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Victim Blaming and Shaming

Updated on January 14, 2020
Empath Heart profile image

Just a survivor of narcissistic abuse hoping her experiences will help others.

Secondary Victimization

There are obvious reasons why narcissists blame their victims for their own feelings and or emotions their victims have as a result of their narcissistic behavior. When someone suffers from NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) Their inner voice is extremely critical. Just like the narcissist themselves, nothing is good enough to win their inner voices approval. So to them, acknowledging blame is simply not an option. Remember, they can successfully deceive themselves into believing that whatever they have done to cause harm isn't any fault of their own. You know when someone apologizes, and instead of saying "I'm sorry I hurt your feelings." they might say "I'm sorry your feelings are hurt?" If you pay attention, this is two very different mind frames. The former takes ownership of whatever hand they had in your emotional reaction acknowledging that your hurt feelings are either fully, or in part, affected because of their participation in the situation. The latter puts the responsibility on you, and makes you responsible for your emotional reaction regardless of the gravity of whats been done.

Narcissists have a fragile ego. So not on the surface, but somewhere down deep, subconsciously, they have this fear that anything they have done will be used against them to humiliate them. This can lead to self hate, depression, etc....

So with these feelings looming they blame shift. Because if they can make someone else responsible for whatever they have done, Others wont blame them and they in turn can still be seen as the good guy. Mr/Mrs awesome. In the best scenario for them, they can even be seen as some kind of hero for being with someone so needy or pathetic or what have you. Blaming you and giving other people the impression that it is you who is to blame is an emotional survival tactic they use.

If you are an empath like me or even just very empathetic, this might actually make you feel bad for them. And i get it. But let me just throw this little comparisson your way before you decide that the NPD is just a wounded soul who needs a hug:

You are outside and enjoying a nice cup of coffee or hot tea. You see some kids walking up the street. One of the kids is behind another kid and they keep poking them with a stick. You hear the complaints of the other child telling them to stop. The other children with them look kind of concerned but don't say anything. The bully then wacks them really hard on the head with the stick and the other kid starts crying. The bully says "I didn't even hit you that hard, your such a baby." Other children walking with them laugh. You look closer. You know that bully. Hes the kid who's dad is always yelling at him and you've felt bad for him on more than one occasion. However, gut reaction tells you that just because you've seen this bully BE a victim, what he is doing to the other child is wrong. Hurting someone else just because you've been hurt is wrong. The other child did nothing to deserve that. It makes you angry at the bully. Yea, you get why he's acting out, you feel bad that he is constantly under pressure and abused in some way, but in your mind that does not give him the right to hurt that other child. Your immediate concern is for the other child.

Now, think of the other child as you, the bully as your narcissist, and the bully's father as your narcissists brain. The other children surrounding them are people you know who have decided your narcissist isn't a bad person and you are overreacting, or somehow its your fault you got hurt.

See? funny how our perspective changes and our emotions intensify when we think of other people in our own scenarios.

This is actually how our protective instincts should be protecting us.

I want to say something now that I feel very deeply and live by. Its something I've always felt and no one can change my mind. Unless you have lived someone else's life, you don't get to decide how they should feel or what they should do or should have done. By that, I do not mean "Jane's husband left and so did mine so she should be fine right now, its been 6 months. I'm over it, she should be over it." NO. I mean unless you have BEEN Jane, which is impossible, you don't get to decide what actions she should take, how right or wrong her emotions are, how deeply she feels things.... You cannot take the similar scenarios of two different people and equate them. Its unfair and quite frankly, that's not how it works.


Getting Stung More Than once.

So all of that being said, I am TIRED of people blaming abuse victims for being abused. Yes, if you go to sit down on some patio furniture and hear a loud buzzing and look over and see a massive bee hive, you shouldn't sit there. Lets say you in fact do decide to sit there thinking "If I don't upset the bees, they wont sting me." Well, you get stung. A month later, you go to sit down at a BBQ and the chair looks as innocent as can be. What you didn't see was a wasp was under the seat of the chair, and when you least expected it, it climbed around and got ya right on the leg. So that's 2 examples of what could have been avoided, and what couldn't have been predicted. Stay with me.... A month after that, you go to the grocery store and see some potted plants out front. You look around and make sure there's no bees because you've been stung twice this summer and aren't about to get stung again. You don't see any bees, you purchase the plant and put it in the car. When you get home, you go to pick up the plant to bring it inside and WHAM you get stung on the thumb. Understand? In the first scenario, you got hurt once by being willfully under cautious. In the second scenario you got hurt by chance. You didn't want to walk around life being overly cautious, and everything seemed safe so you went ahead and sat down. The situation deceived you. No alarms went off inside you, the chair seemed perfectly safe from your perspective, so you sat. One experience wasn't going to make you afraid of any and all chairs. In the third scenario, you examined that plant really well. You have become aware of the fact that bees hide and you made every effort to be cautious because you weren't about to be stung again if you could help it. People may have even thought you strange for the way you were examining the plant but you didn't care. It wasn't them after all who had been stung twice this year. They didn't know you or what you'd been through and you weren't gonna risk it. But even after all of the precautions you took, even after not buying the plant until you were satisfied that you were at a point where you trusted the situation, you got stung.

I give you this example because it is amazing to me that someone can blame someone else for receiving obviously unanticipated pain,

I understand that if you see someone who is careless and is constantly getting hurt, that that can make you grow callused towards that individuals cries. After all, if the same person who keeps getting stung decides that is a great idea to remove a hornets nest that is swarming with hornets from their porch in the middle of a hot July day with their bare hands, then yea...it's them that is allowing the pain into their life. That person either likes the pain or is damaged in some way that gives them an inability to properly assess risk.

If blaming a victim is something you are prone to doing, you cannot just do it for one thing and not another. So if someone in your life is a victim blamer, I suggest you cut off any further personal relationships with them if at all possible. If that isn't a possibility, then I'm sure a day will come where the possibility will be available and you wont ever have to listen to their uneducated perspective any more. Not actually being you and then judging your actions and emotional responses is Emotional White Washing. They are able to paint over any and all bumps and flaws in the scenario and are able to keep you from healing by convincing you that your reactions and responses are wrong or over-exaggerated. But only if you let them.


Unearned Weight

So the narcissist blames you, and they are able to get other people to blame you or find you ridiculous for complaining. They will either pain you as weak, needy, or "princess like." This is something i have dealt with first hand on a large scale. I used to be a You Tuber. My narcissist hated it. On camera, he would act completely charming and loving towards me. People would comment about how very much he looked like he loved me. When things started gong south fast, he was able to convince people that I was at fault. I was needy and desperate and lazy and (let me try not to laugh here) that I was the abusive one. People demonized me and felt bad for him! I did everything I could to explain but it was never enough. I had already been labeled and that was that. I lost good friends that way. Well, seeing as how I was able to loose them I suppose they weren't as good as I thought. But I also ended up sabotaging relationships with people i cared about. Either beforehand in defense of him, or afterwords in defensive mode for myself.

You know who you are. Maybe you are loving and caring. Maybe you would do anything for anyone. or maybe you are kind of a jerk ha ha. I don't know you personally, but if you are reading this because it relates to you in a victim aspect, then i know a bit about the scenarios you've dealt with. I know the pain of loosing people in the wake of someone else's destruction. Regardless of it being because of slander or loyalty to the narcissist, its not unusual to be demonized and loose people in these situations.

When someone is able to blame someone in a scenario they have never themselves experienced, that can be taken with a grain of salt. Its like that saying "there but for the grace of god go I." We all know what that means. It means that if you've been lucky enough not to have to deal with whatever you are seeing, be grateful because you have no idea what it entails.

What really gets me is when someone has been through a similar experience and can still judge you on your personal journey. Like I said before, Jane's husband left and so did mine so she should be over it by now." That kills me. People really can be that obtuse. There are people out there that think their perspective is the only perspective.

I have a hard time understanding people like that. If a person and her sister both eat crab, they get all puffy and cant breathe, and their sister only gets a slight itch in her throat , the first person in this scenario understands her sisters allergy and will defend it. Even though they had two different experiences. That same person can leave an abusive relationship, hear the story of someone else who was abused, and be callused about their experience and their feelings because she herself handled it differently and wasn't affected the same way by it. Its amazing to me!

I call this Unearned Weight. Do not give it to them. DO NOT let other peoples opinions about what you went through hold ANY WEIGHT what so ever. Do not let those same people blame you for what happened. I don't care what they know. I don't even care if someone is living in the same house as you and your narcissist. They don't know or see everything and even if they did, when it comes to you and your personal feelings and emotions, no one else has a bloody say. Period. Opinions are like toes. Everyone has them. Some people need a pedicure. That's all I'm saying.

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    • Empath Heart profile imageAUTHOR

      Empath Heart 

      2 months ago

      I absolutely love that you are reading these! You are right about the age thing but id like to tweak that more towards "level of experience." And also, your point on loving oneself...thats tricky. Ive always had an amazing love for myself. I was however caught in a very weak state of mind and wanted nothing more than to be recused which is very oposite of my normal mindset which is to rescue myself lol. And boy did i get snagged. Almost 7 years worth! I agree, there was apount about 2 and a half years in where i should have abandoned ship. I didnt think i was capable any longer at that point. It took me getting to the point where it was risk everything or risk my absolute sanity. I chose everything else. Ill tell my more personal story in detail sometime in the future. Strength can be fickle. Somerimes we have no idea how much we have. I think maybe its more of an underestimation of our abilities sometimes than a lack of self love. But keep talking! Im totally open and into talking about this :)

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 

      2 months ago from Chicago

      I agree no one should be actually blaming victims.

      However it appears that we as society have moved to far away from taking responsibility for our own happiness in many ways.

      Using good commonsense or mentioning learning crime prevention techniques are not viewed as being helpful advice.

      In fact lot of people simply don't want to (think) about potential consequences before engaging in any actions.

      That's understandable when we're young because our minds have yet to mature beyond seeing what (we) want right now. However with age should come wisdom whereby we (question) things and evaluate possible outcomes before making a decision! We should also have the presence of mind to change courses when things are not going as we want them to.

      Living our lives on "autopilot" is unhealthy.

      People who love themselves naturally look out for themselves.

      Each of us gets to (choose) our own friends, lovers, and spouse.

      Learning from our mistakes is better than embracing victimhood.

      A large part of any healing process is identifying what (we) could have done differently and how we'll handle such situations if they occur again in our lives. Learning from mistakes is empowering!

      You once told me I was missing your point on this topic. However I'm not saying there is anything wrong with your efforts to inform or encourage people! I just feel there probably should be more said about what a person can actually do moving forward.

      All or most of us have endured heartache, betrayal, lies, or been used. We also know we didn't (ask) to be mistreated. However to believe there is nothing (we) could have done to prevent it just means we're doomed to go through it again and again.

      There has to be some kind of "take away" we can use to arm ourselves for having a better outcome in the future.

      I suspect offering potential solutions to avoid something similar is viewed as "blaming the victim" by many people these days. In many ways being told the truth is considered "shaming" by a lot of people.

      If I weighed 300lbs and posted a photo of myself in swim trunks playing volley ball on the beach and someone called me fat:

      Are they "fat shaming" me?

      I might think it was "rude" for them to openly state their opinion.

      However the truth is I would be considered fat by any standard!

      Secondly "shame" comes from within. Whatever you think about (yourself) determines how you feel about you! If I love myself and don't believe what you said or care about your opinion then I'm not going to feel "shame". People just don't love themselves enough!

      "If you live for other people's acceptance you will die from their rejection." - Lecrae

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