It’s Narcissist Friday!       


Sometimes people are bothered by my use of the word, “victim,” to describe the abused person in a narcissistic relationship. There’s a reason I use it. You may or may not agree, but I think it is important.

You see, with the gas lighting and projecting and lying that narcissists can bring into a relationship, it is sometimes hard for the person who is being manipulated to think clearly. Typically, narcissists bring problems into a relationship, then blame others for those problems. When this comes from someone you trust or care about, you can become confused.

Narcissists often choose people who are kind, gentle, and self-deprecating. That means people who are used to putting themselves down or blaming themselves for problems. If you find yourself in relationship with a narcissist, you may feel that you apologize a lot for things that are not really your fault. This is by design. The more you think you have caused the problems, the more the narcissist can get away with. Marriage problems, money problems, friendship problems—all are your fault, according to the narcissist. You are blamed for anything negative that happens, even things the narcissist makes up just to put you down.

At first, you may accept the blame. After all, you know you aren’t perfect. You mess up sometimes. You don’t say the right things, and you make foolish decisions. You have known this all your life, partly because people have told you this all your life. So it is easy for you to blame yourself, especially if it means you will keep the peace in your relationship. The narcissist counts on this. It makes it easier for him/her to get by with the abuse.

Sometimes the narcissist will begin to say that he/she is the victim. If he didn’t have such an incompetent spouse, or co-worker, or friend, or child—then things would be better. As it is, the poor narcissist can barely succeed in anything with such an anchor dragging him down all the time. His problems are your fault, and he is suffering because of you.

This is why I think it is important for the abused person to accept the fact that they have been the victim of an abuser. It tells the truth about the relationship. The narcissist is an abuser and is accountable for his/her behavior. In an abusive relationship there is the abuser and the victim. It is important to establish which is you, if you are going to change your situation. And that isn’t as easy as it sounds if no one allows you to see yourself as the victim.

You were victimized. That’s the truth. The person you loved or trusted misused you. He/she probably lied to you, manipulated you, isolated you, and hurt you. The narcissist was the aggressor/abuser, and you were the victim.

There. Now that’s out of the way. Now you don’t have to stay a victim. I realize that’s what people are concerned about when they see that word. Once you admit that you have been victimized, you can begin to change the situation. You can get out of the relationship or change the relationship. When you see the narcissist as the abuser, you can find ways to get out of the abuse. It might take a lot. Maybe you have to find some strong support, take some legal action, or move away. But you can begin the process when you understand that it isn’t your fault.

You won’t do any of this as long as you blame yourself. Everything will stay the same (or get worse) if you believe that you are the problem or the cause of the problem. That’s what the narcissist wants you to think…so you will continue to be his/her victim.

Being a victim is not an evil thing. The evil is what is done to you. You are not responsible for the evil someone does to you. Nor are you required to stay and let that person continue to do it. If you choose to stay, you can still make changes to minimize the effect on you. You can build support, self-esteem, and escape routes. You can decide how to answer the accusation. You can decide whether to answer the phone. You can decide not to jump when your narcissist tells you to jump. Yes, there may be a cost to these decisions, but then you will have ceased being a victim.

Admitting that you have been a victim does not give the abuser more power. Allowing yourself to remain a victim when you have choices, that gives the narcissist more power.


Filed under Narcissism

15 responses to “Victims

  1. one of the little people

    I remember the moment when I realized my mother was abusive on purpose. I had finally taken a step back and could see so much more of the picture and I realized it wasn’t my fault. I had always excused the behavior because of her upbringing and my mistakes. I could finally see the lack of empathy and the narcissism for what it is and that I cannot change it. It is freedom.

  2. It’s true that you can’t heal until you have acknowledged the truth of your victimization. It’s not the same as a victim mentality. Our culture tends to judge victims. We take care of our victims in genera by blaming them, marginalizing them, shushing them, and telling them to stop being whiny victims. No wonder real victims have trouble with the word. But it’s the truth and shaking off the shame and stigma of victimhood means holding fast to this truth. It also combats the denial that is a result of gas lighting and puts the responsibility squarely on the abuser.

  3. jeanne johnson

    What struck me is that there’s one abuser and one victim, because for years the enemy has told me that it was, of course, my fault. That left me feeling as though I was the abuser. But no. No! And…freedom. Yes! Hallelujah!

  4. The key is to not remain a victim, but to become a victor. As a victim, we give the narcissist his power. As a victor, we do not allow the narcissist to have power over us one more day. He has already taken the past, and we must not allow him to take our future.

    It is tempting to wallow in self-pity, but if we want our life back, we must take it back. We cannot allow ourselves to have a victim mentality. A former friend of mine who was married to a wealthy narcissist would never take the steps to healing. Her victimhood became her identity, and we had the same circular conversations for years about her horrible marriage, then her horrible divorce. She talked behind their backs about other girlfriends who had tried to help her and complained they left her, and, of course, she did the same about me. We finally all had to step back because she was toxic and would not take any steps to help herself (counseling, support group, attend church, reading Scripture, getting out of self-pity and victimhood mentality, etc.)

    One can be assured, that when you leave and refuse to be a victim, the abuser will play the pity card and claim to be the victim to you, his friends and family, and your church community. He may even cry some crocodile tears. Don’t believe it. It’s just another well-honed tactic. According to Dr. Martha Stout, author of “The Sociopath Next Door,” playing the pity card is a sure sign of a sociopath – someone devoid of conscience.

    Decide to be a victor and an overcomer, and by God’s grace, you will be.

  5. I remember all the times NM (narcissistic mother) told people I did these nasty, unkind things. Sometimes I remembered the events and sometimes I didn’t. I spent huge amounts of time and energy struggling to remember. I was so angry when I recently heard her tell an entire room full of people that I’d broken one of her dishes. I remembered the event, and it wasn’t me who broke the dish but her. How many times did she project her poor behavior onto me and I accepted it because I couldn’t recall or worse I could recall the event but not the details and figured it was my fault? In some ways, what hurt even more was all the people who believed her, accepting her version of the story and throughly trashing my integrity. I realized I could not have any kind of relationship with her or with anyone who believed the things she said.

  6. Singing Eagle

    AMEN! Preach it! After being raised by a narcissistic mother, it left me like a neon sign to a narcissistic spouse. You can’t fix the problem until you acknowledge there is one!

  7. kayabdul2013

    I realised I was a victim and decided enough was enough. I took my 4 kids and left, slowly starting to build a new life. However the damage runs deep. The charismatic church let me down, many Christian ‘friends’ let me down. The Courts let me down as the ex is a wonderful actor and liar. The ex-husband claims to be a devout charismatic. I am trying to build a new life but the wounds run deep. I work, raise the kids, try to be social, but the loneliness is always there. I binge eat sometimes as it’s what I’ve always done to cope/get relief. Lately I’ve started to think that religion (charis-mania) ruined my life. I question my beliefs. During the worst times my strongest support were my sister’s, one or two Christian friends, one gay friend and a handful of non-churches. The latter showed me more kindness, understanding than a I had ever received serving in the church for more than 20 years

    • kayabdul2013

      Sorry I meant non-churches. People who do not go to church

      • Kayabdul2013,
        Please don’t let a church or Christian friends who were not supportive turn you away from the living God who loves you so much. Unfortunately, churches are full of broken, imperfect people…that’s why we all need Jesus. Others who have not been abused simply don’t understand abuse and, frankly, will never care as much as you do. That is the case for every wronged person. Unless you are the person abused or against whom the crime has been committed, others will not care as much. We would all like to think that our Christian brothers and sisters would be up in arms about injustice and abuse, especially in their own church, but they simply aren’t. If they cared, they would all be missionaries across the world, helping those impoverished in Africa, joining the fight against hunger, dedicating themselves to helping victims of slavery, raising funds for people who have been victims of crimes, etc… It is much easier to just be neutral, think the best of everyone, and sweep the messiness under the rug. Not only is this true for others, it is probably true for us as well. There are hurting people all around us. There are other hurting people in our church, town, state, country, and world – and many of us don’t care nearly as much as we should. Otherwise, we also would be missionaries or fighting hunger or dedicating our lives 24/7 to a cause.

        We heal in a loving community. We just need to find the right community with safe people. If your former church members are not “safe” – then find a church community that is. One that is filled with the Holy Spirit and intentional about serving those who are healing. I would also strongly encourage you to find a local domestic violence shelter – nearly every county in every state has one. They are truly the only ones who have been trained in the tactics of abusers and in the steps that one must take to heal. most offer free counseling and support groups. In them, you will find a kind and understanding community, who will help you on your healing process.

        Don’t let broken people turn you away from God – He is amazing, but unfortunately, we are not.

      • kayabdul2013

        Many thanks for taking the time to respond Charlene. Having been in the church and also been called a ‘minister’ myself for many years I am having a hard time believing a lot the stuff I’ve been taught and indoctrinated with. God is awesome, this I believe, many other ‘doctrines’ I now take with a huge pinch of salt.
        Thanks again

      • kayabdul2013

        Many thanks for taking the time to respond Charlene. Having been in the church and also been called a ‘minister’ myself for many years I am having a hard time believing a lot the stuff I’ve been taught and indoctrinated with. God is awesome, this I believe, many other ‘doctrines’ I now take with a huge pinch of salt.
        Thanks again
        P.s. To be honest, I’d rather stay away from any church for the time-being

    • Postbellum

      Hello kayabdul, I hear you pain and identify. I left my (our) abuser one year ago, after 22 years. I too have four children and was re victimized by my ex, my church, and the legal system. As I inventory my life, I have lost so very much. I have very little support if any from anyone. It is hard to reconcile how so many people can be deceived by a pathological liar. It seems most people want to believe the lie, but I can’t explain why. The way you were treated is not a true representation of Gods character. God hates abuse and He is not fooled by a narcissist or any one else. Do not lose faith in God, hold on to what we know to be true of him, and reject those that misrepresent Him. Focus on your precious children, they need you to be whole, strong and healthy. You are not alone🙂

      • kayabdul2013

        Thank you. I really feel your compassion and understanding. You’re right, so many feel so much more comfortable beluwvi g the lie.I feel like I’ve gotten God muddled up with our church systems and traditions and trying to know/identify/understand Him apart from all that is very different/frightening for me. I cannot stop asking His help but I am not putting anymore pressure or expectations on myself as far religion/church attendance/works are concerned. My motto is be happy:be kind. I pray everything works out really well for you x

  8. Kayabdul2013,
    Sometimes, for a temporary period, we may be called to stay away from “church” – especially if it’s toxic or unsafe. But please don’t stay away from God. It’s important for healing to take time every day to soak in His word, read good books about Him, talk to Him, listen to Him, and journal. It is healing just taking time with Pappa God, crawling up in his lap, and letting him love on you and tell you how He sees you. And when you have taken a brief “time out” from church, then it’s good to find a safe group of believers who have solid, Biblical teachings for fellowship, spiritual growth and encouragement. It’s important that the teachings of any church stand on solid ground. One way to do that is to look at the seminary educational background of the leadership and test everything against the Bible.
    Sending blessings your way…

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