How Narcissists Play the Victim and Twist the Story

Framing the story

Narcissists also like to truncate the story and present only the bit where the aggrieved party reacted to their toxic behavior, framing it as if that’s where the story started (see picture).

Or they twist it by using euphemisms and deceiving language (“I’m not controlling, I just want what’s best for you.”).

For example, if a narcissist dislikes you and tries to bully you but you stand up for yourself, they will frame it as if they are the ones being a victim of bullying. In their narrative they were just doing their thing or joking around and you started being mean to them. Meanwhile, they simply left out what happened beforehand when they bullied you, so actually you “being mean” to them is a normal response to toxic behavior.

Here, by leaving out or downplaying their aggression they simply frame you engaging in self-defense as vile aggression against them. And then they think: “How dare you react or challenge me! You’re so sensitive and unfair! That’s why you deserve everything that’s coming!”

Slander, triangulation, character assassination

There are several ways how the narcissist employs their lies and projections, and the goal is always to turn others against you in hope that they won’t try to figure out the truth.

One of the ways to do that is triangulation. In psychology, it means controlling and manipulating communication between two parties. It is related to gossiping, smearing, and slandering, where the narcissist spreads false information around. A more extreme version of all of that is character assassination, where the lies are much more severe and damaging.

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