Maybe It's You: Signs That You May Be Playing The Victim

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It's never easy to admit when we're wrong.

Trust me.

Not even Your Favorite Therapist enjoys the taste of crow when I have to admit that maybe...just maybe...I wasn't right.

O U C H !

It's true enough that there are times when the people in our lives treat us less than the best.

And if you know me by now, I'm B-I-G on setting boundaries and, when necessary, walking away from toxic situations.

However, the challenge is to recognize when we're "playing the victim."

**Before proceeding, let me be crystal clear, "playing the victim" does not apply when we've been violated, abused, traumatized, or victims of any form of violence.  Those situations are violations and fall nowhere near to what I'm discussing.**

Maybe it's easy for you recognize people in your life who always play the victim.  

I bet at least one person just came to your mind, didn't they?

Maybe it's a family member or a co-worker, perhaps that annoying neighbor who always has a complaint.

Yeah, those people are easy to identify.

But wait a minute...what if there are times when, dare I suggest, you play the victim?

I know! I know!

How dare I?

Listen, I know that looking in the mirror and recognizing our flaws is never easy, but here's What Your Therapist Wants You To Know:  There is POWER in recognizing and owning our flaws!

Before you can change for the better you have to admit that you have room for improvement.


  • You are completely focused on the behavior the other person has to change in order for YOU to be happy.  This is common for all of us.  It's always easier to see others' behavior, but looking at our own is more challenging and way more humbling.  How much time do you stop to focus on your actions?
  • You find yourself regularly saying, "I can't believe you did this to me," or "I can't believe this is happening to me." While it's true that we are likely to experience betrayal and heartache throughout our lifetime, you may be playing the victim if this is a common theme in your life.  How often do you find yourself saying those phrases?
  • You regularly feel like someone is conspiring against you - someone is always out to get you.  Trusting people can be scary, especially, if you have a history of trauma or being deceived.  But you'd be surprised at how little people are actually thinking about us.  Most people are too wrapped up in their own lives to invest that much energy into plotting against us.
  • You rarely confront the people you believe are mistreating you.  Instead, you talk to others about how they are mistreating you.  Maybe someone has done you wrong, but did you confront them about it?  Confrontation doesn't have to be aggressive, it simply means you're addressing the current issue.  Did you talk to the person that hurt you or did you tell everyone except them?

Okay, so now that I've got you all kinds of uncomfortable, what next?

Here's what you can begin to do today to begin feeling more empowered.


  • Practice self-awareness.  Begin noticing your thoughts and the behaviors that result from those thoughts.  Most of us are on auto-pilot the majority of the time.  Are you aware of how your words, actions, and behaviors may be impacting others? The more you practice self-awareness the more you'll begin to pause and respond instead of reacting.
  • Ask yourself, "What is my role in this situation?" Ugh.  I know.  This is probably one of the toughest things to do, especially, when we're hurt, but by acknowledging our role we begin to understand how we can avoid similar situations in the future.
  • Take responsibility for your actions. Taking responsibility for our actions requires us to do more than just say, "I take responsibility for my actions." Taking responsibility means we're invested in taking the steps required to make amends and correct our behavior.  We take the steps necessary to right our wrongs.  It's a process that requires action not just words.

Admitting when we're wrong is uncomfortable, but it's one of the most empowering things you can begin to do today.  The more you begin to focus your energy on your behavior, your choices, your actions, your thoughts - the more in control you will feel.  You will begin to see that you are the only person you have any control over.  This will free you to begin making choices that support your well-being and never needing to play the victim again.

DISCLAIMER:  THE RELATIONSHIP & SEXUAL WELLNESS CENTER blog is not intended to be a substitute for legal, ethical or medical consultation or for treatment and is strictly for educational and entertainment purposes.  Nothing found on the website or email is a substitute for professional psychological, psychiatric or medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition.