The Victim Mentality

If you’ve been listening to me lately, you’ve probably heard me talk about the Victim Mentality.

Recently a lot of parents have talked to me about their teen, or even their spouse, being in the victim mentality.

Some have asked, “How do I get my teen out of the victim mentality?”

We’ll get to that, but first, there’s some important things I want you to understand about the victim mentality.

Understand the Victim Mentality

First off, the victim mentality is part of being human. Because of the brain that we have, which is capable of really complex thoughts, we as humans have the capability of getting into the victim mentality, including your teen.

“Everyone gets in the victim mentality from time to time. It’s part of being human. But, once you’re aware of it, you now have the power to choose whether or not you want to stay in the victim mentality or leave it for the hero mentality.”

Ben Pugh

Plus, with it being a common human condition, it’s important to realize that as herd animals, it’s easy to fall into the trap of the victim mentality when that’s the predominate mentality of our current society.

Also keep in mind, most people aren’t aware that they’re in the victim mentality. Once you gain awareness, it’s catching yourself in the victim mentality, and reaping the results of this mentality that help motivate you to move from the victim mentality to the hero mentality.

In other words, you teen needs their experience in the victim mentality to help motivate them to move to the hero mentality on their own.

Also, just because we see them as the victim does not mean that they want us to swoop in as their hero.

And, technically, if you’re focused on your teen’s mindset, and trying to fix them, you are focused on things outside of your control, which indicates that you too are in the victim mentality.

What Is the Victim Mentality?

“I talk about 3 different mentalities: the victim mentality, the hero mentality, and the creator mentality. The reality is, you are always the creator, whether you realize it or not, but what you create is determined by whether you’re in the victim mentality or the hero mentality.”

Ben Pugh

This is the mentality that most of the world is stuck in.

In the victim mentality, you see the world as happening TO you or AGAINST you.

You’ll know your stuck in the victim mentality if you catch yourself doing the following:

  • Complaining about things outside of your control
  • Blaming
  • Criticizing
  • Making excuses
  • Living out of integrity with who you want to be
  • You feel powerless, frustrated, and discouraged.

Simple right?


The victim mentality might be simple to identify (especially in others), but it can be tricky to escape.

It’s a mindset, a lens through which you see the world around you.

The victim mentality is a way of being, based on your habitual ways of thinking and feeling.

This is the mindset that a lot of the world is stuck in.

I get stuck in this, especially when I’m coaching football, and I start blaming the refs, or criticizing them and making excuses.

And, this mentality holds me back from being who I want to be, and it will keep you from being the parent of your dreams.

One of the things that I often hear from parents, is this desire to get their teens out of the victim mentality.

I get it. I often want to get my own kids out of the victim mentality, but you can’t control someone else’s mentality.

But, you can control yours.

If you want your teen to get out of the victim mentality, you better make sure that you’re not stuck in the victim mentality.

What’s the Hero Mentality

Okay, so if the victim mentality is perceiving the world as happening TO you, the hero mentality is perceiving the world as happening FOR you.

This is a huge shift, and one that can happen in an instant, or it can take some time and some effort.

For me, I have to catch myself in the victim mentality and consciously shift my mindset by asking questions like, “How is this happening FOR me?” or “What are the opportunities that I’m missing?”

The hero mentality sees opportunities rather than obstacles.

You find ways to embrace your circumstances rather than avoiding them or blaming them on someone else.

You’ll know that you’ve made the shift from the victim mentality to the hero mentality if:

  • You find opportunities
  • You’re grateful for trials and struggles
  • You embrace challenges
  • You feel optimistic, hopeful, and grateful.

Again, this is a mindset, and it’s a mindset that you can practice.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll need to catch yourself in the victim mentality and practice shifting that mentality to a hero mentality.

With practice this will become more and more natural for you.

It’s a Choice

“It can be hard to get out of the victim mentality. It’s as simple as a choice, but it’s hard when it’s how you’ve been trained to think, and it’s the mentality that you see most prominently around you.”

Ben Pugh

The truth is, you have the power to choose how you will think, but first you have to develop awareness. Once you have awareness around your mindset, you then have the power to choose, which mentality will be your mindset.

It can be humbling to realize that when you are in the victim mentality, you’re choosing that mentality.

But, it’s empowering to realize that you have the power to choose to switch your mindset to the hero mentality.

You Are Only Responsible for YOUR Mindset

I’m sorry to break this to you, but you can’t get your teen out of the victim mindset for them. Doesn’t matter if it’s your teen or your spouse, they have to do this all on their own.

And, this might actually be one of the biggest traps that parents fall into, trying to control your teen’s mindset, because it’s something outside of your control, and if you’re trying to manage your teen’s mindset, you’re not managing your own.

But their are ways to support them in shifting their mindset; you just can’t do it for them.

“It’s not your job to get anyone else out of the victim mindset; not your teen, not your spouse, not anyone but yourself. If others around you are in the victim mindset, be the shining example of being in the hero mindset.”

Ben Pugh

The most powerful way to support your teen in getting out of their victim mentality is for you to manage your mindset!

You can teach them, you can punish them, and you can bribe them, but the most powerful thing you can do is be an example of the hero mindset.

Practice and Model the Hero Mentality

I think that practicing new skills is hugely underutilized and under appreciated.

If you want to think differently, you have to train your mind to think differently.

Seriously, practice reprogramming your mind to see the world through the hero mindset.

For this, I like to use the Wheel of Life.

When you’re on the top of the wheel, catch yourself BEING the hero. Pat yourself on the back when you catch yourself seeing opportunities when others see obstacles.

Really use the top of the wheel to practice the hero mentality.

And, when you catch yourself on the bottom of the wheel, maybe you’re focusing on things outside of your control or only seeing obstacles, intentionally explore and seek to understand why you’re in the victim mentality.

With that awareness, you can then start practicing the choice of intentionally shifting your focus to things within your control.

Step 1 – Go get your tickets.

Step 2 – Go highlight June 20-22 on your calendar.

Step 3- Come have the time of your life connecting with your teen!

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