The Parents of Narcissists and Victimization
Children need to feel safe, valued, loved, and taken care of by their parents. If this is not the actual situation, many children use splitting to maintain the sense that at least one of their caretakers is a good person. One parent becomes the designated good one and the other parent becomes the designated bad one. When the designated good parent acts mean, it is explained away as this parent’s response to being victimized by the “bad” parent.
As one of my clients said: “My mother was forced to give in to my father. She was so afraid of him that she couldn’t protect me from his beatings.” The sad reality was that this client’s mother actually shifted the blame for her mistakes onto my client so that her husband would punish him and not her.
This theme of victimization may also be acted out with siblings. One child may be the designated golden child who can do no wrong, while another child becomes the family scapegoat. When the golden child hits the scapegoated child, his behavior is explained away. The golden child is the real victim who was only protecting himself from being abused by his terrible sibling.
If you have a narcissist in your life who is abusing you, yet often claims to be the real victim, it is usually because they learned early in life to feel that making a mistake, any mistake, makes them imperfect and invalidates any successes they have had in life. This extreme and distorted view causes them to do whatever that they can to avoid seeing themselves as the abuser.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, they will twist the truth until they can find one small “fact” that they believe justifies seeing you as the abuser and them as your innocent victim.
Written by: Elinor Greenberg Originally Appeared on: Psychology Today