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.
FALSE VICTIM vs. TRUE VICTIM
1. FLAT AFFECT
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.
2. BRILLIANT USE OF WORDS, DESCRIPTIONS and PHRASES. Suspiciouly Articulate.
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.
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.
3. LACK OF CHANGES IN BEHAVIOR, PERSONALITY OR LIFESTYLE
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.
5. FALSE VICTIMS DON’T QUESTION THEMSELVES, THEY PROJECT ARROGANCE
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”.
5. TRUE VICTIMS GET PTSD
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.