Narcissists play the victim. Poor me somebody else did something to me. It’s not my fault. Ever. You’ve been seeing a lot about narcissism lately. If there is a narcissist in your life, you often feel like tearing your hair out with frustration. You want the truth. They won’t give it to you.
Narcissists will do anything to deny the truth and redirect blame
Narcissists can’t cope with reality if facing the truth challenges their shaky sense of self-esteem. You may not enjoy a reality that hurts you, but you probably don’t create an alternate world and reality to avoid feeling bad. That’s what narcissists do. Feeling bad is an internal thing. Lying about it involves other people and has consequences.
Why narcissists lie
As a coping mechanism, narcissists learn to delude themselves by telling themself that what is real is actually not real. They see their own version of every situation as real, even though it isn’t. And then they sound convincing telling lies. Sound confusing? Convoluted? Yes, it is. Gaslighting is one of the signature tactics of a narcissist.
Narcissists play the victim because they have to be right
Narcissists simply want you to believe that they are in the right. For that, they need you, and other people’s, fake validation. Not everyone will fake validate them, so they need to find people who would agree with them. In order for others to agree with them, they have to find unhealthy people who fall for their game, or people who don’t recognize toxic tendencies when they see it..
If you happen to be an empath you are more at risk to be a narcissist’s prey. Narcissists will turn can turn anybody into the bad guy, and they will project on you every negative thought they feel. They project themselves as good, noble, caring, virtuous and you as evil, cruel, selfish, and immoral. It’s enough to make you crazy.
Projection turns you into the person the narcissist really is
Projection is the another way narcissists play the victim. If they say you are jealous of them, then you know that the narcissist is jealous. When a narcissist says you were cruel to them, then you know that the narcissist was cruel to you. If they say you were lying and cheating, then you know they were the one lying and cheating.
Yes, sometimes it’s not as simple and there could be unhealthy behavior on both sides, but more often than not whatever the narcissist is presenting the other person as is a much more accurate description of the narcissist.
Try arguing with a narcissist
Narcissists play the victim by starting the story where you have reacted to their bad behavior. You reacted to their toxic behavior. They frame it as if the story starts with your complain. No bad behavior, just you being ridiculous. Or they twist it by using euphemisms and deceiving language (“I’m not controlling, I just want what’s best for you.”).
For example, if a narcissist dislikes you and tries to bully you but you stand up for yourself, they will frame it as if they are the ones being a victim of bullying. In their narrative they were just doing their thing or joking around and you started being mean to them. Meanwhile, they simply left out what happened beforehand when they bullied you, so actually you “being mean” to them is a normal response to toxic behavior.
Here, by leaving out or downplaying their aggression they simply frame you engaging in self-defense as vile aggression against them. And then they think: “How dare you react or challenge me! You’re so sensitive and unfair! That’s why you deserve everything that’s coming!”
Slander, triangulation, character assassination
There are several ways how the narcissist employs their lies and projections, and the goal is always to turn others against you in hope that they won’t try to figure out the truth.
One of the ways to do that is triangulation. In psychology, it means controlling and manipulating communication between two parties. It is related to gossiping, smearing, and slandering, where the narcissist spreads false information around. A more extreme version of all of that is character assassination, where the lies are much more severe and damaging.
Closer analysis shows they’re full of baloney
For instance, if you examine a narcissistic parent who tells others how you hurt them and say mean things, you quickly notice that they are the one who constantly demeans, disrespects, and manipulates the adult-child. And when the child becomes more assertive and stops giving them resources (time, money, attention), they see it as aggression because they feel entitled to those resources.
If you examine further, you notice that not only the narcissistic parent was initially disrespecting the adult-child’s boundaries, but is also retaliating further now by manipulating others into siding with them.
The same is the case in professional environments or personal relationships. The narcissistic party does something toxic, the aggrieved party reacts and stops the perpetrator or distances from them, and then the narcissist retaliates by trying to shape the social opinion into a narrative where they are the good, righteous party. Sometimes they even convince others to bully and intimidate the target further.
These methods often rely on the target not having a support system or being isolated. This increases the narcissist’s chances of others siding with them and not with the victim.
Narcissists can’t accept they’re not wonderful
They are also incredibly fragile when facing an idea that perhaps they did something wrong, especially if others can see it. Therefore if there’s a conflict they will do anything and everything to maintain a fantasy that they are always good, all while perceiving the other party as evil.
Not only that, they need other people’s validation that their delusion is true. To achieve that, they create preposterous, slanderous, manipulative narratives where all of that is true and try to convince others of it. And since many people are unwilling and unable to look into the truth behind it, the narcissist can find that validation they so desperately crave and even act out their revenge fantasies. Often the reason is as simple as hating to see others doing well because they themselves are miserable.
As a result, sometimes people get seriously hurt: socially, financially, emotionally, or even physically. But the narcissist doesn’t care about that. In fact they are often glad, because in their narrative the target deserves it by being “evil,” so whatever happens is justified.