Reject the Victim Mentality

By: Ken Keis

"We live in a society of victimization, where people are much more comfortable being victimized than actually standing up for themselves."
Marilyn Manson, Musician
1969 -

"The price of greatness is taking responsibility."
Sir Winston Churchill, British Politician
1874 - 1965

Reject the Victim Mentality. Take Personal Responsibility!

Victim: One who is acted on and usually adversely affected by a force or agent; one who is injured, destroyed, or sacrificed under any of various conditions; one who is subjected to oppression, hardship, or mistreatment; one who is tricked or duped.

Responsibility: The quality or state of being responsible; moral, legal, or mental accountability; reliable; trustworthy; something for which one is responsible.

Are you taking responsibility for your life and circumstances or are you playing the role of a victim?

Do you know individuals who are constantly playing the victim card -- blaming others and the world for their unfortunate circumstances?

Several activist groups would have you believe their entire group is oppressed and that they are ALL victims! Yes, some have a legitimate story that supports their situation -- but does that justify the victim mentality?

Absolutely not -- and hereís why!

When the victim card is played, the victim is trying to shift the onus for the condition of the person or group onto outside influences. That suggests the victim has played no role in creating the situation and that he or she has no power to change it.

That attitude plays perfectly into the victim mentality: After all, itís not the victimís fault, so he or she canít do anything about it.

In his book The Road Less Traveled, author Scott Peck identified that one of the most difficult character disorders to treat is where it is everyone elseís fault. The reason successful treatment is so challenging is that the individuals do not take personal responsibility for the contribution they are making to their own situation.

The motto of the victim-mentality mindset? Itís not my fault!

Although most of us are guilty of feeling that way at some level or another, we donít make it a way of life. Here are examples of victim mentality.

Watch who these individuals are blaming for their external conditions.

- My son felt he could not get good grades in math because of the teaching style of the teacher. We reframed the situation to show that no matter what, he is responsible for his marks. His math grade is now the highest in 2 years.

- Previous board members at our school said we could never grow the school, given the condition of the community and that most individuals could not afford private education. Obviously, the school was a victim of circumstances.

Now, that the victim-mentality individuals have left the board, we are on our way to 60% growth in just the past 12 months. I guess all the individuals who could not invest in private education moved out of the area in the past year.

- A local poverty-action group said that unless the government and the community put several initiatives in place, individuals could never get out of the cycle of poverty. So far, they have fulfilled their expectations and their poverty group continues to grow.

Note: This does not suggest new programs are not needed but this group is implying no one can get out of poverty without new programs.

- A very successful colleague in Chicago tells me that many of his friends still struggle and blame their race for their poor conditions. That did not stop him.

- It has been proven in research that your posture and the way you carry yourself reveal whether or not you are an easy target (victim). If you act like a victim, itís more probable that you will become one -- even just walking down the street.

- When confronted by a teenage mother-to-be who wanted support because she could no longer work, Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura suggested she should have thought about that before she got herself into that condition. He asked why the state should pay for other peopleís choices/mistakes.

- Over the past 5 years, my company has contracted three different marketing copywriters, all of whom did not work out for us. We started to play into the victim mindset, feeling sorry for ourselves and blaming everyone for this failure except ourselves. In the end, it was us that had to be held accountable. After all, we signed the contracts.

Iím sure you can think of examples where similar victim mindsets were evident.

Nothing positive or productive comes out of that attitude.

You are also a product of your environment and the company you keep.

Who are you are hanging out with? They are influencing your behaviors and mindset.

Be aware of your primary peer group(s). If you are spending most of your time interacting with individuals who like to blame others for their circumstances, guess which path you will be heading down.

Even if they are family members or long-term friends, donít play victim to the victim. Take personal responsibility and upgrade your circle of friends and peers.

Action Steps to Reject the Victim Mentality

1. When someone around you is constantly playing the victim card, how does that make you feel?
2. Think and make a list of the negative consequences of the victim mindset.
3. Is there any part of your life where you are currently playing the victim card? If Yes, list them now.
4. What has playing a victim cost you or others around you?
5. List what has to change for you to take personal responsibility for your current condition. What attitudes do you have to give up?
6. Are there people in your life who frequently play the victim card? How is that affecting you? What can you do to limit, reduce, or eliminate these individuals from your life?
7. List the benefits that individuals enjoy when they take personal responsibility for their circumstances.
8. To improve their circumstances, victims believe they must wait for others to act -- which might never happen. Alternatively, taking personal responsibility can happen this very instant, providing you the opportunity to improve and more forward.

Until next time, keep Living On Purpose,

Ken Keis

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Ken Keis, MBA, CPC, is an internationally known author, speaker, and consultant. He is President and CEO of CRG Consulting Resource Group International, Inc., Many professionals herald CRG as the Number One global resource center for Personal and Professional Development.

For information on CRG Resources, please visit

For information on Kenís Training and Speaking Programs, please visit

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