How many of us have pointed the finger at our co-worker for screwing something up at work? But, playing the victim is like eating bad food- it will only make you feel worse in the long run.
Here’s the bottom line: people that believe they are victims tend to push friends, family and coworkers away.
Let’s look at 14 signs that someone is playing the victim card and what they need to do instead:
1. They don’t take responsibility
This is a classic sign of victim behavior. A victim has trouble accepting they contributed to a problem and accepting responsibility for the circumstance that they are in. Instead, they point the finger, or simply ignore their role in perpetuating the problem. They are not overtly saying “I’m a victim”, but instead indirectly sending the message that they’re a martyr. They might say, one day we were talking and the next day you blocked me. No, you did me extremely wrong, and I refuse to be treated so porley. My money and home is my life. You jeopardize that, then your a evil person to me.
What’s the remedy here? Every circumstance, situation, and event in their life offers the victim an opportunity for growth. They may not be completely responsible for what has occurred, but they can always ask if they contributed somehow. Asking this question invites a person to be responsible, mature and cooperative. Plus, it will help them avoid similar situations in the future.
2. They are frozen in their life
Victims believe that they are at the mercy of everyone and everything around them. Usually, a victim will not make progress or advance in their life because they perceive that they are powerless. As a result, their life is stagnant. If you were to ask them why, they would respond by giving you a laundry list of reasons why they are stuck. The real sticking point here is that the victim will not usually tell you what they plan to do about their lack of progress in life.
What’s the remedy here? The victim needs to see that small behaviors or changes in their attitude can reap big rewards. Try to help the victim make a list of small, achievable steps they can take towards a goal in their life. Hold them accountable and ask them to hold themselves accountable too.
3. They hold onto grudges
The victim likes to hang onto old grievances. They carry these around like weapons, just in case anyone ever tries to hold them accountable for something. A victim will bring up old memories and events in which they were probably legitimately hurt, but they use them as reasons why they can’t make changes to their attitude, their life, or their circumstances in the present. These hurts and grudges underpin the victim’s hobbled life. They try to act like they are in high school and say, “so your choosing her over me” honestly I don’t think I’ve heard those words since kindergarten. What are you in high school???
The victim needs to recognize that freeing others of blame is actually returning all power and self-control back to the victim, so guess what? That means they no longer have to be the victim!
4. They have trouble being assertive
The victim does not truly believe they can control their life, so they struggle to state what they need, desire or deserve. The victim’s life will usually involve repeating patterns of submissiveness and passivity. This pattern is detrimental to self-esteem and personal development. The victim fails to break this pattern and suffers from potential anxiety or depressive disorders.
What’s the remedy here? A first recommendation is to seek help from a professional psychologist, counselor, or life coach. This is a chance for the victim to turn the direction of their life around. It could also be beneficial for the victim to read a book on assertiveness, commonly available in libraries or bookstores. Ultimately, learning to be assertive is not a quick fix. It will take time, practice, learning, failing, and trying over and over. In the end, however, the victim will no longer feel that gnawing sense of powerlessness and self-pity that has kept them down for so long.
5. They feel powerless
This could be a shadow behavior, meaning that the victim does not outwardly show that they feel powerless. Instead, the victim will try to be manipulative, coercive, and underhanded in getting what they need. You may have dealt with someone experiencing this kind of powerlessness. Usually, the victim is someone that is suspicious of others, feels insecure, and is constantly needing to know the latest gossip.
What’s the remedy here? First, do not play the game with them. Stay away from the game of sharing gossip, listening to their stories of manipulation, or their stories of insecurity. Let them know you’re there to support them and to listen to them, but not to contribute to their feeling of powerlessness.
6. They don’t trust others
This issue is not only a problem of not trusting others. This is a problem of the victim not believing they are trustworthy themselves. The victim makes the assumption that other people are exactly like them – untrustworthy.
What’s the remedy here? Examine the evidence. Are all people untrustworthy? Probably not. There are trustworthy people in the world. There are people that want the best for you. There are people that want to help you. It is the job of the victim to begin revising their old assumptions about people.
7. They don’t know when to say enough is enough
In relationships, victims have no sense of limits. They don’t know when to say enough is enough.
What’s the remedy here? The victim needs to start creating their own boundaries. What is the maximum they are willing to take in a relationship, or in any given situation? It is the responsibility of the victim to decide these boundaries for themselves.
8. They get into arguments easily
The victim has trouble choosing their battles. To them, every battle is a war. To them, they are under attack all the time. They don’t know how to just go away.