As if life isn’t confusing enough, now we must differentiate a false victim from the actual target. This is not a simple task and takes a lot of life experience and education.

Trauma happens to thousands of people. And with so many victims of unfortunate events, the false victim can arise, pretending to be a survivor of abuse.

The false victim is someone who preys on real victims in order to get attention, or for some other selfish gain. So, how can we tell the difference between who’s really struggling and who’s using parasitic traits to get ahead?

Differences between a false victim and a real one

Learning to separate the real victim from the fake one can be difficult. In fact, the false victim is actually a type of abuser who claims to be abused. It’s twisted and can be a task to understand. And, of course, that’s part of the intention of the false victim.

The more confused you are, the more likely you are to think you’re the problem. So, let’s look at a few ways we can separate the false victim from the real one.

1. Negative reactions

If you see someone screaming out of anger, you’d assume they are being abusive. But hold on. Yes, verbal abuse is a thing, we all know that.

However, false victims can incite rage in others after long periods of covert abuse. Let’s just say that if you poke a bear over and over, it might get furious. And then, you’ll say, “Look how vicious that animal is. He’s rabid!” But what made him that way?

See the picture? False victims have perfected the art of causing negative reactions in others in an attempt to make them appear victimized by verbal abuse. They say seemingly harmless things, but all these things are meant to upset their target.

Fake victims know that the target’s reaction will probably be explosive, thus making the true abuser seem victimized. Hope that’s not too twisted to understand.

2. Strong victim mentality

A real victim will tell you their story, and they may even tell you more than once. However, true survivors will not use their trauma for selfish gain.

False victims talk about being wronged by someone all the time. In every argument or fight, they will always claim innocence. They are the forever victim.

With this victim mentality, they will never take responsibility for their mistakes. There will always be someone else who caused any problems they have. Just pay attention to one specific thing: Do they ever take the blame for past relationship problems? If not, you’ve found yourself a false victim.

3. Self-esteem issues

Actual victims struggle with self-doubt, no matter how confident they attempt to be. It’s just a negative seed planted by past manipulation. No matter how much trauma they’ve endured, real victims wonder if they caused the pain and suffering that they received.

On the other hand, false victims wear a mask of confidence, seemingly sure of themselves and their victimhood. They are quick to pass the blame to “abusers” and slow to look inward.

False victims point to others as the only reason for the negative things they do. They do not doubt what they’re doing, even when they know they’re hurting others.

4. Ability to show compassion

Abusers learn manipulative tricks to seem more compassionate. Actual victims retain the basic ability to be compassionate.

While the lines between victim and abuser are being blurred because of recent social movements, compassion is the one attribute that real victims keep throughout various ordeals. While some victims become calloused and compassion decreases, there is always some kindness buried deep within.

If you meet an angry person with dwindling kindness, look closer. This could be a true victim of abuse.

5. Validation

Abusers pretending to be victims will validate everything they do wrong. When it comes to angry outbursts, cheating, or stealing, the false victim claims their wrongdoings were caused by the actions of another, thus, it was valid. And they usually do not feel bad about their actions.

False victims may even get a good night’s sleep after doing something terribly wrong, while real victims tend to remain restless trying to understand how to be a better person.

Survivors of trauma or abuse do not validate their negative actions because they know they are ultimately at fault for what they do. If you pay attention, you can see this validation that separates the false victim from the real one.

6. Positive vs. malevolent intent

Actual victims may see kindness as just that — kindness. But false victims may be perpetual paranoids. Pretenders may see kindness as malevolent intent.

What I mean is that when the real victim does something nice for the abuser, it may be seen as a trick. Abusers are so used to being manipulative that they think everyone else is being manipulative as well. Be wary of someone who always thinks you’re trying to fool them.

Can you separate the false victim from the real one?

It’s not going to be easy to separate the real from the imaginary in this case, not by a long shot. Victims become abusers who can then become victims again, and so on.

Yes, I said what I said. The cycle of abuse may continue until someone says, “enough is enough”, and this will take strength.

Being able to tell the difference between who’s being hurt and who’s doing the hurting calls for careful observation. Over time, you can tell the difference and maybe learn more about victimization.

Not only can this protect you, but it can also make you a better person as well. Because honestly, we all can be a victim or an abuser. So, we should always take care to be the best we can be to ourselves and to others.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Alesha

    I do not agree with #6. I often question if people are manipulating me because my abuser constantly tried to manipulate me and anyone he came in contact with. For awhile even after I left the relationship, I realized he had whittled down my ability to trust anyone. I was always questioning a person’s motives. Slowly, I have started to trust some people, but it has taken me three years to get to this point.

  2. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

    The thing about most of these examples is that they can apply to real victims and false victims alike. You sometimes have to be really good at seeing the truth or the lies. I believe you were manipulated, but some people will twist things so much that it’s difficult to tell if they are genuine or using you…until you are so far into the relationship that you start feeling gaslit.

    We can surely be manipulated, but be careful not to let what your abuser does infect you. I’m telling you, this stuff can get so complicated that dealing with certain people almost makes your head spin. Be blessed and stay vigilant. Keep yourself educated and separate yourself from toxic situations.

    I wish you well.

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