Understanding Victim Mentality ~ a Key to Freedom


overcoming victim mentality

What is Victim Mentality? I was going to look it up and post a lovely clinical definition, but I thought it might be more effective to just write about what I have learned about it. The term “Victim Mentality” has such a nasty “feel” to it. It sounds like something awful, something that we don’t want to examine too closely, and we certainly don’t want to actually have it.

For many years I thought that victim mentality was when someone thought that they were hard done by, that they felt sorry for themselves, and that they made excuses for why they couldn’t have a great life because of something that was just too hard for them to accomplish or something too hard to get past. I did not think that I had victim mentality, but I also didn’t know what it was.  I thought a victim was someone that had been victimized, bullied, assaulted or otherwise traumatized, but also I thought a victim was someone who had been or would be looked down on or pitied. I thought someone with victim mentality felt sorry for themselves. I was getting self pity and victim mentality mixed up. I have a very different understanding of what victim mentality really is, today.

It is believed by many that victim mentality is focusing on what you haven’t got, waiting for things to happen instead of making them happen, finding excuses, blaming others, and other things related to those concepts.  For anyone struggling with depression, overcoming abuse, trauma and the resulting low self esteem from all that, this list doesn’t help at all. This list won’t get anyone closer to any solutions. It tells me what NOT to be without addressing the issue of HOW I got there in the first place. I spent years before I really faced my issues, just trying to BE positive; focusing on never having, doing or feeling any of the things on that list. One of the most dangerous results from trying to change my attitude before I knew where it came from was that I learned to take the blame; I learned to be accountable for the mistreatment that I was dealt. I adopted the “positive attitude” that I was responsible for my results, and therefore if I got treated like crap, this backed up the idea I already had; that it was my own fault!

That kind of accountability led me to believe what the abusers taught me in the first place; that I deserved it!

 I ended up in a serious and chronic series of depressions.

I realized in my process of emerging from broken into fullness and wholeness, that I had victim mentality all over the place in my life but not exactly the kind of victim mentality that is commonly understood.  

My understanding of victim mentality today is;

~believing that If someone doesn’t seem to like me, it is my fault. (and that it is up to me to make them like me)

~When someone says something nasty to me, I think that I have done something to offend them and that I did something to deserve the offensive treatment.

~believing that if I try harder, the abuser will love me and stop hurting me emotionally, physically spiritually or sexually. (accepting that being hurt by them is my fault.)

~believing that the success of the relationship with another person is totally up to me. Not realizing that I believe they can have boundaries, but I can’t.

~believing that love is something that I can earn by being who someone else wants me to be, and spending my energy trying to figure out who that is and spinning about just what they want me to do.

~Not considering my own feelings, hopes and dreams or that I can fulfill them; expecting them to be fulfilled by someone else~ and doing all of the above to try and make that happen. 

~and one of the most important points of all… Victim mentality is when I think that I can’t make any changes unless THEY say that I can.

Positive thinking was something that came in really handy and made a positive difference AFTER I sorted out the foundation of the problem. When I understood victim mentality in this new way, I was able to sort things out from a different perspective which was a big key to overcoming the past.

Keeping in mind that this is not an exercise in negative self talk or in adding shame or guilt to our already sensitive belief systems, and in the spirit of empowering each other, will you consider adding to this list of what victim mentality really is and or what it really isn’t to you?

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time!                                                    

Darlene Ouimet

Related posts ~ I organized my world around Trauma and Abuse

                           Victim Mentality (what happened to Prince Charming?)

                           Avoiding Feelings ~ The root cause

Categories : Freedom & Wholeness



Freedom :: Emerging From Broken on Lost in the Fog …help how do get out of this fog? It is very hard to even concentrate on reading .Asking my dr to switch anti depressants really isn’t the answer I do not think . I am also going through menopause , and it is a little harder . I am 48, and I can not live where have been . I cant..


Hi Pam,
I am sorry that you are having such a struggle. In this blog I write about how I found my way out of the fog. Each post is a little snap shot of how I emerged out of that dark world of struggle and depression and a few other mental health issues that I have had. I was in my fourties also when I really embraced this healing journey ~ I encourage you to read a few more posts here, read some comments too, there is a lot of sharing going on in this blog. It is becomming somewhat of a “community”. It isn’t a quick fix, the process takes time, but all we need to begin, is to begin.
I am glad that you are here,
Love Darlene


Thank you, Darlene – that was beautifully written. I love it!

And then I will add; there is a time for everything. As you said; the positive affirmations and all that are good – but it’s not where you start. It’s like glossing over something before washing the grime off.

We were taught to be this way; groomed to be victims. THEY did it. But WE have to take it back. They are not going to give it to us.

And to be able to do that, we have to allow ourselves to put blame where it belongs, to be angry at them, to feel sorry for ourselves, ’cause it was horrible and it has been hard and painful and all that. But here we are – obviously still alive after reading this – and now it’s our turn to have the same insight, understanding and compassion for self that we have for others. Our turn to be selfish, set boundaries. It takes practise – se at first it all might be rigid and we will even hurt others at times; but we are also ALLOWED to FAIL – and get back up and do it again. It does not make us bad people – we are beginners at life. Have patience with self. There is a child in that grown body, that we have to help. He/she deserves the attention that we, as human beings think all children should get. We deserve everything we wish for others.

And believe me; almost everyone on this planet was abused some way or another – because that is the nature of the beast we live in.

Anyway, Darlene – you are a beautiful human being and I am glad to know you.


I love what Tyler Perry said on Oprah last week. “what you feed will grow, but what you do not feed will starve.” That quote has stuck in my head and I began to realize why. If I stay focused on what I can NOT change and allow the blame game to go on I will never get anywhere! I have to believe in myself and those that love me that healing is available to me…I just need to feed the RIGHT things in order to grow…not the negative things said to me and done to me…focusing on the terrible/brutal only starves me…it’s helpful when you are feeling and releasing but (for me) NOT when I stay stuck. Hope this makes sense…it does to me anyways! I have found that when I focus on what I have rather then what was taken away from me and allow myself to feel painful memories and gently let them go that this is what healing is. After a little over a year of having terrible flashbacks and nightmares….today I get it! Hope new healing waves keep opening my eye’s and help me!


I LOVE this comment ~ I love so much of it that I recommended that the readers of the facebook page for EFB come over here to the blog to read it! (and I am going to quote you later today!) My favorite part is where you say “and now it’s our turn to have the same insight, understanding and compassion for self that we have for others. Our turn to be selfish, set boundaries. It takes practice – se at first it all might be rigid and we will even hurt others at times; but we are also ALLOWED to FAIL – and get back up and do it again. It does not make us bad people”
Thank you so much for this contribution Anne.. it is the perfect addition to this blog post!
hugs, Darlene

KATHY!! (I am yelling in excitement!) Yes Yes Yes!!!
This makes MEGA sense! and this is another huge contribution to the content in my blog post here today! Thank you so much for sharing. I am sure that a lot of others are going to read your comment and benefit from it!
Thanks so much for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you, Darlene; you inspired the words. 😉


Wow, Darlene, Great Blog!!

I remember starting on my road to healing and all the books I read talked about the victim. It was so stinking depressing. I didn’t feel like there was much hope, but I was going to do everything I could to NOT be a victim.

You spelled it out beautifully and with such understanding. Thank you so much for getting the truth out!!!



Wow if you didn’t JUST describe how I see myself, I don’t think anyone has ever come so close of a job like this. All my life I been like what you described in your understandin of “vicgim mentality” is. Still tday I try to get those that hate me, to like me, I try to do nice things in hopes they’ll like me whether or not I like myself. I also feel bad when someone says somethin mean or nasty to me OR about me, I try to figure what I did wrong to that person and then try to make amends or beat up on myself for bein bad b/c if I can’t change their opinion of me then I deserve how ever they want to treat me. Growin up w/the childhood I did, I always tried my best to please those who hurt me even if it meant doin things I didn’t like b/c I wanted them to love me and i’d go to measures just to get an “I love you” from any of’m but…it never came. My first marriage as abusive and I felt it my fault b/c I believed the system of ya grow up abused you’ll end up w/an abuser again and I did so I was at fault for choosin the guy who I married. I was at fault for allowin him to hold a gun to my head and pull the trigger only to hear it click for his thrill, I, me…myself was to blame he said b/c I wasn’t a good wife to him as I didn’t do as he told me to. And love, what is it was always my question. When ya say “I love you” it should be felt and meant but w/me it was after my childhood when i’d finally hear those words and then they only meant I had to give somethin in return to be loved, no matter what. My feelins….what feelins…they didn’t exist for a very lng long time b/c I didn’t exist, I was nothin, I wasn’t who I should of been to those who abused me, I was instead their pawn so in order for me to love, I had to give of myself first and I don’t know why I’m tellin this b/c today I hate ME. I hate fact I allowed things to happen to me as a child and I hate fact I married into abuse back then but most of all…today…I live in NO abuse, yet only in memory when haunts me daily. I think I need to hush I’m sorry


[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Darlene Ouimet, patriciasinglet. patriciasinglet said: RT @DarleneOuimet: Key to emotional healing ~ understanding victim mentality ~ esp. what it ISN'T http://tinyurl.com/296m756 […]


I guess I didn’t see myself as a victim because much was entrenched into my multiple being. Don’t know if you have blogged about the narcissistic wound but many with DID have it. When we think just about everything is our fault. On 9/11, watching the towers fall, somewhere inside I felt I must have been connected to that horror. Now that I know I was trained to think that way, I have been able to mostly work past it. But when I fall into a dark place or am tired or not well, my healed walls seem to have cracks and leaks.

Yesterday when I was feeling so like the world would be better off without me, I felt like “needing” Brian was me being a victim. I realize after reading your post that was healthy…looking for help/support.

It also just kind of struck me today that since 2007 when my health and mental state got kicked to the gutter, I’ve never quite recovered. Am working on it. So have been survivor with a lot of healing knowledge but not always able to implement it.

This isn’t exactly related to your post but it’s where my brain went after reading it. Thanks, Darlene.


Thank you for defining victomization. I, like you, had it wrong until now.


Patty H ~
Oh I had forgotten about all those books! Back then I accepted everything anyway, so I didn’t even notice stuff like that at the time. Everything that I came across got me hoping that I had found the answer! But then I was so disappointed when it wasn’t really an answer.. just more information.
Thanks Patty!!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Jackie,
I am really glad that this resonated with you Jackie and thank you for sharing some of your journey with us today. I just wanted to point out to you what you did in this lovely heartfelt share ~ to shed some light on what so many of us do or used to do. You got going along pretty good exposing the abusers in your life. Then suddenly you switched, and blamed yourself. If you read your post over again, you will see the progression. Here is where it happens: You say ” I was instead their pawn so in order for me to love, I had to give of myself first and I don’t know why I’m tellin this b/c today I hate ME. I hate fact I allowed things to happen to me as a child and I hate fact I married into abuse back then ……” and you end with “I think I need to hush I’m sorry” Jackie, sweetheart, you didn’t allow anything to happen to you as a child ~YOU had no choice in the matter. Then we are groomed for abuse, we are used to it, we believe that it is “the way it is” and we get into all kind of other abusive situations and relationships. SO.. you don’t need to hush at all, and you don’t need to be sorry! I am glad that you are here, sharing this stuff and getting it out!
Thank you for this post. I hope that you don’t mind me pointing this progression out ~ it will benefit so many other readers, because this is exactly what we do to ourselves and it keeps us down in the pit, right where those old abusers wanted us to be.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Maggie,
I don’t know when I began to see myself as a victim.. maybe when I started to recover. =) I know many others without DID that have the narcissistic wound too ~ I think it very often goes with the territory; becomes part of our package… because YES ~ we are trained to think this way. All victims are groomed to not fight, not tell, not realize that what is happening is so terribly wrong….
You know Maggie, sometimes my healing walls have leaks too; I try not to sweat it and just go with the flow of my own journey. It is okay for us to have those days!
Thanks for being here and sharing your journey and for your honesty.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Chris,
I had this wrong for so long ~ but realizing it was such a boost to my getting on the right road to thriving instead of just surviving!
Hugs, Darlene


Wow, I see so much of myself in this post.

People use the word ‘victim’ as if it’s a really bad thing to be a victim. I know it’s been used so much against me over the years, especially in Christian circles – “stop being a victim”, “stop talking like a victim” etc. All of which added shame and guilt to someone who was a victim not of her own choosing and so desperately wanted to find a way through all the hurt, shame, pain and guilt. Only to have more piled on to her shoulders.

I would agree that self pity and a victim mentality are 2 totally different things, you can have self pity without having a victim mentality.

I think I would add to the list –

believing that this was my lot in life
believing there is no hope for me because I’m too damaged
believing the lies of so many Christians that I am too much of a mess to be used by God
believing that everything bad that happens is MY fault and MY fault alone


Hi Fi,
YES! love your additions to the list. (I got a particular jolt out of the one “believing the lies of so many Christians that I am too much of a mess to be used by God” Ya.. I can relate! When I realized the victim mentality definition that I believed vs. what the truth really is, I was kind of ANGRY! The old ways that we are taught to think, really mess people up! Since we are already messed up, it is like adding another layer of impossible to the whole picture. My goal is to help people undo some of those layers by talking about this stuff!
Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I always love your insight!
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene; this post and the comments are so insightful….I have to read and reread. Much good stuff here…I’ll be back:)


Wow wow wow wow so greatful to have conected to this page 🙂 you ladies are all such insperations i feel hope again <3


“This list won’t get anyone closer to any solutions. It tells me what NOT to be without addressing the issue of HOW I got there in the first place.”

This sentence says it all, Darlene. Others were very very good at defining me. Telling me that I was being a victim, stop being so depressing to be around, telling me I was “codependent”, looking for others to fix my problems….and the only solution I was given – even in “therapy” and in direct words from the psychiatrist on more than one occasion was this: we all have to figure it out for ourselves.

And what I figured out is what you describe; when I knew what being a victim “looked like” then I could identify what NOT being a victim might look like and purpose to find my way out of this learned mindset.

It was as if others believed I was intentionally resisting “help” but those around me were telling me I was drowning and to “stop drowning” – but no one was throwing me the life ring so I could pull myself out and most definitely no one was on the other end pulling me to shore to help me get there. It was as though I was being told to stop drowning while my rescuers were pushing me under. And there were times I wanted to give up because it was a struggle to do this kind of work with this kind of “help” around me. But it was when I changed directions under the water and swam away from this is when I was finally able to come up for air and begin to see the light above the water.

Great post!


Susan said: “And there were times I wanted to give up because it was a struggle to do this kind of work with this kind of “help” around me. But it was when I changed directions under the water and swam away from this is when I was finally able to come up for air and begin to see the light above the water.”

Yes – it’s about ‘changing directions’ – someone once defined insanit as; to keep repeating something and expecting different results each time.

It’s very hard to break patterns “no one promised you a rosegarden” – and a lot of us has had it so hard that we DO want someone else to magically change everything. Why do we have to do the hard work, when something horrid was done to us that caused this mess in the first place? Well; that’s just how it is. Doesn’t mean no one will help – like that one on the other end of the rope, helping pull you up – or atleast shouting something encouraging across the waters… lol – we really do need that. No man is an island. But sometimes we simply don’t see the help, because we keep going in the other direction – towards what we know. And what we know is abuse.

So one good way to get started is to do just ONE thing different each day. Even if just literally walking down a new street. Because it’s all baby-steps. Don’t be impatient with self. It will happen. I know I am not where I was 10 years ago.

This forum is a ‘helping hand’ – a rope to the drowning. Use it.

Much love to all of us !


Anne; I really appreciate how you’ve found your way and can share how you’ve found what worked for you. I think part of the idea behind this post for me was in being convinced that I was not making any progress because just wasn’t “doing” it right ie: the way others told me to do it. This is where I was drowning.

In order to swim away I had to first believe that I could. I had to remove myself from those who were telling me and reinforcing that all the bad in my life was my fault and that I wasn’t getting “better” because of course something was wrong with me – not their “help”.

So I agree – the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but in order to find what worked for me I had to get away from those who first defined me as incapable and then I had to see that my issues were buried not in what I was doing…but in what I was believing about myself and the lies I’d been told.


I’ve stayed away from this (and other) blogs for many months because I’ve felt like I have nothing new to share and no new insights to offer. I still feel that way. But this post is so perfectly how I feel. And I continue to feel this way, even as I get older and KNOW the steps I need to take to get better…I still stay stuck in this victim mentality…only instead of blaming others I constantly blame myself. I agree with the person that says what you feed will grow and what you starve will starve. I just don’t know how to stop looking at my life and seeing all the things I got (and continue to get) wrong. Every time I think of taking steps to really improve my life…I am overcome with exhaustion. And rather than ADMIT that and perhaps move through it, I run away. I stop looking in on helpful blogs. I stop going out and doing things that feed my own soul. I do the things that will keep me stuck and can’t seem to take the steps to make progress. Don’t want to be a downer. Don’t want to be so needy. But there it is.


Hi Darlene;
Hope you don’t mind me asking you, but here’s the situation. I have a special needs son who was abused by his paternal grandfather for at least 3 years.Evidently, he never abused his own 2 boys when they were young.
After his incarceration, he broke his probation and was sentenced again. We first learned of the abuse in 2001 when my son was 14. Now, my inlaws, and husband think that for the sake of ‘family’, there is no reason why my father in law cannot be around my son at holidays, birthdays, coffee, etc as long as a parent is with him. Afterall, he visits his othere 2 young grandchildren regularly with his wife. I have been going to counselling and am at the point now where I am adamant about my son not seeing his grandfather at all. My son says it is not my place to make that decision for him, but I think it is. I also think that he is at an age where he is trying to assert his independance. The problem is, am I nuts? Why is this such an uphill battle. I just don’t understand my husband’s thinking and it’s really becoming an issue. Is it just my issue? Could you direct me to some literature or anything that would help? Thanks,K.


I can so re-late to you feeling exhausted. It is hard work but I have finally put my foot down and said, I’m in charge, I’m doing this work so myself and children and my husband have a better life in our future. That is my motivation! It’s so easy to give up and stay stuck and it’s even harder to get out of that place when you feel there is no escape. But there is, I can’t explain it, but there is! I’m in the beginning steps of that escape but I tell you once you get over this slump and believe you deserve healing and strive for it it just naturally begin’s to happen! I’ve had leaps of progress just in a few days because I refuse to NO LONGER let my abuser’s have power over me. I’m a survivor…they took my childhood but HELL if I’m going to let that destroy the rest of my life!
Hang in there…


Hi Lisa,
It isn’t really about “blame” but that is the only word we have. I had to place the “blame” where it belonged as a stepping stone OUT of darkness. Victim mentality has a lot to do with blaming ourselves and that is because it is so familiar to blame ourselves. The way that I learned how to stop looking at my life and seeing all the things I got wrong, was to go back and see how my belief system formed in the first place. (I have written a lot of posts about this subject complete with snapshots of how I realized how it formed) It is exhausting Lisa.. so take your time, but try not to abandon the journey and try not to stop nourishing your own soul. I think putting this out here is a good step.
Hang in there.. and by the way, it doesn’t matter if you have anything new to share or not… this is about YOUR journey.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Karen;
There are a lot of dynamics to your question. I can give you my opinion, (and my opinion is in absolute agreement with yours) but I really can’t go farther then that. What does your counselor suggest? I don’t think that this is just your issue at all. This is a very big issue for many. I am really sorry that I can’t be more help than this Karen.
Hugs, Darlene


I hope you don’t mind me sharing from my perspective about your situation with your son and his grandfather. I agree with you that just because your father-in-law has been released from prison or because he’s older or because your son is older, that doesn’t mean your son is safe around him. I hear of so many victims being abused while in the presence of others, so that is no protection– especially when those who are willing to help “stand guard” are the very ones who think it’s a good idea to put the convenience of the rest of the family over your son. When there is incest in the family, without even meaning to sometimes, family members keep the cycle going. Good for you for standing your ground.


Darlene, I found what you said in responses & on here to be true for me. The only way for me to “Cross A Bridge” from Past to Present was to FACE what I’m up against, & CARE ENOUGH About Myself & My Need For Healing & A Genuine “Free To Be Me” Life ahead, was to Give Myself the Freedom To Search. As I found out, there’s been lots of ‘buckin’ & judgements made from some friends, but mainly from family members; however we all have our “own shoes” to walk with, and we have to keep MOVING forward as we look back. In The Long Run, if we can find the strength to Value Ourselves Enough (not so easily done), & let others know that we need time & their patience & cooperation, while we make this seemingly very long walk, then we can Start Walking Forward & Not Push Away or Run Away from our hurts. We need to BELIEVE IN OURSELF & “TRUST” that if we take time possibly away from family & friends (if need be), FACE what we’ve gone through, see our strength to have survived, and “Take The Walk” to Discover A Place where we are “Kept Nice & Safe & Warm.” IT’S OUR LOVE, what seemed to have been Lost or Taken, but is Found. We are “FAR BETTER” for taking the time & energy to “Search.” And most likely our family & friends will sense that warm discovery inside us, and be far better off for our Amazing Efforts. By the way, That Newfound Strength of SEEING & HOLDING OUR LOVE Just keeps “Rippling Out” to others around, like you Darlene & some other special friends have done for me. We just might learn to Give Ourself A Hug & TREASURE Our Within. We just have to take a very long walk to find a way to “Throw Out the Trash.” We really no longer need “That Way” to Survive. There’s something FAR BETTER To Guide Us along our way, and Lighten Our Load. Perhaps many cannot Understand this, but It’s Our Own Lighthouse Within Us All that we need to “Search For.” When we discover or Finally SEE that One Truly Exists, not a mirage or dream, then we just might discover that the Same Light We See is Found or Comes From WITHIN Us, Our Very Own Lighthouse, One where we can Trust Others to “Refuel” our generators, when our Light runs low. It’s Learning To TRUST Others to be willing to Offer Their Love that will keep us “Moving Along” With Our Light’s Shining Brightly, giving others A WAY or “GUIDE” To follow through their own darkness. If we can just try to Believe that there’s that Good Light somewhere out there in the darkness, perhaps unseen, but Try to Move Forward, giving a little Trust that there is Something Good Out there, then we just may Reach Our Goal (not the end of our road) to find WHAT WE NEED to “Move On Down Our Highways,” with Peace, Love, Understanding, & Happiness “On Our Side.” OUR OWN INDIVIDUAL, WONDERFULLY LOVELY “LIGHTHOUSE” WITHIN: OUR LOVE.


Great post, Darlene! Thanks.



Hi Dar, Welcome to the blog!
Thank you so much for your positive and upbeat sharing! I especially love the stuff about “the lighthouse within us” I love that whole analogy and the imagery that you have created with it. This is a wonderful and inspirational comment!
Thanks for being here!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Tracy, thanks!!


This is a fabulous collection of comments.Its helping me alot.

I really realate to darlene’s earlier blog post about being in a fog, first of all, because ealy on i didn’t even see myself as having been abused. I just thought I was a failure and everyone else ‘got it’ rearding how to live life, but me.

Even after I realized what abuse was, I thought it was just my boyfriend who was abusive, never anyone in my family. our family just had series of ‘tragedies’. I could not bring myself for many years to accept that my FAMILY was abusive.

I could not see the areas where my family discounted and discreditted me on the one hand and then told me I was just an underachiever who needed to ‘try harder’ on the other.I literally nelieved they were ok, and I was defective. The harder I tried to look and be ‘normal’the worse my anxieties became. I was terified of failing and soon figured out if I just gave up and accepted that I qas a loser I got more relief from expectations I could never hope to live up to.

Then came the therapist who told me what abuse was. ‘But it wasn’t that bad,’ I told her. ‘Yes, it WAS that bad’, she said.

She told me I didn’t know who I was and that scared me. If I didn’t know who I was I didn’t really know who my family was either. I was confused about myself AND my family for a long time.

I was terrified to believe my family was abusive, because that meant that I had NO one in this world who loved me.I was alone.I couldn’t handle that thought.I am sure this is why my denial was so strong. it originated on the very first day of my life.Denial was survival. I went in and out of this thinking(denial) for years.

I stopped going to that great counsellor because she got into metaphysical stuff that made me uncomfortable, things like Reiki and energy healing.

In therapy later with different therapists I got the idea that I was supposed to figure thing out on my own. I didn’t have a clue where to start or what to do, and that was why I was going- I needed help, but I figured for a long time I just didn’t know how to do therapy right either.

My inability to accept the truth about my family, my mom, and later my sister, caused me to try to trust them even more, to prove to myself that they were NOT abusive, caused much of the later problems I had with them regarding my daughter and our church situation, and being stalked by my mother’s friend.And of course the abusive men I latched on to.

I would talk to mom and my sister. I tried to connect but it was like nailing jello to a wall: no one ever was accountable for anything they said or did, or orchestrated…’Why Elizabeth, you must be imagining things’. I finally said to my sister once,’No one in this family EVER knows anything, especially about things they have said or done, or been involved in, WHY is that?” She just looked at me and smiled and said she had ‘no idea.’ ‘I have no idea’ was the phrase I heard most from her and my mother in the last ten years, more than any other.

At times I almost was convinced I WAS crazy.No validation, or honesty in the family, a few counsellors who wanted me to figure things out on my own.The truth was like a shell game. I knew inside eventually I was in a really bad situation but I could never put my finger on what my problem was, because of my own denial,and the denial of alot of people around me.I almost gave up again and decided I was just hopeless.

My own daughter was being trained to believe I was mean to my mother,my sister was telling people I was abusive to her AND mom, AND nuts. I really felt like I was in an Alfred Hitchcock movie a good part of the time dealing with this. How do you prove you are not doing or being something you aren’t doing in the first place?

And why did the people I loved WANT other people to see me this way? And to tell ME I was this way? What if they were right about me and I just couldn’t see it?? It devastated me.And later enraged me that this was done to me.

I think my attempts at recovery upset the screwed up system and they were trying to put me back in my place.

So following the threads back to where the lies started has been very rocky emotionally. There has been no emotionsl honesty or accountability or attempts at rationsl discussion in our family, and now that I have stopped hoping for it things have been bette.

I do have a victim mentality in Darlene’s definition. I never had any other mentality. I really truly had been raised as the family scapegoat. Everyone in the family accepted it, even me.I hate that. I had no other real identity in my family.
Even my daughter was infected with this from being around my mom.

I like everything written here, and Anne, Darlene and Susan and so many others are so validating and honest.

I recently saw a psychiatrist for meds, because I was really having a terrible time. I related to him about the stalking and he wrote it down, and said,’well we may have some paranoia going on’. I was stunned. Now its in my permanent record.After what I went through during and after being stalked, being called ‘paranoid’ is not what my recovery is going to be about. I won’t be back to see this dr.

I took the meds for a time but am trying natural things and other techniques to deal with the panic and anxiety.I think my nervous system is unbalanced because of stress and worry.

Baby steps is just fine for me.


Thank you all for your kind comments and encouragement. I will try to keep coming back here to find people who can “see” me for who I truly am.

Elizabeth, your post resonated so much with me. I too went to the therapist (and others) and said the abuses was not so bad. And when I hear others’ stories (even here), I still believe it wasn’t. So many people went through so much worse. But I know that believing that continues to diminish my own experience and invalidate it. See? I don’t need other people to invalidate me. I do it fine on my own! Anyway, thanks for your honesty. I hope you find the help you need.


Wow.. this is packed full of conclusions~ great comments.
You bring me back to the time when I had NO clue that I was in any abusive relationships either. That was the depth of the fog.
A few things I want to comment on about your share… when you said “Then came the therapist who told me what abuse was. ‘But it wasn’t that bad,’ I told her. ‘Yes, it WAS that bad’,” ~ well GOOD for YOU! you are right about that.
You said that you didn’t know how to do therapy ~ well who does. It is the therapists JOB to lead the way on that one and some are way better at it then others!
When the Dr. said to you that you are paranoid! ~ that is really terrible and seriously NOT helpful.. SO glad to hear that you won’t be going back to that Dr.! Elizabeth, I am so glad that you are getting all this clarity now and sharing your breakthroughs here!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Lisa
I have a huge issue with therapists who tell people “It’s not that bad” That is one of the MOST damaging things that a person can be told especially by someone who we see as in authority. That makes me sick! My therapist visibly reacted when I told him what I thought was the most minor of the abusive things that had happened to me. That was when I knew I could trust him not to invalidate me! I am so glad you are here now!
Hugs, Darlene


Great post,I agree with Susan- believing in yourself, & getting away from the people who corrupt you



This clarifies a whole bunch, explaining why I STILL think,at 62 that unless I have the green light from my hubby, I cannot do anything…it’s not him who says that,, it is my birth father’s voice I always hear, his negative head shaking.. it is him..
The only thing he really was , is the one who procreated me.. he never was a dad..a poppa…


Hi Vivian,
Thanks for sharing your breakthrough! This is exactly what I am talking about! Yay for you!
Hugs, Darlene


[…] conflicted with something he had said in a prior conversation. (first RED FLAG covered with my own victim mentality) He said that he had never been married and then in a later conversation he said he was involved in […]


wow this hits my situation squarely in the face at the mo. it is so hard for people to accept responsibility for their actions, but where the reactions started might be the place to start, my head is all over the place at the moment and im not makign much sense at all to myself and all because a certain situation has decided that i am to blame and i am nasty and negative ohh, anyways this just rubs in the way i have always been treated by my birth family and to have a secure place to learn how to behave has now become a place where i am scrutinized and every word watched for tone n content. makes me wana curl up n not move for days, and it is gettin worse as the hubby really doesnt understand what i am going thro n is telliing me to shut up about things cos others really dont wana listen to me anymore, this whole mess makes me feel like crying all the time which is really hard, as tears were so forbidden when i was smll that it still is hard for me to let them fall


Carol, I can so relate to your comment – tears were so forbidden when I was a kid too that I find it very hard to let them fall too. I learned from a tiny age not to cry or show any emotion because that just made them make it worse. If I did cry I was mocked, belittled, openly made fun of. I survived by watching every word, every intonation, every mood, every look, second guessing whether I was going to get a look or find myself flying across the room for nothing at all. I’m slowly beginning to accept my tears and not be ashamed of them. I’m slowly beginning to allow the tears out. I’m slowly beginning to realise that emotions are ok and nothing to be ashamed of. I’m slowly beginning to realise that I’m not as bad as they made out. I’m slowly realising ‘me’ is ok and there is a way through all this.


[…] mental health support and through this blog I have noticed a significant pattern when it comes to this issue of self blame. People can describe an abusive event in their childhoods and sometimes they can agree that it was […]


Just want to say that I love how you defined this. Brilliant.


I am a people pleaser because of my victim mentality. Always wanting to be liked so bad by someone that I would do anything for anyone to have someone “like me” … then I would fall into the victim roll once again. It is like I had a sign on my forehead that said abuse me.


Hi Invisible 321,
great to see you! I was exactly like that too and when I learned to love me, to take care of me and to see my own value, I didn’t fall into that anymore! That was ‘freedom!’
Thanks for your comments!
Hugs, Darlene


New post on Emerging from Broken~ “Repairing Self Trust and breaking the pattern of letting myslef down” […] The belief (in a nutshell is) that if I do what someone else wants, (more for them than for me) I will be rewarded! (Victim […]


~believing that love is something that I can earn by being who someone else wants me to be, and spending my energy trying to figure out who that is and spinning about just what they want me to do.

Oh GAWD, this is my entire life! I tried to tell mom that this is the “pretending” I have done, and all I get is that it’s my fault, not hers.


I see that most of this blog is from 2010, but I have just been given the term “victim mentality”. I never dreamed it would fit. I have done quite a bit of reading in the last few days. I was raised the “people pleaser”, but never gave it a second thought. I figured that all “nice” people are taken advantage of. I am ready to begin my journey to recovery and have so much work to do, but i want you to know that your understand and definition fit me to a “T”! Everything else ive read seemd a bit vague and not quite right. Thank you for sharing!!


Hi Christine,
Welcome to Emerging from broken
There is lots more info about this subject in this site. (this website is very active and there are over 400 articles with discussions right up to the present day.)
The more you read the more clarity you will find. YAY that you are ready to begin your journey to recovery!
hugs, Darlene

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