The Pathology of Victimhood: Dr. Gunderman

By | November 10, 2022

[November 10, 2022]  There is little doubt that the West has a serious attraction to “victimhood”; it’s believed to be a virtue and desirable.  Richard Gunderman, MD, Ph.D., is an experienced doctor and serious thinker about the health of populations.  He takes a strategic look at the West’s victimhood mentality in a recent article titled Pathologies of Victimhood.

“Some among us, however, have a habit of adopting a posture of victimhood too easily and too often, a tendency that can damage communities, interpersonal relationships, and supposed victims themselves.”

Of interest, Dr. Gunderman notes that victimhood transcends political boundaries.  I found that unexpected as we all have observed a staggering amount of visual victimization, real or perceived, by minority groups, women, gender-challenged, and from many non-European cultures.

“In American politics, a history of victimization, perceived or actual, is often treated as a credential that lends credence and moral authority to a particular person, group, or point of view.”

Psychologists call this a “tendency for interpersonal victimhood,” defined as seeing oneself as a victim of another’s evil actions and being preoccupied with being hurt long after the event ended.  Dr. Gunderman and researchers identify four components of victimhood:

  1. The need for recognition of victimhood.
  2. Moral elitism, taking their own “immaculate morality” for granted.
  3. A lack of empathy; being oblivious to the suffering of others.
  4. Rumination; voluntarily experiencing the situation over and over.

This tendency to victimhood is linked to several adverse consequences:

  1. They don’t believe they can make a difference, showing less initiative and adaptability.
  2. Enter relationships expecting to be victimized, often becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  3. Forgiveness is very difficult or impossible; opportunities to exact revenge are common.

“How should individuals and groups with a tendency to interpersonal victimhood be approached?  First, it is usually unhelpful to attempt to argue them out of it, because doing so would require them to relinquish their victimhood.  Second, when confronted with persons who are unable to forgive, it is best to redouble efforts to be forgiving, since the only alternative is often ruptured relationships.  Third, because such individuals bear a psychological affliction, it is best not to rely on them to provide fair and balanced accounts of situations or to make prudent, well-informed, and thoughtful decisions on behalf of others, largely because they see matters only from their own point of view.”

The real solution is to convince ourselves that victimhood is not a virtue.


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

15 thoughts on “The Pathology of Victimhood: Dr. Gunderman

    1. Audrey

      Thanks Eye Cat for the references. I see he talks about failing professionalism, ethics, etc.

  1. Julia

    Gen. Satterfield, thanks for your book “55 Rules for a Good Life” and for this article today. It helps me understand also the growing narcissism in our society and the me-me-me thinking of so many – both young and old folks. Everyone seems to want a hand out.

  2. Tom Bushmaster

    Thank you Gen. Satterfield and for your continued great website that educates and advices. Thank you!

    1. Fred Weber

      Yeah, and that is also why I got his book.
      “55 Rules for a Good Life”

  3. Roger Yellowmule

    Thank you Gen. Satterfield for making me aware of this guy and I did read his entire article this morning and loved it. Yes, we are a “victimhood” society and that will work to our great disadvantage.

    1. Rev. Michael Cain

      Like blacks and native Americans. They have that idea as their main life’s idea and it continues to destroy them at every level. Few raise themselves above it.

      1. Plato

        … until a leader from their race takes hold and tells them to ‘buck up’, it never will.

        1. Bryan Z. Lee

          Plato, they are just not smart enough or are too corrupt. I favor both explanations. Nothing else could explain it when you sabotage your own race year after year.

        2. Unwoke Dude

          Good thinking Plato and Rev Cain. An example of WHAT NOT TO DO. If you follow that line of thinking and agree with it, then you are supporting Dr. Gunderman’s hypothosis.

    1. KenFBrown

      Yes, Stacey. Same thinking here and I like the way this Dr. Gunderman writes and of course thinks too. I’ll try to find more of his stuff out there. Very un-PC. And that is why I can trust him to give us some straight info, not like the liars the Democrat party supports and defends.


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