The “Victimless” Crime

It’s Narcissist Friday!     


As long as I don’t hurt anyone, I can just do what I want. Right? This philosophy may well be a sign of an increasingly narcissistic culture.

One of the prevailing fallacies of our day is the idea of a victimless crime. Certainly there are actions, perhaps even prohibited actions, that don’t hurt others. But most of the acts people call “victimless” actually have victims. People who want to justify these behaviors usually just ignore or deny the existence of these victims.

Abortion, pornography, gambling, tax evasion, shoplifting—those who do these things often refer to them as victimless. They choose to either depersonalize the victims or deny that they exist. Usually the fact that the victims are far away or are hurt only minimally gives sufficient excuse.

Take lying on a resume for example. Who is hurt if I lie on my resume to get a job? I believe I can do the job, but I don’t really have the credentials or the experience. So I lie. If I get the job, who cares? I didn’t hurt anyone, did I? Well, the other applicants who did not get the job (but lost to me because I lied) might disagree. The employer who didn’t get the competence desired might disagree. The customers or clients I would serve inadequately might disagree. Just because I might choose to ignore these victims does not mean they do not exist.

Those who have been in relationships with narcissists, at whatever level, have almost certainly heard these words, “What? I didn’t hurt anyone.” Since the narcissist refuses to see any victim, he/she feels justified in the action. “No one was hurt!”

This philosophy comes so easily to the narcissist because the narcissist doesn’t see anyone as having value, or even as real for that matter. Others, as we have said here so often, are simply tools, toys, or obstacles. Other people only have value inasmuch as they are useful to the narcissist. So stealing, lying, and manipulating will always be victimless in the mind of the narcissist.

The narcissist parks in a handicapped spot. “I was only in the store for a few minutes. No handicapped person needed that spot. I didn’t hurt anyone.”

The narcissist steals from his employer. “They have so many of these things that they will never miss this. It isn’t like I hurt someone.”

The narcissist drives over the speed limit. “I was in full control all the time. No one was hurt.”

The narcissist lies about his accomplishments to a group of acquaintances. “They will never know otherwise. How could that hurt anyone?”

In fact, the narcissist can convince himself that he does these things because others want him to. They secretly enjoy watching him drive fast or hearing his inflated stories. Not only are they not victims, but he is doing something they like.

The laws that prohibit certain behaviors came out of a culture that understood the often subtle damage our actions can have on the people around us. We understood that certain acts do have victims, even when those victims are not known to us or near to us. Today that understanding is eroding.

But the narcissist lives this philosophy as a matter of identity. He/she thinks: “If it doesn’t hurt me, there is no victim.”


Filed under Narcissism

21 responses to “The “Victimless” Crime

  1. Janet

    “This philosophy comes so easily to the narcissist because the narcissist doesn’t see anyone as having value, or even as real for that matter. ”

    That was the main thing in my relationship with my N sister in the Lord that was the hardest. I always felt like I had no value. I felt worthless. When ever I confronted this, I was always just blown off, adding to the feelings of worthlessness and of no value to her.

  2. Whether or not the narcissist’s behavior hurts someone is irrelevant to a narcissist. Other peoples’ feelings and experience are not on their radar.

  3. Boyish Pranks or NPD?

    Just yesterday the narcissist in my life laughed recalling the “boyhood” prank of placing a cherry bomb inside an old smelly fish while it lay in a disliked neighbor’s mailbox. The boys ran never seeing the consequence. To this day this NPD laughs over and over again.

    There’s got to be some line between boyish/manly cute pranks and callous acts of destruction. Right now my NP thinks his behavior falls under “boys will be boys” which gives them license to lack empathy and exhibit destructive actions.

    Pastor Dave, what’s your take on boyhood pranks verses NPD? I never had a son so I’m unqualified to comment.

  4. Struggling stepmom

    Disclaimer: this is me reaching out, not a response to the blog or comments, and I’m sorry. :/ I am a stepmom trying to parallel parent with a narcissist bio mother. I know many stepmoms would claim that of the bio mom, but this isn’t your run of the mill we don’t get along situation. I keep my contact to the bare minimum, never respond to any drama bait and try my utmost to be “above reproach” but as many of you know, I never actually can be. I feel like I’m losing it a little. I think I might be on the verge of blocking her phone number, but torn because what if that looks bad in the court system if we ever try to go for custody. I have a best friend who’s a stepmom also and God has worked in both her heart and the bio mom she parents with to have a pretty amazing coparenting scenario. She simply refuses to believe that I can’t have that too and it tears me up a little… Has anyone run into this? Is time the only thing that will help my best friend to see my perspective? Most people think she’s just crazy, and I want to say it’s not just crazy, this is clinical and calculating… My other question would be, how much can I share with my girls? I do not want to badmouth their mother, but I do want to equip them to handle her manipulation, gas lighting, controlling, removing love whenever she feels like it tactics… Does anyone have any resource suggestions? I’m so sorry to distract from the original blog post, but I need people who understand, and that’s a little hard to find. 🙂 Thank you.

    • Savedbygrace

      Hi StrugglingStepmum- it’s great you reached out here- I will give my two cents worth but I am not a step mum so I hope someone who is will respond with that life experience.
      Firstly it sounds like you have been doing an amazing job with lots of insight, but i do know from experience that working on anything with an N is exhausting! So I really do think – in order to go the distance and stay sane and continue to be there for your family- you need to prioritise looking after you. Is your husband understanding of the N factor in all this? even if he is not he can give you breaks to rest or have some ‘me time’ so that you can recharge. Having a safe person ( eg a counsellor or mentor) that you can debrief with could help a lot so that it releases the pressure build up of having to deal with her.
      If the phoning by the N mum is bothering you , you could set a boundary of your choosing around taking calls so that you are in control and not dancing to her tune eg if you have caller id and see it is her and you don’t feel up to dealing with her- just don’t answer it and get busy doing other things or you could decide that you will have a phone call free zone after school and only take emergency calls as a way of focusing on family time and not taking any other calls so you cant be accused of just not answering hers. These are just a couple of examples. It may be wise to get legal advice as to how the law regards levels of interactions when step parenting. If you know your rights well, you will know how to put a fence around them.
      As for your best friend, this is tricky ( it’s like when new parents give advice to their friends because it ‘works for me’ not allowing for the fact that every newborn is quirky in their own way..). when you say she ‘refuses to believe’ it sounds like you’ve really tried to explain but Ns are beyond belief to the uninitiated. Maybe you need to give up your desire to have her ‘get it’ and let yourself off the hook. It’s also hard not to wish that your situation was like hers with the great cooperative parenting- that’s an acceptance thing for you- it will never be like that, so your friend’s advice, ability to empathise will be limited unless at some stage she ‘sees it’ for what it is. Trust your gut feeling and the experience you know. Hopefully you h validates you? This may mean not using her as your ‘go to ‘ person for advice even though she is still your best friend ( you can say to yourself ‘ I really love __ but right now I need to seek advice from someone who understands what I’m dealing with’)
      With equipping your girls in relationships, I think strengthening their self knowledge- and helping them have a voice in their life will equip them. This can be done in so many ways eg through their school activities and friendships. There are plenty of N example on the news or in the community that you could discuss and teach them about what makes for healthy/unhealthy relationships without ever mentioning their mum. They will get to an age where they will join the dots and make their own assess ment of their mum’s behaviour.
      Hope this is some help, I feel for you in your circumstances.
      take care x

      • Struggling Stepmom

        Letting myself off the hook. Definitely what I needed to hear. Let myself off the hook of needing to be understood, letting her off the hook for her inability to understand at this moment in time. Thank you. 🙂

    • Struggling stepmom – can’t say that I can help you except for prayer.
      I believe you especially when you feel that ‘you’ are the one to be made to look badly for trying to keep your distance and also the fear of badmouthing and looking like the ‘bad one’…
      I’m not a stepmom but in some ways feel alienated in that my adult daughters are closer to ‘his’ sisters, their aunts – I have told my one daughter that their one aunt is her mother as she quotes her frequently.
      It’s a long story but there has been much twisting of past history. I say all of this to say that ‘he’ and the other abusers, including my daughters are attempting to appear so civil and innocent — they know exactly what they are doing and — God knows the story.
      You will be judged but at the same time if this is a case of clinical manipulation I would be very cautious … what does your husband think?
      PRAYING… ((HUGS)) ❤

    • Struggling Stepmom, the website/blog A Cry for Justice, has had many posts and comments about coping with a narcissistic ex-spouse in parenting children. This is the link to the website:

    • Daughter of God

      Struggling Stepmom,
      I can completely relate to your situation. I have been a stepmom to 3 boys ( now grown ) for 12 years now. My husbands ex is a textbook N. Ruthless, deceitful, manipulating, conniving, need I go on.. oh, she’s a faithful church member & sings in the choir. I don’t know the details of your circumstances, but I can tell you after years of seeing these boys abused & lied to there is hope. There is good chance your SD’s may turn out just like her. And honestly, that will be their choice. My middle stepson (20yo) is realizing now that something is seriously wrong with Mom. What has helped me the most through the years is my husband taking the reigns. He told me when we first married, all communication concerning the boys would go through him, that I would not have a relationship with her. She of course, didn’t approve of that, and at first I couldn’t understand why… but I do now. After all, you are the STEP parent..leave as much as possible with him.. if you can, when it comes to dealing with the ex. This may not be possible idk. Be strong, and don’t doubt yourself. She is the crazy one, not you. You don’t need validation from anyone else around you. God knows. He sees all. He knows our hearts. Pray for her. It took me years to pray for my husb’s ex. Now, I find prayer helps me more than her. It’s hard not to become bitter & hateful and that desire to avenge yourself is always right there on the surface. Defend the truth. Be harmless as serpent, wise as dove. That doesn’t mean be a pushover, just know that your enemy is not her.. rather the devil who seeks to steal your peace & destroy your testimony. People, even crazy N ex’s only have power over us if we let them. Ask for wisdom.. every situation is different. It won’t always be like this. Reaping and sowing is a process.. but you will see in time the love and goodness you put into those she will reap corruption & sadness. Of course she will never admit to it or even acknowledge it, but it will be there.Gods Word is always right..even if it seems like things are not in our favor at the moment. My N bio Mom is on her 3rd marriage, drinking & popping pills just to get through the day. This does not make me happy, but it is the result of years spent in rebellion to God with an unbending willful heart. What did she expect? I try not to bash the bio Mom.. even when its warranted. This is hard. Trust me, I feel your pain. Especially when you see how her actions adversely affect the girls. It’s a like walking on a wire..I have to choose my words carefully when my stepson comes to me with a situation with his mom.. I can only speak the truth in love. Its never right for a mother to psychologically abuse their child. My stepson is slowly learning boundaries.. without them she will reap havoc on his life and his emotional well being. God has you in these girls lives for a reason.. seek help from others (like here) that understand & can help you. I personally, never had that, just learned as I went. Sure, I have regrets of things I could have handled better when they were younger, but no-one is perfect. Don’t put that burden on yourself. God is their Savior & He will shield them better than anyone. But, of course be smart, protect them too as much as possible. Like, I said its like a game or a dance with these N types.. but don’t get sucked in. Be the best stepmom you can be & God will bless you for it. Praying for you.

      • Struggling Stepmom

        Wow. Thank you so much for this. It’s just incredibly encouraging to hear I’m not alone. My husband established the same thing, so my minimal contact has to do with logistics in case I’m picking them up/dropping them off, and I do ignore anything else. After they are grown, I feel like all the weight my husband and I bear is going to drop like a shock on them, and that’s a little disheartening. So I want to equip them now with skills that establish their confidence, their own identity, their personal boundaries, and I don’t have to be specific towards their mom at all, I don’t -want- to have to be because I know the fragility of their hearts and ability to emotionally cope with that at their age, but I do want to give them understanding of what healthy relationships really look like, how healthy people really treat each other.

        It’s a little tough to be seen as un-Christlike in my response (or lack thereof) but, one thing God is gently instilling in me is that my reputation is not who I am – and her reputation is not who she is. Not that reputation doesn’t matter, but for the people that are just swallowing anything and everything that she says (and she does say anything and everything!!) my reputation isn’t me. And He is the absolute best Defender. I value peace over coming to my own defense. Peace in my home, peace in my heart. :):)

        Thank you so much for your response and encouragement, it definitely hit home with me.

      • Daughter of God

        Yes, that’s right peace in your heart, peace in your home. If God be for us, who can be against us? I have to remind myself still.. she is not fighting against me, rather the Lord. It sounds like you’re on the right path.. teaching them boundaries, that will apply to all areas of their life. They are blessed that their father chose a wise, kind woman for his bride (you!) Bio mom will never see it that way.. but what are the tares to the wheat? Please, email me any time if you need prayer, or just someone to vent to. Sometimes that’s all I need.. to be heard. It goes a long way. God bless you and don’t give up! 🙂

  5. Your explaining these things so clearly helps me grow and think beyond myself to see where perhaps I’m blind to my own narcissistic tendencies. Watching narcissism play out in others is far easier. Thank you.

  6. Married a ‘quiet’ narcissist — he gained a quiet, calm control by allowing others to berate me and never coming to my defense. Just heard from a so-called mutual friend that he told them, “he professed to being a Christian in order to keep the family together.” This ‘friend’ now claims he is now the ‘old friend’ they knew before he was a Christian and that it would appear our marital problem arose because of Christianity. Oh, and that he seems happier.
    Yes, the true Gospel will cause division; how sad that ‘he’ chose the guise of a Christian and now along with the adult children and other relatives blame me for the turmoil.

  7. Selma

    During a phone conversation (that was so traumatic and such a pivotal moment, it eventually led me to the discovery that I was dealing with a narc), I said to her, “If I’m telling you that your ‘friendship’ with my husband is inappropriate and is killing our marriage — and if you truly cared about him — I don’t understand why you wouldn’t back off.”

    After a long pause came the icy reply, “That’s what I’d do if I cared about YOU.”

  8. Kitkat

    To those of you dealing with ex’s or step parent N’s, I would say this. Love the children in your care the best and most loving way you can, with as much understanding of their situation as you can. Because to the N’s in their lives they are nothing but pawns to destroy as much happiness as the N can in their ex’s new relationships. My grandson many years ago was raised by a N step mother who hated me intensely. But we would always go and get him every weekend. When he was about 5 years old he came to spend the night. When I took him up to bed that night he was crying profusely and he wouldn’t tell me why. He said he was afraid to tell me. I said, “You can tell Grandma anything and I won’t be angry.” He finally relented and told me, “My Momma hates you!”. I said to him, “But do you hate me?”, and he said very adamantly, “No!”. I then said, “Then it doesn’t matter if she hates me as long as you don’t.” “I will pray for her and hope that someday she may like me. But I am not worried that she doesn’t like me, because I love you!” And with that, I gave him a big hug and he stopped crying and he fell peacefully asleep. Through the years we loved and cared for him as any grandparent would. We would readily dismissed any negative behavior from her and concentrated on our grandson’s needs. My daughter-in-law eventually had 2 other children that we were very limited in seeing and they were very rarely allowed to come with us for family get togethers. Mainly because she felt her family was better than ours. But the oldest boy always got to come and stay with us even though they moved farther away. We made every effort to go get him. He was always made to suffer after every visit. She was harsh and cruel. My son was at odds in dealing with her because he was already trapped and held in bondage because of his other 2 children. They just came in for a visit this past week and my grandson is now 22 years old. He still has issues with his step mother, however the bond that she so desperately tried to destroy between us is deep and solid and strong. And he is a great kid. LOVE changes everything! LOVE conquers everything! And LOVE is never forgotten in the hearts of children who battle daily at the hands of N. So for whatever amount of time you are with either your children, step children, or grandchildren let them know that you understand the situation, listen to their concerns and that no matter what happens, they are always welcome and can always come to you with arms open. And that you will always love them and be there for them. My daughter-in-law has mellowed through the years and she has taken a lot of very painful knocks. Her family, that she thought was so much better than ours, is no longer a part of her life because of the viciousness in which she was raised. But the intense hatred she has had for me no longer rears it’s ugly head. My son too, has changed and he sees that I am not the enemy she seemed to insist that I was to her. But this has taken a very long time to come about. Just remember these children will grow up one day, make sure they know that you were the one that loved and cared for them in their most difficult years through your example. Avoid confrontations in front of the kids and as much as is possible, do your very best to always try to see them. Because you may be their only lifeline to maintain their sanity.

    • Struggling Stepmom

      “And LOVE is never forgotten in the hearts of children who battle daily at the hands of N”

      That’s powerful, thank you so much.

      • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee

        This is exactly what I wanted to say to you, Struggling Stepmom, as I was reading through all these comments: just love your stepchildren. In every situation, in all circumstances, open your heart and allow Christ’s awesome love to flow through you. Our God heals the broken hearted, and He heals us with the balm of His LOVE.

        My elderly mother is a church goer and a choir singer, and she is the most malignant, psychopathic narcissist I have ever known. (Linda Lee is my pen name, by the way, not my real name, so I am not spreading any gossip here.)

        My MN mother did things like try to gas us all to death when I was a young girl. She had an affair with my first husband — the list of abuses and atrocities that my mother has perpetuated in my 60+ years of living goes on and on. I am on disability for severe PTSD today, as a result.

        I have had a renowned Christian psychiatrist tell me that I ought to be severely personality disordered myself, because of the many severe traumas I have lived through going all the way back to the beginning of my life. He told me he was amazed that the only thing I have wrong with me is PTSD! But I firmly believe that the reason I am not ten times crazier than I am, is because there were a few genuinely loving people in my life. Even in the presence of terrible evil, a little love goes a very long way.


  9. Annette

    Narcissists are so good at rationalizing whatever they do that they can kill a billion people and still claim that there were no victims. Instead they will tell you that it was essential for the future of this planet to rid it of those useless eaters.

    “The laws that prohibit certain behaviors came out of a culture that understood the often subtle damage our actions can have on the people around us. … Today that understanding is eroding.”
    Those laws were based on Christian ethics. This legal system is being eroded by those profiting from that–malignant narcissists, psychopaths et al.

  10. Sandra

    Thank you, Pastor Dave!

  11. joniw

    sounds like they users and abusers at the service of i, me, myself. They don’t see who they are either.

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