Why Your Help Can Become a Perpetual Victim’s Drug

A trait of helping others will seldom lead you astray. This article isn’t meant to discourage you from exhibiting this trait in your day-to-day interaction with others. There will be people who adopt detrimental victim mindsets and will begin to reinforce those mindsets with your help however. You’ll feel a feeling of dissonance in continuing to reinforce their victim mentality with your otherwise positive trait of helpfulness.

This article aims to explore the confusing realm of doing more harm than good with the help you give those who develop victim identities.


Reinforcing Victimhood


Victimhood is an addictive identity to adopt because it is often positively reinforced in its early stages. Those who are newly victimized by any particular scenario are often and rightfully given the help and attention they need.

The addictive aspect of victimhood encourages those who fail to recognize it in themselves to rely on others’ attention and help even when their own initiative would do the trick. They adapt to a path of less resistance and perhaps inadvertently fail to build confidence and grit themselves.

The problem with reinforcing victimhood is that it creates a cycle of dependency and learned helplessness. Those who identify as victims tend to seek out more help and attention than they actually need, and they become less willing or able to solve their own problems. They may also develop a sense of entitlement and resentment towards those who help them, as they perceive them as either superior or inferior to themselves. This can damage the relationships between the helper and the victim, and also prevent the victim from developing the skills and mindset necessary to overcome their challenges.


Atrophy of Problem Solving Skills


A perpetual victim becomes so dependent on others’ attention that they fail to recognize patterns that may aid in getting them out of their rut. Small steps to solving small problems begin seeming difficult and energy-costing.

One of the consequences of this dependence is the atrophy of problem solving skills. A perpetual victim becomes so accustomed to receiving sympathy and validation from others that they neglect to develop their own ability to cope with challenges and setbacks. They may avoid taking responsibility for their actions and choices, blaming external factors or other people for their misfortune. They may also resist any suggestions or feedback that could help them improve their situation, preferring to wallow in self-pity and complain. This creates a vicious cycle of learned helplessness, where the victim feels powerless and hopeless, and relies on others to rescue them or confirm their victimhood.


Setting the Stage for Disappointment and Resentment


The more you reinforce a perpetual victim with your seemingly positive and innocent help, the more dependent on your help they will grow to be. Even the slightest lapses in help and encouragement of their own initiative from you will seem harsh and painful to the victim.

A victim may become addicted to your help, and resist any attempts to make them more independent or responsible for their own lives. They could blame you for any failures or setbacks, and accuse you of being unsupportive or insensitive. The interaction often turns one-sided quickly; draining you of your energy, time, and resources, without giving anything back in return. At that point you may feel frustrated, guilty, and trapped in a cycle of codependency that is hard to break.

Your constant being there for a perpetual victim may also send them a subtle message that they are incapable of solving their own problems and that they need you to rescue them. This can create a cycle of dependency and resentment, where the victim relies on you for everything and resents you for making them feel helpless. You may also feel frustrated and drained by their constant demands and complaints, and resent them for taking advantage of your generosity. This cycle can damage your relationship and your own well-being.


Breaking the Cycle


The cycle of helping a perpetual victim can be hard to break, especially if you care about them and want to see them improve. However, by constantly validating their negative beliefs and emotions, you may be unintentionally enabling them to stay stuck in their misery. Here are some steps you can take to break the cycle and help them help themselves:

– Set healthy boundaries. Don’t let their problems consume your life or drain your energy. Learn to say no when you need to, and don’t feel guilty for taking care of yourself.

– Challenge their assumptions. Don’t agree with everything they say or accept their excuses. Ask them questions that make them think critically and objectively about their situation. Help them see the other side of the story and the possibilities for change.

– Encourage them to take action. Don’t do everything for them or solve their problems for them. Instead, empower them to take responsibility for their own choices and actions. Praise their efforts and achievements, no matter how small. Help them set realistic goals and break them down into manageable steps.

– Support them in seeking professional help. Sometimes, the best way to help a perpetual victim is to refer them to someone who can help them better than you can. If they suffer from mental health issues, trauma, or addiction, they may need therapy, medication, or other forms of treatment. Don’t be afraid to suggest this option and offer to accompany them if they are willing.


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Disclaimer of Opinion: This article is presented only as opinion. It does not make any scientific, factual, or legal claims in any way.