10 Signs of a Victim Mentality

Disclaimer: If you can relate to any of these signs, please do not take this feedback as an attack on your character. This article was meant to be a self-improvement guide for those of you who have been feeling a little stuck.

Hey Psych2goers, 

Has anyone ever told you that you have a victim mindset? You have this one close friend that you often spill out your problems to. One day, when you are complaining about the same life problem to her for 2 weeks continuously, she drops the bomb, “I think right now, you are having a victim mentality.” 

Now, you feel hurt. You feel the need to defend yourself. You feel that you deserve to feel the pain. You thought, “Shouldn’t she be more supportive? How dare she belittle my agony? I have the right to feel angry towards my narcissistic mother, right?” 

All of a sudden, all the good and gentle advice that your best friend gave you in your previous conversations, becomes nullified by her one statement. 

However, sometimes it requires a person like your friend, who is brutally honest, who is able to shake you out of the victim mentality in order for you to move forward, instead of choosing to feel “stuck” in your life’s problems. 

Every person is battling something in their lives. Everyone has their own trauma that they need to deal with. If you want to experience a breakthrough, you need to heal your past traumas and break free from the victim mindset. In order to do this, you need to be aware of the signs of a victim mentality: 

  1. You keep repeating the same set of reasons as to why you can’t break free or experience good things

You are arguing with your partner because he forgets your anniversary. Then, he said to you, “How dare you raise a voice at me when I clearly say to you that I was abused as a child?” 

You use your past trauma to define who you are as a person now. Whenever any conflicts arise with your significant other or the people close to you, you tend to use this as a weapon and a form of shield from any imminent “danger” in your relationship. This becomes your unconscious protective mechanism. 

2. You constantly think others have an advantage over you

You see your cousin has to shut down his business due to the pandemic and becomes jobless. He has many debts that he has to pay. But then, two years later, you found out he has developed a new and successful business venture and he is able to pay all of his debts and rise from his downfall. Now, your mind is constantly trying to find the external factors that contribute to his breakthrough. 

“Well, he manages to do that because he has a rich father to back him up. I don’t have a rich father, that’s why I’m stuck in my dark place right now.”

“He is surrounded with successful friends who are willing to help him and promote his business. Well, I don’t have many friends like him, so I may never be able to experience a breakthrough.” 

Now, notice what your thoughts are. Your mind keeps focusing on why your cousin is able to do that, what is the advantage that he possesses that makes him able to overcome his downfall. However, empowerment is far away from all of these things. When you are empowered, you are no longer self-consumed and obsessed over your pain, but you will take notice of how your cousin is able to be successful. You learn that you can choose your ways of thinking (strategy), and attitude (state of mind), and you are responsible for your own decisions in life. Only then, you are able to take concrete steps in breaking free from your pain and sufferings. 

3. Your negative inner life is blamed on what has happened to you

Your 4-year-old child spills some food on the table. You are tired and have just come home from work. You feel angry and act on that emotion by physically and emotionally abusing your child. You have a short temper.  Then you justify your emotion and action by thinking, “Well, I have been experiencing a long tiring day at work, so I’m allowed to feel angry towards my child who is creating more problems for me to solve.” 

This behaviour is repeated in every bad situation that you experience. You believe that something outside of you is the reason for your hopeless situation that you are in. 

4. You constantly replay the same painful stories of your past, with little to no fruit of healing or growth

You open up to your spouse about a bad situation at work. How you kept getting bullied and nitpicked by your boss. You keep replaying the same stories over and over again because you just cannot forget them easily. However, each time, you share the same exact narrative, without trying to see what you can learn from the situation, what actions that you can take to solve the problems. 

Indeed, sharing and confiding in the people whom we trust about our problems, as honest as possible, is admirable. It shows that you truly believe in that person, and is not afraid to show your vulnerability. However, you need to be careful, because sometimes when you have a victim mentality, your mind will be in a constant loop, and the cycle of negative thoughts keep repeating over and over again. You share the same narrative, without trying to see a new perspective of that story. This unredemptive sharing can actually be unhelpful in assisting you to move forward and break free from your problems. 

5. You don’t take in encouragement, helpful feedback, or instruction

You experience a marital problem. You have a good deep conversation with your best friend and receive an insight on how to manage the problem. But you found yourself confiding in him about the same problem many times, without trying to actually act on the solutions given by your friend. 

A person with a victim mindset tends to experience a temporary relief after confiding in a friend. However, the bad thing is, the feel-good effect doesn’t last long. You keep having conversation with your friend about your problem, and your friend keeps giving you the same insight, encouragement, and helpful feedback. At that moment, you feel empowered to do what was suggested, but the empowerment will die down soon after. 

6. You feel powerless to do anything about your circumstances

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I am powerless to change my condition.”? 

You particularly don’t like feeling defeated and you surely want everything that you have planned to go well. However, you realize that life continues to throw giant balls of problems towards you. You notice that after you have jumped over one hurdle, there is another hurdle that you need to pass. You are in an unending maze of negative situations, and no matter what you do, you are unable to escape from them. 

It is very crucial to differentiate between “unwilling” and “unable”. Sometimes people with a victim mentality make a conscious choice to take offense and shift the blame to the external environment. However, this is not applicable to all people, since there are those with deep-seated psychological pain that truly hinders them from positive change. 

7. You get entangled with negative self-talk and self-sabotage

“Everything bad happens to me.” 

“I deserve the bad things that happen to me.” 

“My situation will not change, so why bother trying?” 

The above negative self-talks are always present in the minds of those who feel victimized. Whenever they encounter a new bad situation, the self-talks become emphasized and will be carved into their inner monologue. When these accumulate, they find that their sense of resilience is affected and makes it more difficult to overcome challenges. 

Oftentimes, people who have negative self-talk tend to get involved in self-sabotage. They really believe in what their mind is saying, and unconsciously, tend to live it out and are reluctant to move forward to a better condition. 

8. You are lacking in self-confidence and self-esteem

“I am not brilliant enough to apply for that job. I think I will fail the job interview, again,” your friend tells this to you over a phone conversation. He has just graduated from university and is on his quest to find his first job. He has undergone multiple job interviews, but still unable to land himself a job. 

People who are victimized have the tendency to have low self-esteem and self-confidence, which can further enhance their feeling of victimization. This skewed perspective may actually prevent them from improving their skills and to try new things. They are blinded to their own strengths and abilities that may help them in fulfilling their goals. 

9. You tolerate abusive and negative relationships

You are abused by your husband. He keeps being angry at you and unleashing the stress that he has in the workplace on you. He calls you many derogatory names. 

People who see themselves as victims find it hard to stand up for themselves. You feel you are deserving of the bitter treatment towards you. You let other people keep crossing your boundaries over and over again. 

10. You feel hurt when you believe that your loved ones don’t care 

You text your partner about an argument that you have with your parents. A day later, she still does not reply to your text. This has further solidified your belief that she does not care about you, the same problem like your previous partner. You feel so hurt. Surely you do not want to be in the same kind of relationship again, where your partner is emotionally unavailable. 

People who are victimized will feel immense pain when they develop a belief that they are neglected by their partner. They feel that their suffering is less important than whatever their partner is doing that keeps the partner from answering the text. Then, when the partner does decide to communicate, your text has never been addressed. You feel as if there is a silent dismissal from your partner to discuss your problem. You never try to bring it up. Overtime, this dissatisfaction that you feel towards how your partner handles the situation will build up, and consequently leading to depression, loneliness, and angry outbursts. 

Final thoughts 

Psych2goers, do assess yourself. Do you have most of the signs stated above? If you do, and if you believe that you are always a victim of consequences, the world is out to get you, and everything else to be blamed for negative events in your life, chances are you are wounded. Therefore, try to sign up for a therapist’s appointment as one can offer you a safe space to work out what are your inner problems, what are the root causes of them, and how to develop a more healthy mindset, to move forward in life. 


Jacobson, S. (2021, June 10). Do you have a victim personality? 12 ways to tell. Harley Therapy™ Blog. https://www.harleytherapy.co.uk/counselling/live-life-like-victim-12-ways-tell.htm.

Raypole, C., &; Legg, T. J. (2019, December 12). Victim mentality: 16 signs and tips to deal with it. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/victim-mentality#takeaway.

Related Articles


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.