21 Signs You Have Victim Mentality and How to Be More Empowered

By Barbara @ Follow Your Own Rhythm

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Victim mentality is characterized by a state of “victimhood” that follows the perspective that you have no control over your life, behaviors, and feelings, and that the external world not only controls you, but is “out to get you.”

Those with a victim mentality constantly feel like they’re being victimized or attacked regardless of their circumstances. They feel like they have no control to change their lives and that someone or something “out there” put them in the situation they are in.

They are constantly saying “please help me” either verbally or energetically.

Of course there are times in our lives when we’re subject to actual harm and abuse, and yes, at those times we are real victims.

However, a victim mentality is different in that a person sees everything through a very limited, unconscious, and negative lens, and assumes victimhood even when there’s no real threat.

Having a victim mentality is extremely disempowering because to allow the outside world to dictate how you feel and who you are is to give all of your power away. Playing victim creates hopelessness, helplessness, powerlessness, and imprisonment.

However, the sad truth is is that most people today live with a victim mentality.


Well firstly, our society breeds victims. We are programmed from a very early age to depend on outside sources to take care of us, fulfill us, make us happy, tell us what to do, tell us how to live our lives, tell us who we are, tell us what to believe, etc.

The government teaches us that the power is out there. Religion teaches us that the power is out there. Our school system teaches us that the power is out there. The healthcare industry teaches us that the power is out there.

No one teaches us that the power is within. No one promotes the idea that we can heal ourselves. There’s no money and profit in that. Therefore, most of us live from the flawed mindset that something out there is going to save us or is responsible for how we feel.

The other reason that people might embrace a victim mentality is perhaps because it may seem easier to blame the outer world than to take responsibility.

It might seem easier to complain than to make a change.

And perhaps it might seem easier to adopt the role of “poor me” in hopes that someone else will take care of us instead of taking care of ourselves.

However, playing victim isn’t actually easier. It just appears that way on the surface.

In reality, playing victim and living from a “life is out to get me” and “please save me” mentality is actually very stressful and draining as you’re constantly waiting for the world to rescue you or to meet your needs so you can feel good. You’re constantly getting triggered, getting angry, and feeling powerless to change how you feel…waiting for something out there to help you with something that ONLY YOU can help yourself with. In the end, that doesn’t seem easy at all.

You may not think you play victim, but check out these 21 signs to see if you can relate to any. There is absolutely no shame in identifying these limiting patterns within yourself as self-awareness is THE path to self-empowerment.

21 Signs You Have Victim Mentality

1. Having a tendency to blame life or other people (or yourself)

Blame is one of the BIGGEST signs that you have victim mentality because blaming others assumes that the way you feel or the way your life is is someone else’s fault when in reality, you are always in control of at least your mindset and your actions. Therefore, it’s your job to stop blaming the world and take responsibility for yourself.

Self-blame is just as bad. Blaming yourself is not taking responsibility for yourself, but rather it’s an attack that’s full of judgment and criticism. The key is forgiveness. Forgive yourself and forgive others. And then focus on what you are responsible for which is your mindset, your actions and inner healing.

2. Unable to forgive others

As mentioned above, forgiveness is a pivotal part of self-empowerment, and when you hold a grudge and blame others, you stay stuck in victim mode.

Forgiveness isn’t about others and how they hurt you, it’s about YOU and your response to the pain inflicted on you. Your sense of power lies in your ability to forgive, let go of anger, resentment, and hatred, and find peace within.

Related article: “How to forgive others-a powerful step-by-step exercise”

3. Letting people or situations affect how you feel

You’re having a great day and then someone says they don’t like your shoes and it puts you in a bad mood. Or you’re feeling great and suddenly get a flat tire and you get pissed off and remain annoyed. Or you’re happy as ever and then your kid throws up all over you and it ruins your day.

These types of responses are all signs that you have victim mentality because you are letting the outside world determine your mood, how you feel and how happy you are.

It’s okay to get affected by life and to feel angry and annoyed, but don’t let these negative emotions LINGER and bring you down so much that it changes your whole frequency.

4. Projecting fears and insecurities onto others

This means that because you dislike certain parts about yourself, you assume that other people also dislike them. Or because you have a negative outlook on life, you also assume that people see things the same way and you interpret their actions as if they are judging you, trying to hurt you, dislike you, etc. Or you have a fear of something, let’s say being vulnerable, and when someone triggers this fear, you lash out at them or hurt them in some way.

Hurting others because we ourselves are hurting inside is highly unconscious. Stop projecting your fears and insecurities onto others and instead become aware of your deeper emotional pains, and work to resolve them without hurting anyone in the process.

5. Feeling like you need to be helped, saved or rescued

Constantly relying on others to help you, save you from your misery, change your life circumstance, give you money, give you food, give you shelter, give you free stuff…..relying on others to recognize your gifts, to make you feel special, to make you feel whole… relying on people’s opinions, feedback, and perception of you to define who you are, and waiting for the world to change in order to meet your needs are all ways that you’re playing victim. STOP GIVING YOUR POWER AWAY and STOP WAITING for the future, the government, or some other person, experience, authority figure, or life situation to save you. ONLY YOU can save you.

6. Not doing what you genuinely want to do or ignoring your dreams because you feel like you can’t or shouldn’t

This idea of what we can or should do is a self-inflicted idea based on how we’ve been programmed to think about what is possible, what is okay, what is acceptable, etc. At the end of the day however, it’s up to you to decide what you can and should do. You have a choice. You have a choice to not fall for the world’s idea of an acceptable dream, career, lifestyle, or way of being. Nothing is too big or too crazy unless you let the world dictate what is possible.

Related article: “Adopt a ‘why can’t I’ attitude for a more limitless life”

7. Mindlessly following the crowd

So many people go through life doing what everyone else is doing, doing what’s popular, doing what is socially “normal,” following traditions, following the latest trends, eating what the commercials brainwash them to eat, thinking like everyone else thinks, believing what mainstream culture believes, and completely living without any AUTHENTICITY.

Stop following the crowd and doing what everyone else is doing and start living life in a way that is authentic to you. Do what brings you joy and is true to you even if it means being rejected by your friends, family, or society. You will eventually find your tribe of like minded people who totally get you, love you, and whole heartedly embrace you.

Related article: “5 social norms you should break to stay true to yourself”

8. Letting the past define you - living in the past

Whatever happened to you when you were younger has nothing to do with who you can be today. Do not let your failures, mistakes, traumas, hardships, and negative experiences define what you can do and who you can become. Life is limitless and so is your infinite power for healing from the past and living your FULL potential.

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9. Self-pity

Self-pity is characterized by constantly feeling bad for yourself. It looks like this: “poor me, I’m so helpless, I’m not strong enough for that, nothing good ever happens to me, people always do this to me, life always ends up like this, I always get picked on, people always make fun of me, no one likes me, I can’t do anything right, etc.”

All of these powerless thoughts are based in a very negative belief that you aren’t worthy or good enough. But the truth is ….YOU ARE. Now start believing it! And stop saying these “poor me” statements to yourself!

10. Feeling like life is out to get you

You are playing victim when you feel like life situations purposely happen to screw with you, hurt you, or make your life miserable. Life is not out to get you. People aren’t scheming to hurt you. Everything that happens simply just happens, and in fact, they happen to wake you up, to help you grow, to expand your consciousness, to learn something new, and to serve as a guide back to your true self. When you align with your true, deeper, essential self, then you will actually notice that Life is here to guide you, support you, and provide for you so that you can live your full potential. Challenges are not obstacles but rather opportunities for growth.

11. Feeling unlucky or cursed

Feeling like life never works out for you because of an idea that you’re cursed or unlucky is a very disempowering mindset to have because it puts a limit to what is possible for you. Instead, realize that you are only as “lucky” as you choose to be. The more grateful you are for what you have and how your life is, the more gifts you will receive that will make you feel “lucky.”

Related article: “The power of choice - you have a choice and it can change your life”

12. Being self-critical and often putting yourself down

Self-doubt, self-sabotage, self-hatred, self-judgment and listening to your inner critic is total victim mentality. The most important relationship you have is the one you have with yourself. If you can’t be nice to yourself, take care of yourself, love yourself, accept yourself, listen to your intuition, and be your own best friend, then how do you expect other people will treat you? And how healthy do you think your relationships with other people will be if you can’t even have a healthy and loving relationship with yourself?

Please be kind to yourself and stop putting yourself down.

If you’re struggling with this, check out my article: “How to forgive yourself - a step-by-step guide”

13. Staying in an unhealthy, abusive or dysfunctional relationship

We often feel like we don’t have a choice when presented with an abusive partner, family member, friend, or even boss or work associate. We often feel that we can’t end a relationship that is causing us pain because we don’t have the resources, the money, it’s too hard, or because our lives would be in danger. But the truth is, your life is already in danger. Your life is already hard. And you’re already depleted if you stay in this relationship.

So what’s actually stopping you from leaving?

Victim mentality. Believing that you deserve the abuse, believing you’re not strong enough to leave and make a better life for yourself, not having faith in the power of the Universe (or God) to deliver the resources that you will need, and being too scared to face what’s on the other side.

These are all victim-based mindsets that keep you small and keep you with people who constantly hurt you. But you don’t deserve this and you CAN free yourself. Own your power, create a plan, and take a leap of faith. There are good things waiting for you on the other side.

14. Being attached to things and possessions, and depending on them to make you feel happy

When you feel down, do you tend to indulge in sweets or comfort food, or go shopping for some new clothes or home decor, or have sex, drink alcohol, do drugs, or binge watch TV?

Do you heavily depend on outside things to make you happy?

You have infinite power within you to make yourself happy. There is nothing on the outside that will ever make you feel WHOLE. Only you can do that.

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15. Feeling powerless to change and improve yourself

Do you believe that you are the way you are and there’s nothing you can do about it? For example, if you’ve always been a lazy person do you think that you’ll always be like that? Do you believe you can ever become productive, motivated, and active?

A victim mindset is one and the same with a fixed mindset which is opposite of a growth mindset. A fixed mindset believes that there is a limit to who you can be, and that your abilities are set in stone, cannot be developed and that new skills, mindsets, behaviors, habits, and beliefs cannot be mastered.

Obviously a fixed mindset is very disempowering in that it keeps you in “small me” mode and cuts off your infinite potential to become your BEST, TRUEST, and HIGHEST self.

16. Constantly relying on “experts” for advice (instead of trusting your own intuition and thinking outside the box)

I am not underestimating the power of an expert’s advice, however, it should all be taken with a grain of salt. When we constantly rely on health experts to tell us what to eat, how to be healthy, and how to treat a disease, when we rely on business professionals to tell us how to be successful and make profits, and when we rely on scientists to tell us what is real and what is true, we limit ourselves from our own inherent wisdom to give us answers, and we cut off alternative ways of solving problems.

Professionals and experts don’t know everything, especially what’s best for YOU, and sadly, they don’t always have your best interest in mind and often provide false guidance. This is evident in conventional doctors prescribing pharmaceutical, mind numbing drugs to help people deal with depression, anxiety, phobias, etc.

This is why it is SO important to ALWAYS consult your intuition for guidance and see what works for you and what advice resonates with you, as well as explore other, more nontraditional, unconventional and alternate ways of dealing with a problem.

Related article: “12 tips to empower you to take control of your health and heal your body”

17. Waiting for permission from others to feel free to do something

Maybe you want to quit your job, start your own business, move to Nicaragua, buy a new car, go back to school, leave a relationship, get a gym membership, or whatever other desire, but you feel the need to get permission from other people in order to do it.

You might have a tendency to get the “go ahead” from a friend, coworker, partner, family member, social media, the internet, or an authority figure, and it is only once you do that you feel free enough to pursue it.

But in truth, your own permission is the only permission you ever need. Allow yourself to do what your heart is calling you to do without having to justify it or without feeling guilty. You deserve good things so allow yourself to RECEIVE.

18. Seeking approval from others in order to feel good about yourself

Do you rely heavily on other people’s approval? Are you a people pleaser? Do you morph into the person others want or expect you to be? Do you need them to tell you that you’re good enough?

Stop relying on other people to make you feel whole and focus on gaining your OWN approval. The rest will follow.

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19. Complaining often about things you cannot change

What is the point of complaining about something that you cannot change? Complaining is a sign of victim mentality because you’re focusing on all of the “bad and annoying things that happened to you” as if you were a victim.

Instead, try to see how you can either change those situations, look at them more positively, or learn something from them.

Related article: “How to stop complaining - 8 helpful tips”

20. Often being on the defense and feeling like you’re being attacked

Do you get defensive easily and feel the need to protect yourself? Do you get into arguments often, start fights with people, surround yourself with drama, or get angry and aggressive easily? These are strong indications of a victim mentality.

When you feel defensive, try to see what it is you’re protecting within yourself and see what needs to be healed. Also realize that it is only your ego that feels attacked, your inner essence, the true you, is always whole and content.

To learn more about the ego and how it may be blocking you from living your true potential, sign up for my free training UNBLOCKED. 

21. Doing things to please your parents

Last but not least, a big sign of victim mentality is doing things to please your dear parents. Our parents say they want the “best” for us but usually what they want is for us to fulfill their own expectations of who they want us to be. Parents can be very influential in that they’ve conditioned us from birth to be a certain way and to adopt a certain belief system, so it might be hard to break away from this.

However, the most empowering thing you can do for yourself is to stop trying to be who your parents want you to be and stop trying to live a life that makes them happy, and start living for YOURSELF. Follow your dreams no matter how displeased your parents will be, because in the end, YOU are the one who has to live with yourself and live out your life. Would you rather be happy or would you rather satisfy your parents?

The point of this message is that YOU HAVE A CHOICE.

You are free to choose what you want to believe, how you want to think, what you want to do with your life, who you want to be, who you surround yourself with, and what kind of perspective you want to have.

You are infinitely limitless and the power is within you. Don’t let victim mentality hold you back. Break free, start thinking for yourself, and step into who you truly are. I believe in you!

I wish you much success on your journey!


To get in-depth guidance on how to break free from this disempowering mindset and start living your truth, check out my online program: Step Into Your Truth.

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Which of these mindsets do you struggle with the most? Let me know in the comments below!