Before you can overcome a victim mentality, you need to know that you have it. There are so many people walking around playing the victim in life, and it has become so much of a habit that they just think it is normal and a part of who they are. Many of them can’t see; in fact, they don’t even consider that they are choosing to take a victim stance in life. If you are reading this, then you must feel like you have lost some power in your life and are ready to take it back, which means certain signs of living in a victim mentality have likely already come into your awareness. Still not sure? Following are 20 signs to watch for.
1. You Can’t Take Constructive Criticism
When someone gives you honest advice from a place of love, you get upset. You feel attacked. You don’t listen to what they are saying; instead, you get upset and feel like they are trying to make you feel bad about yourself and your life – and it works. You take what they say to heart and beat yourself up about it over and over again. It affects how you feel about yourself and about them. This could be a friend, a family member, a coworker, or a stranger – everyone has the same impact on you.
2. You Put Yourself Down More Than You Would Your Worst Enemy
You constantly say things to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else, including your worst enemy. These things can be pretty nasty, but they all add up to the same meaning – you are worthless, ugly, fat, stupid, and not capable. Looking in the mirror you see a loser. When someone gives you a compliment, you counteract it with something negative. And, you spend more time saying negative things to yourself than positive or even neutral things.
3. You Feel Stuck In Life
You feel like you are stuck and not going to go anywhere because there are no opportunities. Chances are good you’ve been stuck for a while and things are not looking up. You could be stuck in a relationship, job, or commitment that is sucking the life out of you, or – quite possibly – you are stuck in all areas. When you don’t have the power to take charge of your life in one area, you lose the power to take charge of your life in other areas.
4. You Feel You Are Incapable Of Doing What You Want
Not only do you feel stuck, you feel like you don’t have the talent, intellect, or energy to get what you want or do what. So, as soon as the thought of what you want comes up, you remind yourself that you’re not going to get it, no matter how badly you want it. If you find yourself arguing with other people why you can’t do what they think you can do, then you believe that you can’t achieve it, and that belief is keeping you stuck from even trying or putting in the real effort required for success.
5. You’ve Experienced A Traumatic Event And Never Recovered
Sometimes we are a victim in life, and many people end up reliving that experience over and over again and adopt a victim attitude because of it. If you didn’t get help or get over something traumatic that happened in your life, then you may be holding on to that victim mentality because of it. It’s important to understand that a traumatic event doesn’t have to define you. You can overcome it with your head held high.
For instance, I know a brother and sister who both lived in an abusive home. The sister has never been able to shake the abuse and remains a victim to this day. In fact, she married an abusive man, lets people mistreat her, and constantly complains about how much life sucks. The brother was able to see his potential and the good in the world, despite his parents’ abuse, and he has gone on to marry someone he loves and live a happy and fulfilling life where he is constantly growing and achieving more. Same traumatic event, different paths in life.
6. You Feel Like You’re Not Responsible For What Happens In Your Life
You don’t take ownership for what happens in your life, good or bad. You wash your hands of anything that has happened to you because other people and circumstances were to blame, not you. You believe that life happens to you, not because of you, and you are just waiting to see what is going to happen next because you have no control over anything.
7. You Don’t Feel Like You Can Prevent Anything Bad In Your Life
Because you don’t feel responsible for what happens, you also don’t feel like you have the power to prevent bad things from happening in your life. This may cause you to worry about what is going to happen or wonder what bad thing will happen next, because when you don’t feel like you have any control over what happens, you tend to imagine the worst, not the best. Therefore, you feel like your relationships, career, happiness, and health can all go down the tubes at any moment because you have no control over preventing it.
8. You Feel Upset When You Don’t Get Sympathy
You want other people to feel sorry for you and you feel bad when they don’t pity you or comfort you. Especially after you have told them about all of your grievances and problems. So much so that if people are not giving you the sympathy you require, then you feel worse about yourself. You also feel that the only way to feel better in life is to have other people understand how bad you have it and then try to cheer you up and make you feel better.
9. You Blame Other People A Lot
Your parents, friends, and coworkers are to blame, not you. Even the grocery clerk is to blame for the wait when you come during a busy time at the store. Everything is always everyone else’s fault, and they are ruining your life! If you are always looking at other people as if they are at fault, then you have a victim mentality.
For example, the wife of a friend of mine would go so far as to blame her husband when she dropped and broke a cup. She insisted that he put the cup in the cupboard wrong. Needless to say she blamed others, mostly him, for everything else that happened in her life too.
10. You Feel Like Other People Have It Better Than You
You see yourself as less fortunate than other people. Others are happier, more successful, luckier, and given more opportunities than you. You just have it bad compared to others, and that’s the way it is.
I find a lot of people with a victim mentality will say things like, “I wasn’t meant to have a good life,” or “Not everyone has the ability to go after what they want.” These are just limiting beliefs that hold people back from seeing their potential and going after what they want, and often they have been passed down from parents or other mentors in their life.
11. You Enjoy Feeling Sorry For Yourself
You may not admit it, but it feels good to feel bad. You enjoy crying your eyes out and rewarding yourself with your favorite food or show. You also love the attention you get when you feel bad; in fact, you get more loving attention when you feel bad. In your mind, there are some real perks of having a victim mentality so you do it out of habit.
One woman I knew used to come up and talk about all her problems to me and others. When other people would acknowledge her, she would say things like, “Well, what are you going to do?” The funny thing was that she made a point of being down in front of others, but when she was alone, she was pretty normal as she carried on with her day. She just enjoyed the attention she got when she was feeling sorry for herself in front of others.
12. You Talk About How Horrible Others Are And Blow Things Out Of Proportion
Do you find yourself talking about how horrible everyone is? Your coworker. Your friend. Your repairman. Your neighbor. No one is safe from the wrath of your anger and hurt.
For example, my friend’s grandmother has a huge victim mentality, and when her neighbor left a lawn mower, just a little bit on her side of lawn, she threw a fit. She talked about how horrible her neighbor was (even though she had never done anything to her.) She stomped her feet and said, “I hate her! I hate her! I hate her!” It was the most childish thing we’ve ever seen from a senior with her mind intact, but it stemmed from her victim mentality.
13. You Can’t See Yourself In Other People’s Shoes
If you can’t see the world or situations from other people’s point of view, then you are stuck in your ego. You are stuck in your own little bubble where the world revolves around you, so you only see things from your perception. This makes you weak when it comes to sensing what other people truly mean by what they say and do, and you often feel attacked, blamed, and hurt. In short, you feel like everything is about you, so you live from that perspective.
14. You Are Just Plain Negative
You already know if you are negative or not. If you are, you feel angry, frustrated, and sad all the time. You feel miserable and heavy-hearted. Things are never going your way and life sucks. And, you express how much you hate everything all the time. This is because the world sucks and is out to get you, and you know it.
15. You Live In A State Of Fear
The world is a scary place when you live with a victim mentality. Everyone is out to get you. Bad things are going to happen to you. The one dark cloud in the sky hovers above you wherever you go and you are always worried that it is going to turn into a major storm that strikes you down.
16. You Inflict Your Pain On People You Love
People who live with someone who has a victim mentality feel it. They are blamed for everything that goes wrong. Therefore, if you are constantly blaming, attacking, and accusing the people you love most, then you have a victim mentality. You are making them suffer because of what you think they are doing, even if you know somewhere deep down that they really don’t have control over things that you are blaming them for.
17. The People You Get Along With Best Complain A Lot
Victims attract victims to them. If your best friends are whiners and complainers, and you can spend hours talking to them, then you have a victim mentality. People who don’t have a victim mentality don’t sit around and complain all day, and they won’t sit around and associate with people who do because they are so draining!
18. Bad Things Happen To You A Lot
Around every corner there is a new surprise of misery. You get dumped, you lose a job, you lose your wallet, someone steals something from you, you are mistreated, someone spreads a rumor about you, and on and on it goes. Life is a series of bad things, and you have accepted that life is supposed to be full of unhappiness and heartache, so you wait for the next thing to happen.
19. You Think Your Parents Are Victims
We learn what we see, and a victim mentality can be a learned trait. If your mother or father, or whoever raised you, has a victim mentality, then the chances are good you have adopted it on some level. Usually people realize this when they say, “I sound like my mother!”
20. You Are Not Happy – Even When Good Things Happen
Someone who has a victim mentality will always be waiting for the moment they are taken advantage of or experience some sort of loss. Things just don’t go good, so even when something good happens, they don’t celebrate because they are waiting for the next bad thing to take its place. Life still sucks, that hasn’t changed just because something good happened.