Manipulative victimhood

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Robert Maurer
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Manipulative victimhood

Being a victim can be a double-edged sword. Some people, however, see more benefits than costs.

Last update: February 19, 2022

Manipulative victimhood is present in many personalities. It is common, for example, among narcissists, among those who use emotional blackmail, and even among those who use this behavior for some benefit.

The victim is, in one way or another, always protected from criticism. Plus, she enjoys the compassion and understanding of many, whatever she does. Anyone who dares to question the acts of an alleged victim passes for insensitive or ruthless.



Victimization is in many cases a strategy that represents more benefits than problems. This condition allows you to have a kind of immunity whereby everything you say is true, everything you do is well-intentioned, everything you think is legitimate.

In light of this, in more than one case, this calculated victimization, knowingly or not, hides a clear blackmail.

Genuine victims and justified care

There are, of course, real situations of victimization, like when someone has been mistreated or been too lenient, without having a chance to fight back.

If a person is attacked on the street or mistreated by another who holds a power that he cannot face: a weapon, a uniform, a position, etc.

These situations cause an objective condition of victimization. However, the aforementioned condition is not eternal nor does it have to be a burden to carry wherever you go.

After overcoming the situation of concrete impotence, stagnating in the role of victim is an option, not an unappealable reality.

One thing is certain: the victim demands attention, care, support and affection. He needs dedication and understanding to get out of her shock and vulnerability. This is out of the question.



The victim as an existential position

Victimism as an existential position lends itself to possible discussions. May a traumatic event become the eternal business card not to testify to an execrable act, but to obtain privileges that would otherwise not be received.

Some people they make their suffering, carefully exposed, a living curriculum. In other more serious cases, some believe that being abused justifies them to hate or harm others.

The study conducted by Dr. Richard J. McNally, of Swansea University, analyzes the so-called trauma rule. The expression refers to the chronicization of the victim condition because various benefits are obtained.

Recognize manipulative victimhood

Some signs point to the vicious cycle of manipulation established by those who make victimhood their way of life. The main ones are:

  • The person does not ask directly what he wants, but it sends inaccurate messages in the form of a complaint or regret.

For example, statements like "Nobody knows how much it cost me to get this far". It is unclear if the person wants to be given credit, if she is reproaching her condition or if she wants help.

  • Feeling guilty in the presence of the person. Each conversation leaves the impression that you are responsible for his dissatisfaction. You feel sadness or discomfort.
  • The person is suspicious and distrustful.
  • Those who resort to manipulative victimization frequently advance bad intentions towards others and justify them on the basis of the sufferings experienced. Could accuse of insensitivity if criticized.
  • He is capable of making great sacrifices for others, without being asked. She will remember him over and over again.

When someone exhibits these traits, it is a person who has taken on the role of a victim in the face of life.



How to act in the face of manipulative victimhood?

A study from the University of Berkeley in 2008 reveals the clear need to investigate the figure of the victim and victimhood. We must be clear that behind this profile is unhappiness. Even more so, in many cases the clear difficulty in closing the cycle of traumatic experience.

The person is therefore in need of understanding, but also sincerity. The best way to help is to say affectionately and clearly what you think of her attitude. We must not fall into their game, we must not give in. However, one should not act with contempt or rejection either, so as not to escalate the conduct.


Manipulative victimization is a sign of low self-esteem. It is the badly healed wound that sometimes leads to being the center of attention to avoid loneliness and discomfort. The only way to end these dynamics is to convince the person to seek professional help.

A victim will always deserve our respect, but when they use victimization for reinforcement and benefits, it requires psychological assistance to adequately deal with personal reality.

Image courtesy of YoSeLin

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