How do Narcissists use shame?
A weakness of a narcissist is their extreme hatred of being embarrassed. There is nothing worse for them than having someone point out even the slightest fault. Ironically, they have no problem openly doing this to others.
This method of casting shame allows them to feel superior while minimizing any impact the other person might have. It also serves as a way of discounting any future comments the other person may use to embarrass the narcissist. Basically, they are beating the other person to the first punch.
In order to avoid the first punch, a person needs to understand what it looks like.
Here are eleven ways narcissists use shame to control others.
1) Historical Revisionism.
A narcissist will retell another person’s story adding their own flare of additional shame. This can be done in front of others or privately. It usually happens after the other person has achieved some level of accomplishment. The narcissist will state that they are only trying to the keep the other person humble but in reality, they are trying to humiliate.
2) Confidence Breaking.
Narcissists love to gather information about a person and store it away for later abuse. They use their charm to entice a person to share confidential details, especially ones that caused the other person embarrassment. Once gathered the narcissist uses the story to keep the other person in check and constantly worried about when the information will come out.
3) Exaggerating Faults.
No one is perfect except for the narcissist. The narcissist is very good at identifying the faults of others and even better at passively aggressively commenting on them. This is a way of putting the other person ‘in their place.’ When confronted, they often say, “I was only joking,” or that person “can’t take a joke.”
4) Victim Card.
Narcissists are talented at exasperating others and then using their reaction as justification for becoming the real victim. Regardless of how hard the narcissist incited the other person, the angry reaction to the provocation is viewed as shameful. The other person who usually feels bad by their reaction, allows the narcissist to play the victim card, and thereby surrenders control to the narcissist.
5) Blame Shifting.
Whenever something goes wrong, the narcissist shifts all of the blame on the other person. The other person who may have done one thing wrong, allows the narcissist to dump more than their fair share of the responsibility.
6) Baby Talk.
In any narcissistic relationship, the narcissist wants to be seen as the adult and the other person as the child. This belittlement is done in several condescending ways such as literally talking down, calling the other person immature, and saying the other person needs to grow up. The implication is that the narcissist is more mature and has developed beyond the level of the other person.