Living with a Victim Mentality with Borderline PD
It can be easy to fall into a victim mentality with borderline personality disorder (BPD). You can often feel like your brain is working against you and making life unnecessarily hard. However, treating yourself as a victim can be detrimental and prevent you from recovering and moving on from traumatic events.
The Characteristics of a Victim Mentality with BPD
As a teenager, I started to experience symptoms of depression, anxiety, and BPD. These mental illnesses sapped my energy, contributed to my rock-bottom self-esteem, and often made it challenging for me to emotionally move past small and large traumas alike. Additionally, I carried a victim mentality that started to get worse over time.
I could see people around me who didn't live with any mental illness or experience symptoms to the extent that I did. Therefore, I felt resentful and like I had been born into unfortunate circumstances. I resented others for their visible normality and beat myself up subconsciously for not being able to function as well as them. Rather than seeing my symptoms as something that I could work on and lessen, I saw them as my cross to bear.
My victim mentality worsened after I was raped at 19. I tried to treat myself as a survivor, but I always felt like a victim and held onto self-blame for many years. I felt like I had been robbed a year of my life because my mental health was so atrocious after the event, pushing me to turn to alcohol, drugs, and other reckless behavior to escape what I was feeling inside. Although I didn't always outwardly acknowledge it, I truly felt like a victim and someone who had been dealt a bad hand in life.
When I received my BPD diagnosis at age 22, I once again felt like a victim. I knew that it was a controversial disorder and that many people with BPD do not fully recover from their illness. Consequently, I felt overwhelmed by yet another thing that was wrong with me and that I didn't think I could fix.
The Dangers of a Victim Mentality with Borderline Personality Disorder
Living with a victim mentality made it very difficult for me to improve my BPD symptoms. Although it is true that I was not responsible for having a mental illness, I was also ignoring the responsibility that I hold for my actions. No one was forcing me to engage in self-destructive behaviors. Accepting them as part of my reality, I wasn't taking steps to recover and apply my therapy lessons.
Consequently, I didn't make significant improvements for many years. I languished in self-hatred and accepted that it was going to be my life circumstances forever. Some small things got better, but my overall attitude remained as that of a victim. As such, I never viewed myself as someone who had the resources and capabilities to improve my situation and my relationship with myself.
In the following video, I talk about some strategies I use to escape a victim mentality and take ownership of my mental health:
Do you or have you ever struggled with a victim mentality with your mental illness? How has it affected your mental health and recovery? Let me know in the comments section below.
Beveridge, K. (2021, July 26). Living with a Victim Mentality with Borderline PD, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, March 24 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/borderline/2021/7/living-with-a-victim-mentality-with-borderline-pd
Author: Kate Beveridge
Borderline also comes with ptsd & psychosis. It’s important to understand the complexities of that diagnosis.