The Victim Mentality!

An Electronic Mental Health Newsletter from Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. & Associates
                                                        Volume 16, Number 4

Since the pandemic, the number of people with a victim mentality has increased. People with this self-perception view themselves as powerless due to events in their lives over which they think they have little control. These events include increased costs of almost everything, the war in Ukraine, the constant fear of getting Covid, political decisions, fearmongering from news outlets, and increased crime.

Many people have given up and resigned themselves to feeling helpless which eventually leads to anxiety and depression. Some think that since there is little they can do, why bother? The victim mentality is learned based on past and current events in people’s lives. Because it has been learned, it can be unlearned leading to more positive outcomes in life.

Our April e-Letter is about The Victim Mentality! Dr. Kimmel’s blog is about Zoo Miami and can be found in the blog section of our website.

We hope you find the enclosed information helpful and interesting. We also thank you for reading our e-Letters and for the numerous positive and compassionate comments we have received.

KimmelPsychology has provided a monthly E-Letter for over 16 years, which is educational, informative, and helpful. Topics change every month, but the format remains the same; brief information about the topic as well as suggestions for improvement. You are invited to email your thoughts to Dr. Kimmel at [email protected].

Make sure to read the latest blog addition here.


In response to the mental health crisis in our society, we have:

  • added hours to our therapists’ schedules so that more patients can be seen
  • posted more helpful articles on our Facebook and LinkedIn pages to support those who benefit from reading about mental health
  • a psychiatrist on staff for diagnoses and medications
  • a life transformation coach to assist in adjustment to life changes such as grief and loss
  • a school psychologist who works with children to support them through any learning or emotional difficulties and can provide educational evaluations
    We practice telehealth and have also returned to safe, in-office visits. We can be reached by calling our office at 954 755-2885 or by going to the Our Staff page on our website,

    The Victim Mentality!

                                                       (Photo by mart-production)

    Life is full of good events and not-so-good events. This happens to all people. But some people claim that they always have not-so-good events, and it is never their fault. Bad things just seem to happen to them. They have no power over these events and if something can go wrong, it will. These people tend to constantly blame events or other people for what goes wrong in their lives. These people have what is called a victim mentality.

    Victimhood often comes from past traumatic events in a person’s life. But it can become part of their identity. They are not born perceiving themselves as a victim. Rather, it is a learned behavior that somehow gets reinforced with attention or sympathy from others. It can eventually become an ineffective defense mechanism to deal with other adverse situations in their lives. But it can be unlearned and replaced with better, more adaptive coping skills.

    Signs of having a victim mentality include:

  • thinking that bad things happen to you and will keep happening
  • blaming others for problems in your life
  • thinking that the world and life in general are against you
  • having a negative attitude and feeling stuck in your life
  • perceiving others as out to get or harm you
  • being friendly with others who complain about their lives
  • feeling powerless and having difficulty coping
    Over time, this negative thinking gets reinforced and weakens any positive thinking or behaviors. Resilience deteriorates and the ability to bounce back from adversity suffers. Irrational thinking can lead to self-sabotage which only strengthens the victim mentality.
    Irrational beliefs that accompany the victim mentality include:

  • If I didn’t have bad luck, I would have no luck at all.
  • Everything that happens to me is always bad.
  • I can’t do anything about it so why try?
  • No one really cares about me.
    People with a victim mentality often derive certain benefits. They have no accountability and consequently, have no responsibility for what happens to them. They often get sympathy and attention from caring friends and relatives. They may seek help from others and when they get it, they may feel a sense of validation. They may also avoid taking any risks as they believe they will fail anyway.

    To overcome the victim mentality, it is important to first identify whether you do have this way of thinking. If you blame others, think things will always go wrong, and that you will never win, there is a good chance you have this mentality. Make a commitment to taking responsibility for your actions and surround yourself with people who support you. Take small risks and reward yourself for success. Practice self-care and self-love by engaging in enjoyable and nurturing activities. Read articles and books about the victim mentality in order to educate yourself about what you can do to overcome this way of thinking. Consider entering therapy with an experienced therapist who can not only support you but challenge you.

    We offer the following information and as referred to below, victim refers to those with a victim mentality and not as a result of a crime or situation:

    When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So, change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness…. Eckhart Tolle


    • The victim mentality refers to people who constantly blame others or situations for their problems but may or may not be actual victims of crime or accidents
    • People with a victim mentality develop a negative view of life; feel powerless, expect things to go wrong, and don’t have control over what happens to them
    • It is a learned way of thinking that becomes part of the victim’s identity, but it can be changed through unlearning
    • Choosing to be a victim is often an ineffective defense mechanism against harmful situations
    • Victims claim that what happens to them is not their fault but the fault of others
    • They always seem to complain about the bad things that happen to them and refuse to take responsibility for what they might have done
    • People with a victim mentality have often suffered a trauma with no effective ways of coping and thus, develop a very negative view of life
    • There are three major beliefs to the victim mentality:
    • Bad things have happened and will keep happening
    • Other people or situations are to blame
    • Once a victim, always a victim so making changes will fail; why try?
    • Characteristics of people with a victim mentality include:
    • Avoiding responsibility and not taking accountability
    • Not looking for possible solutions and not accepting help from others
    • Believing they do not have the power to change things so why bother
    • Having negative self-talk and sabotaging themselves
    • Are lacking in self-confidence and therefore self-sabotage
    • Benefits of having a victim mentality include:
    • having no accountability
    • getting attention and sympathy from others
    • avoiding taking any risks
    • attracting people who want to help them
    • having less responsibility
    • People who try to help victims or convince them otherwise are often rejected


    • Since the victim mentality is learned, it can be unlearned
    • If you have a victim mentality, recognize that you must take responsibility for your life and try different situations
    • Acknowledge your successes to overcome feelings of powerlessness
    • Be compassionate to yourself and practice self-care and self-love
    • Avoid labeling yourself and set boundaries
    • Read books/articles and learn as much as you can about the victim mentality
    • Seek professional help to challenge and change beliefs about being a victim


    Call us at 954 755-2885 or email us at [email protected]

    Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates
    5551 N University Drive, Suite 202
    Coral Springs FL 33067

    As always, we are interested in your thoughts. If you would like to respond to this e-Letter, email me your comments at [email protected] and I will publish them next month.

    Till May…