Will the Real Victim Please Stand Up

true vs false victim

It’s NOT EASY using the V word.

Personally, I don’t LIKE it. It’s not a word I’ve used to describe myself through very many situations in my life, because I am the kind of person who takes responsibility for things that happen to me. While, I certainly had choices and consequences (thus responsibility) in my relationship with a narcissist as an adult – it is the only experience I think the V label accurately describes and depicts.

I was caught unaware. I was told things that weren’t true. By relying on those things, I made decisions that put me in harms way. I was sold a bill of goods and promises by a person who was well aware that they had no intention of ever delivering on those promises nor being capable of being a good person towards me, so that he could use me for things that benefited one person in the “relationship”: THE NARCISSIST.

This being said, I don’t throw this word “Victim” around LIGHTLY. I think that the topic of FALSE VICTIM claims by narcissists should be evaluated with a more discerning eye when considering the damage and injustice done by a narcissist to the lives that their false allegations destroy.

Let’s examine the traits of a well-trained pathological liar, a narcissist; with a history of duping others and manipulating to avoid responsibility vs a credible, honest, albeit “emotional” target of the narcissist.



A FALSE VICTIM isn’t emotionally vibrant and attached to the events which they are sharing that were abusive. They appear as if they’ve just gotten back from a calming vacation. Very smooth. Cool. Detached.

Whereas, a TRUE VICTIM will appear FRAZZLED, RUFFLED and SPENT. They’ll cry hysterically, appear jumpy, nervous and afraid. They’ll space out then come back to the conversation with shocking emotion. They have an urgency with their speech and inflection and it will be PEPPERED with emotions that are all over the place. There are instances of true victims of narcissists who are completely detached and disengaged; hopelessly depressed with a flat affect from the abuse. There will still be evidence of victimization in that “spaced out” appearance not like the cold, cool demeanor of a lying narcissist.

TRUE VICTIMS experience the grieving process. Shock. Denial. Anger. moving all the way through acceptance. Whereas a FALSE VICTIM will appear to get over the emotions of the experience rather quickly. They don’t appear to dwell, (ruminate / obsess) over the “abusive” experiences.


Though the words they’re using say, “I’m afraid. Stalker. Scared for my life.” Their behavior says something else.  They’ve studied their true victim long enough and know the dark deeds they’ve committed to be able to twist history to use a convincing choice of dialogue, placing themselves in the position of the “Poor person who had to deal with YOUR shenanigans.” They’re able to take conversations you’ve had previously and articulately add / detract from them just enough to appear as if you were behaving as a crazy person.

Perfect example:

Cutting and pasting parts of an email conversation (when you forward conversations, you can change the language) and present those, in their EDITED form as “Evidence”.

That’s not really “evidence” of course, it’s actually a CRIME called falsifying evidence. But the narcissist with their belief they’re above the law and backing by accomplices is given the opportunity to present their lies to people just dumb enough to believe them.

NOW ASK A TRUE VICTIM WHAT HAPPENED: Foggy. Forgetful. Inarticulate. Shows confusion. Their words and thoughts are ALL over the place. Chaotic. Disjointed. You can even see them stop and question the absurdity and validity of THEIR OWN STORY, MID SENTENCE.

It may appear that we’re trying to think of an answer, but we’re realizing based on the “surreal” details and the fact that the person were telling has changed their demeanor (eye rolls, doubtful looks) to them our story sounds artificial or we’re being accused of being “hysterical”, we feel defeated – we want to defend our honesty. Suddenly our credibility waivers – even though we’re the ones telling the honest to God’s truth; it’s very isolating.

The stuff that is done to us by narcissists, is SO INSIDIOUS; it literally baffles us into muddled brain fog. On the surface to others and even ourselves – the narcissist TRIES to appear “nice”. They can’t be openly ugly – their images mean EVERYTHING to them. Unless they’re in a profession where being a big, ugly, bad ass is how they’re paid, they more often than not, present as YOUR BEST FRIEND.

Imagine having a best friend who does and says SO MANY wonderful things to you – suddenly throwing in jabs at you when no ones around. Who calls a woman the love of their lives in one breath, then in the next conversation calls her a slut and tells her that no one will really ever love her for who she is, just that she’s only ever wanted by people for sex? A perpetrating narcissist, that’s who.

Where does a loving person go with this kind of conversation? Most targets question themselves. We became accustomed to explaining the inexplicable by assuming responsibility. We try harder. We try to understand and empathize with the feelings of a narcissist, because we think that if they are that extreme, they MUST be genuine.


Narcissists as FALSE VICTIMS don’t change a damn thing about their behavior. They don’t seek help. They don’t look over their shoulders. (Unless they’re paranoid about karma catching up with them) They don’t have trouble sleeping at night or difficulty breathing at times. They aren’t afraid of you in the ways they’ve claimed to be afraid. They aren’t as afraid of you as you are of them. They don’t hang out in support groups. They don’t share their stories with other survivors. They don’t endure the traumatic symptoms of PTSD.

TRUE VICTIMS can’t survive by any other way than REACHING OUT for support. Seeking validation, seeking therapy, GOD, or other “SAVING” modalities is a revelation of our TRUE, inner state. We’re shocked, scared and hurt, we feel broken by the abuse. We reach out, give back and share our stories with others. We try to warn the next victim out of fear that the narcissist will victimize others.

We have the ability and show true empathy for other survivors because we KNOW what the abuse from a narcissist feels like. We KNOW how confusing it is. We don’t take the experience lightly, nor the feelings of those who’ve suffered this lightly.

TRUE VICTIMS become very involved in our own therapy. We are motivated by hurt, anger, fear and determination to never be made a victim again, and thus pour ourselves into learning about our own behavior, vulnerabilities and areas in need of improvement. A narcissist believes it’s everyone ELSE that needs to change.

Where is the narcissist in their protestation that THEY were victimized?

(This is like OJ saying he’s going to devote the rest of his life to finding the “Real killers” of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman. YEA RIGHT. He spent his time searching golf courses because in his narcissistic fashion, the killer looked just like HIM, and that’s where you’d find Him; on a golf course)

The narcissist isn’t at home tending to their self-care and reading every tidbit of information regarding recovery they can get their hands on. They’re out meeting new dating partners, out selling themselves on websites for dating, flirting, laughing and gayly enjoying a life not fettered by consequences. They post pictures of where they’re located or broadcast to social media that they’re at such and such location.

TRUE VICTIMS are AFRAID of announcing those things because we KNOW the true danger of someone who uses that information to track us down. We show FEAR and take ACTION to change our previous lifestyles, one that’s more PROTECTED because WE’VE KNOWN VIOLATION.


True victims are FULL of self-doubt. If a person was very self-assured, they would instantly recognize abuse and walk away. They’d be confident that they could handle the situation and feel very comfortable labeling their former partner as “abusive”.

TRUE VICTIMS are not QUICK to use the word abuse – we’re not even looking outside ourselves for answers. We’re busy looking within; carrying tons of borrowed shame and guilt. We don’t throw the term around because of the far-reaching consequences and implications of the words, “Abuse” and “Victim”.



I don’t recall one narcissistic person I’ve met who showed any signs of PTSD.  They’re well described by that quote that says, “Some people don’t GET ulcers, they GIVE them”. Same with narcissists; they GIVE others PTSD.  Narcissists are cool cucumbers emotionally, I don’t think events can overwhelm them from the vantage point of feelings and trauma.  Cruel and cool, they’re pretty emotionally unaffected by things.

Psychopaths give PTSD because it is THEIR behavior (which they are completely unaware of and how it impacts others) that is so far outside the range of normal human behavior, they have no concept of it’s oddity – but those on the outside looking in, DO. We don’t expect one of our own to regard us as objects of prey. The expectation, although naive is to believe that there are proper rules of contact. Not so with a personality disorder.


As a TRUE VICTIM, let me share the thoughts that went through my mind while the narcissist was insidiously abusing me and why I stayed:

1. Was it me?

I was reminded by the narcissist over a 3 year period that everyone else seemed to get, understand and love him in ways that I just “couldn’t”. Yet, at other times he told me that I did that better than anyone he’d ever known.

2. Everything that went wrong seemed to be MY fault.

With his assistance, I blamed myself relentlessly. Typically, you’ll see a victim apologizing to their abuser, simply because we feel so guilty for provoking their feelings of anger, rage or violence. Yet conversely, you will NOT see an abuser apologizing to their victim – which causes onlookers to think the culpable person is the victim.

3. He told me ad nauseam how GREAT he was.

There was NO WAY the bad feelings, I was experiencing were coming from HIM. They had to be something I was doing or causing; because HE was “perfect” – just ask him!

4. I began to feel that instead of DOING something WRONG, I was BEING something WRONG.

There’s the inexplicable kicker to narcissistic abuse; it really boils down to a person with no true identity, breaking a person with a loving, true identity. I was barraged with so many put downs and unrealistic expectations – that in the end, I felt just as UNWORTHY about myself as a narcissist feels about themselves. Plain and simple in words, yet to go THROUGH the experience of having your soul shattered to arrive at this state of NO IDENTITY, is pretty damn dark & scary; like an inner earthquake. A 9 on the emotional richter scale.

5. I made excuses.

He made them to justify and explain things he did to me, so I did the same. I accepted the ones he gave me – with minor questioning but for the most part, we were a duo of defenders against his true character. God that must have made him feel so good. A perfect scape goat. Unaware of my future slaughter. The things that make some people happy.

6. I was blinded by “Love” . In hindsight, I realize that it wasn’t loving at all; anything that would have me bend myself into a pretzel to satisfy their own deep insecurities to feel loved, wasn’t love they were getting from me. It was sad to let that love go until I accepted the fact that it just wasn’t real.

Posted on November 2, 2013, in Narcissism. Bookmark the permalink. 85 Comments.

  1. This is the first piece of writing, from the thousands of things Ive read trying to find something I can wholly and fully relate to that resonates in every way. You have written exactly how it is and was for me too, from beginning to end of your article. I wanted to share that with you.

    An excellent piece that I could read and fully relate to without tears and sorrow. 3 years of it for me too. Sometimes just the concept of “me too” is comfort in a sad way. I thank you for sharing this insight.
    Blessings for healing,
    Tess x


  2. My best “friend” of many years emotionally and mentally abused me for ages before I finally tried to do something about it. I tried to talk to her and tell her how is was making me feel. I was full of anxiety, depression, and fear. Our relationship was nothing but toxic and I was constantly walking on eggshells. I tried to explain, but it blew up in my face. Suddenly everything was my fault and I was the one who was doing everything wrong. I believed her. I was suicidal. She abandoned me and told me she’d take me back when “I got better”. I believed for so long that is was my fault, that I was the one who ruined everything. But coming across this article opened a door and a small light come on, and I’ve read it many times when things get particularly hard. I realized she fit the false victim to a tea. And that I had been used, abused, and abandoned. I too avoided the term victim for so long. But I know I was a victim, and no one, especially her, can take that reality away from me. It’s taken a lot of time, and therapy and tears and pain, and the PTSD is still there and still real, but it gets better. You are worth so much more than your abuser makes you feel! And you can not only survive, but thrive!


  3. I’ve learned so much tonight. After 10 years of marriage (with two cycles of him leaving me, divorcing me, begging for forgiveness, and me accepting), I finally realized what I have been living with. I’ve spent years trying to help him and now realize I am the one that needs help and needs to get out. I spent the last 7 years blaming/excusing/rationalizing all my husbands behavior. He was prior military and did two Iraq deployments. He was diagnosed with PTSD and for years, I thought this was why he treated me the way he did. 10 years later, I realized there is more going on the just his PTSD symptoms. Altough war has affected him greatly, the lying, cheating, manipulating, addictions, etc. started BEFORE he ever enlisted. A few days ago, while searching for help once again for myself on support for caregivers/wives of vets with PTSD, I came across an article on sociopaths/psychopaths and narcissism. I cried and cried. He fit almost every single description of those words. I don’t know how to get help or where to start or what to do. I feel trapped. He knows he controls me….he is the sole provider of income, he never let me on as joint owner on his checking account, we have 4 little kids, and I would be homeless with no money if I left. I feel so powerless, helpless, and lost. BUT at the same time, feel a sight sense of relief after years of searching for an explanation of his behavior and now finally getting some light into how his head truly works. Prays would be much appreciated for me and especially my 4 precious babies as we try to figure out how to get away from him. He is all I’ve known and I’m so scared of his reaction.


  4. The validation is important. We are/were’nt crazy. That’s why it is so important for us to tell and read each others stories. It also removes us from the intense isolation that we feel. We are good people to the core, that’s why we put up with their crap. Because we forgive so easily and have so much love to give. I still look back in awe and wonder, how could I be so blind.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’ve been in an abusive marriage for 17 years. He’s abused our four kids too. Not only in the same fashion, but physically as well. I questioned for years what I could do better. If I could just be a better wife, a better mother, prettier, skinnier, just better… Then he’d have no reason to find fault in me. Now our oldest is 16, and my husband had tuned him into a kid with no self esteem, no aspirations, just waiting these next two years until he can leave. We’re seeing a counselor today and I haven’t slept at all… I’m rethinking and trying to freaking read everything I can online because I’m second guessing myself. Has this really been abuse all these years? Am I just overly sensitive? This is normal in his country, so I shouldn’t hold it against him… I’m nauseous.


  6. I could have written this. It’s exactly what I am going through. The most frustrating part is that they have spent years smearing your name behind your back. sabotaging your life, and telling everyone they know you are the crazy one. You finally get the courage to escape, hide, and find safety and he just tells everyone you went AWOL crazy. The truth is, if I stayed, I would be dead. I’d rather be homeless and alive than dead victim of a psychopath.


  7. brilliant! Thank you.


  8. It’s hard to escape. Especially when uve been broke and don’t realize it until something so devastating happens. Even then your in great shame and guilt. You feel like ur having convince yourself it’s not ur fault. Because u know ur mean and evil. U don’t even cry anymore which is because ur tears anger them n are only there to make them feel guilty for something u did. They’ll never get out or leave. U need to take kids n live on street. Because otherwise all u care about is yourself. They are perfect and generous n everyone knows it. After all no one knows you. Your family and friends are now gone one by one. Each one has done something against his Majesty, if ur a good wife you’ll support him. Although your a whore. U know, the Whore that hardly looks anyone in the eyes cause he’ll notice n say u were doing something Whore like. If u wear make up ur a whore. If u don’t its because ur not trying to be attractive to them. When u have had enough they are prince charming. What were u thinking, it was all in ur head. Mine eventually was shooting at us because he was woke up. Of course the system sees poor guy. Now still married, cause fuckers won’t divorce u. U have to fight but we’ve forgotten how. Meanwhile new girlfriend n new victim. All the while stalking u n keeping u in Ck. Fight. Exercise, church, therapy, learn. Be creative. Make friends again. Find your family. Fight……cry again. Re-learn right n wrong, sanity n insanity. Be healthy, distance….seems like we’re alone against many. Be a force. Smarter, stronger and sane.and wear your makeup again or don’t. Your choice again. Be free… I’m almost there. My problem is trusting again. Pushes good people away. I know. It’s scary.


  9. Dear Lord, after reading this post, I am so happy to hear there are others out there dealing with a narcissist. My husband and I having been dealing with his ex-wife for the past three years and this post is textbook to her behavior.

    My husbands ex-wife framed him for a burglary he did not commit. She is manipulating the legal system and law enforcement to put him in jail.

    She’s crazy.


  10. WOOOOOOW. Very good! Seriously – you should be proud of this article. It’s SO accurate and what’s more, seriously important information that should help confused people close to these toxic situations to understand what is really happening. It’s been a long time since I’ve read an article that blew my mind like this one. A+


  11. While i was reading this article all i wanted to do was vomit. I am going through this, and every time i have tried to leave he is so nice and kind and caring and an absolute gem, then i stay and the he does it again. I wish he would physically punch me because then you can see it! its there! its tangible! its not his brain against mine. when its good, its good and that is the terrible problem, i am taking steps to get a divorce – seeing a lawyer etc but right now there is nothing ‘wrong’ so i think that maybe i am the crazy one? maybe i am a drama queen like he says? maybe i am bi-polar – maybe i should admit myself into a mental institution??

    I never ever in my life thought i would land up in a relationship like this, however i have, and its like sinking sand, you know you okay now, but for how long?


    • I too was in a narcissistic marriage for 19 years. Try to leave many times. He made me think it was me. Finally I had enough. It wasn’t until I left I realized he was a narcissist .
      All the light bulbs went off in my head. With help from friends and family and a good therapist it took me a year to get where I am. I read all I could on narcissism. Talked to people who also went thru it too. Did no contact as best I could (I have two children ages 15 an 11 with him). I am thousands of times a better person . I am compassionate, loving, kind, and caring. I am extremely happy, and forever free. He still causes drama. I just stay firm and not let his crazy ness effect me. Mostly I just laugh at his ridiculousness. They never change. He is bitter and sad and will never be happy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Did your children cope when you decide to leave? My son (6year) asked me why I dont just kick him in the nuts when he is nasty to me? That was my lightbulb moment . I am serving him with papers tomorrow and hope I can survive the next two weeks before I move out.


      • I too am divorcing a P after 35 years. He has constantly devalued me from day one. I have felt like it was my fault forever. Read so many books on improving my marriage. They taught me to cater to him. It was not until this year at my eyes have been opened. What a rude awakening!!! I see his true side. It makes me so sick at my stomach. Please let us pray for one another for this has been so hard on me.


    • I hope you have been able to leave. I was fortunate to have friends surround me and daily remind me who I was and that it was not my fault! It’s been 6 years, and I am still very damaged, but healthier than I was.


  12. Thank you for this. I did not fall for my narcissist. I was pushed into marrying him because of the fact I was about to enter spinsterhood.
    I honestly at first, just thought he had a lot of problems and I felt sorry for him. After a while, I quit feeling sorry for him. I now realize that he is a pathological liar.
    Yes, he would blame me for everything that has gone on but I know better.
    I am very grateful for articles like this and for comments made my others in this same situation. Lets you know you are not alone, just one of the many.


  13. None of this applies to me (anymore). But it did. The ‘victim’ stage is temporary. Survivor is next.


  14. You should be very proud of yourself for being strong & to be informing other victims so we are reminded of our past abuser and we stay positive! I haven’t thought about my abuse for years (sought help) but its helpful to have your reminder that it was not! My fault he beat bullied and insulted me so bad I didn’t recognize myself. Thank you! Be well….


  15. belinda collins

    I agree it makes since , it is shocking to me that I fell for a narcissistic. The last incident I had with him it was bad.I was trying to avoid argument with him over stuff that did not make since at the time. This was it for me a time to finally exit when he threaten to get me a airline ticket to go I did ask him why he gave me a answer and with that even though his answer confused me I got up and started getting my things ready to go.he did not like that and started acting crazy on me I went to the next room to call for help and that was when he came after me threw me on the be got on top of me and said are u calling your brother while he was prying my phone out of my hands I told him I was calling for help any help the police, he took my phone went into the other room and threatened he would call and get me help instead .he went outside I locked the doors and found my phone and called 911, yep indeed he called the police came i was happy they did.but after the police questions they arrested him.later on I left and traveled home only to find out from my brother that the man I was with text him and told him that he was arrested falsely by the police and that I should of been arrested instead and that he was only trying to save my life and get me help because I was suicidal with was not the case at all .it blows my mind away to see that this man after hurting me was willing to try to set me up for what he did wrong to me. I am thankful for the police officer on the case who saw through what my boyfriend was doing.


  16. Best description I’ve ever read and I have read countless hours of information over the past 2 years. Job well done! Thank You.


  17. I find this very hard to grasp. But one thing sticks out, and it’s the only thing that convinced me that I am actually the victim here and not the NPD; self doubt. I can honestly say I have believed I am seriously mentally handicapped / mentally ill for many years, and it’s still somewhat part of some of my core beliefs. I have been going to rehab and treatment for many years always with the same “What am _I_ doing wrong? I am not good enough, I am evil, I do bad things and I hurt people intentionally.”

    You know, being the, I dont know, “victim”, of an NDP parent I probably have some of these personality traits myself, I’m pretty sure anyhow, that it takes two to tango, or the NDP can dance alone. That took me a long time to realise; I don’t have to respond, I don’t have to climb down into that basement of shit emotions because some asshole I am related to happend to think thats where I should be. ATM I am trying to break free of the notion that I have to feel a certain way in a certain situation, bound by social law, trying rather to choose not to feel bad in almost any circumstance, simply because it solves nothing to get angry or upset. Thats just what they want,! I learnt it from her! :p Haha.

    Anyways I’m gonna talk to my therapist today for the first time since I discovered NPD and I almost had a mental breakdown the first couple of days when things started to fall into place. I really hope she can help me, because if not, I don’t know if I can live sober much longer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would really like to get your perspective on how much living with a NDP effected, enhanced or contributed to your addiction? OR maybe their stubborn, black and white was of thinking obnoxious perseverance helped find recovery? Hope to hear from you. I am trying to discern as well. Also any web sites on just this?


  18. Reblogged this on Marilyn Munrow and commented:
    No, it was never your fault, and i am so very happy that you see this now. Narcissists are so used to manipulating people to make them feel inferior. They get you frustrated and thinking that you are a failure and that they are right in every aspect. ITS NOT TRUE. You are a person in your own right, and you are intelligent and bright.


  19. Reblogged this on Blog Of A Mad Black Woman and commented:
    “The stuff that is done to us by narcissists, is SO INSIDIOUS; it literally baffles us into muddled brain fog.” ~ After Narcissist Abuse

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Reblogged this on Mindocr’s Weblog.


  21. Reblogged this on Not A Member Of The Club Sandwich and commented:
    Very very powerful and true. I have never been through something so cruel in my entire life. I was anxious, on edge, frightened, my life was falling apart and I didn’t know why. I had never felt that way before in my entire life. I finally sought out help because family and friends said something was wrong, they said that before I even knew it. It was like they saw it before I did. Anyway, I first sought out help with the narcissist and all he said was he “expected that I would hit the wall.” I asked him why he said that and he said it was because I had just started my diet and that is what happens when you go on diets. I just brushed it off at the time but as time went on and everything got worse I finally got help. I was told I was being gaslighted and emotionally/mentally abused because he has what sounded like NPD. Suddenly, the statement about me hitting a wall made sense. I didn’t believe her at first and it was tough for me to accept that I was a victim especially when all could think of was it is all my fault and I am the defective one but after much research and help, I know that it is not my fault. It never was.

    Thank you for your post!🙂


  22. Might I add that afterward, when you have been discarded and duped, you feel like you don’t know what is real anymore. Everyone is telling you that you are such a strong person and you need to get over it; it is just another breakup, and they happen, but not matter what you do, you just keep going over every detail blaming yourself for everything. You start losing relationships because they all think you are taking it too far because they either don’t believe you and/or they don’t understand what you are going through. It it the most lonely and isolating experience of your entire life and because of that you continue the gaslighting in your own head, thinking you are really going crazy even though your therapist says otherwise.


  23. Thank you, the best article I’ve read in a while. I needed this article.


  24. Thank you for this article. I identity. Only difference I found is that after extended abuse (I mean really long term, eg decades) the true victim CAN lose the ability to remain emotionally vibrant i.e. something in them is killed or dies. For me this was the ‘spent’ part of “frazzled, ruffled and spent”. The vibrancy of the perpetrator can often remain intact while the true vic is still digging themselves out of the proverbial hole. Wishing complete healing to all🙂


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