13 Symptoms of Victim Thinking

We’ll get to our list, but first …

Someone asked me recently, “John, how do you decide what to write about?” Well, I write about stuff that

Excites me – Such as exceptional customer service and people management. This is the basis for the Outstanding! book. Have a copy yet?

Fascinates me – Such as how and why some people/organizations succeed when others in the same marketplace with the same opportunity don’t.

Angers me – Such as politicians who work to divide our country by persuading groups of people to believe they are victims, mostly to win votes. I don’t do well with pity parties, yours or mine. Sorry. 🙂

So in this QBQ! QuickNote, we’ll deal with the concept of Victim Thinking, which simply makes me mad—especially when I suffer from it.

Honestly, I’ve been railing and ranting against Victim Thinking for years, as well as its first cousin, Entitlement Thinking. But to only rail and rant doesn’t help anyone. I can’t cure myself when I don’t know what ails me, right?

So let’s get specific …

What exactly does Victim Thinking look like? What are its symptoms? How does one know he or she is suffering from this terrible affliction?

And, do we know the answer to this critical question?

When I play the victim, who am I serving?

Answer: No one. Not even myself.

Now that we agree Victim Thinking stinks, here’s our list …

13 Symptoms of Victim Thinking

1. I anger quickly and forgive slowly.

2. I allow words to easily offend me.

3. I believe the success/wealth of others is not deserved.

4. I blame everyone but myself (and make excuses) when I fail.

5. I complain about people and institutions not supporting me.

6. I see the humanness and hypocrisy of others but not my own.

7. I maintain a list of grievances for my school, church, and employer.

8. I believe I should be loved and respected before I earn love and respect.

9. I have bought the lie that “life should be fair.”

10. I have become entitled to anything beyond what I earn.

11. I am in constant fear that people and institutions are out to get me.

12. I regularly encourage others to possess/demonstrate Victim Thinking.

13. I attempt to win debates with my feelings while ignoring facts.

You don’t need to agree with this entire list, but because you do agree with the QBQ! book’s message of PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY, I ask this:

Which of our 13 Symptoms of Victim Thinking are you struggling with right now? Please share!


7 Responses

  1. John, I feel good about not falling (often) into most of the 13, but for me…#5 – I complain about people and institutions not supporting me and #10 – I have become entitled to anything beyond what I earn are probably my two hardest struggles.

    I know life isn’t fair, and I don’t begrudge others their success, BUT…it would be nice if my workplace didn’t make things so difficult, when they could be more supportive (that is the inner monologue). Oh, and I love to shop.

    What do “they” say? Self awareness is the first step. When I find myself a bit whiny or noticing my victim speak, I try to pull myself together. I love to listen to your QBQ! on audio. It puts me back in a better frame of mind to ask the right questions.

    Keep on writing about your passions. I love the posts.

  2. John,
    Fantastic post and quite frankly, this is needed today more than ever. I wish you would have the opportunity to go on many national shows and repeat this. It is my opinion ALL OF US, regardless of race, sex or political beliefs need to remember this. Victim thinking has been entrenched in many and this is not what makes each of us, or our country great.

    To your question, I know that I allow words to impact me more than they should, as I should be more confident in my beliefs. I have grown a great deal, but this is an area of focus that I continually have to work on.

    I appreciate all you do and seeing you speak many years ago was a highlight and assisted me in my career. Thank you for the words then, now and in the future. All the best.

  3. John
    Thanks for the reminder. I find myself lately keeping a list of things that annoy me about an organization. I know that it is not a good practice and I correct myself often but I really need to take the focus off of the organization and put it on me. I am sure I will find something that I need to work on myself. Thanks for the article I had to admit I found my self in several parts of the list. I have to do better thanks

  4. Ohhhh, #1 is my biggest downfall. I am very quick to anger and very slow to forgive. Sometimes I think the world is just out to aggravate me on purpose. I am really trying work on this. I forget that it is not all about me – sometimes people are having a hard day, hard week, hard whatever. I keep a note on my computer that I try to keep in the forefront of my mind – it says: -Be Kind, – See the Good in Others, Find the Positive in all Situations. I don’t like when people get angry with me when I don’t feel I have done anything wrong and I am working on not getting angry with others, sometimes taking out my frustrations on the wrong person.

  5. Came to this site looking for truth and found this much needed post. Need the pull my QBQ book out to help me handle a difficult situation at work. I strive to QBQ and WWJD yet I’ve missed the mark somewhere…as not standing up for myself has led to a situation where I’ll likely be fired in the next couple of months. Those close to me say I’m in an almost impossible situation in a work environment that has become very toxic. I know I need to leave for my health but I’m not well enough…really struggling with victim thinking – which is so not me! Much love and thanks!

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