Victim mentality is an acquired trait where someone sees themselves as the victim of others’ actions, even though this isn’t the case. It’s different from being an actual victim, although this is often the original cause.
Identifying and overcoming victim mentality is challenging, as many see it as a logical or inherent mindset.
But, if you think it may be a problem you want to change, any of these books on victim mentality should help.
Best Books on Victim Mentality
1. How to Break Free of the Drama Triangle and Victim Consciousness – Janae Weinhold and Barry Weinhold
This book frames victim mentality around the drama triangle. It’s a theory of human behaviour that involves a victim, a persecutor, and a rescuer. To overcome victim mentality, it argues you must be able to identify the drama triangle.
Luckily, that’s what the book teaches you to do. It’s divided into two parts; the first gives you examples, and the second teaches you how to break free. You’ll find plenty of real-world situations and coping techniques throughout.
The book is clear and easy to understand. While it’s short, the information is relevant, and there’s very little waffle. As such, it’s easy for beginners to digest.
But, it’s let down by its approach to religion. Some may find its handling of drama triangles in Christianity to be insensitive, although this unlikely wasn’t the intention. Approach it with caution if you consider yourself to be religious or spiritual.
- Clear and readable language.
- Short book that gets to the point.
- Ideal for anyone new to the drama triangle.
- Doesn’t deal with religion in the most sensitive way.
2. Can’t Hurt Me – David Goggins
Can’t Hurt Me is part memoir and part self-help book. Goggins uses his own experiences to explain victim mentality and how he overcame it. If you don’t know the name, look him up. His life is quite impressive.
Goggins uses the 40% Rule, arguing that we only use 40% of our capabilities. He claims that he went from a depressed young man to a top endurance athlete by tapping into his real capabilities.
Of course, part of this was overcoming victim mentality. But, the book covers related topics, such as motivation, in a different way to others on this list. Seeing it through the eyes of an individual changes its relevance.
However, you must approach it with a different attitude. It’s more of an inspirational story, and there aren’t clear-cut strategies for dealing with victim mentality.
- Interesting memoir of a popular American figure.
- Uses inspirational language.
- A different take on victim mentality.
- Not a pure strategy/self-help book.
- Contains swearing and language some readers may find offensive.
3. Guiding Principles for Life Beyond Victim Consciousness – Lynne Forrest
Victim consciousness is another way of naming victim mentality. It implies that it’s a conscious process rather than innate behaviour and therefore can be overcome.
At least, that’s the argument Forrest makes in this book. She teaches you how to identify victim consciousness and then provides guiding principles for breaking out of it. Forrest is a “growth mentor” who specialises in this field.
It takes a different approach, as it uses metaphysical principles. Not everyone will appreciate this language, though, because it requires a certain spiritual mindset.
If that appeals to you, it’ll be an enjoyable book. It’s difficult to follow in some parts because Forrest uses very specific language that not everyone will find accessible.
- Written by a victim consciousness mentor.
- Frames victim mentality in a different way.
- Provides guiding principles for overcoming it.
- Relies on spirituality, which not everyone will appreciate.
4. Pulling Your Own Strings: Dynamic Techniques for Dealing with Other People and Living Your Life as You Choose – Wayne Dyer
As the title suggests, this book puts the reader at the centre of victim mentality, which is a sensible place to start. Rather than telling you to fault others, it teaches you how to put yourself back in the centre of your own life.
It primarily offers coping strategies so you can develop fresh mindsets for typical victim mentality situations. Dyer uses examples from home and work, including common family situations, which are the cause of many people’s victim mentalities.
Unlike other books, it doesn’t see victim mentality as an entirely conscious thing. Instead, it argues that it comes from being a victim and so is often unconscious. But, by noticing it, you can begin to overcome it.
While much of its information is helpful, it is quite dated. It was first published in 1977, and some may find its examples inapplicable to the 21st century. Even so, the main points are still relevant.
- Puts the victim back at the centre of their lives.
- Examples are clear and come from numerous situations.
- Sees victim mentality as unconscious.
- Quite dated in some aspects.
5. Taking Responsibility: Self-Reliance and the Accountable Life – Nathaniel Branden
Branden takes a philosophical approach to the concept of self-awareness, of which victim mentality is just one part. It teaches you to be self-reliant and accountable, which leads to a loss of victim mentality.
The book argues that taking responsibility is very freeing, but in doing so it discounts the importance of reliance on others. Even so, it teaches some very important lessons about overcoming any kind of victim mindset.
As it’s written by a psychologist, you might expect the language to be dense. This isn’t the case, though, as Branden has numerous “public” books and so knows how to handle himself.
However, a red flag for many might be his reliance on the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Many of her thoughts inform modern Libertarian politics, and this book is no different. Approach it with caution if you consider yourself to be liberally minded.
- Language is surprisingly accessible.
- Teaches the importance of individualism.
- Looks at other aspects of positive living.
- Relies on the philosophy of Ayn Rand, which might not be suitable for everyone.
Overcoming victim mentality isn’t easy, particularly if you have any history of victimisation or trauma. But, if you already know of your mindset, hopefully one of the books above will set you on the right path.