Next, narcissists are famous for using something called projection to avoid and escape being held accountable for their abusive behavior. Projection is a technique where they will actually blame you for doing the exact things they themselves are guilty of doing. So, for example, if you have confronted them because you suspect they are cheating on you, guess what? Now you’re going to start being accused of being unfaithful. Or, if you catch them in a flat-out lie, now you’re the actual liar. Most times, when they use this technique, if you are not crystal clear about what is taking place here, you will jump into defensive mode, understandably, and start defending yourself against these ridiculous accusations instead of maintaining focus on what the narcissist did. And when that happens, the narcissist knows they have once again succeeded at deflecting blame onto you. Defending yourself against accusations they know aren’t true and that you aren’t guilty of doing So be aware when this tactic is used on you, and don’t take the bait.
Another favorite strategy that narcissists use to escape accountability from you is called “leveling”. Leveling usually happens when they know they have been caught and there isn’t much chance that they will be able to get out of what they have done by using word salad, projection, or other manipulation tactics. So, what they do is level all the things you have done wrong in your life to essentially try and convince you that what you have done in the past is either worse than what they are guilty of doing in this moment or at least make you feel equally guilty as what they are guilty of. It’s a really effective strategy because, again, it gets the focus off of them and on to you. And whatever you have done in the past doesn’t matter if whatever they are referring to was a hundred years ago or if it’s nowhere close to being as horrible as what they have done. They are going to try and make it sound so horrible, so deplorable, that many times the victim will actually decide the narcissist is right.
You, of course, aren’t perfect—no one is—and you have made mistakes. And your empathetic nature takes over, and you let the narcissist off the hook yet again. Do not allow them to use anything you have done in your past as a reason for them to escape accountability.
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