Archive for the ‘Narcissism’

May 12th, 2008

Blame shifting


Some people who were abused or neglected as children can come to see themselves as victims. Those with a high degree of narcissism may then only be able to recognize when others do harm to them and not vice versa so that they have a tendency to blame other people for the bad treatment they themselves dish out. They, after all are victims and victims don’t hurt people, they are always, by definition, the injured party.

People with low self-esteem tend to blame themselves unduly. People with high self-esteem tend to blame things beyond their control, other people, or unforeseen circumstances, for their failures. But narcissists blame anything and anyone but themselves and frequently use convenient scapegoats on which to load all their mistakes and transgressions.

The narcissist rarely admits to being less than perfect or at fault unless by doing so he can get attention through sympathy. No matter what hurt, harm or damage he causes he is always the innocent party. If his lover is hurt by his behaviour, it is because she is neurotic, overreacting, or too demanding. The issue of his partner’s “sickness” or inadequacy sidelines his bad behaviour.

His affairs, drinking, gambling, sulks and rages are all his partner’s fault for not giving him what he needed, although he probably never asked for anything and never complained of its lack. She “makes” him do the things he does because she has failed him, let him down, demanded too much, smothered him, disappointed him, because she cannot sense what he wants, and cannot read his mind. There is nothing wrong with him. Ever. It is all her fault (or someone’s).

Or he uses blame to camouflage his own sins. He accuses his girlfriend for example, of doing things she doesn’t actually do, (such as flirting) so that he can feel justified in some misdeed (such as cheating on her) that he would do in any case (whether she actually flirted or not). By projecting his own impure motives and actions on to her he can still feel righteous.

Often he plays the victim to avoid taking responsibility for his actions. His parents never gave him enough attention, or toys, or advice, so now he hangs out at the pub till all hours with his mates. Or, a girlfriend once dumped him and he has never gotten over it, so he treats his current girlfriend like dirt. Or, his boss is “jealous” of his brilliance and refuses to promote him, so he slacks off and pilfers.

By always focusing the problem outside himself (or herself) the narcissist avoids self-evaluation and so