Ongoing stress or a distressful situation can lead to the victim mentality. According to Healthline, a leading internet medical information provider, some people who experience ordeal may lose their sense of control over their lives and feel helpless when confronted with changes or challenges. They feel trapped by circumstances that they think they have no control over and give up on being able to cope with or improve their situation.
People can be victims without developing the victim mentality. When life seems unfair, or things don’t happen the way people want them to, most people adjust, adapt, and cope with their circumstances. They make changes to improve themselves and their situation.
People with the victim mentality are unable to make positive changes that help them control their circumstances. A person with the victim mentality always considers themselves a victim and behave as if they always will be the victim. Even when they aren’t a victim, they refuse to see the difference between their perception of victimhood and reality.
Psychologists who study people’s reactions to disturbance believe the victim mentality is an acquired personality trait. By thinking and acting as if they are always a victim, people’s personality becomes that of a victim no matter the circumstances. The victim mentality includes thoughts and actions that keep people trapped as a victim.
With the victim mentality, people feel powerless and unable to cope. They can’t find solutions for their problems because they don’t believe they have any power over themselves or their circumstances. The victim mentality creates additional situations throughout life where people feel like victims because of the perception of powerlessness.
Feeling All Problems are Disasters
For people with the victim mentality, even small problems and challenges in life are perceived as significant disasters. They become upset and unreasonable when they feel the slightest thing is out of place or not up to their standards and expectations. Because people with the victim mentality can’t find solutions, every problem they encounter feels like it’s unfixable and unending.
Thinking Others are Purposefully Trying to Cause Harm
Have you ever confronted someone about why they didn’t acknowledge you or do something to help you only to find that they were completely unaware of the situation? It’s easy to feel slighted when you think someone hasn’t responded to your needs, but the truth is they are often so wrapped up in their own lives; they aren’t fully aware of yours.
People with the victim mentality don’t see these types of situations as unintentional. Instead, they believe other people are always out to hurt or harm them. Because they don’t feel like they have control over their lives, they think that any lack of acknowledgment or help is a direct affront designed to hurt them.
Feeling Singled Out for Mistreatment
The victim mentality makes people feel that they are alone in their victimhood and receive worse treatment than others in the same situation. When a negative situation affects an entire group of people, they think that it’s harder and worse for them. They may feel that they were included in the group only to make their lives worse, not because of circumstances but because they were singled out for mistreatment.
When a situation is someone else’s fault, a person with the victim mentality refuses to forgive a sincerely offered apology or offers to make things right. They may fear being hurt again by the same person. They refuse to accept that others can make mistakes without malice or specific intent to harm them.
The victim mentality is a learned personality trait that results from not coping with and processing past distress. Because a person with the victim mentality can’t cope with challenges and problems, they feel they are always the victim of circumstances or other people’s intentional mistreatment. The victim mentality makes people unable to take control of their lives and their responses to difficulty, keeping them always feeling like a victim.
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