Christine’s Chat Corner
A place where real questions get answered.
Christine Louis de Canonville is a psychotherapist who worked for many years with victims of narcissistic abuse. The questions discussed in her “Chat Corner” are real questions, they have come from the many victims that write to her on her blog daily.
Q. “Why, when anything goes wrong for my narcissistic partner, is it always my fault? I just don’t understand, and I’m sick of it”.
A. You must remember that to some degree, we all have our moments where we try to shift the blame, our shame-shifting is a human reaction to our uncomfortable feelings (i.e. fear, guilt, and shame, etc.). However, when we are talking about the narcissist in your life, there are many reasons why they blame you.
- Firstly, they will not take responsibility for any wrong-doing, because they are never culpable. This is one of the reasons they are so attracted to empaths as their victims. They know that when they do not take responsibility for their actions, that the empath will pick it up. It then becomes the empaths job (as victim) to plug the culpability gap. Furthermore, narcissists cannot tolerate their own failures, they always must deflect their blame outward (projection), therefore any wrong-doing becomes “your fault”.
- Secondly, it is the narcissist’s way of protecting their fragile ego against any external repercussions. So, even if they hurt you, they convince themselves that it is your fault, you are to blame. In their mind, no matter what happens, they rationalise that you should have known that whatever you said or did was really going to upset them, but you deliberately did it anyway. So, you must take ownership of the consequences of that actions…… you see, “You only have yourself to blame, so next time don’t upset me”.
If you have been chosen as the narcissist’s source of “narcissistic supply”, then they will expect perfection from you. If you fall short, then you can expect one of their famous “violent narcissistic rages” to rain down on you, and you will also become the scapegoat for any shameful feelings that you have caused them.
Narcissists cannot tolerate any failure in you, but neither can they tolerate failure in themselves either. Where most genuine people are likely to feel guilty if they do something wrong, the narcissist does not feel any guilt, but they may experience shame. Unfortunately, narcissists internalise any failure in themselves as shame. Unable to tolerate their feelings of shame, they externalise it by projecting onto others. However, should you have an adverse reaction to their exploitative behaviour and dare to confront them on placing the blame at your feet, this is likely to cause them to experience a “narcissistic injury” to their fragile ego. If this should happen, then you are likely to be at the receiving end of one of their immediate frightening and demeaning rages. This rage is designed to stop you in your tracks, and it also serves to control you into being more subservient in the future.
Narcissists thrive in their ability to blame, it is a recognisable abusive symptom of their narcissism, and they use it to their greatest advantage. Narcissists tend to choose their narcissist supply from those people with a high moral compass (empaths). It is not the nature of an empath to blame others, especially those they love, on the negative things that they do. Unfortunately, empaths tend to look at the world from their own world view, therefore, failing to see this deliberate abusive streak in their narcissist’s behaviour. At times, they can be a little naive, and tend to believe the lies they hear from their narcissist about how honest and responsible they are. They are already well hooked into the abusive relationship before they begin to see through the scam. However, should you (the empath) call them out on how they shift the blame onto you, they will only deny it. They are likely to make a mental note that you are gaining awareness on their Machiavellian behaviour, and step up their game, and you will most likely be punished for trying to challenge them.
The more frequent projections and blame-shifting conditions that is placed on the victim, the more likely they are to try to keep the peace. Once the blame and responsibility for what the narcissist has either done, or not done, is accepted by the victim, the way is paved for other manipulative behaviours to be introduced by the narcissist (i.e. the controlling behaviour, the isolation, the silent treatment, etc.). The victim will find themselves constantly apologising to others, and trying to cover up for their narcissist’s behaviour.
Many victims will have been subjected and conditioned to this form of abusive behaviour in childhood by another narcissistic personality in their environment (i.e. a parent, sibling, grandparent, teacher, etc.). Unbeknown to them, even as adults, they are conditioned to respond to other narcissists in the same way. Their auto-response is set on taking care and fixing others, and part of their duty is to shoulder the responsibility for the failures of others, becoming the consummate “pleaser”.
Narcissists can spot the “the empathic pleaser” from miles away. They are the perfect individual to cast their eye on, and initiate as their next victim.
Her books, “The Three Faces of Evil: Unmasking the Full Spectrum of Narcissistic Abuse” and “When Shame Begets Shame: How Narcissists hurt and shame their victims” set out to to help those who have been affected by a narcissist and also to address the shortfalls in a therapist’s education, so that they become better equipped to work with survivors of narcissistic abuse.Much of her knowledge has come from her post-grad studies in Criminology and Forensic Psychology, and it is through these disciplines that she has gained her understanding of “The Dark Triad”, (Narcissism, Machiavellianism and Psychopathy).
These three faces of evil are vital information for understanding the full spectrum of narcissistic abuse and the dire effects on the victims.It is her vision that narcissistic abuse becomes part of the curriculum of all Mental Health clinicians.