The Victim Personality

I have been writing a personality column for Natural Health, where each month I provide some insight into different personalities. Here is some insight into The Victim. Does this sound like anyone you know?


Individuals who habitually indulge in self-victimisation (also known as playing the victim) do so for various reasons: to control or influence other people’s thoughts, feelings and actions; to justify their abuse of others; to seek attention; or, as a way of coping with situations. Although they can actually change circumstances to avoid being victimised, they won’t seize the opportunity because they want to play the role and appear as victims to others and themselves. The main identifying traits of those who choose to play the victim role include:


  • They tend to manipulate or abuse others verbally or physically, but then blame the other person (i.e. the real victim) for provoking the abuse.

  • They influence or control other people’ sympathy to gain compassion or support.

  • They form friendships or intimate relationships with those who disrespect, mistreat or abuse them to convince themselves and the world of their unfortunate status.

  • They tend to avoid taking responsibility for their life, instead blaming others for their mistreatment or unfortunate circumstances.

  • They think and talk a lot about how others take advantage of their kindness.




When in the company of the victim personality, be on the lookout for the following:


  • Their crippling dependency on friends or co-workers for support and sympathy can be draining, and you cannot be sure if they actually appreciate your sympathetic responses and efforts.

  • They can evoke anger and aggression in you, especially after you realise you have been duped into giving them sympathy when it should have gone to the real victim of their abuse.

  • They instinctively draw out the caring, nurturing, and protective qualities in people, only to set them up for manipulation or abuse.

  • Sometimes they will take extreme measures to get attention, like emptying a spouse’s bank account because they feel neglected or sending hate emails to themselves and then accusing others of sending them.




There aren’t many positives to the victim personality, but two ways in which you might benefit from the victim are:


  • They can make us feel important and valuable. Since they believe they are incapable of taking care of their own needs, they will always need your support with something.

  • They long to be trustworthy and will make every effort to stick to their promises or complete any tasks you ask of them.



Do you Play the Victim?


You are playing the victim when you often:


  • Justify your aggression against others by believing they deserve it.

  • Refuse to take responsibility for your own happiness or misery – it’s the world that’s a bad place, and no one can truly be trusted.

  • Find yourself in relationships where others mistreat you, so you can feel justified in your victim role.

  • Nag, complain, harass, and beseech others until they give in to your demands.

  • Commonly turn to the phrase, “You’re the only one who can help me.”

  • Sometimes go to extremes to get revenge for perceived or actual abuse, like destroying your own property and falsely accusing someone else of being responsible.

  • Provoking aggressive behaviour from others, but downplaying or ignoring your role in it.

  • Feel anxious about the very idea that you can exert a positive influence over your own life without the support of others.


How do I Deal with a Victim?


Initially, it will feel good playing a part in their happiness and joy, but after a while, you will start to avoid their child-like dependency. When you do cut ties with them, they will feel victimised and the cycle will continue. Remember that self- victimisers play a role that has always worked for them. By empathically and consistently challenging them, as well as emphasising those non-victim aspects of them that you like, a victim can be helped to change. An example of empathically challenging a victim would be to ask a question that makes them reconsider their situation, such as, “You say he became aggressive. What happened just before he became aggressive?”  An example of valuing the non-victim traits of the individual include statements such as, “I like it when you show this positive attitude. It suits you.”


Categories: Psychology

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83 replies

  1. I have found that people that play the victim very often are usually people that suffer from serious insecurity issues. Which in turn causes them to indulge in self-pity fulltime. Like you say: the constant self-pity makes the way they treat others okay, because: “You don’t know how hard my life is!”

    • Omg i heard that the whole 5 yrs i could never get her to follow through it was always an excuse she would lie and manipulate me she would be texting other males and tell me i was pushing her to it omfg i need helpim so screwed in my head now

      • DO NOT BLAME YOURSELF!! You are playing into the problem. It is not you, they have an intense need for attention, sounds like, especially from males. Raise your head up and let that shit go. You can not change them or help them. They HAVE to help themselves or want help and even recognize that they need help.

      • You are not alone! I have very similar issues with my husband. There have been so many lies and manipulation tactics, it’s ridiculous! People have seen him with other women including myself finding him sitting with the same woman they described at a bar, then he would get mad at me and say I am jealous and he doesn’t like my attitude…it’s a joke! Please stay strong and know it’s not you. Read more online to educate yourself on how to handle things. You can also look up “gaslighting” to see if it applies to your situation. Good Luck…I wish you all the best! Your partner needs help as well as mine but the more I read, the more I realize how difficult this situation really is because they don’t want to admit they have a problem.

    • I’ve done this alot in the past and its only the last two years that i accepted i have a problem that needs to be worked on.

    • This is my mother. She will actually pick arguments so that she can feel victimized. She over drew her bank account last week. I wrote her a check for $150. Today she tells me its over drawn by $215…I refused to write another check and instead tried to help her sort out her finances. The whole time she was just taking shots at me – bringing up things I did FORTY YEARS AGO when I was a teen. After an hour or so I snapped and told her to cut the bullshit…so she cried, hung up on me and called my sister in law to tell on me…..Im the only child she has who still speaks to her. 😦

      I want a relationshi pwith her. Shes 87….but she makes it so hard.

  2. That sounds an awful person to have around. I think I’ve met one or two. Great post Nicola.

    • thats my mother for you. Its drivinge insane. she does it everysecond of everyday and any arfgumebt we have revolves around how ahe does it. I cannot wait to move out

      • This is my mother to a ‘T.” Case in point. I’m sitting in my apt in another city she calls me screaming and sends nasty text messages then somehow blames me for it. Huh? Come again? I sat here doing schoolwork and watching tv and she starts a fight and then yells at me for it. Everyone in our family and all of my friends are used to the behavior, as am I, but it’s getting exhausting. I’m getting married and her level of crazy has hit an all time high. Seriously, starting fights just to then blame me. So childish.

  3. I find this article a bit myopic to be frank – granted, it is short and not intended to be academic, but 80 % of the word count focuses on the negative and just 20% on how to solve the problem. And even some of that is reiterating other points. Having studied Health Psychology in University (not an entire degrees worth but a component of Public Health) I would have thought this fits more into a general psychology or other niche such as counselling to help people with this issue. There are times in everyone’s lives when they have ups and downs and I imagine your intention here is to focus on chronic ‘victims’ and their methods of manipulation etc.
    Pardon me for being devils advocate – no offense intended – but you have many categories and emphasize the health psychology aspects, even in the title of your website,. Why not just be a psychologist if you are going to comment on cognitive distortions and the like – I do realise this is a blog but what a professional puts on the web reflects who they are – after all the whole world can read it. Of course emotional health is a component of overall health as per the WHO definition but in the world of the psychologist is there not a requirement to be specific, on a level, to a field ?
    I say this because perhaps I have been guilty of being a victim myself but under certain circumstances – divorce, family tragedy etc. an acute situation victim is actually going through a form of trauma and often snaps out of it and the co existent issues. I just read the article and felt weight should have been added to the ‘how to help section’ rather then the 4/1 ratio of negatives and descriptors to actually dealing with the problem. Again, no offense intended,
    Regards WIlliam

    • Thank you William for your response. I have been taking the Landmark forum classes and have been able to see who I am being in my life. I looked on the web to see more in-depth what the Victim act is. I am 45 and honestly didn’t even realize how I was acting to others. I see it so vividly now. I chose to not play a victim playing in the drama of my life for attention, but instead to see just what is “so” in my life and instead live in to the beautiful future I am creating.
      I felt hopeless for so long, because I lost so much in such a short period of time and unfortunately kept living in the loss. I also chose to not make everyone wrong, something I realized I do.
      This was very insightful. Nicola and William I invite you to look into the Landmark Forum. They have a location in San Francisco.

      • I am told, mostly by my husband, that I always play the victim role. I have never tried to or realized I was doing this until I started researching what that really looks like to people. I’m pretty sure it all started from my awful relationship with my step dad (I think then I felt that was the only way anyone would believe he was an *** & a pervert.. Since I told the truth at age 9 and no body seemed to believe me)… I felt the need to always lie top him so I wouldn’t get in trouble for everything and I was honestly a great kid. I started cutting myself (to take the pain away and yes for attention).. It’s hard going so long feeling as though you HAVE to lie and/or do terrible things just so people you love and care about will show you the attention you truly need and then finally… Suddenly have to be an adult and no longer lie or self harm… I’m 33 now and I silk have a problem with it. I try do hard not to be that person. It’s hard when all you’re trying to do is help yourself but only see posts like this pretty much every where talking about how awful those people are. I NEVER see anything about how that person can catch themselves or some kind of program with steps to slowly help you stop being that person.

    • I think this article helps to identify the problem. It helped me to reaffirm that i wasnt the crazy one. Thank you author

      • Jessica….
        Great point on recognizing and correcting one’s behavior. needs more support, i hear ya!
        No one who plays “victim” is a bad person or i believe, learned these behaviors out of a sinister purposes. It came from necessity. For love and acceptance. Stems from some type of neglect or lack of emotional needs or support. No one is perfect, we all fall guilty of one thing or another. I find myself guilty of some of These traits one time or another throughout my life but to what extreme? everyone has a voice and we/they need to realize we are ULTIMATELY responsible and in control of our own lives no matter what happens around us or to us. Admitting it is the first step.. I hope who ever reads this, just know…. you are more powerful than you think!

    • Really, William, I think you just served as an example of the victim this article described! SMH..My advice…ya might wanna do a bit more self-reflection instead of worrying whether someone has the “authority” to write about personality flaws. It’s the world wide web…it’s basically fair game. How about, “If it don’t apply, let it fly.” Good luck!

  4. Hi William, Thank you for your feedback; no offence taken. While I do agree with you in some aspects, I would say that there is a huge difference between a victim personality and someone who is a victim. Therefore, this post is not to about belittling people who have had a traumatic experience, but to help those who are the victims of the victim personality by helping them spot the signs. The victim personality can be extremely destructive to other people.

    I do agree that perhaps more weight should be given to the ‘help’ section, but while I am a Psychologist I am also a writer – I cover the areas my clients want with the weight that they want. With this in mind, I did my job for this particular client and have merely shared it on my blog 🙂

    • Hi

      Yes but then you should define the two so people are clear about the difference. The way things stand
      you put people off talking because they do not want to be seen as a victim. Unless one experiences tragedies in life they will never know what the other is going through until one day they are in a similar boat and then realise how wrong they were about labelling someone as victim. Many people just dont have emapthy unless it affects them

  5. I’m unsure about the positives here. Having recognised that you are dealing with a victim personality it is surely an abuse of that trait to use it to make yourself feel important? Surely there should be a move to helping and supporting them towards independence and working around their dependence on you, rather than feeling important and valuable. I would feel more valuable if I helped someone overcome the feelings of victimisation rather than “encouraging” those feelings for my own self-esteem.

  6. Good point, Tony. I think if you manipulate the Victim Personality for your own means, this suggests you might have just a big a problem as them. What do you think?

    • My immediate feeling is that by using anyone else’s frailties to increase your own self-esteem is an abuse of that person. Where the person has a recognised personality “disorder” they are already in the position where they can (or mabe already have been) be abused. After 26 years in the care industry I have seen far too many carers who have created situations where the client has become dependant on them to the point of being comtrolled. The resultant loss of valuable and valid input from other staff members has led to a definite negative outcome. Any “carer”, at whatever level, that wishes to excercise this method of “caring” to satisfy their own need should look at their own personality and be asking a few relevent questions about their own motivation and whether they are suited to the position that they hold.
      In a nutshell- their problem is far greater!

  7. I wonder if co-dependency plays a role in your description of ‘carers’, Tony?

  8. This article describes my mother to a tee. I spent a lot of my childhood feeling responsible for her happiness against my ‘nasty, domineering’ dad. As I got older I could see that she was being quite unfair but still I supported her as she really isolated herself and there was no one else except me, my dad and brother.

    Eventually my brother walked away from her. Then my dad died. Now he was the best thing since sliced bread and she has placed him on a pedestal and she turned on my husband and I. We have now moved across the other side of the world, not mainly to escape her, but the distance is certainly welcome. She now refuses to let me phone her ‘it hurts too much’, or have skype chats with the kids. But complains of being lonely and abandoned. We have been gone 2 months and I have spoken to her on the phone once, where she hung up on me when I told her she has to take some responsibility for how the situation unravelled when we moved (a long horrible story involving her kicking out her 19w pregnant daughter and two grandkids). This was after she said we should have responded differently to her saying nasty hurtful stuff and behaving the way she did.

    This morning I received an email saying she has to accept I was right and that she must be a really horrible person although all she has tried to do is help people (!!!). Which led me here.

    How the hell do I get her to take charge of her own life? She suffers with depression too and will sit at home wallowing in her own self-pity, and I don’t know how to tell her to get out there without hurting her or driving her deeper into depression. More info on how to deal with someone with this personality in a sensitive manner would be so helpful.

    • OMG! You are almost telling my story. The only problem is that I moved to the other side of the world not only to be followed my mother. As her only child I cannot even get help or try to get a sibling to help out. She is now constantly asking for me to do everything for her because she doesn’t understand the language to be able to do it herself (which we know she does) I feel like telling her to just move back and leave me and my family alone as it’s destroying the relationship with my husband. She has blamed so many people for being the bad people and to top it off she has included my husband in this group. She has said several times how she hates him. I just feel so guilty turning my back on my mother even how horrible and unhappy she makes me. I so want to be free from it

    • Hi, I know this comment is a bit old, but if it works for you or for anyone, the best way to help your mother sensitively is to search for a psychologist and try to convince her to be treated consistently, she needs professional help as depression is a mental illness and you cannot sort her out by yourself. As for your husband and children, they should be your priority though your mother should be important too. She needs to know she is still loved and cared, but you need to set boundaries and let her know her hurtful comments and attitudes are not well received and let her know you are not passing them.

  9. Leanne, thank you so much for sharing all of this. You are certainly in a mind, and I do have some more to say. In the meantime, you might find some of these tips helpful:

    • Thank you so much for this little article. It really helped me with better understanding of what is happening in my family. My stepson has been well taught how to play a victim and I’m the ‘evil step-dad.’ I would like to share the events, like they can be extremely violent (I am lucky to be alive) and find a way to blame the one they are violent against. I have a lot more to learn in this area and I really hope my wife sees and can understand her role in enabling him. My own brother is very similar. It’s very harmful to a family when this game playing is going on.

  10. One of my old friends plays the victim. She accuses everyone else, including me, of bullying her or harassing her. It has come to the point that she has even started to harass me and still acting like the victim.

    • As odd as it is, I have just had my brother hang up on me after I wouldn’t offer to take him into my home and care for him. He had other words for it. He then sent a scathing text that I expected 100%. The problem with it is that he is 100% wrong in his accusations of me. I said all kinds of positive things to him. I simply didn’t tell him to come live with me and my family. That is why he was so nasty to me. But at 50 years of age, I see though his games and am not manipulated like our mother was until she dies. Now he has no one to mooch off of. I’m not buying into his guilt trips.

      • It’s almost like looking into a mirror reading your experience. Well not exactly, but hear me out.

        I served in the military for 18 years until 2010 when I was discharged with a 90% disability rating. Ten years prior, I often sent my parents money to cover some of their expenses which, at first wasn’t a problem. So often families view those in the military as a cash cow to be sucked dry!

        In 2001, I was granted Humanitarian Orders to be stationed in my home town in order to take care of my parents. I had to move in with them and my only stipulation was that my younger brother (a non-violent felon) couldn’t live there because he had stolen from my parents and myself in the past and was still using drugs.

        I moved out after spending $10K to save their house from IRS repossession after two long years of verbal abuse from my mother. (Flashback to 1988, I tried to commit suicide because of sexual abuse from my OLDER brother and cousins when I was a kid and the resulting depression. I was hospitalized for a week and the night I was released, my O/B died from a heroin OD.)

        She accused me of “making” her hate her oldest son even though she told me on many occasions before she knew what he did that she couldn’t stand to be around him as an adult. I have to add that he once clocked her, giving her a black-eye which she tried to deny and, in addition, stole around $20K from our grandmother and, while using our younger brother’s id, had no qualms letting him take the rap. It was after I tried to defend my younger brother that I learned he wasn’t innocent and received a kick-back. It was after that my depression sank in. I really should write a book, LOL!

        After I was transferred to another duty station, she let my Y/B move in because she needed his help to take care of my step-father which he did for about 6 months until dad was moved to a nursing home. During this time my uncle (another non-violent felon), who was “caring” for his mother and being paid for it and who also had sexually abused me when I was in the eighth grade and he was 25, found himself homeless after his mother and step-father died. He then moved in with my mother.

        My step-father died shortly before this and my mother then had her son and brother, who were physically and mentally able to hold a full-time job, stay and help her except they didn’t.

        Two full grown men in their 40’s and 50’s couldn’t hold down even part-time work. While I was deployed on board a ship, a thousand miles away, I had to wire home hundreds a month so my mother, and my brother and my uncle could eat and pay the taxes on the home.

        These two full-grown men lived off me, via my mother until she died and then they refused to leave the house for 1+year until they were bribed to leave by the mortgage company. I arranged for a half-way house for my uncle which he made me drag him there. My brother is is still using drugs and I have had to refuse both of them on several occasions to stay with me.

        They both have tried to guilt-trip me or make me feel sorry for them but, like you, at 50 years of age, with my own family, I’m worried about my own retirement and not being a burden for my son. I guess I just have to let it be except now I’m having nightmares about becoming homeless which is strange since I was and lived in my van for 4 months. Guess I need some help.

  11. I would love to cut ties with someone like this, but it’s difficult when it’s your mother. It’s sad to say, but my siblings and I do not have a connection with her even though we tried. We all carry anger as a result.

  12. Wow i feel even more used she kept playing this role for 5 yrs wow i wonder how messed up i amnow for know and living with this she rreally played on my emotions

  13. I was just informed by a friend that he had to do without hotdog buns last night because I left extra hotdog buns at his house last November. He views free pizza as an opportunity for a ruined day that can’t be passed up. My frustration has turned to anger and resentment. I wish him no I’ll will but today is the day I must walk away.

  14. Hi, Please give me some insight into my situation, I would really appreciate it.

    My parents are sort of like this but they don’t have all these traits. I’ll try to explain my situation. My dad is quite a strange character, he has no friends, he’s hot and cold all the time and it’s almost like he’s been hiding the fact he has very low self esteem all his life by being short tempered etc, he is quite controlling, I have never been able to talk to him or maintain a steady relationship, he’ll slag me off to my mum, when I was younger it was like he acted like a sibling in an argument and he’d try and prove to my mum that I was a certain way like if I lost my temper he’d say “see, see what he’s like” which now I think is quite crazy because instead of guiding me, helping me it was like he was trying to prove I was a bad person or prove a point.

    Anyway, just this evening, my dog has just had an operation on his leg and he been crying a lot and my dad tried to get him out of his basket, my dog wouldn’t move and I was like “dad, he doesn’t want to come out of his basket” and he replies “oh sorrrr-ey”, then he says to my mum “i’ve just been told off by “. I don’t think what I said is wrong, although it does make me question myself. Do you think it’s playing a victim? He’s so pathetic, I don’t believe he knows how to look after a dog properly, it’s just not fair to the dog imo. I don’t even know if I love him, I guess I do because he’s my dad but that’s just how I feel.

    He’s not the type of person you could have a long conversation with, at least not me.

    I have thought maybe he’s so insecure and being a control freak he’s afraid of not having someone to control so it’s like he’s got to keep a divide between me and my mum because he’s afraid of us having a stronger relationship than him or something.

    I don’t know what annoys me more the fact that he’s controlling, talks to my mum like shes stupid or the fact that she puts up with it and even plays into it, it’s like she’s got no self respect.

    I remember when I was younger they would be really nasty and sort of abusive when they shouted at me, my dad used to lose his temper with me and chase me into my room and hit me, I just curled up in a ball saying “please dad no” and he would say “Your so stupid”. After a while I would wind him up on purpose so he’d chase me until I had the courage to stand up to him and when I did it felt great. It’s never been good since he hit me, I hated him for it, I was an angry child and when he did this I think I directed my anger toward him, either that or that’s what made me angry i don’t know.

    Another thing is he gets frustrated when me and my mum talking to each other, he’ll flat out deny it like last time it happened he was in another room but we heard him get disgruntled and I gave my mum a look saying “whats wrong with him?” then my mum did something that he wasn’t expecting, she went out and said “whats the matter”, the was a long pause because he was caught off guard obviously, and he said “im watching the rugby” but the long pause said it all. I have good instincts and I trust them and I trust what I think is true I’m not being paranoid.

    I’ve never been able to get along with both of my parents at the same time, if I get on with my mum and dad then it’s like there’s tension between them, it’s so strange – a psychologists dream I expect.

    Would appreciate your feedback on some of the stuff i’ve said.

  15. A so-called friend telephoned and accused me of not inviting her round to my house as often as I used to. Her voice was loud and hectoring and she said some very nasty and hurtful things but I did not retaliate in kind, just quietly replaced the receiver. (I think that most people would agree that a person’s home is their sanctuary and they should have the right to invite who they want and be free to choose when and how often and not have to feel bullied). My other half arrived and foolishly I mentioned that the ‘friend’ had been ‘upset’. He dashed round to see her despite my pleas not to interfere. To my dismay he returned with her in tow. Although only minutes had passed since she had insulted me, incredibly she was acting ‘the victim’ for all she was worth, crying crocodile-tears, dabbing her eyes with a hanky, resting her head on his shoulder and telling him in a soft little-girl voice what a “silly-billy” she was. She was getting all the sympathy and I was apparently the monster who was to blame!!!! With ‘friends’ like this who needs enemies? This is just an example of how someone can use the victim ploy as a way to manipulate.

  16. My wife is a typical “im a victim”. We ve been together for 15 years. And 14 of them she has played the victim role..anywhere from how hard her job is to her family treats her like crap to finally using me to get sympathy from people by saying how I dont respect her or dont hgive her got to the point I where I cut ties with my friends and almost alienated my family..the guilt ahe put on me has changed me as a man..i used to be ver spontaneous and out going could habe stuck me in a room with 100 people and I can talk and make friends with anyone…now, I dont talk, I dont have ambition, passion, sex drive..i basically just want to be left alone, cutting ties from the social world. I do know it seems like im playing the victim roll but I haven spoken out about this to anyone..i almost feel im jusy venting right now…my wife is a very smart women..she can manipulate with the best of them..she came from a family where her mother passed away at a young age and her father leaned on her like a slave wife..her sister was and is a spoiled brat and my wife got the scraps of the attention..this is where she used me to get all the sympathy and attention she much so she made it very difficult to have friends or family or anyone that wpuld remotely take attention away from her..she still continued with the victim role with her job and family during.that time but when I was fed up with the way ahe was manipulating her way with me she started to use me in her victim roles. Divulging private issued I had to people who she jusy met..also lying to people or telling half truth to favor her way to get attention.. I almost feel like she the women in gone girl (with out the killing)…we have a beautiful baby boy..she neglects visitation from my family to see our first born little cousin just broke her silence to me saying my parents are afraid to be grandparents..that broke my heart hearing that..and I feel like a chicken most of the time cause I dont stand up to her..i can go forever about this and let you in on the dysfunctional but myfingers are hurting from typing and im sure im not making any sense..but I too am not a saint but I wouldnt burden someone else with my problems or use them

  17. This is exactly my best friend. I love her so much but it is beginning to take its toll and me and is draining me. Now I’m beginning to distance myself from her because it is so difficult to handle.

  18. A recent eg. Of a victim I receive a message from mommie dearest Meet me at this cafe 1 oclock I turned up on time she wasnt there. I rang her 6 times no answer finally Oh she says what time is it? I said 20 past 1. She then said she forgot and left the phone in the car she then handed the phone over to my father and I heard her say tell her to forget it. I left in the freezing pouring rain to get there on time so then I go home annoyed. That night I get a message on my phone sternly saying my behaviour on the phone was appalling and I was extremely rude. I swear all I said was have you forgotten in an annoyed voice I did not swear or raise my voice that was 2 weeks ago she has now shut me out and refuses to answer my calls. The only way me and my family can speak to my nice father is through her phone he doesnt own one and she had the wall phone disconnected 2 yrs ago. So by not answering shes also stopped my communication with my father who has been very ill and has had a serious operation. Because I have to call her to speak to him. She declined her only grandaughters wedding invitation because she once liked her fiance but later changed her mind. We were not over the moon about him but we went she is my twin brothers daughter. My brother will never speak to her again he was devastated because she stopped our father from going to his grandaughters wedding also. Then after the wedding she cried and drained the life out of me with her emotions it dragged me down listening and I got sick. I listened and now realise she gained support from me and then later set me up for abuse. I felt emotionally used by my own mother did she feel bad when her son was taking his daughter down the isle knowing her grandparents declined her own wedding. Not at all she cried after that about herself a victim.

  19. Most teenagers these days play the victim and say they are treated worse than their younger siblings just cause they have a few responsibilities. I wonder why this is?

  20. My mother in law is like marie in everybody loves Raymond. I cannot stand her. She manipulates everybody. From sickness to loneliness. From A-to Z.

  21. Hi,
    I’m not sure where to start but found this article very helpful. Sorry for the long comment, but I’m in urgent need of help so I can either coup with and or help my sister that I sense plays the victim and has done for 20 years.

    I believe it all started when my parents divorced. It was a bitter divorce and whilst I was insulated from it at university my sister remained at home. I believe that she had a lot of support form school and they began to lean on this. In doing so her grades suffered (she was previous straight A student) but was able to justify the poor results due to the divorce she witnessed. She then drifted from job to job but found excellence in recruitment. Unfortunately she’s moved companies every 18months on grounds that she didn’t get on with the management. Life took a horrid turn for her in that she married a jerk and divorced 12months later and then unfortunately had cancer (and recovered thank god) but it may prevent her chances of children. She’s highly competitive and thus she see my life, which down to hard work is the polar opposite, I studied hard, got in to a good firm, married, two boys, a fully paid up for house and now building my own company. I sense some jealousy in this sibling relationship. Upon my announcement of my wife’s 2nd pregnancy my sister sent a long essay (in an SMS) explaining I was in sensative, selfish, arrogant, never took accountability for my own actions in announcing to my family we had baby#2 on the way etc. This worried me so much that I was being the jerk that I showed it to our mutual friends and they couldn’t believe it and said that it was all untrue. She takes everything so personally, and reads negativity in everything. DAre I say she never picks the phone up and taks and is always in text (which is the issue) and since the above SMS I’ve had many more on various things like she felt belittled when I said I would pick up the bill at a restaurant when paying for mothers day lunch. She’s struggled to work with folk so I helped her to set up her own business and funded 3 years for her only to chuck it all in and move to another recruiter… I never got a thank you but at least she was happy for a while. She has had depression, and seen couselors which I think did more harm than good given some of the stuff she then spoke about like questioning whether mum and dad were her parents and if she was adopted (she isn’t). I’ve just got on with my life and tried not to ruffle any feathers. Obviously I could speak to her more, but I’m scared of her and how she reacts on anything (even good news like a birth in the family).

    Fast forward to last night, and we were trying to arrange when to meet over xmas. Alas in September unbeknown to me she booked to go to abroad for xmas as she didn’t want to be on her own this year. We host xmas last year so this year heading to my wife’s family for the day – only fair right? We’ve struggled to find a date that works until early January which is a shame but we are both busy so understandable. She immediately when aggressive and argumentative (lots of expletives and raised voices from her) when I challenged her and said that had I known about her trip we would have tried to get something in the diary to ensure she saw our kids which she says she doesn’t see enough of. However she said that she never got an invite from me for xmas so decided to go abroad(she tends to rely upon me to organise things, but once in blue moon she will and then claims she organises everything). She booked this in September, so Xmas was a long way off and thus nothing had been even considered. We batted dates around but could find anything that worked before xmas.

    So we agreed on a date in January to meet. 2 hours after the call she sent a long text that frankly scared me… and I question again my own actions, am I the wrong/bad person. Extract below:

    “You have never taken responsibility for what you have said or done over the years, and all you do is throw it back on me. I’m always the black sheep and you come out smelling of roses. You are never to blame are you?! I know we don’t have a good relationship and that for many years saddened me and made me so angry” she goes on to say that I’m pushing friends and family away, which I;ve checked today and no one says I am – I’m baffled and have this butterfly feeling in my stomach constantly as I don’t like hurting people.

    Am I’m managing things wrong? I went to the net and found this article which I’m believing may explain her behaviour. I’m at the end of my sanity as to what to do. I don’t like negative people in my life and have tried to help along the way, but it just gets rejected, or turnaround as some sort of horrid thing I’m doing.

    any guidance would be really appreciated, to either help her or what actions I should take.



  22. I have an aunt who plays the victim all the time. What she does she talkes shot about us and they put is down and they criticize us. she tells me things that her husband is doing to and dose not want admited it ,says that I’m a liar

  23. Have seen the person who has made a career out of being a victim. She manages to present as a needy, fragile person who we should care for, but is in fact highly manipulative and dangerous. She comes to church, the good Christians want to help her, but they end up the victims. Clergy and other pastorally inclined persons are sitting ducks for this woman. She has wrecked various groups in the church. People have left the church after getting their fingers burnt. Those who refuse to deal with her are branded unChristian and lacking in compassion. She will not accept responsibility for herself. Is a very convincing operator, some of the most experienced counsellors have been fooled by her. At the moment I am trying to get over the games she played on me, but I have been branded as unforgiving. This victim syndrome has been learned over a long time.She is a very selfish and self centred person who expects people to run after her, is quick to point out the short comings in others and lacks compassion for anyone else.

  24. This is my mother. I seriously have never made this connection. I am baffled and distraught. She is only one of a small handful of people who can bring out this aggression and rage that I never experience anywhere else or with anyone else. This is literally the only explanation. I feel like I’ve been going insane for years…

  25. I have been dating this woman for about a month and a half, I came to visit for an extended period of time to get to know her better. The entire time, I have watched her, and listened to her talk about an ex that is 2 years removed from her life. She is fixated on being his victim, and is failing at the counseling she has to attend. She tries to manipulate me; however I am in a Doctorate program for Psychology; therefore, I could see something was not right. I suspected victim personality disorder, and this is how I found this blog. I can’t do this as a relationship, especially while trying to go to school. I am not willing to sacrifice my dream for someone that I basically just met, it is sad, but I value myself too much. She has every sign mentioned in the post, and now tries the victim role with me, but I don’t acknowledge her adult tantrums.

  26. I have a friend who I think has borderline personality .
    I do know she has taken anti-depressants for many years. After 5 years I started to feel annoyed or upset after seeing her. She is the constant victim, talks over you constantly (so the conversation is one sided) and everything has to be a certain way or she gets really upset (for example -finding out there was a mouse problem in her apartment, and talking about it for 4 days -even through dinner=even though I helped get what was needed to help take care of the issue.) She took this as a personal assault -and went on and on to the point where it was ridiculous.(I explained everyone has had to deal with some kind of pest or mouse issue but it can be solved) That is just ONE example -but then it becomes personal and no one has ever suffered as she has. This is a woman in her 60s who is very smart and talented.
    So I have learned to distance myself-because if I try to have an adult conversation about how her behavior affects me..(and many others in her life).I am accused of being mean and I’m the one who has problems.
    She takes no responsibility for her behavior-it is ALL about her.
    It is sad for me because I thought this was going to be a nice friendship but instead feels like a lead weight.

  27. Does anyone know of a professional who offers a free session or two? I have a lot going on and some days it’s really hard to keep moving forward. I have a tendency to “attract” people with the victim personality to make myself feel better helping them. Then reality sets in once they becoming demanding and always putting me down.

    • James, I don’t know of any free support, depending on which country you are in? I did want to say, however, that it is fantastic that you have recognised this pattern in yourself. That is huge! It sounds like helping people fills some kind of void inside? It also sounds like you are trying to ‘plaster’ over low self-esteem by helping others. Does any of this fit with your understanding?

  28. I asked this guy to turn on the fan and before he proceeds to do it he stares at the fan for a good 3 seconds and then gets up to turn it on. I jokingly say, “Why do you always have to stare at the fan first when I ask you to turn it on? Are you attempting to use your jedi mind tricks hoping it will start before you have to get up?” I thought I was being funny and that he would laugh and play along with the idea of having jedi mind tricks. However, instead he fucking snaps at me and gets base in his voice(again) to yell at me. “WHY DO YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO QUESTION EVERYTHING I DO?!!!! BLAHH BLAHHH BLAHH!!!!” I snapped back and yelled,”Shut the fuck up! OMG! The whole time you’ve been here all you’ve been doing is snapping at me! I can’t say anything without you freaking the fuck out and whining ‘whahhh you’re being a bitch! You’re being bitchy! whahhhh!’ I’m tired of walking on fucking eggshells around you!”
    He’s been doing this a lot. He constantly takes every little fucking thing seriously and constantly victimizes himself. Everything is always my fault. I’m constantly demonized and portrayed as the one who is void of morality and then he sanitizes his image to portray the moral compass. When confronted with allegations of what he has done to me he has denied it time and time again. Then when he admits it he spins it to demonize me. When he realizes what he just said was fucking disgusting, immoral and ridiculous he goes back to denial. Also when asked questions in front of people he goes into silent mode to victimize himself. The other day we were at the mall and I couldn’t find an item. A worker said that she could check if another location had the item. So I asked this dude,”Do you want to go there? Can we go?” He just fucking stood there for 3 minutes wasting this workers time. He put on this act of a scared abused person who’s afraid to answer. The worker got annoyed and said she had to go do something else and walked away. He always uses this tactic and it’s so annoying. He could just say no, but instead he draws things out every time. In front of others he’s a scared victim to afraid to speak. Alone with me he’s a loud angry victim who get’s physical and firmly believes they are the righteous one and lack the ability to see anything wrong with themselves. What do you call someone like this? Like there’s a name for narcissism. Is this it or is this another condition that I don’t know the name of?

    • Anna, I feel your fruatration. It really sounds like you’re in a very unhealthy relationship. Please do both of you a favor and cut your losses. Or both of you go for counseling together. You express yourself pretty well and it sounds as though the dude has some underlying causes for his behavior. Maybe in those three seconds, he wondering why you don’t just turn the fan on yourself. But, he’s uncomfortable actually verbalizing what he’s thinking. Maybe he was criticized a lot growing up? It’s difficult to pin point anything because there’s two sides to a relationship. But getting physical, in the sense you say, is a bad, very bad, character issue. Get out and understand who you are and why you would accept someone treating you this way. You’re in my thoughts for a better life.

  29. This Victim Personality describes my girlfriend almost to the point its like i’m reading about her, whenever i feel she is not treating me correctly or she does something wrong or is out of order i feel like i cant raise the issue or say anything to her because it always end up in a argument with her denying absolutely everything, lying to then support her denial and then turning it all around on me so i then feel guilty for having a go at her when i have every reason to, She also suffers from Depression and is on medication for it. Is the depression linked to having Victim personality? We have 2 kids together and to be honest that’s the only reason i stick around.

    • Thank you for sharing your experiences of the Victim Personality, Rob. Your description does certainly fit the profile, especially your fear of expressing your own feelings and needs. In this sense, living with a Victim Personality can be a traumatic experience – sometimes even abusive in and of itself. This is not to say that the Victim Personality is deliberately being abusive.

      One thing I would like to say though is that depression and the Victim Personality can be linked, and sometimes related to childhood neglect. The person was a victim as a child and cannot let go of that identity in adulthood until they learn that they are now in control and don’t have to be a victim anymore. I have no idea whether this is the case with your wife, of course, but it can be a common scenario.

      Thanks again for sharing, Rob.

  30. This kind of reminds me of my mom. I love her, but I seriously can’t wait to move out. I might visit about once a month or less. I’m so sick of her drama. If I don’t do enough chores or spend too much time online, she whines and acts so childish. She’s been doing it for years and it’s driving me insane. I have a life, too. I still take care of my cat. I’m tired of her acting like a child. Her behavior rattles me.
    I know she had a tough childhood, but that’s no excuse to act so angry towards your family. She can be loving, but then she’s like, “who loves me?” Ugh. Who does that? I know that I should be more emphatic, but it’s so draining when it happens constantly. I don’t think she even realizes what she’s doing and how other people are affected. I could go on, but then I might end up writing a wall of text.

    She acts so needy and is emotionally immature. She can be a good person, but sometimes she just isn’t. She’s even like that towards my dad and my sister. Fun stuff. She suffers from depression, too. We have a pretty big garden, so that helps her, but we have a nasty gopher problem (we live right next to a golf course). Yeah, it’s not fun. She says I should be more productive. I enjoy my life, is that not enough for her? I’m nearly 26 years old, too. I also have a form of autism. No that should be an excuse, it’s not, it just makes life more interesting to say the least. I also suffer from anxiety and panic attacks.

  31. Here I thought the friend was bi-polar, with Munchausen issues but it was worse than that. After my husband passed away, I opened my home to this friend and a dog, only to have the beige carpet in the rented room left black and filthy-requiring it be replaced. How can one person do that much damage?. In what was decades of friendship is now destroyed by her. Nearly 10x I was beckoned on to put a roof over her head when in need, and that wasn’t good enough. Boy was I snowballed – it was the worst decision I ever made and the worst roommate situation of my life. The excessive ambulance rides, excessive pill popping and pot smoking was just out of line. I learned a lesson, and I now know better.
    I feel sorry for the dog.
    Don’t let someone’s pity party rule your life and don’t fall for someone with Munchhausen-ing themselves to get attention. Sick and sad. Hard to have empathy when I tolerated so much and received ‘war responses’ along with her throwing away sentimental things of mine. Real sick-o. Unfortunately for her she lost a good friend, because I won’t respond to expected narcissism and self pity.
    Happy as an alligator in Florida!

  32. My gf really plays the victim all the time . Our relationship is still fresh and we are still learning a lot about each other . Recently we had a argument about something she said to a guy at a party reflecting our relationship and how she sees it . She told him we are only talking and not much else . Keep in mind we are in a relationship and she 100% does know this . I believe she does this to get other males attention as well as making me a bit jealous . When I confronted her about this she immediately got mad at me and completely turned the situation making herself the victim . I really did try and speak to her in a calm and mannered way but that did not quite work out . In the end I was the one who apologised for the whole situation . I need to know how to handle these types of situations so that she understands that something upsets me . She went through a hard time before we met and I know this .I love her very much . How do I handle her sudden outbreaks and our arguments ?

  33. This article of playing the victim is my ex wife down to the T!
    I have been with my wife for 9 years for the first 5 years I endured her emotions and her drinking and heavy smoking, which resulted in her leaving me accusing me of abusing her, in fact all I did was to push her away as she tried to attack my daughter, whom she phoned to come to our place unknown to me!
    We got back after 3 months separation and got married a year later against family and friends advice!
    The marriage was in its self very good.
    But we had a very petty argument which resulted in our emotions clashing, hers was due to be physically assaulted and abused in her first marriage and she had all her money taken in her second marriage and he played around with other women and she was used by several men which she initially was happy to do.
    She left me and catastrophise everything to all she went to. her family supported her lies and I even got a Police Harassment Notice for a year, due to her family being contacted by me, as I wanted to save out marriage!
    Her Solicitor controlled and manipulated her, but she allowed it to happen as it made her playing the victim feel good, he even said I had an Abuse Order when I did not and the Police Data Protection proved that and the whole divorce petition was all lies!
    I still love my wife, but common sense says I should let her go and move on, but hard to do when really the argument was so petty and divorce should not have happened!!
    Mike Moses

  34. I am a victim of Victim Personality. Have been married for 15 years and getting abused by my wife for every day and every time for opening my mouth and for not opening as well. She conveniently manipulates each and everything to suit to her requirements/perceptions. Tragedy is now my 14 year old son too is showing the similar symptoms and I am worried about my 10 year old daughter as well though she looks perfectly alright for now. I am not in a position to leave for the sake of the kids and she knows it well. Just trying to know is their a way out here by any possible means particularly from someone who have actually endured it and now found a solution, if not a complete cure at least some degree of improvement. Hoping against the hope waiting for a response or two..

  35. i just got savaged by a complete cow that i knew for 20 years, always cared for her and was there whenever she fell, always the great friend and carer,,apparently i was always the best friend in the world that she didnt want to lose via being close or sexual with , like a moron stooge i hung on, eventually having such deep serious feelings for her ,,,,,
    then she finds a new way younger guy and shags him senseless and lets him move in within a week, i get dumped like a filthy turd and not even in the bowl let alone flushed, no contact with me , no caring im still alive, no NOTHING ,,,,,,,,,,yeah so much for ‘you are MY BEST FRIEND IN THE WORLD’ , simply a career victim narcissistic vile cow ,
    i simply cant believe my foolish mistaken choices, it made me suicidal from an intense confused mixture of feelings, jealousy, anger, frustration, humiliation and so many more, such a deep torment of humiliation and contradiction of what i once thought and believed,
    i thought i meant so much but i clearly was an expendable item , my god i wish i had never met this vile creature, i wish i had that 20 years back , i simply am repulsed with myself for my inept stupidity , for a seemingly smart man i am clearly a complete moronic idiot .
    this wench was a vile , disgusting, leg spreading liar, career victim , narcissistic grub and no more, yet this muppet whos typing put her on a pedestal !!!
    dont be like the muppet typing , be smart !!!!!!!!!!!

    former clown idiot, now a smarter colder person, hopefully a survivor for the future !!!!!

  36. My wife continually blames me for every little and large thing that is wrong in our life/home. My tone of voice, not wiping the sink, not vacuuming properly, treating her badly, not washing up properly, it is a very long list of mainly petty things. Whilst this has been going on for a long time I admit I made it worse as I lost my job through my own behaviour and this has escalated the blame side. My question though is does this behaviour link to playing a victim (which she says I do) as I see similarities between what has been described and her “Woe is me, I have a crappy home life thanks to you, no money to do what I want, we live with shame etc and so i am blamed further. We don’t live badly, she still goes out for lunch with friends, she earns a very good wage and buys clothes whenever, hair gets done at $100 so no lack of things there.
    We have no intimacy as she says I need to get a job (100 applications and counting) to earn that right and says she can’t trust me so this is also her punishment.
    Everything is my fault, she is not to blame for anything and I need the counselor, not us.
    I am not sure what I can do.

  37. My mother always plays victim I’m dependent on her currently and can’t move out of the house .She constantly blames me for everything that has gone wrong with her life and humiliates me and beats me up or forces my younger brother to beat me up .She breaks the bolts of my bed room so I can’t lock myself inside whenever she gets aggressive . I’m scared of her by can’t count on anyone to help me out .The cops don’t care and and I don’t have any relatives who can take me in . Please can some one let me know how I can avoid her ?

    • well firstly this has nothing to do with you and who you are, and is everything to do with your mother and her own past and issues, how hard it must be for you, please know this, try to find it in you to believe that your mother does not determine your worth as a person ever otherwise she wins… she is the weak one and you my darling when i say may not feel like it now for you, your the definition of strength… that is power .how old are you? you say how can you avoid her…??? how old are you.. trust me if this is happeing to you i assist u in finding the right level of support to not only avoid this abousive mother but to get away from her for good, u do not deserve that

  38. This is one of the worst and most destructive traits of someone involved in a true crime case we’ve been studying. Of course, there are varying degrees of this, but this person’s behavior was extreme, as she made up ridiculous lies about people, treated them horribly, then turned around and blamed them for not not being friendly with her.

    Shanann Watts constantly played the victim to control her husband, and others, and for attention. She lied and greatly exaggerated circumstances, to get her husband to take her side, against his family, constantly alienating him from his family. Her behavior was also that of someone with Munchausen disorder, and Munchausen By Proxy disorder, which is similar to her other controlling and victim behaviors. This article describes her victim playing traits perfectly.

  39. I don’t know if a person who is always sweet and dandy with others can be considered a victim?
    I have a co-worker that she loves to create her self-pitty party and make people feel sorry for her . I’m having a hard time to listen to her constant: oh !! This happened to me and so on , but always shield herself behind the “I’m a nice person “( she normally is very sweet at work) however ,she is constantly looking for reasons wake up our co workers empathy with “ her oh poor girl ! Scenarios ”. How should I deal with this is very very annoying!! I have already called on her about this constant nagging, how should I deal to avoid becoming the witch! 😒.

  40. I have a friend just like this.
    Whenever he texts me or I text him he always, without exception, start the convo by talking about how he’s feeling sick somehow and if you pity him he really likes that.
    I have friends with real issues who when they vent always say they don’t want a bunch of sympathy, they just need to vent to someone they can trust so that’s how I notice the difference. This guy does it for sympathy, he also can’t be constantly feeling under the weather.

    And when we’re hanging out he always brings up how unfairly others treat him. He’s almost NEVER talked about anything besides that. And he doesn’t have many examples to give even so it’s always the same stories over and over – When he got bullied in school as a teen, the few people who has wronged him after that and even online girlfriends he had as a teen he still talks about how they wronged him and he’s nearly 30! I got bullied too, for 10 years I was bullied, and I rarely think about it. I haven’t even told any of my friends nowadays about it because it’s so irrelevant, I was a kid then and now i’m an adult and being stuck there mentally won’t help me forward.
    Also nonstop complains about not being able to get a job but when you offer solutions he nearly sounds annoyed and pushes the advice he gets aside and brings up reasons not to even try. Didn’t think much of it before but i’ve started noticing it more and more!! He doesn’t have it worse than anyone else but he loves to think so, while at the same time thinking he’s so much better than everyone else. And yes, he always talks about how unfair it is that such a nice person as himself always gets taken advantage of or bullied! But he puts himself in bad situations time and time again. And I don’t think he even realizes that people avoid him because he does this.


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  3. Being a victim. – Michael Blaire
  4. Playing the victim – Parental Alienation
  5. Psychologist PERFECTLY Describes ‘The Victim’ Personality Of The Left – The Washington Feed
  6. 16 Ways to Recognize A Toxic Person – Awareness Act
  7. 5 Ways Narcissists Ensure They Are The Center of Attention – Awareness Act
  8. 12 Signs You are In The Presence of A Pathological Liar – Awareness Act
  9. 8 Things Mentally Strong People Never Do – Awareness Act
  10. The Victim Personality – Parental Alienation
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  12. 6 Types of Energy Vampires – A Life in the Buff
  13. 9 Signs You Are Being Manipulated By The People Closest To You – Awareness Act
  14. 6 Types of People That Will Rob You of Your Vital Energy – Awareness Act
  15. Psychologist PERFECTLY Describes Victim Personality Of The Left - Usa Online

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