How to Deal With a Partner Playing the Victim

How to Deal With a Partner Playing the Victim


Bad things happen to everyone on different days, and we all move on after analyzing the issues. 

However, if your partner has the victim mentality, they will keep giving you their tales of woe and sadness, which may lead you to desire the tips to deal with a partner playing the victim.

A great tip for dealing with such a partner is to avoid accusing them of whining and complaining. 

Doing that will only trigger their victim mentality and cause them to include your accusations in the list of woes they suffer from the world.

You should also make sure you create space for yourself from them. Such freedom will allow you to breathe and think about your matters. 

You can't always listen to their negative feelings even though you are their companion because the negativity may weigh you down.

Moreover, you should ensure that you don't get emotional with their stories. 

You are to listen with empathy and attention, but when you decide to get as emotionally charged based on their stories, you can make matters worse because your validation of their emotions will make them feel accepted as a victim.

If you desire to know more about how to deal with a partner playing the victim, you may consider these tips.

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Jessica Gutierrez-Gaytan, SWC

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Avoid Accusing Them

Generally, accusing people is a terrible idea because they usually become defensive and focus on your accusations rather than their intent.

This becomes more complicated when a person has a victim mentality as they will take your accusations as a complete affront to their person. 

Therefore, if you want to deal with a partner playing the victim, it's an excellent idea to avoid accusing them.

Instead of accusing them, you can try to gently diffuse the situation, ensuring that they don't get upset and heap their suffering on you. 

Talk to them about what they feel and possible ways to take care of the issue.

You should also try to be patient with their behavior. 

If you act on their inability to change their victim playing game, you may become angry and begin to accuse.

But if you stay patient and understand that they may change for the better, you will be able to deal with them in a better way.

Equally, instead of accusing them of their lack of change, you can introduce them to a counselor who will help them analyze their problems and find solutions. 

Create Space for Yourself

As loving as it may be to listen to your partner's tales of woe, it's equally essential that you create space to enjoy your company and spend time with yourself. 

You can deal with a partner playing the victim well by creating a schedule for yourself to decompress.

When you create such space, make sure you make defined boundaries.

The boundaries may be time-dependent where your partner can't talk to you at a particular time you have set aside to cater to your emotional needs and mental health.

Even if you can't get the adequately defined boundaries for your space, you can create little pockets of space in your schedule around the house. 

You can get private space in the bathroom, take a solo walk, or just move around the house with headphones blocking out distractions.
It's also essential to fill your space with other relationships. 

When you get different emotional needs sorted by other people, you will be more equipped to cope with your partner at home since all your emotional support doesn't come from them. 

Avoid Getting Emotional

People who play the victim are experts at emotional tales because they have since developed the ability to cry wolf to garner attention. 

To properly deal with a partner playing the victim, you have to learn not to get emotional with their stories.

Usually, your partner's story may be a long tale of how someone hurt them, causing them immeasurable pain.

They may drum up the offenses and make them look like a huge deal. You should note that it's likely all an act to get you emotionally involved and take sides.

However, taking sides will be the wrong line of action because it will simply cement their victim mentality since your support would be endorsing their claim of being hurt. 

Thus, ensure you stay away from emotional involvement in the drama.

Instead of getting emotional about it, you can just listen to what they say while maintaining a relaxed air. 

When they are done, you should tell them sorry and tell them how they can fix the situation the next time.

Change the Subject Matter

An essential skill in public life is changing the topic of a conversation on the fly while keeping the chat active. 

This skill is undoubtedly necessary to deal with a partner playing the victim because it would allow you to put aside their whining and enjoy some positive thoughts.

One way to quickly change the subject matter is by asking them a slightly related question to what they are talking about.

If they complain about their co-worker, you can ask how vital his role is to the company, leading to a more peaceful conversation about the workplace positions.

Similarly, you can change the topic by bringing in another subject with no question. 

To avoid being awkward while doing this, you have to be smooth about it. 

Don't suddenly talk about another topic; instead, link it to the end of your reaction to their talk.

You can also create a distraction to pull them away from the current line of thoughts. 

Generally, a compliment is a great way to distract them. 

Just compliment their reaction to what triggered the victim-playing and focus on discussing that reaction rather than the incident itself.

Don't be a Constant Fixer

It can be hard ignoring a partner in pain; hence, the innate drive to help solve their pain so they can feel better. 

However, it's better to stop being a fixer if you want to deal with a partner playing the victim well.

Someone with the victim mentality doesn't care about your solutions.

They simply want to complain and whine.

Any attempt you make at fixing the problem will be dismissed.

So, it's better to avoid wasting your time with solutions.

Instead of jumping in to save them, you should assess the current situation.

Try to understand if their recent tale is spun to elicit a validation of their victim mentality or to get actual solutions. 

Whichever conclusion you reach should decide your approach.

It may indeed be painful to listen to them talk only to justify their victimhood without allowing solutions. 

But if you simply understand that they won't appreciate the answers, you may get used to it.

What Does it Mean to Play the Victim

Playing the victim, often associated with a victim mindset, involves a person perpetuating their own suffering and seeking sympathy from others. 

This behavior is often rooted in self-pity, low self-esteem, and a tendency to view past relationships or experiences negatively. 

Not everyone who has undergone a traumatic childhood or difficult past experiences develops this mindset, but it's a common coping mechanism for many.

People with victim mentalities tend to deflect blame onto others, viewing their own life through a lens of perpetual victimhood where everything that goes wrong is someone else's fault. 

Their negative self-talk and inability to accept constructive criticism can hinder personal growth, making it challenging to maintain healthy relationships.

Feeling vulnerable, these individuals often share tragic stories, seeking empathy and validation rather than taking responsibility for their actions. 

They might feel guilty when positive aspects of their life are highlighted, as this contradicts their narrative of hardship.

If you know someone you needs help overcoming a victim mindset is possible through self-reflection, practicing gratitude, and engaging in therapeutic approaches like narrative therapy. I find that these tips tends to help. 

  • Recognize and challenge negative self-talk
  • Practice gratitude to shift focus from hardships to blessings
  • Seek professional help, such as narrative therapy, to rewrite your life story
  • Take responsibility for your actions and feelings
  • Engage in self-reflection to understand the roots of your victim mentality

It's important to note that while some people may play the victim as a personality disorder or coping mechanism, others genuinely feel helpless due to past traumas and may require professional help to regain their personal power.

Important Things to Remember When Learning How to Deal with Victim Mentality in a Relationship

When dealing with a victim mentality in a relationship, it's crucial to recognize the impact it has on creating a healthy relationship.

Individuals who continually feel victimized may struggle with self-pity and avoiding accountability, which can lead to a persistent negative outlook on life.

This personality trait can often be associated with conditions such as borderline personality disorder, where taking responsibility for one's own life becomes challenging.

It's important to avoid joining the pity party and instead encourage your partner to address their own issues and limiting beliefs.

Shifting out of victim mode requires both partners to focus on self-care and personal growth.

While it's not your partner's job to fix you, supporting each other in developing healthier coping mechanisms can lead to more constructive interactions. 


Playing the victim card every time eventually gets boring and annoying. 

Without dealing with the victim mentality, it will continue to grow in strength till they never see their faults in any situation.

You can deal with a partner playing the victim by not accusing them, creating space for yourself, not getting emotional, changing the subject matter, and not being a constant fixer.


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July 21st, 2024

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