5 Ways A Narcissist Uses DARVO Defense To Project Himself As A Victim

5 Ways A Narcissist Uses DARVO Defense To Project Himself As A Victim

You have made him cry. He may be crying with no actual tears, but he’ll quizzically point out that he has always been unable to cry real tears. And if you don’t give in the first time, after a few go-rounds of the anger, accusations, tears, and self-pity, you’re going to cave.

Of course, you don’t want him to have wasted time with you. Of course, you don’t want him to be separated from his kids. Of course, you should be more trusting.

Because he’s a real trustworthy guy … Or is he?

When you suspect a man is using DARVO tactics, look closely to determine if these are crocodile tears being shed by a man with narcissistic traits.

Here Are 5 Ways To Spot A Narcissist Who Uses A DARVO Defense To Turn Himself Into The Victim

1. He lies.

Maybe you haven’t seen the “big” lie, but perhaps there have been small ones. You find yourself explaining to friends, perplexed, “He lies when there’s no reason to lie.” You may have seen him lie to others or exaggerate the truth to make himself look better.

He might even lie to make you, or his children, look better. That’s because you are a reflection on him and the better you look, the better he looks. Does grandiosity ring a bell?

2. He’s vain.

How he looks, both literally and figuratively, can be a big deal to a man with a heavy dose of narcissism. With an annoying sense of entitlement, he may spend more money on his hair and clothing than you do. And he’ll come up with a seemingly logical reason for why that’s the case.

His children are also reflections on him, so he may be super concerned about how well they do on any and every metric that can be used to compare them with others. He may pretend with friends and co-workers that you two are really in an equal partnership, or even that you’re the one wearing the pants in the family. But it doesn’t feel that way to you.

Don’t be fooled — it’s just vanity in disguise. He wants the relationship to look good to others.

Related: How To Identify And Protect Yourself From Emotional Vampires

3. He demands you do things his way.

Although he asks your opinion, it seems like he must have things his way. From the kids’ bedtime to where you go out for dinner, he can become angry when you express what you want. You end up backing off, telling yourself it’s not that important.

You are astounded at the ease with which he gets people to do things for him. He always gets the upgrade when he flies, the loaner when the car is being serviced, and the lowest possible price in a negotiation. This is because people can sense that it’s more trouble to fight him than to give in. Just like you do.

4. He manipulates your feelings.

Although you enjoy it when he buys you gifts, it seems like you can never be grateful enough or offer enough praise to satisfy him. You start to feel like an ingrate. See the reversal there?

You begin to wonder if there’s something wrong with you. Are you not adoring enough? He has always pegged you as the special woman, perfect for him (because he’s so special). Maybe you’re not so special?

Instead of feeling bad about yourself, perhaps you can see his arrogance and complete lack of empathy for your feelings.

5. He turns things around on you.

Does he turn things around on you? The DARVO defense is rife with “what about-isms.”

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Dr. Judith Tutin

Dr. Judith Tutin is a psychologist and certified life coach who offers life coaching and psychotherapy services to divorce recovery, relationship stress, parenting challenges, work-life balance issues, health and wellness concerns, and living a happy and fulfilled life. Check out her recently published, The Post-Divorce Survival Guide. Tools for Your Journey, which offers insights about divorce recovery, some personal and others emerging from her years of work with clients. She blogs about the post-divorce experience, and about ,positive psychology.View Author posts