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46 Examples of Self-Pity

 , August 26, 2022
Self-pity is self-centered unhappiness whereby you feel sorry for yourself. This has many flavors. Self-pity can be a temporary emotion that helps you to get over a problem. It can also become a bad habit or personality trait that drives people away and tinges your thoughts with self-defeating negativism. Self-pity can be completely internalized whereby you view it as part of your identity to be continually unfortunate, incapable and sad. Alternatively, self-pity can be directed towards others with complaining and self-deprecation designed to seek attention, empathy or validation. The following are examples of behaviors, thought processes and emotions potentially associated with self-pity.
A lack of coolness -- intense emotional reactions to things.
A lack of gratitude for what you have.
A sense that one is isolated and alone.
A victim mentality - unreasonable assertions that you are the victim of others.
An exaggerated belief that others don't like you.
An inability to cope with stress in a reasonable or positive way.
Attributing the negative emotions of others to their thoughts about you (e.g. that person has a mean look on their face because they dislike me).
Avoiding responsibility -- attributing your problems to others.
Bitterness & Resentment
Clinging to those who will put up with your complaining.
Dwelling in the past.
Feeling that life is unfair.
Identity based on sadness, weakness or victimhood.
Inability to accept criticism.
Inability to forgive and forget.
Inability to see things from other's point of view.
Lack of self-direction.
Learned Helplessness
Looking back in anger -- viewing the past as more negative than you viewed it at the time.
Low Resilience
Low Self-Efficacy
Low Self-Esteem
Low sense of personal agency.
Obsessing over minor insults.
Obsessing over problems.
Passive-aggressive behavior based on accusing others of oppressing you.
Remembering negative events far more than positive events.
Self Criticism
Self-fulfilling negativism whereby your attitude causes bad things to happen.
Stress Avoidance
Strong need for validation from others.
Taking yourself too seriously.
Viewing other's problems as insignificant as compared to your own.
Viewing the problems of others as insignificant as compared to your own.
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you weaker -- the view that problems and failures aren't opportunities.
The items above are potentially associated with self-pity and aren't necessarily self-pity in themselves. For example, pessimism has many forms beyond self-pity.
Self-pity exists as an emotion, mood, behavior, thought process, habit and character trait. As an emotion, it can be transitory and part of an positive process of getting over a problem. Negative emotions often have some positive purpose.
Self-pity is viewed as an overwhelming negative character trait that tends to drive people away and makes you miserable, petty and incapable.
Self-pity can be defeated with self-discipline whereby you identify negative behaviors and work to try to discontinue them over time. This may also involve a process of cultivating positive emotions with techniques such as humor. The philosophical framework known as stoicism may be of interest as it is essentially the opposite of self-pity.
Overview: Self-Pity
Definition (1)Self-centered unhappiness.
Definition (2)Self-centered unhappiness whereby you feel sorry for yourself.
Definition (3)Seeking pity from others.
Thought Process
Character Trait
FlavorsInternalized (incorporated into mood, thinking processes or self-image)
Externalized (expressed as complaining, self-criticism or passive aggressive positioning oneself as a victim)
Related Concepts


This is the complete list of articles we have written about behavior.
Cruel To Be Kind
Cruel Wit
Human Nature
Inferiority Complex
Passive Aggressive
Polite Fiction
Risk Taking
Saving Face
Social Behavior
Social Comparison
Social Loafing
Social Pressure
Social Strengths
Social Thinking
Sour Grapes
Tetris Effect
Tit For Tat
Trust Issues
Victim Mentality
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