Individuals with Cluster-B personality disorders regularly use blame-shifting to manipulate conflicts within themselves because admitting fault is not an option to them
The existence of a malignant narcissist is predicated on extracting narcissistic supply from their significant others. A narcissist always functions on a psychological void.
Hence they cannot maintain the façade he/she has masterfully crafted during the idealization stage for too long. Inevitably the discard/devalue stage comes in, repeating the idealization-devaluation cycle. The survivor of the abuse is astonished when the partner suddenly projects his repressed emotions onto the love object.
Projection was originally coined by psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud, as a state in which a person defends himself against his own unconscious impulses, emotions, or beliefs by denying their existence in themselves while attributing those qualities to a significant other/family member/person. Among the survivor projection is commonly known as the ‘blame-shifting’.
A narcissist will readily engage in blame-shifting when he/she has experienced a narcissistic injury, his/her partner has set up a boundary, or have cut out the narcissistic supply, resulting in the narcissist feeling a sense of lack of control/power.
What are the most common techniques of blame-shifting used by a narcissist?
These 5 types of blame shifting techniques are commonly used by a narcissist:
1. Playing Victim
Playing victim is the most common type of blame shifting. You notice his ill-treatments towards you and point it out as it is causing you pain. Since that situation paints you as a victim, they are quick to turn the table (because they always need to be the more pathetic victim).
Instead of addressing your legitimate concerns, they will bring up (or make up) something completely unrelated from the past where they claim you to be the one hurting. Before you know it, you’re the one apologizing to them out of guilt.
2. Minimizing Your Feelings
Suppose they have hurt you and you have straightway mentioned that to them. They will straightway dismiss your feelings, invalidate them and laugh at you being too sensitive and over emotional. “You’re too sensitive. You’re crazy. You’re hysterical. You have no sense of humor. Calm down! Chill!”
The blame is no longer on them for misbehaving; ill-treating you but instead it’s on you for reacting to their misbehavior.
Ironically if you ever criticize a narcissist the way they regularly criticize you, they flip out. So it’s pretty double-standard when they blame you for having thin skin.
3. Arguing About the Argument
Every argument becomes a meta-discussion about the argument itself, rather than the point you’re actually trying to make.
They pull you into pointless fights, mincing words and debating semantics in order to put you on the defense.
Instead of focusing on the actual point of discussion, they comment on your voice, your gestures, tone and accuse you of doing things they’re doing (playing the victim, gas-lighting, projecting). The blame is no longer on them, but instead the way you approached the argument.
4. Guilt Tripping & Pity Stories
If you’re prone to feeling sympathetic for others, chances are they’ll take full advantage out of this. If you point out something hurtful they’ve done, they will start talking about their abusive childhood or an evil ex.
Before you know it, you’re comforting them, even though they hurt your feelings. After all, how can you be mad at someone when they open up to you about something so traumatic? Now the urgency of focus is shifted to their traumatic past instead of your present concern.
Everyone goes through trials and tribulations. But healthy individuals don’t use those experiences as excuses to harm others, and they certainly don’t bring up those pity stories to conveniently avoid taking responsibility for their behaviour.
5. The Stink Bomb
This is the last resort, usually when they’ve been blatantly caught or called out for something they know they did wrong. (Remember, shame is an unacceptable sensation to people with Cluster-B personality disorders). And so they throw a completely unfounded, terrible accusation at you.