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How Narcissists Play Victim

How Narcissists Play Victim To Turn The Tables on You

Dr. David Hawkins, Director of The Marriage Recovery Center, describes how the Narcissist turns the tables on you. When you bring a problem to him he becomes defensive, blame shifts, minimizes and gaslights in order to regain control. Your issue never gets heard, he becomes the one who is a fronted and then you are left reeling in chaos!

How Narcissists Play Victim To Turn The Tables on You

Dealing with a narcissist can be an emotionally draining and manipulative experience. One common tactic used by narcissists is playing the victim to shift the focus away from your concerns and make themselves the center of attention. In this article, we will explore how narcissists employ this strategy and provide some tips for handling such situations.

The Problem Becomes His Problem

When you approach a narcissist with an issue or problem, they quickly turn the tables on you. Instead of addressing your concerns, they make your problem their problem. They are afraid of facing your issue and would rather avoid taking any responsibility. For example, if you express your unhappiness about the state of your relationship or your financial troubles, the narcissist may react defensively and act as if you have unfairly burdened them with your problems.

Taking Control and Overwhelming You

By turning your problem into their problem, the narcissist gains control over the situation. They use this tactic to redirect the focus onto themselves and avoid addressing your concerns. Once they have successfully shifted the narrative, they magnify their own problems and make them seem overwhelming. As a result, your original problem is brushed aside, and you are left feeling unheard and invalidated.

Approaching the Situation Differently

While it may not completely resolve the issue, there are strategies you can employ when dealing with a narcissist’s victim-playing tactics. The key is to stay centered, slow down the interaction, and approach the narcissist gently. Here are some tips to consider:

Stay Centered and Calm

When the narcissist tries to make your problem about themselves, it’s important to remain composed. Don’t let their manipulation or defensiveness provoke you into a heated argument. By staying centered, you can maintain your emotional balance and approach the situation with clarity.

Slow Down the Interaction

Narcissists thrive on creating chaos and confusion. To counter this, slow down the conversation. Take your time in expressing your concerns and avoid getting entangled in their web of manipulation. By slowing down the interaction, you regain control and ensure that your concerns are given the attention they deserve.

Gentle Request for Attention

Instead of engaging in a power struggle with the narcissist, gently ask them to pay attention to your concern. Politely request that they listen and validate your feelings before moving on to their own concerns. By emphasizing the need for reciprocal understanding, you set a more balanced and respectful tone for the conversation.

Validate Their Concerns

To defuse the situation further, assure the narcissist that you are willing to listen to their concerns after they have acknowledged yours. Reiterate that you value their feelings and are open to understanding their perspective. This approach demonstrates your willingness to engage in a mutually beneficial conversation.


Dealing with a narcissist’s victim-playing tactics can be challenging, but by implementing these strategies, you can navigate such situations with more confidence and poise.

Remember to stay centered, slow down the interaction, and gently request the narcissist’s attention. By addressing their manipulative behavior and advocating for your concerns, you can begin to establish healthier communication patterns and protect your own emotional well-being.

To learn how we can help, reach out to us at (206) 219-0145 or info@marriagerecoverycenter.com to speak with a Client Care Specialist

Also read: 5 Reasons Marriage Counseling Fails

About Dr. Hawkins:

The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.

Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.

He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.

In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.


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