason can be fear of authoritarian figures. It can be often seen when an adult man that held himself confidently and independently just a minute ago is now “shrunk” in the presence of authority. All the pro-activity is suddenly gone and now fear and passivism are in full control. Fear of being punished, laughed at, misunderstood shackles the person completely. We don’s see an adult any more, but rather a guilty child that awaits rough punishment from a strict parent. The role of an authority can be taken by a parent as well as the boss or just an influential person.

Another popular reason for the victim mentality is personal insecurity. The one who considers him-/herself a loser and blames him-/herself in everything that is going on often takes the position of victim. The feeling of worthlessness makes him/her helpless in fast changing unpredictable and cruel world.

Victim’s position in psychology: how to get rid of it and start taking responsibility for own life?

Remember that you are the only one who chooses what role to play. By trying on the role of victim you consciously take a lot of pleasures and accomplishments away from yourself. Adult person follows a different scenario, it is not afraid to explore his-/herself and limits he/she has been given, but instead chooses to be a happy maker of his/her own life!

The first thing that needs to be done is taking responsibility for own life. This means deep understanding of the fact that you are responsible for everything that is going on in your life. Ask yourself the following questions from time to time:

  • what effort has been put to get to current situation;
  • what else could I have done to change the current situation;
  • what actions should not have been done.

The search for the answers often helps to find and use the new ways of solving various problems, and secures yourself form repeating the negative experience and getting back to the role of victim.

Eliminate the habit of complaining. Complaining is dangerous because it quickly grows into the main way of reacting to any troubles that occur in life and doesn’t let willpower, firmness, confidence and logic take full power. The person leaves any attempts of struggle to find solution for the problems, cultivates self pity and felling of helplessness. Eliminating the habit of complaining will inspire you, give you new powers to overcome troubles and in time you will be able to try on the role of a victor.

Value and love yourself. Psychology of a person is constructed in such a way that the more you feed yourself with positive thoughts, the more you get positivity from the outside world, this also works in the opposite way. Treat yourself with love and attention, take care of your emotional and physical well-being for this is the guarantee of your inner harmony. Psychology of relationships on a positive level makes sure your emotional state is full of positive activity and attracts more joyful moments into your life. In order to get out of the victim’s scenario it is enough to study loving yourself without any conditions and in all states – whether you are experiencing a failure, don’t feel well, or your business is going through a tough period.

Take a positive look at your life and think about good. Charge yourself with positive thoughts and ideas, get all the pleasure from minute things, learn how to live in the moment, don’t let yourself get anxious about possible future failures. Remember: every passing day is a gift and you are holding a power that can make this day amazing and memorable.

Don’t be afraid to ask for professional help. If you are looking for an effective solution of how to get rid of victim role – psychology is your help! A specialist will help you overcome this thought stereotype and get rid of the ways to react to occurring live difficulties from a victim’s perspective.

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