Dealing with people who have a victim mentality or suffer from victim syndrome can be incredibly frustrating.
They twist everything you say, always see the worst in things, blame everyone else, and make you feel like the bad guy.
Yet, all you’re doing is trying to help them or explain something, right?
Well, you need to know how they think and how to talk to them to make them stop playing the victim.
Here are 10 tips explaining how to deal with someone who plays the victim:
How to Deal With Someone Who Plays the Victim – 10 Tips
1. Don’t Argue with Them
The first thing you need to know is that you can’t win an argument with a person who plays the victim.
They will find a way to make themselves the victim no matter what you say or do.
Plus, by arguing with them you will just be giving them more fuel to their victim mentality and the situation is only going to escalate.
The best advice is to hear them out when they’re playing the victim, but don’t agree or disagree with them at the time.
2. Help Them to See Things from Another Perspective
A person with a victim mentality often only sees things from their own, narrow perspective.
They’re not able to see the broader picture or take a rational view of the situation they’re dealing with.
One way to help them is by gently showing them how their actions might be seen from another perspective.
Try and get them to step into someone else’s shoes and see things from a totally different view, it’s incredibly powerful if you can do it.
3. Don’t Get Frustrated or Emotionally Involved
If you get frustrated or emotional when dealing with someone who’s playing the victim, then they’re going to use that against you.
Plus you’re just going to get wound up and annoyed and will probably walk away from the situation more annoyed than they are!
It’s important to keep your cool, no matter how frustrating it is dealing with someone who plays the victim.
4. Be Willing to Walk Away and Talk About It Later
If the situation is getting too heated or you’re just not getting anywhere, then be willing to walk away and talk about it later.
This is a good rule when it comes to talking about anything that may be emotionally charged as we don’t make the best decisions when we’re emotional.
Walking away from the situation will give you both time to calm down and think about what’s been said, and you can come back to it when you both have clearer heads.
5. Encourage Them to Problem Solve
The victim mentality is a very closed-off, defeatist way of looking at things.
One of the best ways you can help someone who plays the victim open their mind on their own and see things in a different light is to encourage them to problem solve.
Try and get them to come up with their own solutions to the problems they’re facing, rather than just complaining about how bad everything is.
It’ll help them to see that they have some control over the situation and their own life, which is a very empowering feeling.
And most importantly it might give them that ‘lightbulb’ moment that they’re not the victim.
6. Tell Them You Understand Their Frustrations
This one is a bit of a mind game but bear with me.
When someone is feeling like the victim, they want to be heard and they want people to understand how they’re feeling.
One way you can help them is by telling them that you completely understand their frustrations.
This doesn’t mean that you agree with everything they’re saying, but by letting them know that you understand how they feel, you’re validating their feelings and they’ll be open to listening to you.
You can then use this ‘trust’ to help them see things differently and hopefully stop playing the victim.
7. Challenge Their Views Rationally
If you can, try and challenge the person’s views in a rational way.
One of the best ways to do this is by asking them questions that make them think about what they’re saying and how it might not be entirely accurate.
For example, if someone is complaining about their job, you could ask them whether they’ve ever tried looking for a new one.
Or if they’re upset about a situation, you could ask them what they think the other person’s perspective might be.
Again, it’s a way to try and get them to think outside of just being a victim and blaming everything on everyone else.
8. Support Them as A Good Friend
Regardless of how often they’re playing the victim card and how annoying it is to you, if they’re your friend you should support them.
We don’t always agree with everything our friends think and do, and I know all too well how annoying and frustrating some friends are!
But at the end of the day, if they’re going through a tough time then be there for them as a good friend.
9. Be Sure to Point out When Things Are Going Well for Them
People who see themselves as victims always see the worst in a situation and make a big deal out of the things that go wrong for them.
What they don’t do is point out when things go well for them, that’s something you as their friend can do for them.
I’m sure they have more going well for them than they do bad, and if you keep on pointing out the good things that happen to them, they might start seeing themselves in a more positive light!
10. Accept that They Might Not Be Ready to Change
Finally, you have to accept that the person might not be ready to change.
You can’t force someone to see themselves in a different way, no matter how much you want to.
So if they’re not ready to change, all you can do is be there for them as a friend, and hope that one day they’ll see things differently.
Related – How to spot emotional immaturity in a woman!
What Causes Someone to Play the Victim?
There are a few different things that can cause someone to play the victim.
It might be because they’ve been through a lot of tough situations in their life and it’s become a defense mechanism.
Or it could be because they have low self-esteem and don’t think they deserve any better than what they have.
It might even be a combination of both!
Whatever the reason is, it’s important to remember that you can’t always change someone, you can only try and help them see things differently.
If you’re struggling to deal with someone who plays the victim, I suggest you don’t get too involved with their mental space as it can be draining.
Be there as a good friend, point out the positive things in their lives, and most importantly accept them for who they are.
Can You Change Someone’s Mindset from Always Being the Victim?
The answer is, unfortunately, that it’s not likely.
It’s not easy to change someone’s mindset from always being the victim because it’s something that they’ve likely been doing for a long time.
It’s become a defense mechanism and it’s how they cope with the tough situations in their life.
That being said, it’s not impossible to change someone’s mindset, but it will take a lot of time, effort, and patience.
Ideally, they need to seek professional help.
A therapist has a much better shot at changing the way they think by addressing the root of their problems.
As a friend, it’s more likely you can help them be more positive and open their eyes to the way they’re thinking but the victim mentality is a tough one to change.
Image credits – Photo by Spenser Sembrat on Unsplash
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.