The real victim in the situation

04 Sep 2018

Q.  How do you know who is the real victim in the situation when you are in a relationship with an abusive narcissist

A.  Chances are, you don’t feel not entirely sure.  Your partner has no doubt whatsoever that he (or she) is without blame, having been horribly and consistently wronged – by you (allegedly). You, on the other hand, have been so traumatized, disoriented and depersonalized by all that is toxic in the relationship that you can hardly remember your own name. So, crazy as even you know it is, you find yourself wondering whether your partner actually is the real victim in the relationship.

That uncertainty in itself, is all the proof that you should need to know that your relationship has been off the scale toxic and destructive.

Unfortunately, by this time, you have become more used to heeding your partners’ words than your own deep feelings of despair.  So much so even The Blindingly Obvious becomes shrouded in a mist of uncertainty.

In this article, we shall look at how a toxic partner abuses your trust so effectively that you cease to see your own reality.

How it starts 

You don’t have to be in a relationship with an abusive Narcissist for long before you find their reality overwhelming your reality.

Mostly, they will start by doing a bit of listening carefully to you and telling you what is great and special about you.  Chances are, this will feel like a distinct improvement on the way that family members and/or previous partners have behaved.

You couldn’t know this at the time but they are actually performing their Viability Assessment, establishing in their own mind your likely Victim Value. Sadly, you – just like me – passed that one with flying colors.

Their reality overwhelms your reality 

The abusive Narcissist soon starts the process of overwhelming you with their reality.  One way or another, their reality eclipses your reality.  Allegedly.  That is how they tell it and how you experience it.  Their higher claim on air time and attention can manifest in different ways,

  • Their life circumstances may be more difficult than your circumstances.
  • Their upbringing may have been harder than yours.
  • Their status may be higher than yours.
  • Their work situation may be more dramatic/demanding/glamorous/precarious than yours.
  • Their emotional health may be more precarious than yours.
  • A special gift, talent, hobby or other passion – of theirs – requires massive commitment on their part   (and yours).
  • A health concern – even a minor or non-existent one.  (A true virtuoso can get untold “air hours” out of even a cut finger!)
  • Their needs trump your needs.  (The wasband’s constant refrain was, “I’m tired.” He was always tired thanks to “reasons” 1-7. His tiredness meant my world had to stop.)

What happens next 

Being a nice, generous-hearted, self-effacing person – with a few doubts about your own worth – you accept, early on, that their reality really is more important than your reality.  Maybe you can see that they have a few glitches in their personality – but nothing that your love can’t sort out.

In your own mind (okay, fantasy, we’ve all been there) you see clearly the point when these glitches fade away.  Then your wonderful partner emerges from the debris and the two of you skip down the Happy Ever After road together.

You start to remember that you have needs too, when the realization dawns on you that your best glitch disposal efforts do not appear to be working very well, at all.

The problem with your needs 

The moment comes when you feel you have to mention your needs to your partner.  After all, with all that super-intensive stuff that they have going on, you can see why they might just forget to take you into consideration as much as they could/should.

However, you know that their heart is in the right place.  You just have to explain how you feel to them and they will get it, right?

Er…. no!

With everything that they have on their plate, the last thing that they need is you making things even harder for them.

Depending on how long you have been together, you may just get an apology and a vow to do better at this point – or not.

Either way, what happens when you dare to say that you have a need for a little care, consideration and respect defies all logic.  Suddenly, they become the victim in the situation.

“What just happened?” 

This is the point at which you find yourself under attack for having – allegedly – done something that you had no intention of doing.  Something that you did not do.

Suddenly, the whole world has changed.  Your partner suddenly “unmasks” you as the villain of the piece, while they are the victim.  You attacked them.  Couldn’t you see how hard things are for them? How could you be so selfish? So crazy? So unloving?

Besides, what just happened was all your fault, anyway.  Something you did – or didn’t do, or else something that you said – or didn’t say – hurt them so deeply/left them no choice but to…

When you opened your mouth to voice what felt like a legitimate concern – and long overdue  – concern they became the real victim in the situation.

All you  can do, at best, is ask yourself, “What just happened?”

How The Real Victim in the situation behaves 

At this point in the proceedings you probably feel like you have landed in a parallel universe.  Welcome to the parallel universe of the Real Victim in the Situation.  The Real Victim in the Situation has certain rights that you don’t have – and never will have.  Let me spell them out for you.

  • The right to saw whatever they choose to hurt and humiliate you.
  • The right of No Reply. Nothing you can say will be of any value, so you might as well shut the f*** up.
  • The right to judge and punish you mercilessly for as long as they please.
  • The right to bring up all past (and future) offences for (re)sentencing.
  • The right of absolute certainty.
  • The right to challenge your sanity.
  • The right to deny your human worth and lovability.
  • The right to undermine the very basis of your relationship.
  • The right to take from you anything and everything that they may want.
  • The right to endless apologies and constant deference.
  • The right to always be your one and only priority.

Their Real Victim in the Situation  status versus your victim status

The Real Victim in the Situation earns that status – in their own mind and yours – by campaigning constantly about your total failure as a partner and a human being.

They proclaim that their wonderfulness is proved by your worthlessness.

When you read that statement on the page, the sheer nonsense of it shrieks at you.

And yet, when you are in the middle of a psychological beating, you end up believing it.  Not least because The Real Victim in the Situation has  worked so hard at undermining your grasp of your “intimate” reality.

Interesting isn’t it how The Real Victim in the Situation looks – to anyone other than The Real Victim in the Situation – like a toxic, Narcissistic, destructive, abusive monster?

Curious, isn’t it, how it feels to you like their words are so many stabs through your heart and soul?

Somewhere in the midst of all of this torture, you know that The Real Victim of the Situation is getting a lot of pleasure out of the situation.  You, on the other hand, feel like you are shattering, yet again, into a thousand tiny pieces.

The world of the abusive Narcissist is a truly topsy-turvy world in which the perpetrator becomes The True Victim of the Situation. Whether or not they are certifiably crazy becomes an irrelevance.  The longer you stay and the more you try to change their worldview , the more likely you are to end up crazy. Better to leave them to it and start over. If you are finding that too hard to do alone, then reach out for help.


Annie Kaszina, international Emotional Abuse Recovery specialist and award-winning author of 3 books designed to help women recognise and heal from toxic relationships so that they can build healthy, lasting relationships with the perfect partner for them, blogs about all aspects of abuse, understanding Narcissists and how to avoid them and building strong self-worth. To receive Annie’s blog direct to your Inbox just leave your details here.

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