How To Get Out Of Victim Mentality In A Toxic Relationship

Don't fall into this trap.

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Victim mentality is a learned personality trait in which a person tends to perceive themselves or consider themselves a victim of the negative actions of others.

It's frequently present in toxic relationships, in either one or both partners.

Persons that view themselves as a victim often harbor beliefs of powerlessness, lacking control or direction of their lives. These individuals often behave in ways that are contradictory to actual strength.


Victim mentality depends on clear thought processes and attribution. Unfortunately, any people that struggle with a victim mentality have, in fact, been the victim of wrongdoing by others, or have otherwise suffered misfortune through no fault of their own.

RELATED: 10 Signs You (Or Someone You Know) Has A Victim Complex & How To Deal With It


Dealing with victim mentality in all relationships can be extremely draining.

This is because the “victim” never takes responsibility for his or her contributions to the problems in the relationship.

Having a partner that sees themselves as the victim in the relationship is one of the main reasons that couples remain “stuck” and unable to move forward in the relationship.

Ironically, a partner who views themselves as the victim is responsible for degrading the quality of their life. Verbalizing a desire for happiness, yet settling for pain and sorrow.

Toxic relationships often go hand-in-hand with victim mentality.

Toxic relationships, more than any other type of relationships, are more likely to have partners remain in an unhealthy relationship as the “victim” sees themself as powerless, unable to leave the relationship or change the behaviors.


Victim thinking can be particularly dangerous as partners that are being verbally, emotionally, mentally, or financially abused will remain in a toxic relationship, although it is causing them great harm.

Toxic relationships can impact one's ability to trust, diminish self-esteem, lead to self-doubt and feelings of loss of control, difficulty managing life stressors, and more.

You must take responsibility for your own happiness.

You have the option to make choices for yourself, albeit some options are not much better than the next.

Notably, it's important to understand things will occur that you don't have any type of control over, but ultimately, you determine your own happiness, not someone else.


Additionally, a consistent victim mentality can lead to unhealthy coping strategies and overall unhappiness.

So, how can you stop victim mentality?

If you want to know how to make sure that you aren't caught in the victim mentality, it's important to recognize what the behaviors are that show up when it's occuring.

Here are 9 common signs of victim mentality in a toxic relationship, so you can stop unhealthiness in its tracks.

1. Feeling like negative things "just happen" to you.

This is the belief that negative things are happening to you, not because of you. You may worry that you have no control over anything.

2. Believing you have no control.

This is the belief that you have no control over your life nor any influence over its trajectory.


You may feel that no matter what you do, things will never change, and things just "are what they are."

3. Blaming others for your life's occurrences.

You may believe that others are responsible for events that occur in your life. Often, this is particularly in regards to a partner.

Whether you can or can't do something, can or can't enjoy something, depends largely on someone else's reactions or behavior, and therefore you aren't responsible for anything bad... or even good.

4. Refusal to accept negative outcomes or recognize patterns of behavior.

You likely end up arguing over the same things all the time — because one of you refuses to admit the problem is on their end.


RELATED: How To Let Go Of Your Victim Mentality And Rewrite Your Life Story

5. You don't look at your own behavior.

Refusal to engage in self-reflection or make appropriate changes is a sign of victim mentality. 

You need to sit with yourself to find out what behaviors you need to change.

6. You re-tell painful stories constantly.

Reveling in telling stories of your pain and challenges over and over again is another classic sign of unhealthy victimhood.


All of these things happened to you and were horrible, so they're worth repeating because it signifies why you're struggling now.

7. You perceive everyone else's life as better than your own.

Nothing in your own life quite compares to anyone else's, so why bother?

8. You perceive everyone else as “lucky.”

They didn't get it through hard work; they got it through luck and chance, which is why those same benefits never happen to you.

9. You attract people others who carry a similar victimhood mentality.

Misery loves company, and it's a relief to be with someone who believes that there's nothing you can change to make things better, too. No pressure that way, right?


Maintaining a victim mentality doesn’t allow a partner that sees themself as a victim to take full responsibility or ownership of their own life.

The ability to challenge oneself and their capabilities is also limited as “victims” typically view themselves as failures, so what’s the use of trying?

Victim mentality thrives in comfort zones.

Perceived victims do not have to take any risks and can stay in their comfort zone, even if it’s hell because it's familiar and known.


Mental health will also suffer the consequences of victim mentality, as the individual is more likely to struggle with depression and anxiety.

Failure to take ownership or responsibility for life choices can lead to “learned helplessness,” and continue these patterns in a new relationship and other areas of your life.

You'll continue to stay stuck and perpetuate the same patterns — even when you change your outer condition (like leaving the relationship, for example), because you're still stuck in a toxic relationship with your own victim mentality.

Getting out of victim mentality takes time — especially in a toxic relationship.

Transitioning one’s view from being a victim to being empowered takes time as it requires a change in thinking that leads to a change in action.


Once you begin to recognize that you do have a choice, you're no longer powerless to change.

Change must occur from within, because unless you change from within, the outside will remain the same and you'll remain stuck in a toxic relationship.

Toxic relationships leave no room for positive health and growth. Therefore, it's imperative that you change your perception of how you see yourself in order to find the strength to leave the relationship and start fresh.

RELATED: If The Person You Love Has These 10 Poisonous Traits, You May Be A Victim Of Narcissistic Abuse

Dr. Tarra Bates-Duford is a psychologist who has engaged in extensive work and research on familial relationships, family trauma, and dysfunctions. To know more, visit Family Matters Counseling Group.