A new study has defined the tendency for some individuals to see themselves as victims, including in seemingly harmless exchanges, often leading to a desire for revenge against those who wronged them and a sense of entitlement, numerous sources reported.
The new construct, called the “Tendency for Interpersonal Victimhood” (TIV), was defined by researchers Rahav Gabay and Boaz Hameiri as an “enduring feeling that the self is a victim across different kinds of interpersonal relationships,” according to PsyPost.
Psychologists have identified “how a person’s interpretation of social transgressions can inform feelings of victimhood and lead to revenge behaviors.”
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The authors point to small, interpersonal transgressions, like being interrupted while speaking, that many may view as inoffensive, but that someone with the TIV personality type would ruminate over and use to paint themselves as victim. (RELATED: Victimhood Culture Is Rampant According To Expert, And It’s Likely Due To Social Media [VIDEO])
The sense of victimhood also influences how people view the world and relationships.
The researchers conducted 8 studies among 249 Israeli adults, and found that in the initial 3 studies, TIV was found to be a consistent and stable trait involving moral elitism, a lack of empathy, the need for recognition and rumination. Another study found that a tendency for victimhood was linked to feelings of insecurity in one’s relationships, which may be tied to early relationships with caregivers.
“Deeply rooted in the relations with primary caregivers, this tendency affects how individuals feel, think, and behave in what they perceive as hurtful situations throughout their live,” the authors said in the report, according to Psypost.
In the next two studies, researchers gave study participants scenarios where another person gave them poor feedback, or took a larger share of winnings in a game. Those who had a higher measure of TIV were more likely to want revenge against the person that had treated them unpleasantly.
High-TIV individuals in the study were also less likely to forgive others after an offense, but instead were more likely to seek revenge. The authors write that high-TIV individuals also have a need for recognition, and were more “likely to experience feelings of hurt more intensely, and for longer periods of time” while being able to recall negative emotions more easily.
The desire for revenge also led to action, another study found. Participants who had a higher measure of TIV were more likely to take money from their opponent despite being told that it would not increase their own winnings.
“The higher participants’ TIV, the more they experienced negative emotions and felt entitled to behave immorally. However, only the experience of negative emotions predicted behavioral revenge,” the researchers said in the report, according to Psypost.
Two other traits — narcissism and self-esteem — were also compared to the victimhood tendency for their “general focus on the self and a strong sense of entitlement.”
The authors wonder if those in leadership roles who have the victimhood tendency are more likely to behave “in a vindictive way.”