It’s Narcissist Friday!
N – Get off the road, stupid idiot! That guy drives just like your brother!
You – Why do you say such mean things? It isn’t like you are a perfect driver.
N – What complaint do you have with my driving? You are always criticizing me. I have to be perfect before I can say anything anymore.
Then, when you get home:
N – Well, you can breathe now. I didn’t say anything mean and we got home without an accident. If you still think you can handle such a mean person, you should probably drive tonight when we go out. That way you can feel safe. Maybe I can sit back and criticize your driving.
Ever notice how the narcissist can become the instant victim? I used to have a relative who could say anything, accuse of anything, or criticize anything. But if you dared to challenge, you would become the aggressor and she would be the victim.
Some people have trouble seeing the truth about the narcissist when the narcissist presents as a victim. It’s a popular way for the narcissist to deceive others. It covers their own cruelty, changes the focus from them and their behavior to you. Because they have no trouble lying, narcissists can quickly shift to acting hurt and abused, no matter what they have just done to you.
Also, the victim gets a lot of attention, sympathy. Of course the narcissist wants that attention. Perhaps you have seen a child fall down, then look to see if anyone was watching. If no one was watching, the child might just keep playing. If someone saw, however, the crying starts. We understand from early ages that those who are hurt can get attention.
Some narcissists are professional victims. Nothing ever goes right for them. No one is ever nice enough or helpful enough. Always in financial trouble. Always having health problems. Always fighting a losing battle with someone. Even those who get used by the victim narcissist still feel sorry for them in some way.
You see, it works. Most of us were taught to care for others. We have empathy. We see the pain of others and believe it and want to help. So we let ourselves be used. And we excuse the users.
I read once of a real serial killer who would get crutches and carry groceries to his car parked far on the edge of the parking lot. He looked so pitiful that people would offer to help him. When it was some young lady who offered to carry his groceries, he would let her help him all the way to the car, then club her to unconsciousness using the crutch.
Maybe your narcissist wasn’t that terrible, but most of us can understand the story. One of the narcissists I had to deal with became the victim the moment I suggested that I didn’t need his help. Now you know how “helpful” a narcissist can be. He wanted an opportunity to look good at my expense. When I didn’t allow that, he turned on me and became my enemy, all while presenting himself as the victim to others.
The narcissist spouse is always the victim in the divorce. The narcissist boss is always the victim when charged with some workplace cruelty. The narcissist mother is always the victim when confronted with her own actions. The narcissist church leader is always the victim when the people begin to say no. It’s one of the more effective tools in the narcissist’s toolbox.
In the meantime, the real victims are often ignored. The pooooor narcissist cries so loudly that everyone must pay attention. The real victim is holding in the fear and pain, often too confused to explain what has been happening.
How do you win against the pooooor narcissist? Sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you just have to go on to protect yourself and let others find out the truth for themselves. Narcissists usually win at their games because they know how to manipulate others and are ruthless in doing so. Very few of us can play at their level. Maybe the best you can do is say it out loud, “Pooooor so-and-so!” Hearing it that way seems to help your mind understand what your heart already knows. Just be careful who hears you.
Sadly, we all have to learn to ask more questions and be a little more skeptical, especially when we first hear the story of a victim. Remember that there are two or more sides in any conflict. Sometimes the one who cries the loudest is the one who is really to blame.