5 Words For Someone Who Plays The Victim (Meaning Explained)

Trying to describe someone who plays the victim can be tricky if you don’t know the right words to use. This article will look at the best options available to you and how you can use them in practice, should the time ever come to need them.

Which Words Can Describe Someone Who Plays The Victim?

There are a few good descriptive words we can use for someone who plays the victim, and they are:

  • Manipulator
  • Narcissistic
  • Coward
  • Victim
  • Self-pity
Which Words Can Describe Someone Who Plays The Victim?

The preferred version is “manipulator” because it has the closest desired meaning to someone who plays the victim. A manipulator is a person who causes conflict in a way that pits people against each other. They do this in a way to gain an advantage over them.


“Manipulator” is the best word for this case, and we can use it to talk about someone who plays the victim.

Someone who plays the victim can be described as a manipulator because they’ll control people to suit their own needs and wants. If they don’t get their own way, they’ll often call themselves a victim or act like one, as if other people have caused the problems.

The definition of “manipulator,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a person who controls people to their own advantage, often unfairly or dishonestly.”

The worst part about manipulators is that so many people in their lives don’t realize they’re being manipulated. It’s all too easy for people you care about to manipulate you if you’re not careful, which means manipulators won’t need to play the victim all that often.

However, if you ever do call out a manipulator for trying to manipulate you or someone you know, don’t be surprised when they act like the innocent party, as if they’re the victim in the affairs.

You might see “manipulator” come up in the following ways:

  • He’s nothing more than a manipulator, and he’ll consistently get what he wants if we let him.
  • She’ll play the victim and act like a manipulator if you’re not too careful with the arguments you get into.
  • They’re both manipulators, making it much harder for me to get any words in that will help my cause.


While a “manipulator” is a problem in their own right, a narcissist comes with their own issues, and you might already know one or two in your life.

Someone with a narcissistic personality is more than likely to play the victim when they’re challenged. They’ll often instigate conflict because it suits them, but if someone calls them out on it, they’ll shy away from it and pretend they’re the victim.

The definition of “narcissistic,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “having too much interest in and admiration for yourself.”

There are plenty of narcissists in the world, and you probably already know of a few in your own life. It’s hard to talk to them and not have the conversation be centred around them.

Because they have such an over-inflated sense of self-worth and self-interest, they’ll often feel personally attacked at the slightest comment on their character. That’s why it’s so common for them to play the victim, even when it’s not the case.

Narcissistic people might appear in the following ways:

  • She’s a narcissist, which makes it difficult to argue with her when she always thinks she’s the victim.
  • You’re narcissistic tendencies are making it hard for anyone to agree with you about anything!
  • Stop being so narcissistic for two seconds and let somebody else tell you why they have a problem with your actions!


“Cowards” aren’t the same as someone who deliberately plays the victim, but they’ll still do so, mostly because they don’t have the courage to do anything else.

Cowards don’t necessarily deliberately play the victim, but they’ll act like nothing was their fault, and everyone is ganging up on them when challenged. They have a hard time approaching danger and conflict, which is why they’ll often pretend they’re a victim.

The definition of “coward,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a person who is not brave and is too eager to avoid danger, difficulty, or pain.”

A coward is difficult to argue with because they’re too timid to see the argument out to the end. They’ll find other excuses to end it, or they’ll make you feel like you’re bullying them for continuing the argument when they clearly weren’t invested in it.

While it isn’t necessarily the fault of the coward (it’s more to do with their disposition), it still makes it hard to trust them or talk to them if they’re always going to play the victim.

“Coward” could work as follows:

  • Stop being such a coward and tell us why you believe yourself to be the victim!
  • You’re not the victim; you’re just a coward who doesn’t know any better!
  • Stop playing the victim card, you coward.


While describing a phrase with “victim” with the word “victim” itself seems counterintuitive, there is nothing wrong with using this as an adjective to talk about someone who plays the victim in certain cases.

The simplest word on this list is “victim,” and we can use it to describe someone who pretends that they are the victim in their own issues. If they challenge someone or start conflict, they might turn it around on themselves if they don’t know how to back themselves up.

The definition of “victim,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “someone or something that has been hurt, damaged, or killed or has suffered, either because of the actions of someone or something else or because of illness or chance.”

While “victims” are usually honest people who have had bad things happen to them, in this context, we refer to the types that blame everyone else for no reason.

They’re fake victims, which we might also call “perpetual victims,” as they always see the badness in everyone else and don’t understand why they’re always the people being picked on (even when they’re not).

“Victim” is a great word we can use, and the following examples will demonstrate it:

  • You’re not the victim here, so stop pretending like you are!
  • I don’t care if you want to play the victim card; we’re not going over this again!
  • She thinks of herself as a victim in every fight and argument we get into. It’s ridiculous.


“Self-pity” is one of the leading causes of why certain people would want to play the victim.

“Self-pity” is a personality trait that some people have that amplify their personal problems. They’ll believe that their problems are the only ones that matter, and no one else’s problems come close to the things they’ve suffered in their lives.

The definition of “self-pity,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “sadness for yourself because you think you have a lot of problems or have suffered a lot.”

While it might sometimes be the case that they’ve been through seriously traumatic things, people who have “self-pity” are often fakers who act like worse things have happened to them than is true.

Once people start to call them out on all the things that aren’t that bad about their lives, they’ll play the victim to show that everyone around them doesn’t take them seriously.

It’s difficult to talk to somebody who thinks like this because there’s really no way to convince them that their problems aren’t that bad. At least, not without therapy.

“Self-pity” could appear as follows:

  • Your self-pity is a joke. I don’t think you realize how annoying it is for everyone else in your life.
  • Stop pretending like you’ve got it harder than everyone else. Your self-pity is nonsense!
  • There’s no need for that self-pity here. Your life is perfectly fine.

What Does It Mean To Play The Victim?

Now that we’ve covered the best synonyms, we should quickly touch on what it means to play the victim so you know how to use it.

Someone who plays the victim will often be a person who causes conflict. Once they’ve started the conflict and created a stir, they will often back out of the situation quickly once people start to challenge them and play the victim card as if they are being bullied.

Playing the victim is what people do when they realize they’ve lost an argument but can’t accept it. Instead of accepting their defeat, they will try and find any loopholes that they can to prove that they were the victim of the engagement and the other person was wrong.

How Should I Deal With Someone Who Always Plays The Victim?

Dealing with someone who always plays the victim is tricky but not impossible.

You should try and avoid conflict with people like this at all costs. If that’s out of the question, you should back out of the argument before you give them a chance to play the victim and just accept that there’s no other way to beat them.

While it’s not the ideal scenario, it’s better to walk away with your head held high than it would be to instigate more drama and conflict.