People suffering from a narcissistic disorder don’t fit the social patterns, mostly because of one major reason – they lack empathy.
In order to fit into society and interact with other human beings, people have to be understanding of one another.
It’s normal to offer help to the person who needs it. Showing empathy should be one of people’s primary instincts.
Narcissists function differently. They present themselves as victims.
Their behavior and act are so perfect that rarely anyone can see through their facade.
This leaves the real victims unnoticed or even falsely accused of being inconsiderate and selfish.
Who is really the victim?
Narcissists truly believe they are the victims because they lack empathy.
They truly don’t understand what the real victim is going through and they can’t put themselves into someone else’s shoes.
They don’t understand emotions.
Narcissists don’t perceive other people as individual human beings, they see them as extensions of themselves.
So, when things don’t go their way, they aren’t taking into account that someone else’s feelings got hurt.
They stick to themselves and truly believe they got wronged, so they assume the role of a victim.
Narcissistic victim playing
The inability to empathize prevents a narcissist from understanding they are not always the victim.
They can’t detect what’s causing their problems because the source of the problem is usually them.
What happens is they are incapable of feeling guilt or remorse, that’s why they never blame themselves for causing trouble or hurting another human being.
This wouldn’t be such a big deal if they don’t pass the guilt on you and make you feel ashamed for something you didn’t do or something you did by accident.
Even if the taking up of the victim role looks like it has happened by accident, that’s not true.
In order to perform the role of a victim, one should possess a great set of skills. These are their favorite moves:
- Fake tears or no tears at all
- Telling sad stories
- Emphasizing details they know will trigger your emotions
- Pretending they are worried about you
- Excessive body gestures (e.g. throwing hands up in the air)
- Pointing at themselves to keep the focus on them
Most of these actions are present in the behavior of true victims, but how to recognize a real victim from the fake one?
1. Your gut is telling you
You simply know something is wrong; you can feel it. You can sense someone’s lying to you and trying to manipulate you.
The problem is, you can’t prove it.
2. Fact checking
Keep a detailed log of your situation.
If you write things down, no one can assure you something has happened or didn’t happen; no one can brainwash you.
If a narcissist’s story changes over time (and if he’s lying, it will), you’ll know for sure he’s been altering reality to succeed in playing the victim.
3. Look for real tears
Invisible tears don’t count. Look for the real ones.
4. Study their behavior after a fight
Take a good look at them after the episode. Study their every move.
If they act like nothing has happened and if they are able to do regular things without any problem, they are probably playing you.
People who are real victims will still be bothered and agitated after the episode.
Real victims are not able to immediately bounce back to their daily routine.
Common narcissistic behaviors and tactics for playing the victim
1. Delusion and denial
Narcissists can turn any situation to their advantage.
They use delusion and denial to convince themselves that the bad situation they have created is not their fault at all.
They have the ability to turn the real situation into a fake one.
Whatever they see and how they perceive things is real in their eyes and nothing else.
As they have the strong ability to make themselves believe in things that aren’t real, they have the ability to do the same to you, too.
Usually, narcissists truly believe that their version of reality is the real one, and sometimes even if they don’t, they keep convincing you that you’re wrong.
After some time of hearing the same story over and over again, you may even start believing what he’s saying. Well, that’s their end game.
2. The hot potato tactic
In this case, the hot potato represents the blame.
Someone threw the blame to them and since they don’t accept it, they have to hurry up and hand it over to someone else.
Usually, that’s the closest person to him – you.
Narcissists will never accept blame for anything.
Even if they are guilty, they will find a way to take it out on you and turn things around to his favor, making you the bad guy.
If it by any chance happens that they do feel a certain amount of shame as a consequence of their actions, they will find someone to pass it on to – remember, a narcissist is always the victim.
Through carefully planned manipulation, they will assure you that their problem arose because of your role in the first place.
You are the one to blame from the beginning.
Narcissists need constant validation to make their already shaky self-esteem stronger.
They need to be praised so they have the energy to keep on going on with their lives.
Normal people have tools to cope with such situations.
When they have problems, they seek help – either from their friends or someone trained to help others.
Since narcissists don’t have friends to talk to and they don’t feel the need to seek professional help, they turn to lying.
In order to get sympathy from people, they need to present their situation as the one worthy of pity.
4. “No good deed goes unpunished”
If a narcissist performs a good deed and it goes unnoticed, he will make sure to turn your life into a living hell.
He won’t stop at that. His hypocrisy goes even further.
First of all, his good deed is never just a good deed. Narcissists always have a hidden agenda behind everything they do.
When they don’t get praise for doing the right thing, revenge is already in the making.
This is extremely devious of them when you take into account that their initial intention is not benevolent.
They will trash you and talk behind your back to everyone you know.
You are going to be awarded the role of the bitch who doesn’t care about anyone but herself, and he’s going to be the guy who was trying so hard to please you, but he failed because you’re too demanding.
In other words, he’s going to portray the victim.
He’s going to exaggerate the details and make things up just to get the upper hand.
Narcissists need praise from someone else and if they aren’t not getting it from you, they will seek it from the people they are badmouthing you to.
They need their narcissistic supply. They need to hear that they are the best and you are nothing.
Narcissists love to project. Whatever a narcissist says someone did to them, you can rest sure that they did that exact same thing to someone else.
If they say someone hurt them, it means they’ve hurt someone else. If they say someone lied to them, it means they lied to someone, and so on.
What happens is that a narcissist tries to justify their own behavior by shifting the blame and the responsibility to someone else.
The way they think is kind of fascinating in how wrong it is. If someone else is guilty for all the things they have done, in their minds it means they did them.
6. “Me too” tactic
If the victim has a problem, then a narcissist has one, too. They can’t allow you to be the only victim.
If something bad happened to you, you can bet your bottom dollar that something similar or more dreadful has happened to them.
This tactic is designed to undermine your problem and make it irrelevant because the narcissist has gone through the same or worse thing..
7. Coming up with a false scenario
If you’ve been bullied by a narcissist and you decided to stand up for yourself, a narcissist will come up with a different story.
They will present the story as they seem fit. They will skip the beginning and the situation where the fight began.
They will fail to explain why the fight started and they will skip to the part where they look like a victim.
In the case of bullying, they will present the story to look like you were bullying them.
They screwed with you a bit (nothing serious) and you lost it and started to be mean to them.
To an outsider, this story makes perfect sense and nothing seems suspicious.
What really happened is, they provoked you and they were mean to you, making your bad reaction perfectly excusable in response to their toxic behavior.
You were only defending yourself.
When a narcissist feels like he no longer has control over someone, or he feels like he could be abandoned soon, he will slowly start planting the seed of how he can’t trust you because you are out to get him.
The point of this tactic is to prewarn people that something like this might happen.
So, if you choose to save yourself because you’re fed up with the way they treat you, and you want to loosen yourself from their controlling grip, you’re going to create a situation in which you look like the bad guy and the narcissist is the victim because you left him.
They know their game so well that they are always one step ahead of you, no matter what you do.
In psychology terms, triangulation is a form of manipulation through communication between two people.
Gossipping and slander are the best tools for triangulation.
By spreading rumors and exposing your dirty laundry out in public, narcissists are making sure they turn other people against you.
Spreading false information about you is their way to secure support from others, or in other words, their narcissistic supply.
10. Attention seeking
Narcissists turn molehills into mountains.
They will make a big deal out of minor things just to get the attention they are craving so badly.
This manipulation tactic usually has two purposes – to belittle you and make themselves look like victims.
The perfect example of this kind of behavior is their ability to intentionally pick fights about trivial things to cause problems where there aren’t any.
There is no way you can expose them for those actions and the only thing you’ll achieve is hitting a brick wall and subjecting yourself to a heap of criticism.
The only solution is to keep a detailed diary of everything that happens so you know what’s real and what’s not.
It’s crucial you stay sane and keep both feet firmly on the ground.
That is the only way you can survive the constant attacks of a narcissist and his act of playing the victim.