playing the victim

Sandy was sick and tired of her cousin Maria always playing the victim, it had been going on for years. No matter what happened, Maria would find a way to twist the situation to make herself the victim in the situation.

Do you have a friend or family member who loves to play the victim and blame you for their situation or problems? If you do, you may find yourself exasperated and exhausted by their frustrating behaviour.

Defining playing the Victim

“Playing the victim” refers to a psychological condition in which people act like victims in a particular situation. This behaviour is marked by the tendency to exaggerate or even make up instances of abuse. It can be seen in personal relationships, the workplace, and the complicated world of politics.

Victim playing is a psychological phenomenon that helps people explain their actions or gain power over others. By playing the part of a victim, people may try to get pity, avoid taking responsibility, or change how other people see them. Playing the victim can lead to bad things, like people distancing themselves from you or ending the relationship.

The psychology behind why some folks love playing the victim

People are likely to adopt the victim attitude for many reasons. Some people do things like this to get attention or support from others. Others might do this to avoid taking any responsibility for their wrong doings, because it is a lot easier to blame someone else for what went wrong.


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Research has shed light on the exciting topic of people who love to play the victim role, showing how they might be more likely to act like victims in real life. This exciting idea has four main parts that shape the way they think: a constant need to be seen as victims, a noticeable lack of empathy for others, an insatiable desire for payback, and a deeply held belief that the world is hostile and unwelcoming.

It is also important to realize that not everyone who pretends to be a victim does so intentionally or with bad intentions. People often think bad things have happened to them, even if their view of the situation doesn’t always match the truth or other people’s version of events.

Even though this behaviour seems harmless, it can hurt the person who does it and the people around them. When building healthier relationships and creating nurturing environments, it is vital to be aware of how your actions affect others and yourself.

Recognizing victim playing in others

Victim playing is an interesting behaviour pattern in which someone pretends to be a helpless victim to get pity and attention or to avoid taking responsibility for their actions. It is a way to manipulate people and can hurt relationships and personal growth. Understanding what victim playing is and how it happens can help stop it from becoming a repeating pattern of behaviour.

Jenny had enough of a friend who always played the victim card

Jenny’s friend, Lisa, always played the victim. No matter what happened in her life, Lisa would find a way to make herself the victim in the situation and blame others for her problems. Jenny tried to be supportive and understanding, but it became exhausting to constantly listen to Lisa’s complaints and excuses.

find a way to make herself the victim

One day, Jenny realized that she couldn’t take it anymore. She had reached her limit and decided to end the friendship. She knew it wouldn’t be easy, but she couldn’t continue being friends with someone who refused to take any responsibility for their actions and always played the victim.

When Jenny told Lisa about her decision, Lisa was shocked and hurt. She couldn’t understand why Jenny would end their friendship. However, Jenny explained how she felt and why she made the decision. Lisa eventually realized that her behavior was pushing people away, but still did nothing to change her victim pattern and started her playbook with other people.

Signs of a victim mentality

Knowing the signs of a victim’s attitude can help both the person who has them and those who are trying to help them. Here are a few typical signs:

  1. Others are to blame

Victims say that other people are to blame for their problems and don’t take responsibility for what they do.

  1. Predetermined destiny 

They think that their destiny is decided by fate, luck, or what other people do, not by what they do themselves.

  1. Use suffering to get attention

Victims often use the fact that they are sufferers to get attention, sympathy, and help.

  1. Wallowing in self pity

They often self-pity and use their misfortunes and shame to identify and gain compassion.

  1. Refusing to accept feedback

Victims don’t like change and feedback, even if it leads to good things because they like being on the receiving end.

refusing feedback

Effects on relationships

Playing the victim in a relationship can have several harmful effects, such as:

  • Constantly acting like a victim can be hard on relationships because it makes others feel frustrated, useless, and even angry.
  • A victim mentality can keep people stuck in a negative behaviour loop by thinking terrible continuously, making it harder to change.
  • Victims oppose personal growth and change because it threatens their victim identity, which hinders personal progress and healthier relationships.
  • They are taking advantage of other people by using their feelings of shame and guilt to control them.

Those with a victim mindset need to be aware of these possible effects and get help or support to change their thoughts. Counseling for a person or a couple can help with these problems and make relationships better and more balanced overall.

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Dealing with victim players

People who always play the victim can be hard to deal with, but you can get through these situations with empathy and clear limits. Here are some ways to deal with and help them:

Approaching the situation

Instead of ignoring or denying what a victim player has been through, listen carefully and let them know their feelings are considered. This way, we give them a place where they can be themselves in a safe and loving environment. It also renders our relationships stronger and helps us understand each other better.

understanding the victim

People need to be talked to with care and helped to take responsibility for their actions. When people are asked open-ended questions, they can think about themselves and get better. Others might think about how their acts affect others if you ask them questions that make them feel.

Setting boundaries with someone who plays the victim

Setting up good boundaries is integral to all relationships, especially with people who always play the victim. This gives you the power to keep your emotional energy safe and stop their actions from hurting your mental health.

By clarifying what is okay and what is not, people can give their relationships a feeling of direction and consistency. This not only helps to avoid mistakes and fights, but it also builds respect and understanding between the two people. 

Another way to deal with these people is to limit the time spent with them. By intentionally reducing the length of your interactions, you avoid the emotional drain that may come from long-term exposure. Also, avoiding talking about certain topics that typically trigger their victim mentality can be helpful because you don’t want ther person to go in a negative spiral.

Dealing with someone who always plays the victim can be challenging. Remember that your goal isn’t to criticize or judge but to help and encourage growth and self-awareness. Approach the situation with empathy and a genuine desire to help them live a more satisfying and powerful life.

Overcoming a victim mentality

If you think of yourself as a victim, it can be hard to break out of the loop of negative thoughts you are stuck in. You can get past the thought pattern and take back control of your life by devoting yourself to personal growth and self-improvement. Here are some ways you can change your way of thinking:

Steps to change

  1. Accept responsibility for your actions

 Accepting that you have the power to make your own choices and decisions is essential. You can then start a life-changing journey of self-discovery and personal growth.

  1. Practice Positive Thinking

Positive mantras can help you change your thoughts. Repeating positive and encouraging words will help you transform your thoughts and feelings.

positive thinking

3. Embrace Gratitude

To develop a grateful attitude, you should notice and appreciate the good things in your life. You can change your mind from one focused on what you don’t have to one that values and welcomes what you do have.

4. Establish your own goals

Make sure your goals are clear and doable. Setting goals helps you feel like you’re in charge of your life and that it has significance.

5. Surround yourself with positivity

Spend time with people who are helpful, upbeat, and encouraging towards you. 

Remember that overcoming a victim mentality is a process, and progress may be slow. Celebrate minor victories and cultivate a more confident and optimistic mindset.

The Role of counselling and self care

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Better Help is a great resource where you can talk to a counselor from the comfort of your own home. 

Taking care of your own needs isn’t selfish, and you will feel better in the long run.

What does playing the victim mean?

Got any comments, questions or tips about what playing the victim mean? Share them in the comments below.

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