How Codependency, Victim Mentality & Addiction Are Connected & Helpful Ways to Heal

By Dominica


Last Updated: February 9, 2022

Codependency is a term coined back in the 70’s by addiction recovery professionals. Experts that were treating those struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction began to find common unhealthy characteristics in the spouses or partners. It wasn’t just the person wrestling with addiction that was struggling, but oftentimes the whole family.

Codependency is defined as an unhealthy attachment to another person. 

Common characteristics associated with codependency are caretaking, people pleasing in order to feel appreciated, enabling, insecurity, fear of abandonment, manipulation, unable to accept reality, and more.

Having a victim mentality is another characteristic of codependency. 

This is common for those who are in a relationship with someone struggling from alcoholism or drug addiction. In their subconscious mind, they feel like a victim. They feel like the world doesn’t support them and feel like they always get the short end of the stick.


Victim Mentality: What Is It?

If you have a victim mentality, it means that you walk around much of the time feeling and acting like a victim. You tend to point fingers and blame others for your level of unhappiness. You may even have a “poor me” attitude.  

Other characteristics of those who have a victim mentality include:

  • Denial
  • Pessimism
  • Negative mindset
  • Sadness
  • Lack of responsibility
  • Insecurity

Regarding relationships where substance abuse is a factor, the person struggling with addiction or alcoholism can also be struggling with feeling like a victim. 

They may feel powerless and drink or drug to try to numb the pain associated with that feeling. The partner who is not struggling with addiction might feel like a victim too, feeling like they don’t deserve a healthy relationship.

One might act like all is well on the outside, but inside you may feel depressed, weak, unworthy, and powerless. You may think that life is not fair. You may also think that things just never work out for you or blame others for your plight.

Due to such thoughts, you may suffer from depression, fatigue, poverty, substance abuse, or a mental health disorder. You might not even realize that you are carrying a victim mentality.


Trauma At The Root

It’s not uncommon for those that struggle with a victim mentality to have experienced little or big “T” trauma as a child. 

They’ve been hurt or angered and can’t get past it. Those that have codependent tendencies tend to fall into a victim mentality and have a difficult time taking responsibility for their current situation. It seems easier for them to stay down rather than rise into their empowered self.  


Codependency and The Victim Mentality

A negative mindset can also be a root source of victim mentality.

If you have low self-esteem, always think the worst, or view life from a negative lens, you can surely fall into a victim mentality. If you don’t think much of yourself, you will begin to carry around the mentality that you don’t deserve anything good. This is quite common for those that harbor guilt and self-loathing.   

Regarding a codependent relationship, the person who struggles with low self-worth or codependency can become attached in an unhealthy way to a partner who can prey upon this mentality. 

The partner “confirms” the low self-worth of the codependent in various ways, such as verbal abuse and the person with codependency cowers in fear and depression, knowing that the partner is probably right. 


Victim Mentality Can Be Healed

Healing is available for codependency and those who have a victim mentality. The first step is to recognize that you have a victim mentality and resolve to make a change.

Whether you are the person struggling with codependency or addiction, there is hope available to begin to change this mindset and adopt a new one. Healing will entail that you begin to tell a different story.  Even if you don’t feel like it, you must begin to see yourself as valuable. 

You must dig deep to get to your authentic self and move into grace. You must begin to take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, and life.

  • Begin to think of yourself as worthy.
  • Look at your good qualities.
  • Make a list of positive affirmations and recite them out loud daily. 
  • Listen to encouraging messages.
  • Do things that make you happy.
  • Find a therapist you can work with.

You want to increase your self-esteem continually.

 How do you boost your self-esteem? Related article: How Much Do You Like Yourself? Self-Esteem & How to Improve Yours


Take Full Responsibility For Your Life

Taking responsibility for your life is essential.

This means that you must do something about the negative thoughts and feelings you have been carrying around for so many years. Are you contending with guilt, fear, anger, frustration, hopelessness, and more? 

The healing process will require you to take a look at the root causes of such feelings and deal with those issues. You might want to consider going to therapy or seeing a certified life coach for a while.

Professionals have techniques that can help you heal old wounds, change your mindset and let go of negativity. They can also help you to set goals and create an action plan to attain those goals.

There are also support groups that are helpful.

  • There’s Codependents Anonymous for those struggling with codependent characteristics.
  • There’s also 12 Step recovery groups for those struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction.
  • If you want to stop drinking, check out Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • Look into Narcotics Anonymous if you’re struggling with stopping the use of drugs.


Others Can Help You

Whether you're struggling with codependency characteristics or an addiction to alcohol or drugs, know that you're not alone and that help is available.

You do not have to navigate this path alone. However, you do need to take some steps in the right direction. Think about what treatment path you would like to begin navigating. Make some phone calls to see what your options are in your community.


I Am Not A Victim

You don’t have to continue living life feeling like a victim.

The past is over and your future begins now. Draw a line in the sand and make some positive changes. Say, “I am not a victim” over and over. Take heart, there is freedom on the other side of codependency and/or addiction. You’re on the path toward discovering it. 

Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash



7 comments on “How Codependency, Victim Mentality & Addiction Are Connected & Helpful Ways to Heal”

  1. Love is the answer. But not any kind of love. Self-Love. Until you care for yourself you cannot share what you do not have. And as a corollary - Self-Healing. The government and the medical system is not there to serve you. Do not wait for a saviour. Take action and responsibility for yourself.

    Stephen Conroy
    Certified Whole Life Coach Practitioner
    The International Training Institute of Health

    1. Thank you Stephen! Self-care and Self-love are so important for us to find balance and take care of ourselves properly. 🙂

  2. I just wanted to thank Dominica for such wonderful articles on mental wellness and well being! I read it everyday and it has been my favorite daily read since I subscribed to it during this pandemic. Do not stop! Much appreciated! 💖

    1. That's wonderful Cassia!! We're so happy you are enjoying Dominica's articles, and the site. Wishing you well on your journey!

  3. Thanks for sharing the is right on Time for me ☺️ I have drawn a line and said I am worthy of Love and Respect. I love you Release! Release! you and forgive you and myself simultaneously and from a distance. I can't keep doing the same thing and expecting different results That's insanity.

    1. Thank you for sharing this empowering message with us! Taking care of yourself is so important - and taking control of your own journey is so inspiring. Wishing you so much luck and positivity. 🙂

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