Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on December 15, 2020

14 Clear Signs Someone Is Always Playing the Victim

14 Clear Signs Someone Is Always Playing the Victim

How many of us have blamed our little sister or brother for breaking a family heirloom? How many of us have pointed the finger at our co-worker for screwing something up at work? Playing the victim is something many of us have done without even realizing it.

Unfortunately, playing the victim rarely gets anybody what they want. Furthermore, people that believe they are victims tend to push friends, family, and coworkers away.

Let’s look at 14 signs that someone is playing the victim card and what they need to do instead.

1. They Don’t Take Responsibility

When playing the victim, a person will refuse to take responsibility for the circumstance that they are in. Instead, they point the finger to make others feel guilty, or simply ignore their role in perpetuating the problem.

What’s the remedy here? Every circumstance, situation, and event in their life offers the victim an opportunity for growth. They may not be completely responsible for what has occurred, but they can always ask if they contributed somehow.

Asking this question invites a person to be responsible, mature, and cooperative. Plus, it will help them avoid similar situations in the future.

2. They Are Frozen in Their Life

Victims believe that they are at the mercy of everyone and everything around them. Usually, a victim will not make progress or advance in their life because they perceive that they are powerless. As a result, their life is stagnant.

If you were to ask them why, they would respond by giving you a laundry list of reasons why they are stuck. The real sticking point here is that the victim will not usually tell you what they plan to do about their lack of progress in life.

Advertising

In order to fix this, the so-called victim needs to see that small behaviors or changes in their attitude can reap big rewards. Try to help them make a list of small, achievable steps they can take towards a goal in their life. Hold them accountable and ask them to hold themselves accountable, too, in order to get them out of the role of victim.

3. They Hold Grudges

The victim likes to hang onto old grievances and make other people feel bad about their actions. They carry these around like weapons, just in case anyone ever tries to hold them accountable for something. A victim will bring up old memories and events in which they were probably legitimately hurt, but they use them as reasons why they can’t make changes to their attitude, their life, or their circumstances in the present.

To move forward and stop playing the victim, people engaging in this behavior need to see that keeping grudges is only holding them down. The victim needs to recognize that freeing others of blame is actually returning all power and self-control back to the victim.

4. They Have Trouble Being Assertive

The victim does not truly believe they can control their life, so they struggle to state what they need, desire, or deserve. The victim’s life will usually involve repeating patterns of submissiveness and passivity. This pattern is detrimental to self-esteem and personal development. The victim generally fails to break this pattern and suffers from potential anxiety or depressive disorders.

What’s the remedy here? A first recommendation is to seek help from a professional psychologist, counselor, or life coach. This is a chance for the victim to turn the direction of their life around.

Ultimately, learning to be assertive is not a quick fix[1]. It will take time, practice, learning, failing, and trying over and over. In the end, however, he/she will no longer feel that gnawing sense of powerlessness and self-pity that has kept them down for so long.

You can learn more on improving assertive communication skills here.

5. They Feel Powerless

This could be a shadow behavior, meaning that the victim does not outwardly show that they feel powerless. Instead, the victim will try to be manipulative, coercive, and underhanded in getting what they need.

Advertising

You may have dealt with someone experiencing this kind of powerlessness. Usually, the victim is someone that is suspicious of others, feels insecure, and is constantly needing to know the latest gossip while playing the victim.

As an outsider, do not play the game with them. Stay away from the game of sharing gossip, listening to their stories of manipulation, or engaging with their stories of insecurity. Let them know you’re there to support them and to listen to them, but not to contribute to their feeling of powerlessness.

6. They Don’t Trust Others

This issue is not only a problem of not trusting others. This is a problem of the victim not believing they are trustworthy themselves. The victim makes the assumption that other people are exactly like them: untrustworthy.

To help this issue, the victim must examine the evidence. There are trustworthy people in the world and people that want the best for you. It is the job of the victim to begin revising their old assumptions about people instead of always playing the victim.

7. They Don’t When Enough Is Enough

In relationships, victims have no sense of limits. They don’t know when to say enough is enough. They have a hard time creating boundaries, both for themselves and others.

To begin fixing this, boundaries are crucial. What is the maximum they are willing to take in a relationship, or in any given situation? It is the responsibility of the victim to decide these boundaries for themselves.

If you are a friend or loved one, you should also set boundaries with the “victim.” Decide how much of their victim behavior you’re willing to put up with before you bow out.

8. They Argue a Lot

The victim has trouble choosing their battles. To them, every battle is a war. They feel that they are under attack all the time and have a hard time realizing that not everything is about them.

Advertising

What’s the remedy here? The victim needs to realize that a difference of opinion or a piece of criticism is not necessarily about them. It could very well be about the other person. The victim must recognize they have a choice over whether they allow themselves to enter into petty arguments and decide what it’s worth to them.

9. They Feel Self-Pity

Victims have a habit of pitying themselves. Their mirror reflects a defenseless child that cannot fend for itself. Since other people do not usually show them sympathy or empathy, they try to give it to themselves, only to potentially appear immature to others. This further traps them and keeps them playing the victim.

The victim needs to recognize that all people have tough days and experience bad events. Even the luckiest people experienced unfortunate events. S/he must learn to avoid thinking that they are the only person in the world that has experience sad, difficult, or unfair circumstances[2].

10. They Constantly Compare Themselves to Others

The victim usually struggles with the habit of comparing themselves to others negatively. The truth is that we are all lacking in some respect compared to others, so it will always be easy to engage in this behavior or train of thought.

In order to improve this, the victim needs to change their view. They must recognize that they have good qualities and likely have experienced privileges, too. This will also help their mental health overall. 

11. They See Life as Always Lacking

Even when something good happens, the victim will seek out what’s lacking or what’s missing. The victim will complain about complaining, and then complain that they can’t stop complaining.

Instead, they should count their blessings, The victim needs to treasure each good thing in their life and develop a new habit of being positive and optimistic through gratitude. They should aim to be the most thankful and hopeful person they can be.

12. They Are Critical

The victim has a need to put others down and find fault in people in order to feel good about themselves. By doing these things, they get a fleeting sense of superiority by playing the victim.

Advertising

What’s the remedy here? The victim should take all their energy and use it to build others up. This will reflect back on them in a positive way, too.

13. They Think They Are Perfect

Ironically, when there is a chance that a victim could be caught in an error, they suddenly become perfect. This arrogance and narcissism closes the victim off from having truly trustworthy and cooperative relationships.

Instead of thinking this way, they need to remove the word “perfect” from their vocabulary and accept that they are human and naturally imperfect. In fact, the victim needs to realize that the more they own their mistakes and failings, the more others will gravitate towards them.

14. They Cut People out of Their Life

If a victim faces a difficult or challenging moment with someone in their life, they’re likely to respond by cutting someone out of their life. This highly emotional behavior creates chaotic relationships.

The victim needs to recognize their pattern of cutting people off, as this usually doesn’t lead to the resolution of problems and conflict. They could always take a different, more positive approach, such as letting people know their feelings instead.

The Bottom Line

In the end, playing the victim doesn’t get you anywhere. The victim will end up facing painful consequences in their life and relationships if they do not change their behavior by taking constructive criticism and turning it into positive action.

As with most things in life, alternative options are there. We just have to be willing to look for them and make a start.

More on Identifying Victim Behavior

Featured photo credit: LoboStudio Hamburg via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

14 Clear Signs Someone Is Always Playing the Victim 20 Things to Remember If You Love A Person With Depression 10 Everyday Moments Only Truly Happy People Would Understand 10 Reasons Why People Who Are Sentimental Have Beautiful Lives 10 Scientific Ways to Lead A Loving and Lasting Marriage

Trending in Relationships

1 9 Ways to Build and Keep Healthy Personal Boundaries 2 How Not to Finish Last as a Nice Guy 3 30 Creative Date Night Ideas to Try At Home 4 6 Books To Read If You’re Not Sure It’s Time To Go Your Separate Ways 5 Strength In Numbers – Sexual Harassment Is Not Okay

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

Advertising

1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

Advertising

3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

Advertising

It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

Advertising

Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next