Know someone who always 'plays the victim'? Psychologists now say it's a real personality type.
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Everyone has that person in their life who "always plays the victim." When something goes wrong it's "never their fault" and if you try to challenge them on the issue they get all "high and mighty" on you.

They're the type of person who does something wrong then tries to paint you as being the real problem for calling them out. Because their bad deed was just them making things even.

These people can be impossible to deal with because they're never wrong. This mentality also stunts their developmental growth, because when you're never wrong, you don't have to change a thing.


A recent study by Israeli researchers Gabay, Hameirio, Rubel-Lifschitz, and Nadler has found that the "victim mentality" is a real and stable personality construct that influences how people make sense of the world around them.

These constructs are powerful to us because we use them to predict and anticipate events and, in turn, they influence our thoughts, behaviors, and feelings.

According to research, the victim mentality or, as they call it, "Tendency for Interpersonal Victimhood," or TIV, is a stable construct that people can carry with them throughout their lives.

It's defined as "an ongoing feeling that the self is a victim, which is generalized across many kinds of relationships." That's why your friend with the victim mentality always plays the victim and everything that happens in the world is an affront to them.

Researchers say there are four main components to TIV:

Need for recognition – whereby individuals have a high level of need for their victimization to be seen and recognized by others

Moral elitism – seeing oneself as morally pure or "immaculate," and seeing those who oppose, criticize or "victimize" oneself as completely and totally immoral and unjust

Lack of empathy – having little empathy or concern for the suffering of others, because your own victimhood is so much greater than the suffering of others. Also includes an entitlement to act selfishly or harmfully towards others, without recognizing their pain or experience

Rumination – a strong tendency to brood and remain extremely fixated on times, ways, and relationships where they experienced victimization and being taken advantage of

A person who has TIV may be very vocal about their victim status whether it's caused by societal issues, a personal problem, or something they've fabricated. They believe their status affords them moral superiority to others and allows them to behave in ways that are unassailable.

"How dare you judge me? I am a ______ ."

People with TIV are also more likely to try to seek revenge on those who've aggrieved them.

This type of person is defined by, and clings to, their perceived trauma and weaponizes it against others. Scott Kauffman of Scientific American says that people can develop TIV without even "experiencing severe trauma or victimization."

Kauffman believes that people who have experienced trauma are capable of using it for healthy personal growth instead of unhealthy self-aggrandizement.

What if we all learned at a young age that our traumas don't have to define us? That it's possible to have experienced a trauma and for victimhood to not form the core of our identity? That it's even possible to grow from trauma, to become a better person, to use the experiences we've had in our lives toward working to instill hope and possibility to others who were in a similar situation? What if we all learned that it's possible to have healthy pride for an in-group without having out-group hate?

By coming to the concrete realization that this form of victim mentality is real it gives sufferers a greater ability to realize that they are living with an unhealthy personal construct that can be altered. It also gives those of us who have to deal with these people a better way to understand these frustrating people.





When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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