What is the borderline personality disorder victim mentality?

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In this article, we will explain to you what borderline personality disorder victim mentality is. We shall also look at borderline personality disorder causes, symptoms, treatment and coping strategies. We hope you will find this information useful.

What is the Borderline Personality Disorder victim mentality?

The borderline personality disorder victim mentality is a gained personality trait in which a person recognizes or considers themselves a victim of the negative actions of others and behaves as if this were the case in the face of contrary evidence of such circumstances. 

Victim mentality depends on clear thought processes and attribution (Wikipedia 2022)

The victim mentality has the following beliefs:

  • Bad things happen and will keep happening
  • Other people or circumstances are to blame
  • Any efforts to create change will fail, so there’s no point in trying

Borderline Personality Disorder?

BPD (its acronym) is a mental disorder that affects how you feel about yourself and other people. It also causes problems in carrying out normal day-to-day activities. 

People with BPD have a negative self-image, find it difficult to control emotions, and have a series of unstable relationships.

People with BPD dislike being alone and have an extreme fear of abandonment. However, their negative traits of irritability, mood swings and impulsiveness ‌push people away, even those who love you and want to have a meaningful relationship with you. 

The symptoms of BPD start in early adulthood and seem to worsen in young adulthood, however, the symptoms ‌improve with age and one can function normally with BPD.

Signs and symptoms of BPD

The signs and symptoms of BPD include:

  • Sorrow
  • Shame 
  • Terror
  • Rage 
  • Feelings of sadness and emptiness (long-term)
  • Severe mood swings. Some people feel suicidal and then feel better after a few hours. Mood swings vary; some feel better in the morning and some in the evening
  • Having upsetting thoughts, i.e. thinking that you are a terrible person
  • Auditory hallucinations. Some people hear voices in their heads telling them to harm themselves.
  • Prolonged episodes of hallucinations, i.e. hearing voices and delusions, i.e. believing that your family members want to kill you
  • Self-harm, i.e. cutting yourself with a razor, burning your skin with cigarettes. The symptoms might go to the extreme of trying to commit suicide.
  • Engaging in reckless behaviour, i.e. having unprotected sex with strangers, binge drinking and extreme use of drugs, and going on shopping sprees.

Characteristics of a victim mentality with BPD

Falling into a victim mentality for a person with BPD is very easy. This is because you can have overwhelming thoughts that other people and the world, in general, are against you. Victim mentality is detrimental and can make treatment very difficult and prevent you from moving forward.

As people with BPD grow up, they notice those people around them are not sick and struggling. Most of the victim mentality starts at this point where the person afflicted wonders why they had to have the illness and not someone else.  They can feel resentful towards themselves and other for the unfortunate circumstances that have befallen them.

Instead of seeing their symptoms as something they can work on and overcome, they see them as boulders that are limiting their lives and making them useless. Many see like they have been robbed of their lives as they struggle to treat the condition and overwhelmed by the process.

The characteristics include;

  • Blaming others for how their life is
  • Feeling stuck in life and approaching things with a negative mindset
  • Thinking that everyone and life is against you
  • Trouble coping with problems even those that you can solve by yourself
  • Feel attacked when people offer solutions and feedback
  • Feeling bad for yourself gives you pleasure
  • Its difficult for you to make changes
  • You attract people who are negative and who blame others

Causes of BPD

There is no single cause that can be identified as causing BPD. However, there are factors that predispose you to get BPD. They include;

Genetics

There is a likelihood of BPD genes being passed from one generation to another. Research has shown that if a twin is diagnosed with BPD, there is a likelihood that the other one will have it too. There is no gene for BPD, so these findings should be treated with caution.

Problems with brain development

An MRI showed that people with BPD had a problem with the development of parts of the brain that regulate mood. They include; 

  • The hippocampus; regulates behaviour and self-control
  • Amygdala; regulates emotions
  • Orbitofrontal cortex; involved in planning and decision making

Brain chemicals

Altered levels of the neurotransmitters, especially serotonin, have been linked with depression, aggression and failure to control destructive urges.

Environmental factors

Common environmental factors common in people with BPD include exposure to long-term fear or distress, experienced physical, emotional or sexual abuse, parental neglect, and growing up with a family member with a mental illness.

Unresolved fear and anger from childhood can make you put unrealistic expectations on other people, like expecting people to be like a parent to you, expecting others to bully you, idolising others and behaving like others are adults and you are not.

Why do people with BPD adopt the victim mentality?

There are some benefits of adopting victim mentality among people with BPD. unfortunately these benefits favour them but overwhelm others especially those close to them. They also prevent the person afflicted from making any progress on recovery. They include;

There is no accountability

Being accountable means that you are answerable to your life and decisions. This can be scary for a person with BPD. They develop the victim mentality to camouflage and not be responsible for their actions.

To generate sympathy

This can be an unconscious behaviour for those with BPD. They play the ‘poor me’ card as they know it will give them attention. They also use it as a way of seeking validation from other people

For secondary gain

People with BPD can be manipulative and not sensitive about other’s needs. They might adopt the victim mentality so as to get secondary gains like funds, access to medication, attention and sympathy.

To avoid taking risks

People suffering from BPD blame others for things they are responsible for. Blaming others is an easy way of avoiding risks as they feel vulnerable to do anything by themselves.

Dangers of victim mentality

Although you are not to blame for for your mental illness, you have the power and you need to be responsible for your own actions. You are responsible for taking treatment positively and making gradual progress. You have the resources and people to help you in recovery and improve your situation.

7 results of victim mentality

The results of victim mentality include;

  • Avoiding responsibility because of having a negative attitude towards problems.
  • Failing to seek solutions because of accepting being powerless.
  • Feeling powerless because you believe bad things will happen and cannot be fixed.
  • Negative self-talk because of adopting negative attitudes towards life problems.
  • Lack of confidence as a result of feeling powerless.
  • Self-sabotage because of lacking the initiative to find solutions.
  • Anger, frustration and resentment because of feeling powerless and having a negative attitude towards problems. 

How to cope with borderline personality disorder

Ways of coping with BPD include:

  • Learn the grounding techniques that can help you focus on the present and divert your attention from harmful thoughts. Grounding techniques include counting from 0 to 10, 10 to 0, clenching and unclenching your fists, curling and uncurling your toes, or remembering the names of everyone in the room.
  • Avoid alcohol and substances abuse as they can destabilize your emotional state
  • Listen to calming music when feeling low
  • Eat healthy balanced diets
  • Practice gratitude. This helps to inspire positivity in life.
  • Have sufficient sleep
  • Keep in touch with your feelings and emotional states by journaling.
  • Keep a positive company that will encourage you.
  • Share your feelings and fears with your friends
  • Visit your therapist regularly.
  • Identify your anger triggers so that you can stop early.
  • Engage in physical activities that can divert your mind away from harmful thoughts.
  • Take a warm shower when experiencing a borderline episode
  • Express yourself through art.

How to stop BPD victim mentality

You are not born with victim mentality. It is a learned behaviour from socialization and other environmental factors. It can also be a result of trauma and upbringing. You can unlearn victim mentality by doing the following;

Educate yourself

Learn more about victim mentality and its relationship to BPD. seek help from a therapist, who will help you explore more on the topic and how to stop the negative thoughts from affecting your life. Read the resources like books available to help prevent relapses.

Practice self-care

Be caring and compassionate to yourself. Remind yourself that you are not unlucky or cursed to have BPD. journal your feelings and practice self-care. You can do the things that make you happy and do not isolate yourself.

Be accountable

Take responsibility for your actions, how you react to others, how you spend your time and who you spend it with. Get in the driver’s seat of your life and steer yourself in the right direction.

Treatment for BPD

Medication

There is no medication for BPD but medication can be given for the symptoms that manifest, i.e. antipsychotics, antidepressants and anxiolytics

Therapy

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy will help you respond to emotional situations with positive coping mechanisms and with reason and proper judgment. This will reduce seeing things in white and black.

Hospitalization

This is necessary if you are experiencing extreme symptoms like suicidal thoughts and attempts, or hallucinations and delusions that are affecting your daily functioning and relationship with others.

Conclusion

In this article, we explained what a victim mentality is and its results. We also looked at the causes, symptoms, treatment options and coping methods for borderline personality disorder. We hope this information was useful.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know in the comments section.

Frequently asked questions: Borderline personality disorder victim mentality

Why do borderlines play the victim?

Borderlines are not capable of seeing their role and will project their bad feelings onto those closest to them.

What are victim mentality symptoms?

‌symptoms include having trouble coping with problems in your life and feel powerless against them.

How do you fix the victim mentality?

Practice gratitude.

Citations

Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault. (28th November 2021). Borderline Personality Disorder. Verywellmind. Retrieved from: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-borderline-personality-disorder-bpd-425487

NHS. (July 17, 2019). Causes- borderline personality disorder. Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/borderline-personality-disorder/causes/

Raypole, C. (December 11, 2019). How to Identify and Deal with a Victim Mentality. Healthline. Reterieved from: https://www.healthline.com/health/victim-mentality#signs

Salters-Pedneault, K. Coping Skills for Borderline Personality Disorder. Verywellmind. Retrieved from: https://www.verywellmind.com/coping-skills-borderline-personality-disorder-425412

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