Victim syndrome: causes, signs, treatment and diagnosis, prognosis

Causes of the syndrome

The disease cannot be congenital and is not inherited. It develops only as a person grows older. Moreover, the victim syndrome currently occupies a special place in psychology, since the number of patients increases every year. Mostly the pathology develops in females.

Scientists have not yet identified any single and common trigger mechanism, but have identified a number of the most likely causes of the syndrome, which include:

  • Mental trauma. Most often, such an impact occurs at a very young age, since the emotional background at that time is still unstable. For example, in the case when a child received some kind of physical injury or became ill, and relatives show too much concern. The disease goes away over time, but the attitude towards the child remains the same. Hence it turns out that he continues to constantly feel like a victim.
  • Overprotectiveness. When parents worry excessively about their child and control his every step, the baby gets used to the imposed image and, like his loved ones, begins to be wary of literally everything. Ultimately, such behavior leads to resentment towards the entire world around us and complete distrust of it.
  • Predisposition to mental disorders. The syndrome is not inherited and, accordingly, is not genetically determined. We are talking about a predisposition to any mental disorders in general. It is generally accepted that such a disorder can occur if one of the relatives had a shaky nervous system.
  • Family circumstances. This factor mainly applies to women whose husbands are too serious and cruel by nature. Due to frequent conflicts, wives begin to feel like victims of real domestic violence.
  • Crucial and significant events. Most people always strive for something and try to achieve what they want by any means. But, unfortunately, fate may decide otherwise. In such cases, the victim of circumstances syndrome appears. At the same time, patients are not able to soberly assess reality.


Most do not try to fight the negative state because they have certain benefits. The status of a victim has advantages: the ability to manipulate the guilt of others, allows you to shift worries and problems onto loved ones. However, such a role has a drawback - the individual becomes completely powerless, helpless, and begins to feel insignificance.

Representatives of the fair sex often try on the role of the victim. Their benefit is to attract attention, receive sympathy, a desire to help, support... To give up an advantageous position means to start doing things on your own without protection or support.

The victims are forgiven a lot and get away with it. The victim does not have to achieve anything on his own. The bosses will turn a blind eye to work that is not fully completed, or lateness, because the employee has serious problems at home, and the husband forgives an unprepared dinner, or unwashed clothes, because the wife is busy with work. There are many psychological benefits to being a victim.

But you can’t constantly live in the image of a victim; to understand how to change, watch the video:

Symptoms of the disorder

Victim syndrome usually manifests itself not as a single symptom, but as a whole group. Moreover, the first symptoms are almost invisible and appear at a young age. That is why it is important to pay attention to any changes in the child’s behavior, and at the slightest suspicion of the development of a disorder, consult a specialist.

Most often, the disease begins with an obsession with any negative moments that happen to a person. Moreover, the patient pays attention even to those cases when the threat has long passed. The next striking symptom is the appearance of egocentrism, when the patient cannot adequately perceive the opinions of others.

Patients also become confident that they are the only ones in the whole world who are so unlucky and unhappy, for example, unlike their friends and work colleagues. It is precisely such thoughts that lead to another attempt to arouse pity from relatives and hear support from them. Over time, complaints become too frequent, and negative events and their consequences are exaggerated.

Finally, the patient with the syndrome begins to blame everyone around him for recent failures and defeats, except himself. At the same time, he becomes overly persistent and stubborn and refuses the offered help. Self-destruction develops.

All this can lead to physical, behavioral and psychological problems. Apathy and anxiety appear, the worldview changes and new phobias arise. Along with them, panic attacks, depression, short temper, irritability, decreased concentration, loss of interest in everything that is happening, and thoughts of suicide arise. A person’s health is also undermined: he loses his appetite, insomnia, migraines, digestive disorders and frequent colds appear.

Portrait of a patient with victim syndrome

Since the pathology is manifested by a whole complex of different signs, it is possible to draw up a general portrait of a patient with victim syndrome. For such a patient it is typical:

  1. Depressed mood. People with the syndrome are absolute pessimists. They always notice only the bad and are sure that even their relatives want to offend or set them up. Therefore, they have practically no reason to rejoice.
  2. Egocentrism. For patients there is no other correct opinion than their own. And if someone tries to convince them, they will only receive a storm of indignation and hysterics in response.
  3. Not accepting your own failures. This phenomenon can also occur in the lives of absolutely healthy people. In case of disorder, the situation repeats itself much more often. At the same time, the patient completely refuses to admit guilt and, on the contrary, only looks for those to blame. But he is unable to express an opinion because of his own timidity and shyness.
  4. Joy in other people. People with the syndrome react especially vividly to the happiness of colleagues, friends or even relatives. And it’s impossible not to notice. Patients complain of a lack of luck and luck in themselves and, as a result, are very upset by the success of others.
  5. The need for increased authority. It is important for patients to regularly feel like a significant and important person both at work and in the family. Their every action and decision requires approval and encouragement. If this does not happen for a long enough time, then the patient develops an inferiority complex.
  6. Frequent complaints. People with victim syndrome love to talk, or rather, complain. All events that happen in their lives necessarily have negative consequences. And it is almost impossible to convince patients.
  7. Avoidance of responsibility. This symptom can be noticed already in early childhood, when the child does not admit to what he has done and shifts his blame. But if in youth such behavior can still be considered a manifestation of immaturity, then in adults it is a clear sign of victim syndrome. For example, when a person refuses a promotion at work in order to avoid certain obligations.
  8. Attempts to evoke pity. At first glance, this sign is not special, because any person would be happy, for example, with the help of loved ones and their care during a cold. But in patients with the syndrome, the need for support is constantly present. Every minute they are ready to talk about any difficult moments of their life, but at the same time they are unable to listen to their interlocutor at least once and help him.
  9. Expecting only negative results. Patients like to exaggerate the consequences of their actions. They believe that any situation will definitely have an exclusively negative ending. This symptom manifests itself especially strongly when the victim commits some not very good deed.
  10. Excessive independence. Patients with the syndrome can easily help their friends and relatives, but will be categorically against retaliatory actions. It is important for them to feel unhappy, and this is only possible when there is a negative situation. From the outside, this behavior looks like stubborn and stupid persistence.
  11. Inability to refuse. People with victim syndrome usually cannot refuse others. Therefore, any request, even the most humiliating for the patient, will certainly be fulfilled. This occurs due to the patient’s fear of remaining alone and unnecessary to anyone at all.

All these signs are common to patients with the disorder. But do not forget that each person is individual, so the manifestations of the disease may vary.

What is the benefit for the victim?

Psychologists and psychiatrists have long come to the conclusion that patients with victim syndrome are excellent manipulators. With their complaints and negative attitude towards everything that happens in life, they easily overcome their goals and achieve unprecedented heights. Moreover, their numerous failures and problems can serve as a good excuse in any situation. And shifting one’s own obligations onto other people is also a fairly thoughtful and convenient move.


Every year, new types appear among the classification of the syndrome. This happens due to the fact that the pathology is only gaining momentum and affecting an increasing number of people. Moreover, each case is individual and deserves special attention. Research by specialists has revealed the most common types of pathology.

Victim of violence

  • Victim of sexual violence. In terms of the degree of psychological trauma, psychologists compare this type of pathology with the mental disorder of participants in military operations. The syndrome is usually attributed to a person’s natural response to a threat. In this case, the victim develops a tendency towards self-destruction, self-blame and aggressiveness. All this affects subsequent sexual relationships: fear and nervousness, hostility towards the opposite sex and sexual dysfunction appear. Sometimes, after such violence, a person ceases to perceive himself as a person, self-loathing appears, and thoughts of suicide arise.
  • The woman is a victim of violence. This case usually arises when a woman's family is subject to strict patriarchy: wives are regularly subjected to physical violence and do not have the right to vote. Victims of domestic terror are helpless and depressed, but despite this they still try in every possible way to protect their spouse, explaining his behavior with the most stupid excuses. Sometimes the syndrome can lead to psychological paralysis.
  • The child is a victim. This type of violence is also quite common. Bullying of a child at school and in the family; frequent conflicts with parents and friends; beating and moral humiliation of a child - all this leads to the development of victim syndrome from an early age. Prolonged violence can lead to the appearance of unreasonable complexes, aggressive behavior, stuttering or hysteria. As a result, learning deteriorates and mental development is disrupted. There are known cases of suicide.

The person is a victim of a narcissist

In most cases, the disorder affects the female gender. It is women who most often turn their attention to narcissistic men. Usually the beginning of a relationship does not predict any trouble, everything proceeds perfectly and safely. But soon serious problems appear that oblige a woman to change herself and her life as a whole. It is not uncommon for victims of narcissists to experience feelings of shame, self-blame, and humiliation; depression, panic attacks, low self-esteem, various phobias or mental disorders appear. At the same time, victims continue to stay close to the narcissistic person, believing that they can change him. As a result, they cannot realize themselves either in the professional sphere or in their personal lives.

Stockholm syndrome

The disorder was first described at the end of the 19th century. During a robbery of one of the banks, a man took several people hostage. Thanks to the actions of the police, everything ended well, but one strange thing happened. During the robbery, the hostages supported the robber, justified all his actions, and after their own release they asked to pardon the offender. Scientists still cannot figure out why such a strange reaction occurred. But it has been noticed that similar behavior has been recorded in almost all similar situations.

Victim syndrome in everyday life

The disorder is directly related to victim syndrome. It occurs most often in family relationships between spouses. For example, we are talking about illness in the case when a despot husband insults his wife every day and causes physical injury to her, and she, at the same time, only complains to her friends and does not leave her husband. The reason for the behavior is simple - the girl feels comfortable feeling like a victim: she likes to feel compassion and support from loved ones.


People who have adopted the position of victim experience almost identical problems and adversities in life. The explanation for this lies in psycho-emotional instability, which always leads to the same results. Problems with social adaptation, stagnation in professional development, undeveloped personal life, etc.

These and other troubles can arise from a victim complex, the obvious signs of which are the following:

  • it’s like you’ve lost control of your own life;
  • you don’t feel independent (you are forced to make important decisions with someone’s support or approval);
  • you often experience a feeling of anxiety, engage in self-deprecation (have low self-esteem, constantly doubt yourself);
  • You often feel guilty even in front of strangers (you bite yourself for what you did or, conversely, refused to do).

Treating Victim Syndrome

If you suspect the development of victim syndrome, you should definitely contact a psychotherapist. Only this doctor can really help the patient and return him to his previous life, since any medication or physiotherapy is usually not required. Only in rare cases can a doctor prescribe anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants, but this is far from the main method of treating the disorder.

The doctor must conduct an oral interview with the patient, understand his emotional state and find out the reason that led to the occurrence of the syndrome. In most cases, the prognosis of therapy is favorable, since the disease does not belong to the group of congenital ones.

Usually psychologists advise trying to change your attitude towards the people around you, towards yourself and many situations that happen to a person. We need to stop engaging in our own self-deception and regular self-destruction. The patient should control all his actions; do not try to shift the blame onto others; and in assessing the situation, start not from your momentary emotions, but from reason and logic.

It is also especially important to love yourself, because every person deserves it. In this case, strength will appear not only for new achievements and discoveries, but also for a happy life and destiny in general.

Karpman's theory

Karpman's theory, called the relationship triangle, involves relationships based on manipulation. This model is adhered to by the participants in Karpman's tragic triangle. The sides of the triangle are the victim, the pursuer, and the rescuer. A striking example is the relationship between wife, husband, and mother-in-law. The situation persists until one side realizes the situation and leaves the dramatic game. In a triangle, the rescuer will definitely fall into a trap, finding himself the culprit. Such a system can last for a long time. The only thing that will change is the roles played by the participants in the triangle, first as manipulators, and then as victims of manipulation.

A role that cannot be envied - the role of a rescuer. The victim is selfish and tries to shift responsibility for personal actions. If the rescuer consciously understands that he is being pulled into a triangle, the only way out is to play along without getting involved completely. Without knowing the way out of the system, you should not try to leave it abruptly. It is important to be gentle, observant, and gradually move away from the role. This way you can find a way out of the protracted triangle.


The position of the victim is one of the most comfortable, because there is always a “good reason” for one’s own mistakes. Therefore, it is often difficult for a patient to part with this “title”.

It is possible to help a person with the syndrome. If you consult a psychotherapist in a timely manner and follow all his recommendations, the patient can return to a normal, healthy life. But quite often this also requires the help of friends, family, and loved ones. They must stop sympathizing and assenting to the patient's pitiful speeches. Instead, during the conversation, you should ask direct questions that will help the person evaluate all his actions and thoughts adequately. Only in this case will the eternal victim finally turn into a healthy and cheerful person.

How to get rid of this condition

You can only get rid of it with the help of a psychologist or psychoanalyst. This can really be done online or as a result of a personal meeting. A specialist will help develop a step-by-step solution to the problem and give advice on personal training in this regard.

Attention! Treatment involves a comprehensive approach, including medication and cognitive behavioral therapy sessions conducted by a psychotherapist.

Behavior when getting rid of GS

Victim syndrome is one of the mental disorders that prevent a person from fully realizing himself in life. The influence of society in its negative manifestations, the lack of will and character only aggravate the situation. It is necessary to begin treatment at the first manifestations of GS.

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