Playing the victim or victim playing is the fabrication of victimhood for a variety of reasons such as to justify abuse, to manipulate, as a coping strategy or to seek attention.
The objective is to exploit others for personal gains, this includes online mass victimisation. The objective can be different, what stays the same is none of it is motivated by sincerity, some want to increase social media following, some want to be popular, some want fame, some monetise it.
Playing the victim is one of the hardest manipulative techniques to spot because it invokes empathy, you have an intuitive discomfort you can’t put a finger on and when reiterated in piece meal fashion to someone else, always makes you come across as the villain instead.
This is why survivors find it hard to talk to people about it, not everyone has seen through the mask of a narcissist yet and many of the narcissist’s friends are similar to them, won’t find anything wrong with the way they’re behaving.
The more you do not play the victim yourself, the more cognitive dissonance there will be, the more integrity you have, the more distressing it can be. I know for my case and the cases of many survivors, this is true, manipulation is so far fetched from our own behaviours, it's stressful facing them.
All abusers are narcissistic, not all abusers have Narcissistic Personality Disorder, someone with NPD will take it to another level, they’re commonly called malignant narcissists who require 7-9 years of constant professional help to get to functional levels. Since most don’t go in for help, they think nothing is wrong, going no contact and having boundaries is a common solution that offers the best results. As for social health, safeguards and legal ramifications as a deterrence is a must.
When you speak to abuse survivors, they often mention how abusers are alike, it’s as if they have all read the same handbook, their behavioural patterns are the same. This is also why you can rest assured if you learn how to spot the patterns, you will be able to refuse enmeshment with them, live an authentic inspired life, free of suffering.
Abusers who play the victim have very high external awareness, they’re usually politically savvy and can gauge public sentiment well, this is in contrast to their low self awareness, chronic inability to self reflect. Research shows high external and high internal awareness can be mutually exclusive, in their case, the gulf is larger than the norm.
The inability to self reflect becomes entitlement, where they demand they’re not held accountable for their actions, constantly shift blame to others while not seeing how they're part of the problem, they have difficulty facing the consequences of their actions as well.
They rely on others but lack appreciation of the same reliance as well, exhausting kind people who’re trying to help, constantly projecting their resentment at them, blaming innocent parties for never finding enough personal determination to rise out of victimhood. By continuing to rely on others, they can now relinquish their personal power, using others as a crutch for all they do not want to face.
Survivors can spend tens of years trying to helping them to no avail, eventually giving up, leaving an impossible situation, end up so wounded, they have to spend their own money, time and energy to heal themselves instead. It’s a merry go round of wounds passed on until one person decides enough is enough, steps out of the toxic cycle of abuse that healing is now available for all. Removing the crutch is the best thing you can do, they will now have to face their pain and find solutions instead.
Not everyone disempowered is manipulative, this is also why when a disempowered person is around a manipulative person playing the victim, they will identify and have empathy for the parts they themselves struggle with. It’s easy to mistake the same struggles for similar ways to cope, when this is a crucial factor in deciding whether it’s manipulation or not.
To decide if someone is an abuser, you have to look at that person holistically, not focus on one singular event but a series of events, spotting red flags along the way. Manipulators use multiple manipulation techniques, some of them are guilt tripping, gaslighting, scapegoating, triangulation, smear campaigns, lying and much more. It’s a combination of these that erode a victim’s sense of reality, esteem and mental health, entrapping you inside their world of dysfunction.
In a world of social justice warriors, weaponising victimhood has become a way to prey on empathy, drawing in sincere people who lack understanding that not all situations require empathy. Online abusers are even harder to get away from, they now have access to larger amounts of victims and a larger amount of enablers as well, leaving survivors confused who to listen to.
When exploitation is involved, reciprocating with empathy condones the unacceptable, emboldens them to become more manipulative, ultimately robs agency from them, disempowers them further. Asserting, confronting and the refusal to pander will elevate them to your level of healthy behaviour instead.
It’s tough because the intensity of their reactions from one confrontation can deter you from ever doing it again, you see them crumbling and that is hard for anyone to witness. I use to be fooled by people playing the victim because of this, I was terribly afraid of hurting them, I felt so worried they’re not doing OK, to the point where when I’m not around them, I carry this worry with me, causing a lot of unnecessary personal stress that isn’t my own. Later, I found out I was a chronic rescuer and I have been one all my life.
I have since changed, I cannot decide for them what level of self determination they have, that is out of my control as a person, no matter how much I care, this part is up to them. They have their own timing and that’s fine, this timing isn’t decided by me, it is in their power to decide for themselves.
I pondered why I never did have this level of intensity as well. I had my AHA moment when I read that intensity isn’t a good gauge of how much pain someone is in and how much empathy to offer, intensity can be due to narcissism. When someone is self absorbed, they expect the world to revolve around them, there is no equal importance for diverse views unlike their own, people start to walk on eggshells around them, sometimes not out of fear but out of over concern instead.
They constantly feel helpless because it’s rewarded, sympathy, attention, social media following, etc. is a psychological and sometimes political reward for them. Manipulation isn’t about wounds, manipulation is about ethics, having a conscience, not all people who have the same issues will manipulate, many choose not to.
Manipulative people foster public and personal distrust of those who care about the same social issues, people will start becoming wary of other sincere people who champion those issues and those who talk about similar pain authentically.
This is why many survivors who champion causes authentically now face public distrust as they find their own empowerment, silently rely on themselves, witnessing people who play the victim get the empathy they don't, feeling resentful about how they don’t weaponise their victimisation and not everyone understands this difference. This is why we live in world where agency is lost and victim mentality is common.
I see manipulation as a twist, a slight divergence from the truth to create cognitive dissonance, the most cunning con man will tell half truths, there’s a basis of truth in it but they dramatise it for attention, sensationalise it to make it come across far worse than it really is.
It’s because narcissism is about self absorption, that person’s pain is magnified to unreal proportions, it’s deceiving large to the point of paralysis, it is this same paralysis that makes playing the victim convincing. Ever heard someone exclaim “I can’t live without him!” Logically you can live without him, you lived without him prior, you can live without him after.
What about the times the same person doesn’t seem so victim like? This is a perplexing question every survivor ask.
A narcissist’s grandiose delusion, a temporary euphoric state, is mistaken for permanent confidence when it’s a false mask to build an image, an adrenaline high from idealising themselves as superior beings due to some achievements. People’s tolerance of victimhood can only go that far and a narcissist is excellent at gauging this as well, so at times it’s driven by delusion, at times it’s aware manipulation.
It’s not empowerment, it’s self-centredness so mind blowing deep, they come across as struggling but still trying to be strong to the gullible and clearly manipulative to the authentically empowered.
That’s narcissism for you, the obsession of being always right, if someone do better, they cannot see it. It’s the blindness of double standards, expecting much more of others than themselves and not even recognising it after it's done for them.
It is that, after it's done, that alienates people who want to help, push the other person into a corner, a narcissist’s problem now becomes yours, since you can only do so much, you start feeling helpless yourself instead, when it is that you have been abused.
Genuinely empowered people want to see you genuinely empowered as well, not faking it or feeling helpless.
Empowerment is something we all have to go through as humans, blaming someone else, a reaction, a health condition, society, situations out of your control like governments, systems, insitutions, etc. will do nothing to change your circumstances, you will end up feeding the helplessness instead.
If you look at if you have been abused, you might just find that this learned helplessness didn’t come from you originally but stemmed from being around an abuser, many survivors don't know they're survivors until many years after, unfortunately the trauma will remain with us until we heal it.
We're not born feeling helpless and disempowered, we're born Gods with mind, body, spirit connection intact, it is the toxic world that injuries us to the point we forget our divine nature. I finally came home to my God self in recent years, it's the most amazing life, I couldn't even dream of prior.
If you take charge of your own empowerment, focus on your own healing, you will see clearly how manipulative narcissists are, as you become healthier, your mental health improves, you will realise much of it wasn’t you at all, you can now hold people accountable without hesitation, leave abusers immediately and know that your destiny is fully in your hands instead.
Learning the lesson of practicing discernment before you jump in to alleviate suffering is such a valuable one for every empathetic person who wants to be the change you want to see.
Forgive yourself if you didn't know better, we're all trying our best to find a balance between empathy and empowerment, empathy is never a problem, we need to add wisdom to use our empathy wisely instead. There will always be people around who recognise your heart of gold, you deserve to be around people who uplift and inspire you.
Choose those people.
Love Light Peace
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