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  • Colin Jonov

The 10 Telltale Signs of a Victim Mentality

Welcome back to my midweek motivation! Each day and week brings its own set of experiences and inspirations, compelling me to share my thoughts with all of you.

If we want to truly become fortuitous then self-awareness is key. It’s all too simple to slip, whether knowingly or unknowingly, into the trap of a victim mentality — a mindset profoundly detrimental to personal growth. Here are 10 telltale signs of a victim mentality:

1. Chronic Blaming: First and foremost, if you are consistently attributing personal failures or unfortunate circumstances to external factors or other people, without acknowledging one’s own role or responsibility, then you are by default acting as a victim. If you find yourself constantly blaming others or external factors, reverse this by taking extreme accountability with everything in your life.

2. Feelings of Powerlessness: If you feel a pervasive sense of helplessness or lack of control over your life, leading to a belief that your situation is unchangeable or predetermined, then you are experiencing a sign of victim mentality. Even at our lowest point in life, we have the power to change and control the trajectory of our lives. We may not always be able to control outcomes; however, we can always control factors that influence outcomes. Never lose hope.

3. Negative Outlook: If you carry a generally pessimistic view of life, expecting negative outcomes as a default, and often feeling that bad things happen more to you than to others, then you are creating victimhood for yourself. The world is difficult and cruel. It’s not always the same cruelty to everyone. However, we are all dealt a hand in life. It’s not the pessimists or the optimists that win; it’s the rational optimists, the ones that are aware of the challenges and difficulties coming their way but have an unrelenting belief they are capable of handling them.

4. Lack of Accountability: Struggling to accept personal responsibility for actions or decisions often leads to seeing yourself as the perpetual target of unfair treatment or bad luck. This comes back to point one. Not everything that happens to us is our fault. However, it is our responsibility to act accordingly. I know it sucks when bad things happen; however, the mindset shift that needs to occur is: Nothing happens to you. Everything happens because of you. Take your life into your own hands. You are your only hope.

5. Resentment Toward Others’ Success: If you find yourself having envy or bitterness toward people who are successful or happy, perceiving their own situation as unjustly unfavorable by comparison, then you are leading yourself to a path of misery and failure. Someone else’s successes or joyful moments in life should never negatively impact you. If it does, it says a lot about who you are. Now, I get it; in the athletic landscape, this is a tough one. However, it’s never about another person or team; it’s about you and always has been.

6. Reluctance to Accept Help or Solutions: If you are consistently rejecting assistance or practical solutions, possibly because it undermines the victim narrative, then you are choosing to be a victim. Don’t be the person who has a “problem” for every solution. If you are struggling or in a rut, then seek solutions; don’t reject them. Someone out there can help; you need to be humble enough to ask.

7. Manipulative Behavior: Are you using your perceived suffering or victim status to manipulate others into providing attention, care, or concessions you might not otherwise receive? This is a subtle but significant one. This is different than asking for help. When you seek help, it’s out of a genuine desire to improve. When you’re manipulative, you are trying to take advantage of someone else’s generosity or good nature for your own selfish benefit.

8. Chronic Complaining: If you are frequently voicing complaints about life circumstances, injustices, or misfortunes without making efforts to change the situation or improve one’s outlook, then you are acting as a victim. Don’t be this person. No one wants to be around someone who is always complaining and has it “worse” than everyone else. You will drain the energy of not only yourself but those around you. You can acknowledge an unfortunate situation; however, you need to then choose to take positive action in correcting it.

9. Anger Outbursts: When you exhibit sudden and intense expressions of anger or frustration, often as a reaction to feeling misunderstood, trivialized, or victimized by others, then you are portraying yourself as a victim. Stop throwing fits when things don’t go your way. It’s a sign of entitlement and results from being spoiled. Life and athletics will never go the way you expect them to. It’s about adapting to the situation and circumstance. It’s an underrated superpower to become mentally flexible and adaptable. That can’t happen when you’re constantly angry.

10. Fragile Self-Esteem: Is your self-esteem heavily influenced by external validation? We become fragile the more we enable others to drive our belief systems about ourselves. I over index my internal thoughts and beliefs about myself. Do I enjoy when nice things are said about me? Of course. However, I don’t do things for compliments. Compliments are a byproduct of me driving my own internal behavior for me, not for anyone else. Who I am is not driven by what others think of me. Who I am is decided by the actions I take. As long as I am clear and intentional with who I am choosing to be, then my self-esteem as a person, athlete, or business owner can never be broken.

Recognizing these ten symptoms is the first step toward shedding a victim mentality and embracing a more empowered, proactive approach to life. By taking responsibility for our actions, we can transition from feeling powerless to becoming the engineer of our own identity. It’s about making a conscious choice every day to not let circumstances define us but to define ourselves through our responses to them. By doing so, we not only enhance our own well-being and performances but also inspire those around us to adopt a similar stance of resilience and fortitude.

To Building Fortitude.

Warm regards,

Colin Jonov CEO & Founder, Athletic Fortitude

P.S: If you’ve been enjoying our newsletter and finding it valuable, we would greatly appreciate it if you could forward it to your friends, family, or teammates who you think would benefit from it. By spreading the word, you’ll be helping us reach more people who can benefit from our shared knowledge and insights!

If this exploration resonated with you, subscribe to our newsletter. Together, we journey through the realms of thought, performance, and personal excellence.


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