19 Traits of People Who Play the Victim

Do you know someone who always has to come out as the victim? Or do you suspect that one of your loved ones has this habit? Read our 19 traits of people who love playing the victim to see if you are onto something here.

Avoiding Responsibility

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People who play the victim often shift the blame to others, making it difficult to hold them accountable for their actions. They also tend to consistently blame others for their own mistakes or failures, refusing to accept personal accountability.

Lack of Problem-Solving Initiative

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They are typically reluctant to tackle problems, preferring to let others take charge. They are so used to excessively relying on others to make decisions or solve their problems that they don’t develop that skill. Timeular recommends speaking to them directly so they can realize how their actions affect others.

Seeking Sympathy and Attention

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These individuals often go to great lengths to ensure they are the center of attention. They overstate their hardships to gain sympathy and attention from others. In addition, they constantly complain about their life circumstances without making efforts to change them.

Resistance to Advice or Help

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Even when help is offered, people who play the victim may reject it, preferring to remain in their current state. Psychology Today says this may start in childhood, and compassion is key. “Under conditions of great need, people who are most afraid of compassion can come to see people offering help as dangerous or malicious, as mistrust gives way to paranoia and projection.”

Constantly Feeling Targeted

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People who play the victim often feel like they are constantly under attack, even in situations where there is no malice intended. You will find that they interpret neutral or general situations as direct attacks against them. This causes them to overreact to situations that don’t need much of a reaction.

Envying Others’ Success

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Their inability to be happy for others is a clear sign of their victim mentality. People with this kind of mentality attribute others’ successes to luck rather than merit. However, “if handled effectively, jealousy can be illuminating and serve to drive a person. ‘[It]… can be productive if it motivates someone to work harder, or causes them to reexamine a relationship they haven’t been valuing,’” forensic and clinical neuropsychologist Dr. Judy Ho revealed to Oprah in a 2019 interview.

Constant Pessimism

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Some people always expect the worst. They look at the world and think everything will go wrong. This means they hardly ever feel hopeful or positive about anything. Their outlook is very gloomy, making it tough for them to notice good things.

Overgeneralizing Negative Events

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When bad things happen, some people think it’s just the start of more trouble. They believe that if something goes wrong once, it will always be like that. Even when it’s just a small problem, they will say that nothing will ever go right for them.

Refusing to Acknowledge Personal Growth Opportunities

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Growth opportunities are often dismissed by victim players, as acknowledging them would mean stepping out of their narrative. They prefer to stay where they’re comfortable, even if it’s not a good place. They lack what is known as a ‘growth mindset.’ Future Learn defines a growth mindset as the belief that you can develop your skills and talents through hard work, the right strategies, and guidance from others.

Lack of Accountability

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Some individuals never admit they’ve made a mistake. They always think they’re right and blame others when things go wrong. This way, they don’t have to take responsibility for their actions. They make up stories or change what happened so that they’re always the victim.

Dependency on Others for Validation

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When someone has a victim mentality, their sense of self is heavily reliant on how others perceive and treat them. They seek constant reassurance from others and base their self-worth on others’ opinions and reactions. This leads to a lifetime of struggles with self-confidence and self-esteem.

Manipulating Through Guilt

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Self-victimizing people use guilt as a way to control others. They make others feel guilty to get them to do what they want. This can also be a way to avoid taking the blame for their actions. This helps them keep the upper hand and not have to face the consequences of what they’ve done.

Rejecting Positive Perspectives

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Turning positive things into negatives is something that individuals with victim mentalities do very well. They don’t pay attention to the good feedback or the positive things happening around them. Instead, they focus only on the bad parts, even making their good qualities seem less important.

Fear of Taking Risks

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The fear of failure is so overwhelming that it stifles any desire for change or improvement. This is because it makes the thought of trying something new or facing a challenge more scary than it needs to be. It is worse for people with a victim mentality because they are so afraid of failing that they don’t even try.

Oversensitivity to Feedback

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Feedback, instead of being a tool for growth, is seen as an attack on someone who sees themselves as a victim. When people try to help them by giving advice or feedback, they take it the wrong way. They see these attempts to help as personal attacks, and they either pull away or respond inappropriately.

Distorting Reality

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Reality is how you see it, and these people take this statement to a whole new level. They simply don’t listen to facts that show they might be wrong. Instead, they tell stories that make them out to be the victims all the time. They do this so much that their view of reality gets twisted to fit how they feel inside.

Creating Drama

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To make sure everyone pays attention to them, people who play the victim start problems on purpose. They make a big deal out of small disagreements to get sympathy from others. Creating drama is how they make sure they’re always at the center of attention, making everything about them.

Playing the Martyr

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Martyrdom is a role they embrace to highlight their suffering and gain moral high ground. They act like they’re always giving up things for others, hoping to get praised for it. They use these so-called sacrifices to show why they think they’re always the victim. This way, they can look like heroes who are always suffering for the sake of others.

Resistance to Joy and Success

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You would think everyone enjoys success, but that is not the case. Some people feel uncomfortable when things go well for them or when they see others succeeding. They might even mess up their own good moments or those of people around them. Deep down, they think they don’t deserve to be happy or successful, as this doesn’t align with the victim narrative.

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