Doesn’t dealing with a loved one and other people who always play the victim make you want to flip tables? It’s like their life is about doing irrevocable things, then blaming someone — anyone — for them.
While easy, don’t ignore people with a victim’s state of mind. Victim complex, the victim syndrome, or victim mentality, after all, is a problem.
In this article, let’s discuss what you should do instead. Let’s talk about how you should deal with someone with a victim mentality. The goal is to help you understand people with a victim mentality.
How to deal with victim mentality: 12 things to do
You should deal with someone with a victim’s frame of mind properly. Otherwise, you might worsen their condition.
Here are 12 things to do to deal with victim mentality:
1. “NO” to avoiding responsibility
People who won’t take responsibility for their actions are infuriating. Worse, they believe other people need to be the ones who should take on the responsibility on their behalf. And an individual with a victim mentality tends to do this.
Behind a person who sees themselves as a victim are feelings of emotional neglect — they lack maturity and a sense of integrity. Their actions are based on compulsion. Their whole lives, they were made to think that not taking responsibility is acceptable.
So if someone with a victim’s mindset doesn’t take responsibility, you shouldn’t be an enabler. Never allow them to ignore responsibilities.
Tell them they need to always answer for their actions. Let them own up to their mistakes, show up to where they’re supposed to, settle their bills, and more.
2. Read body language
Remember, effective communication isn’t always through words. While it’s understandable to associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms.
Body language can play a significant role in how a person’s words and communication are interpreted. Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills.
So when having conversations, observe another person’s body language. Most people with a victim’s state of mind are uncomfortable when talking, and using body language is a way of communication for them. Beyond their words, be sure to focus on their posture, facial expression, and movements.
3. Listen to understand not to speak
There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present at the moment. Meanwhile, hearing is passive and effortless.
Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand. It allows communication to be streamlined. And with it, there is a higher level of comprehension that can facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving.
So when a victim speaks, listen attentively. Don’t let them start babbling, but don’t interrupt them.
4. Encourage them to be grateful
Gratitude has benefits — seven scientifically proven benefits and counting. And it’s why it can help you effectively deal with a person with a victim’s state of mind.
Gratitude opens anyone’s heart. It lets them see and appreciate a dose of positivity. And with a grateful heart, a person with a victim mindset can’t help but look past the negative situations in their life.
So encourage them to be grateful for everything they have in life. A great way to do so is to be a wonderful example. Show them you’ve adopted an attitude of gratitude and how it benefitted your life, and hope they will follow your lead.
5. “Forgive and forget”
One of the common reasons people with a victim’s state of mind possess their mentality is they remain where they are — they remain “victims”. They use it as a coping or defense mechanism. And because they’re not moving, it’s difficult to occupy their minds with other things or have new perspectives in life.
They dwell on the terrible things that once happened to them. While the incident may have caused damages, they need to move forward and start anew. It’s for their own good.
So remind them to adopt the “forgive and forget” rule. Encourage them to forgive those who hurt them — even if these wrongdoers didn’t apologize. Then tell them to erase the incident from their mind and make new memories.
6. Avoid direct accusations or name-calling
Calling them names or staging a confrontation will only make them defensive.
Instead of saying “You’re always playing the victim!” you might say: “Well, we’ve talked enough about the problems. Let’s try to figure out the solutions.”
Don’t forget, the victim’s mindset is a loop. It sort of goes on and on until something interrupts it. By asking gentle guiding questions, you’ll be able to steer the conversation away from their victim mentality.
So don’t accuse them of anything or call them names. If everybody else does otherwise, you should be different. Treat them with kindness and respect.
7. Don’t let them talk too much
During conversations, hear what an individual with a victim mentality has to say. However, don’t be insensitive to their need to talk. And instead, give them a minute or more of your time.
A bit of time to talk and nothing more — you shouldn’t give them the opportunity to overshare. If you do, you’re reaffirming their distorted view of reality. You’re also encouraging codependency — you’re asking them to depend on your sympathy.
So intervene if you sense they’re about to talk too much. You can change the topic. You can also gently redirect the conversation.
8. Don’t get emotionally involved
Someone with a victim mentality loves attention, drama, and pity. And in most cases, they would engage in self-sabotage, self-pity, and do everything they can to get it from other people. Entangling yourself with them emotionally is like feeding their desire to be a victim.
If they talk to you about their problems, you should acknowledge their pain. Tell them you’re one with them, you’re their friend, and you’re on their side. However, speak rationally and eliminate emotions out of the scene.
If you’re emotional by nature, do your best to stay calm and collected. Always remember the big picture: You want to help the victim get rid of their problematic mental health condition for good.
9. Help them improve their self-confidence
Take note, another cause of victim mentality is a lack of confidence. Because a person with a victim mentality doesn’t see themselves as important, they believe they deserve the terrible things that happened to them. And when more terrible things happen to them, they won’t do anything to avoid them.
Gaining or regaining confidence can take years of personal growth for someone. The good thing, though, is that once confidence is gained, the “victim” will naturally heal themselves. By then, their problematic mentality will go away, and they’ll begin to acknowledge their greatness.
So help someone with victim mentality build their self-esteem and confidence. Allow them to see how awesome they are as human beings and never undermine them if they’re supposed to be in charge. You should believe in them so they’ll know they’re important and believe in themselves.
10. Tell them they’re survivors
From their standpoint, a person with a victim’s mindset knows they’re the subject of a tragic event in their life. While they cannot change their involvement in that tragedy, they can still change something: Their perception of themselves.
An individual who sees themselves as a victim focuses on a fault, critical errors, and the other negative aspects of situations. Meanwhile, those with a survivor’s mentality focus on positivity. Survivors see themselves as adaptive, resilient, strong, and more.
So remind them to see themselves differently. Tell them they’re not victims; they’re survivors. Remind them of how praiseworthy they are for having gone through challenging times.
11. Offer help
Someone with a victim’s mental state typically feels helpless. For them, they don’t believe they can solve a problem.
That’s where you enter the picture. Instead of leaving them with the feeling of helplessness, remind them they can do something.
You can offer help by giving them real solutions to their problems. You should also ask them what you can do to ease their burden. Then follow through.
12. Create boundaries
Some things are better left undone — and a person with a victim’s state of mind should know it. Even if these “victims” are physically able to do something and even if nobody will reprimand them for doing them, they need to know some activities are off-limits.
Other people may request some space. If so, they should honor this request and not take offense from it. If they don’t know how to show respect, other people will find them annoying.
So whenever they’re out of line, let a victim know. Lay down some ground rules if you must. And be clear with your instructions.
Final thoughts: Living life with a victim mentality
People with a victim’s mentality may be annoying. Although, you shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss them as nothing more than annoying people.
It’s understandable to find them difficult to deal with. However, you should help them. It’s worth a try.
Apart from the 12 things noted in this article, another way to help them is to encourage them to explore the cause of their victimhood and go from there. While it can be difficult to make them hear it, they need to be aware they have a problem.