5 Ways Narcissists Play the Victim

Hey Optimist Minds!

If you’ve spent enough time with a narcissist, you must have seen them playing the victim card ever so often. Perhaps they used it to obligate you into doing things you didn’t want to. Or they accused you of something to deflect any concerns you brought up regarding them.

People with narcissistic tendencies almost always try to portray themselves as someone who has been wronged. This narrative allows them to avoid taking accountability for their actions to remain in denial of their toxic behaviour.

Today we will describe five ways narcissists play the victim. Some of these might even be things that you end up doing inadvertently. Please note that this video is meant for educational purposes only. Do not use this information to judge or shame narcissists. 

So, let’s begin.

Number One

Their mood always depends on external factors.

Does this person blame other people for how they feel? Do they accuse you of making them do things with negative consequences?

Whenever a narcissist feels angry, jealous, or insecure, instead of trying to understand how their perspective impacts their emotions, they’ll try to make others feel guilty about it. For example, if the narcissist smokes, drinks, or shows aggression, they might say that someone else’s behaviour forced them to do it.

In an abusive relationship, a narcissist may be violent with their partner and then say that they had no choice because their partner had it coming. The truth is that everyone is always responsible for their feelings and intentions. It’s our job to make ourselves feel better, and we can’t put that onus on anyone else.

Number Two

Your relationship with this person is never smooth.

Do the two of you frequently have conflicts? Is there a lot of drama in this relationship?

Narcissists generally have a “you’ve done me wrong” attitude in all their interpersonal relationships. That’s because they tend to have a highly idealised version of the world in their head, which is not in touch with reality. They also feel entitled to have everything match their personal standards.

Inevitably, when things don’t go according to their plans, they portray themselves as a victim. They make you feel like you owe them some punishment or compensation because you weren’t able to meet their expectations. Sadly, the narcissist never realises that they’re expecting more than what’s possible in the real world.

Number Three

Their default mode is to be angry.

If you want to talk to this person about something, do they make it impossible for you to get your point across? Do they ignore, dismiss, interrupt, or attack you with irrelevant accusations when you want them to admit their wrongdoings?

No relationship is supposed to continue without any sort of disagreement. Since no two people are completely alike, it’s perfectly normal for individuals to differ in opinion. In healthy relationships, this is followed by open communication and steps to resolve the conflict. 

However, this would require both parties to listen and understand the other person’s point of view. Unfortunately, narcissists are seldom able to do this because they’re in complete denial of their shortcomings. 

Playing victim seems a more suitable option because the mere thought of being at fault causes extreme discomfort. Furthermore, they can hardly ever switch on their open-to-understanding mode because rage is their first reaction.

What’s ironic is that their aggression might elicit some aggression from you, too and then they use this to label you as the violent one.

Number Four

They hold on to the past.

Does it ever feel like this person is keeping a count on all the mistakes they think you’ve made? Do they attack you with things from the past? Topics that have already been resolved, just to deflect anything you want to talk about?

Another way narcissists play the victim is by feeling resentful about the past. These are things that might have happened years or even decades ago. It may be that such events cause them a great deal of pain. 

But that does not eliminate the fact that they happened a long time ago, and it’s possible that whoever caused this pain has done their best to make amends. Even if you went out of your way to apologise and make up for what happened back then, the narcissist would repeatedly use it to make you feel guilty or justify their vindictiveness. 

Number Five

They carry out smear campaigns that attack a person’s character.

Have you ever heard the narcissist gossip about someone? Does this gossiping impact the relationships others have with the person being talked about?

Triangulation is a common narcissistic tactic used to manipulate people’s relationships with each other. It involves spreading lies that influence people’s interactions. For example, maybe they’ve recently had a conflict with someone at the office.

They might attempt to isolate that person by filling your ears with false rumours about them. It’s typical for a narcissist to present the situation to make, them look like a good person and the target as a bad guy. As a result, some colleagues might alienate the target, causing them to feel lonely or left out.

Did the examples we give resonate with your experiences? Do you know someone arrogant who frequently behaves in these ways? Let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear from you.

A link for further reading and the studies & references used in the making of this video are mentioned in the description below.

Thanks for visiting optimist minds, take care. Until next time.