Addiction is a complicated disease with a number of symptoms.
It’s not uncommon for people who have a substance abuse issue to assume a victim mentality with their family and friends. The addicted person may get some temporary benefit from doing this. However, it will likely be short-lived.
Reasons Why Addicts Take on a Victim Mentality
There is more than one reason why a loved one who is addicted to drugs or alcohol might want to impress upon those he is close to that he is a victim of his disease.
1. It shifts blame elsewhere.
When an addict assumes a victim mentality, it allows them to place the blame for their addiction firmly onto someone or something other than themselves. It’s true that many people start drinking or using drugs as a way of coping with trauma or conflict in their life, but it doesn’t automatically follow that everyone with this type of history turns to chemicals as a coping mechanism.
Trying to blame other people or claim that there isn’t a problem is an offshoot of the denial that is a common symptom of addiction. If an addict doesn’t accept that he has a problem, then he doesn’t have to deal with the consequences of his behavior or seek help. If he can get the people closest to him to go along with this idea, he can continue to live his lifestyle with a minimum of interference.
2. A victim mentality allows the addict to justify his behavior.
You may see this type of victimization in statements like, “If you had my [childhood, history of abuse, problems in school, difficulties at work, unreasonable boss] you’d drink or use too.” Family members and friends care about their addicted loved one. They want to help but often don’t know what to do, so they look to the addict for clues about how to help.
People with substance abuse problems can be very good at justifying the things that they do, even when they are hurtful to family and friends. The people closest to them often don’t realize that until they get treatment, the addiction will always come first. Unfortunately, this is the nature of the disease.
3. The addicted person resorts to playing the victim to avoid having to face their disease head-on.
If someone you love is coming across as fragile and unable to take on any further stress, including the perceived stress of going into a residential drug and alcohol treatment program to get well, would you be likely to push them into treatment? You may hesitate to do so, and that may be the reaction your addicted loved one is hoping for.
As long as they don’t have to deal with the consequences of their actions, they can continue with their current lifestyle. Nothing changes, even if the people closest to them become frustrated or angry from time to time. The victim mentality is something that the addicted person can pull out to use as a type of shield to avoid having to take responsibility for their actions.
Addiction Treatment Breaks the Cycle of Victim Mentality
When clients come into treatment at Great Oaks Recovery, they are entering an environment that is safe, comfortable, and specifically designed with their needs in mind. At our Houston area drug and alcohol rehab, each client receives a comprehensive psychosocial assessment and is assigned a primary therapist for their stay. Working with a therapist individually and in group sessions, clients do the work of getting to the root of their addiction and learning how to take responsibility for themselves and their actions.
We help our clients break out of their victim mentality and move into a new mindset. Our facility can provide a complete continuum of care, from detoxification to residential addiction treatment, aftercare, and a family program.