Have you ever played the victim? If so, do you remember the emotional need you were trying to fulfill or express while doing so? It’s the same for someone with a narcissistic personality, but they may feel it more often. If the love bombing and fake apologies didn’t work on you, it’s time for them to pull out the victim card.

An individual with a narcissistic personality is often thought of as a person with a grandiose sense of self and an unlimited need for power. When the narcissist plays the victim, they will know exactly how to pull on your heartstrings and have you feeling empathy and compassion for them. They know how hard it is for you to say ‘no’ and they will use that against you every time.

Be prepared for real crocodile tears, which will feel so real, you may be questioning if they are a narcissist with zero empathy. They are so good at convoluting storylines, that before you know it, you’re almost believing the bullshit coming out of their mouths. I mean, they’re incredibly convincing!

Ignoring them is the best way to not get swept up in these elaborate versions of a false reality so that you don’t find yourself handing your power back over to them before you’ve even had time to think about it.

So, what does it mean when a narcissist plays the victim? Is it on purpose? Is it a manipulation tactic? Do they truly believe they’re being victimized? Why a narcissist plays the victim depends on the situation and the type of narcissism they live with. Playing the victim or feeling like a victim may stem from lower self-esteem, low empathy, or a need for control.

Let’s look at a few of the reasons they do this:

  • Entitlement: Yep, you guessed it. Narcissists feel a very strong sense of entitlement. This means they are convinced they are worthy of recognition, privileges, and special treatment. If they feel they don’t get attention from you, they will believe you have “wronged them” in some way, hence, why they now play the “victim.”
  • Rage: This individual cannot take criticism or rejection well and may react with rage. This occurs when the narcissist truly feels like the victim or wishes to use this tactic to take back control of the situation. Experts refer to this as “narcissist collapse.”
  • Lack of Empathy: The lack of empathy can also be a factor that can cause narcissists to use the “victim card”. Some may use “playing the victim” as a manipulation tactic. If you feel hurt because of your narcissistic loved one’s actions, they might not see it like that or empathize with you. For them, you’re complaining and making more of the situation than necessary.
  • A Defense Mechanism: This can protect us from things such as remembering painful experiences/memories, our integrity, our sense of self, and our identity. However, when a narcissist uses a defense mechanism, it’s often due to their delusions of grandeur. Due to their false beliefs of being invincible or a superhero, their ego is incredibly fragile. Therefore, if they sense someone is out to “hurt” them, they use their defense mechanism to protect themselves from the emotional pain they may feel.

Studies have suggested that people with narcissistic traits or with a narcissistic personality disorder often see themselves as a victim of transgressions against them more than people without the said personality disorder or traits.

Why a narcissist may engage in pity play can depend heavily on the situation or the type of disorder. There are many hidden reasons why narcissists always play the victim, so understanding them is the first step, and preparing for it is the next one. Once you have set your boundaries, stay strong and don’t fall for this tactic.

Hayley Lisa, The Divorce Coach for Men