Do You Have a Victim Mindset? How to Stop Blaming Others and Empower Yourself

Victim Mindset

Do you often find yourself pointing the finger—blaming other people for how you feel or all of the problems in your life? When people try to explain their feelings or situations as being completely caused by outside influences, it’s a big red flag. And it’s a very common phenomenon.

These people may think they’re being thoughtful and getting to the root of their problems, but the opposite is true; this is actually a common form of self-sabotage. Putting the blame on other people and situations can feel comforting in the moment—“It’s not my fault, it’s theirs!” But there is an inherent catch-22 in this mentality: If it’s never your fault, how will you work toward fixing any problem? By constantly painting yourself as a victim, you’re actually choosing powerlessness. And that choice comes with some pretty dire drawbacks.

If it’s never your fault, how will you work toward fixing any problem? By constantly painting yourself as a victim, you’re actually choosing powerlessness. Click To Tweet


Negative thoughts, such as those casting blame, can seem to occur without our effort or input—almost as a reflex. These are automatic negative thoughts (ANTs), and when they’re allowed to run rampant, they can lead to serious issues, including anxiety, depression, trauma, and grief. Luckily, these negative thoughts are usually not true. When we are able to create some distance between ourselves and our thoughts—observing them more as an outsider would and questioning them—while also consciously generating more positive thoughts, we can change our entire outlook on life and boost our mental and physical well-being.

Note that fostering more positive thoughts does not equal turning a blind eye to actual issues; that’s unhealthy, too. It’s more important to be realistic, and it’s simply not realistic to believe that nothing—or everything, for that matter—is our fault. Black-and-white thinking in any direction is best avoided, and we’ll talk more about that below.

When people start pointing fingers, the Blaming ANT is, fittingly, the one to blame. This ANT is often fueled by the mental dragons (the stories we tell ourselves that breathe fire on our emotional brains) that make people feel special or entitled, or the Judgmental Dragons, which stimulate harsh criticism aimed toward others. Feelings like self-righteousness and self-pity go hand in hand with these negativity generators. The resulting constant feeling of powerlessness and victimhood then creates additional harmful dragons—namely, the Anxious, and the Hopeless and Helpless, varieties.

Looking at a typical series of thoughts from someone who struggles with blaming others, we see how quickly even a simple situation can spiral downward. First comes the assurance of “This problem is the fault of X” (insert a person, situation, etc.), with the insinuation and belief that the person doing the blaming is not at all responsible. This can lead to other thoughts, such as, “My life would be better if…” or “If only X hadn’t happened….” When this cycle repeats over and over, the “victim” eventually buys into this story of personal helplessness and stops trying altogether: “Nothing ever works out. Why bother?”


To be clear, when we talk about evolving out of the victim mindset, we’re not talking about taking every ounce of blame for everything that happens. The habit of always blaming yourself can be just as dangerous, creating toxic thoughts fueled by a vicious inner critic and adding up to a vision of life that is equally skewed, just at the other extreme. People who fall into this category assume that the emotions or issues of others are always their responsibility—which, of course, simply can’t be true.

In fact, forget the idea of blame completely. The key is to take responsibility, which then ushers in your ability to respond to the situation in an appropriate way. Think of it as two words: response ability. So, whatever is happening, take a moment to look at the situation from a removed perspective and ask: What is my role in creating this problem? What happened that is beyond my control? In other words, what is and isn’t your responsibility?

Of course, sometimes in life, we are victims of circumstance or other people’s harmful actions, and it’s important to acknowledge and work through those feelings—and some events will require more healing than others. But for those who choose a victim mentality, any small inconvenience or challenge becomes evidence of how the world is conspiring against them. It ultimately prevents them from improving their lot in life; they throw up their hands in defeat, instead of finding opportunities in challenges.


No matter how you found yourself with the current problem at hand, try to flip your mindset, switching from victimization to empowerment. Simply ask yourself, “What can I do right now to make this situation better?” Taking a problem-solving approach, as opposed to detouring into self-pity or wallowing, puts you back in control.

When you start to take personal responsibility for your role in life’s problems, you’ll feel a surprising relief. Rather than looking for people and things to blame, you’ll start to shape your own destiny. Keep in mind this will require practice, because the Blaming ANT is persistent. It’s actually the most toxic ANT out there, since it erodes your sense of power and autonomy and seeps into all areas of your life like poison, eroding your mental health over time. It also creates a serious drain on everyone else around you, damaging or even destroying your closest relationships.


To get yourself out of the toxic blaming habit, start paying attention. Note every time you hear yourself saying, “It’s X’s fault that I…” or a similar phrase. Then introduce habits that help enable a better perspective on your problems. Try the following tactics:

  • Journaling can help you write out possible solutions to a problem and explore a situation from a variety of angles. For decades, research has shown that journal writing “reduces intrusive and avoidant thoughts about negative events,” which may ultimately help us cope more effectively with stress. You can also start a written gratitude practice since focusing on what you’re grateful for takes mental energy away from possible concerns. Or simply write down all of the ANTs that are bothering you—it’ll help get them out of your head.
  • Lend a hand to someone in need. Numerous studies have shown that giving back boosts one’s sense of well-being, and it doesn’t require major effort or time. Paying a compliment, writing a thank-you note, cooking a meal for a friend, volunteering, or donating unneeded items to charity can all work to create a genuine sense of satisfaction and generate many physical and emotional benefits.
  • Seek therapy. Do you find that do-it-yourself approaches, such as meditation and physical activity, are not sufficiently improving your mental health or negative thoughts? Seek outside help through psychotherapy, which offers approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy to start pushing back against those deeply ingrained negative thinking patterns.

Chronic stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues can’t wait. At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, clinical evaluations, and therapy for adults, teens, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.


  1. Do you accept Medicare and United Healthcare Supplement?

    Comment by Susan Miller — June 9, 2023 @ 4:11 AM

  2. Volunteering is a great way to feel like your life makes a difference . I feel like I am part of something important. I am surrounded by good people

    Comment by Becky Glover — June 12, 2023 @ 4:03 AM

  3. The victim and the hero are complimentary opposites living inside the human psyche. When we accept the paradox, life unfolds in a fresh dynamic of awareness, freedom, and opportunity.

    Comment by Ginger Curtis — June 12, 2023 @ 6:26 AM

  4. Excellent article. My whole family needs to read this

    Comment by Mc Forhecz — June 12, 2023 @ 6:35 AM

  5. Thank you for this succinct article on being the victim! The simple explanation of becoming aware of the thought or story being told that starts with “… X did this so I am left with …

    Comment by Nancy Siever — June 12, 2023 @ 7:02 AM

  6. I have been told that I do this by family members but I guess I didn't really acknowledge it until reading this article. Thank you!!!!!

    Comment by Lynette Gettings — June 12, 2023 @ 9:27 AM

  7. Only thing is, sometimes sticking up for ourselves involves persons mentally incapable of changing their behavior. I am talking actual brain damage. Then what? Kick them to the curb? Why are we better than they becomes the question….

    Comment by millicent hughes — June 12, 2023 @ 12:49 PM

  8. This has nothing to do with this particular article, I'm just requesting information / help.
    Do you have info / advice for someone seeking help for eating disorders. I would like to find a counselor / facility close to my area (Birmingham, AL) Christian based if possible. Every time I try to research to find, I feel like I hit a wall (i.e. none in the area, no longer open, does not treat in my age group – 60 y/o, etc.). Thank You in Advance for ANY help you can recommend.

    Comment by S Denson — June 12, 2023 @ 1:23 PM

  9. It's very hard thing to overcome still. I was given a Victim number after getting hit by a Drunk Driver fleeing 1 car accident before me. That number means nothing because Livingston County Court in Michigan . Hasn't help after many years and the whole department with Prospector should be fired. Then you ask the judges personally how does it work and get a answer I don't know. I put hope in the Victim Rights and I wish someone in the office would have told me that their service only works if you die. Then We might pay for your services. I am just frustrated exhausted of begging for help and wish never got their letter with written number. It's just a number and like buying a lottery ticket. The odds are against you and when you check your number. I just says sorry you are a loser. But please try again. The Drunk Driver is the winner and continues to drink and drives. People will tell sorry to hear about your physical and mentally problems. I just tell don't be sorry – just pray for me. I never thought this world was Hell before- but all the people I have beg for help. Just say sorry but we can give you another Specialist Dr to see and they will make money off you being a victim. I love your article and read them to get hope and best part I asked for help from you too. About what you recommend having all my eyes mussels tored from impact and best eye surgeries in Michigan with Ann Arbor too.. None if 5 eye Surgeon have enough training to even know what is BVD visson injury because they don't have equipment to test for it.

    Comment by Charles J Okane — July 7, 2023 @ 11:53 AM

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