Does Victim Mentality Play a Role in Depression?

November 4, 2020 Mahevash Shaikh

First off, I want to clarify that depression and victim mentality are not the same. The former is a mental illness that no one can choose, while the latter is a mindset that may or may not be a choice. That said, victim mentality does play a role in depression, which is why it is crucial to identify and manage it. 

What Is Victim Mentality?

In my opinion, victim mentality is when one feels that he or she is at the mercy of people or fate because that person doesn't have control over his or her own life. While even someone who doesn't have depression can feel like a victim, I have personally found that this flawed perspective comes naturally to a depressed individual. Conversely, if a person going through a tough time has this mentality, that person may experience situational depression. 

Signs You Have Victim Mentality with or Without Depression

Speaking from personal experience, here are some signs you see yourself as a victim:

  • Feeling helpless -- Victims believe they can't take charge of their lives, and this results in them feeling helpless. While it is true that we don't always have the power or privilege to control situations, almost everyone in the civilized world has the ability to make choices. However, a person who thinks like a victim will feel as if everything is out of that person's control. Over time, this may develop into what is known as learned helplessness.
  • Feeling a sense of entitlement -- People with an everyone-is-out-to-get-me mindset tend to be entitled. For example, they expect others to listen when they repeatedly complain about the wrongs done to them. In their mind, they are one of the few people who have problems and setbacks. In reality, everyone has hardships in varying degrees, but it's hard for a victim to acknowledge that. In my opinion, considering everyone to be luckier than you is a terrible feeling that worsens depression
  • Sabotaging yourself -- Most people I know go into self-pity mode, but everyone self-sabotages in different ways. For example, when the universe seems to be against you, you might stop trying to grow. Your negative state of mind will make you believe that when the odds are against you, there's no point in trying to change or improve. This will eventually cause stagnation in your personal and professional life. It might even make you a bitter, resentful person who is jealous of other's growth and success. 

Overcoming the Victim Mindset in Depression

Breaking free from victim mentality is not easy, but it is possible if you choose to do so. Check out the video below to know how I manage it.

Do you feel as if life is happening to you, that you have no control over your present and future? How do you deal with these kinds of irrational thoughts? I would love to know how you battle victim mentality in depression, so please let me know in the comments below.

APA Reference
Shaikh, M. (2020, November 4). Does Victim Mentality Play a Role in Depression? , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 15 from

Author: Mahevash Shaikh

Mahevash Shaikh is a millennial blogger, author, and poet who writes about mental health, culture, and society. She lives to question convention and redefine normal. You can find her at her blog and on Instagram and Facebook.

Terry Cliffe
June, 24 2022 at 5:22 am

I came to look at your well written extensive work here on the internet to discover the difference between depression and self pity. I don't think one is separate to the other personally. For me self pity is a judgmental phrase used by people who don't understand others who are suffering a the beginnings of a depressed state of mind, mild or severe and has no real definition "Feeling sorry for yourself" linked "to pull yourself together" only adds to the isolation that is created around a person who is suffering unless they have learnt a process to pull themselves together or the person who is judging them knows. Your links into explaining the Victim mode helps the understanding of how we get there. You might find the "drama triangle" an addition to your work. Terry C

February, 22 2022 at 6:21 am

Thanks Mahevash for sharing these ideas with such clarity and compassion. Knowing we're not alone in this kind of thinking is definitely a huge first step. I've also found that turning the victim thoughts around can be helpful. For example if I think they others have ignored my needs I can ask how I have done the same to others. This helps me shift away from victimhood into responsibility.

December, 26 2020 at 8:00 am

Hi Mahevash, this is very thought provoking post. Thank you for sharing your views on victim mentality as I myself suffer from it as well. I think the way to tackle it would be as you said that others are suffering from it too so we just can't make it about ourselves. God bless you.

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