Being in a relationship with a narcissist is difficult for a multitude of reasons. One of them being the fact that a narcissist will very often play the victim. This kind of behaviour will usually become apparent during disagreements, arguments, or when they’re requesting things from you.  

Ultimately, playing the victim is a form of manipulation. But why do narcissists always take on that role?

Self-pity makes a narcissist feel like a hero. 

At the end of the day, narcissists are very arrogant. They have a grandiose sense of self and very often can’t look beyond themselves. But this form of self-esteem is not authentic. So, feeling self-pity and playing the victim acts as a substitute for that lack of authentic self-worth.

Essentially, being the victim makes them the mistreated and misunderstood hero in a story that’s all about them. It plays on the narrative that their needs are the most important because they’ve previously not been met, or they’ve been wronged somehow in the past. 

In a way, they believe their own role, because it contributes to their belief that they deserve to be given the most attention and respect.

It guilt-trips you into taking their side.

Everyone roots for the hero. So if your narcissistic partner is the victim-hero of the story, you’re much more likely to side with them. Which means they get what they want and you end up feeling sidelined and very very guilty. To combat these feelings, you’re likely to overcompensate, whether in terms of positive affirmation or agreeing to things you normally wouldn’t. It’s really simple, if you feel guilty, you’re much more likely to let your narcissistic partner win, because anything else leaves you feeling incredibly guilty. 

A narcissist’s thinking lacks nuance. It’s based on extremes, yes and nos, black and whites. 

That means that you’re either for or against them. There’s no middle ground. And if you’re against them, they can manipulate you into thinking that’s the wrong side to be on. If they are the hero, then you are most certainly the villain. 

It turns the tables round on you.

If you’re the villain in this narrative, that gives your narcissistic partner a justification to abuse you. To them, you don’t have the moral high ground, which makes it very difficult to state your case or voice your opinions. 

This can also happen if you try to stand up for yourself. For example, if you call your partner out for mistreating you, they may respond with the fact that they can’t help it. ‘You should be more understanding.’ ‘You should cut me a bit of slack.’ Or worst case scenario, ‘you’re making me behave that way.’ These are all lines straight out of the narcissistic playbook. 

In the narcissists best-possible scenario, you will end up apologising to them for something that isn’t your fault. And that happens far more than it should. 

Narcissists thrive on the attention.

Being the victim will inevitably generate attention and pity for a narcissist from other people. It’ll make the people around them want to help them, do things for them, comfort them, and build them up. It may also result in them directing anger and blame towards you unjustifiably, making it even more difficult to see the wood for the trees. 

If you want to separate from a narcissistic partner, but you’re not sure where to start, then Harrogate Family Law can help. Just give us a call today, and get an expert legal team in your corner.