7 phrases people who play the victim card love to use, according to psychology

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We all know someone who has a knack for playing the victim card.

They’re the ones who are always wronged, always facing the worst luck, always at the mercy of an unfair world.

It’s an easy trap to fall into, and psychology tells us there are specific phrases these ‘victims’ love to use.

So, you might be wondering, “What are these phrases?” and “How can I recognize them?”

Well, stay tuned.

In this article, we’ll dive into the 7 phrases that individuals who habitually play the victim tend to use, all according to psychology.

1) “It’s not my fault”

Let’s start with a classic one.

This is a phrase you’ll commonly hear from people who love to play the victim card.

They use it as a shield, a way to deflect responsibility and blame onto others or external circumstances.

But here’s the thing:

Everyone makes mistakes. It’s human nature. The key is to accept them, learn from them, and move forward.

However, those who constantly play the victim reject this idea.

In fact, they find it more comfortable to deny their mistakes than to admit them and take steps towards improvement.

According to psychologists, this constant denial of personal responsibility can be a clear sign of victim mentality.

It prevents personal growth and keeps people stuck in an unhealthy cycle of blame.

2) “Why does this always happen to me?”

Back in college, I had a friend named Alex. He was a great guy, but he had a habit of saying “Why does this always happen to me?” every time something went wrong.

Missed the bus? “Why does this always happen to me?”

Failed a test? Same response.

It was as if he was convinced that the universe was conspiring against him.

But let’s be real, these situations were not just bouts of bad luck.

They were consequences of his actions or lack thereof.

For instance, he’d miss the bus because he overslept, or fail a test because he didn’t study enough.

But instead of acknowledging his part in these situations, he’d resort to his catchphrase, reinforcing his belief that he was a perpetual victim.

Psychologists tell us that this mindset doesn’t just promote a victim mentality, but it also prevents people from learning from their mistakes and making necessary changes in their behavior.

The truth is, life throws curveballs at all of us.

The key is how we react to them. Do we blame fate, or do we take responsibility and strive to improve?

It’s the latter that leads to growth and resilience. And that’s a lesson I learned from Alex’s example.

3) “No one understands me”

Sound familiar?

I’ve said it. You’ve probably said it. It’s a phrase we’ve all used at some point in our lives when we’re feeling particularly misunderstood or isolated.

But when this phrase becomes a constant refrain, it starts to tell a different story.

You see, people who frequently use this phrase often feel they’re battling the world alone.

They feel unheard, unsupported, and isolated.

But in reality, this feeling of being misunderstood often stems from their reluctance to open up, their resistance to change, or their inability to see things from others’ perspectives.

And that’s the harsh truth.

4) “I can’t change”

This is another common phrase that often pops up in conversations, commonly used by individuals who feel stuck in their ways.

It’s as if they’re chained to their habits, behaviors, or circumstances and see no way out.

But what if this mentality comes from a place of fear? Fear that change will require stepping out of their comfort zone and exposing themselves to the world. 

As Allayah Cooks Campbell writes for BetterUp:

“Giving up responsibility for ourselves and our actions makes us feel like we don’t have to be accountable for what we say we want. Chasing our dreams requires a degree of vulnerability, resilience, self-confidence, and willingness to grow — none of which you need if you just play the victim card.”

But let’s get real here:

Change is possible for every one of us.

It’s not easy, sure, but it’s always within reach. It requires effort, dedication, and sometimes, a little help from others. 

And it definitely requires bravery and vulnerability. 

5) “I’m just unlucky”

Personally, I believe we create our own luck (to some degree). 

But many “victims” use this phrase – usually when things don’t go their way.  

It’s an easy way out. Blame it on “luck”. People can’t argue against that. 

That’s where people who play the victim card give up all of their power. They refuse to recognize that they can create opportunities for themselves if they try hard enough and put themselves out there. 

An example of this is a friend of mine. 

He never really dedicates himself to anything. Since college, I’ve watched him half-heartedly start new careers only to give up months later. The same with relationships. 

Yet, he blames it all on luck. 

Go figure. 

6) “No one cares about me”

Now, this next phrase is one that can break your heart when you hear it from someone close to you.

It’s a sign of deep-seated loneliness, a feeling of being isolated even in a crowd.

Let’s take a moment to acknowledge the pain behind these words.

It’s tough to feel overlooked and uncared for.

But often, this phrase is more a reflection of the individual’s perception rather than reality. It’s a lens tinted with the victim mentality that makes people feel unloved and alone.

Psychologists suggest that people who frequently use this phrase might be stuck in a cycle of negative self-perception and self-reinforcing beliefs.

VeryWellMind notes that:

“People with a victim mentality feel as though bad things keep happening and the world is against them. You may feel as though everyone else is against you, be that your partner, your coworkers, or even your family or friends. Even though there might be things that you can do to help fix the situation, you don’t take responsibility for anything and feel as though everything is out of your control.”

So if someone you know mentions this phrase, reassure them and remind them that how they’re feeling might not actually be reality – especially if they are loved and cared for by many. 

7) “Life is unfair”

And finally, this is another phrase most of us have uttered at some point.

And yes, life can indeed be unfair.

But those who constantly play the victim tend to use this phrase as a blanket statement, a justification for their hardships, and a reason not to take action.

But here’s the most crucial thing to remember:

Life, with all its unpredictability and challenges, isn’t about fairness.

It’s about resilience, growth, and learning to navigate through the ups and downs.

When my old friend from college used to say this, I’d remind him that life is unfair to all of us, but it’s how we deal with our setbacks and try again that determines how well we do. 

The takeaway

If you’ve recognized these phrases in your own language, don’t be alarmed. It doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a life of victimhood.

Awareness is the first step towards change.

It’s okay to have moments of self-pity or feel like the world is against you from time to time.

But it’s crucial not to let these moments solidify into a persistent mindset.

And if you know someone who is stuck in the victim mindset, encourage them to get to the root cause of it.

Perhaps they had a difficult childhood, or maybe they struggled with family issues growing up. 

Ultimately, they won’t be able to empower themselves until they address the root cause of their issues and take control of their lives once again. 

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley, a London-based writer, is passionate about helping others discover the power of self-improvement. Her approach combines everyday wisdom with practical strategies, shaped by her own journey overcoming personal challenges. Eliza's articles resonate with those seeking to navigate life's complexities with grace and strength.

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