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How a Victim Mentality Impacts Addiction Recovery

Last Updated: November 10, 2022

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When things do not go the way you would like them to, it may be easy for you to feel sorry for yourself. Whether it is a bad day at work, a stressful time with a loved one or a fight with a friend, distressing situations can get the better of you and make it easy to get stuck in a mental and emotional rut.

While it is natural to respond to events like these in a negative way, doing so repeatedly may cause you to develop what is known as a “victim mentality” when things do not go your way, especially when particularly distressing and even traumatic events occur in your life.

Even worse, if you have a substance use disorder, this type of thinking can derail your efforts to stay on a path to addiction recovery.

What Is a Victim Mentality?

A victim mentality involves blaming others for bad things that happen to you. If you have a victim mentality, you believe that you bear no responsibility for negative things that come your way and that you are powerless to change your circumstances. This is particularly dangerous thinking if you have a substance use disorder.

How Does a Victim Mentality Perpetuate Addiction?

A victim mentality allows you to believe that things like substance misuse are beyond your control and that your situation is hopeless. That sense of helplessness and hopelessness can discourage you from reaching out for help.

How Can You Overcome a Victim Mentality?

The victim mentality is not a permanent mindset. You do have choices for managing your substance use disorder. You are not without resources to help you with your addiction recovery journey.

Here are some positive steps you can take today:

Be Conscious of the Need for Your Own Responsibility:

The first step in shedding a victim mentality is to acknowledge that you play a role in many things that happen in your life. Many aspects of your life can be changed with your intervention. Rather than encouraging others to feel sorry for you, be conscious of your own personal responsibility. This shift in your mindset can be empowering.

Make a List of Things You Can Control:

Jot down some of the things that you realistically know can be modified with your involvement. Once you have this list made, come up with ways to change some of the things you can control.

Acknowledge Your Emotions:

Odds are, you have probably been hurt in the past, which may have contributed to the development of a victim mentality and your addiction. Some previous negative event may have placed you in this position without you even realizing it.

Do not be ashamed of what happened to you. Validate your emotions surrounding it. At the same time, understand that this event is in the past and is not happening to you any longer. This can help you to move past it and avoid a victim mentality.

Where Can You Get Help For Addiction?

If you experience a substance use disorder, you can take steps today to start on your recovery journey. There are many local addiction treatment resources available to help you take control and work your way into recovery. Contact The Recovery Village Columbus to discuss ways to move forward.


Our Recovery Advocates are ready to answer your questions about addiction treatment and help you start your recovery.