A narcissist sees himself, all at once, as both all-powerful, and powerless. As juxtapose as that may seem, it really makes sense when you understand that narcissists internalize credit and externalize accountability. In other words, when something goes right, they accept the credit but, if something goes wrong, someone (or something) else is always to #blame. This is one of the main reasons that relationships with narcissists are beyond frustrating. They refuse to take responsibility for their own thoughts, words, and deeds. They see all of their bad behavior as being the fault of people, things, circumstances, or events, outside of themselves. Because of this, solutions to problems/issues within the relationship, or coming to a resolution, or compromise, becomes impossible.
“Blame is the foundation of domestic violence [abuse]. In a domestic relationship, blame is essential to both implement and disguise power and control. The purpose of blame is to weaken the partner, and often erupts most strongly when the survivor is acting independently, or strongly.”
quoted from abuseandrelationships.org
#Justification is a method of blaming, in which a person will go on and on about their reasons, or your reasons, or intentions, etc., in order to avoid addressing their actions. #Making excuses is a form of justification.
If you have ever attempted to bring a hurtful action, or inconsiderate behavior, to your narcissistic partner to try to resolve the issue…maybe towards the beginning of the relationship, when you hadn’t yet completely understood that NO problem would EVER be solved with them ….I guarantee you ended up leaving the conversation feeling as though your mind just got f—d. Don’t feel bad…it really did.
A narcissist’s commitment to blame and justification is absolute. And, if you don’t buy the BS they try to feed you- usually that whatever they did was somehow your fault– then you better prepare yourself for some serious nastiness, because narcissists do NOT take kindly to being, calmly and rationally, held accountable for their hurtful words, and actions.
blame & justification
In the script below, you’ll see a perfect example of how attempting to air a grievance with a narcissistic partner can be much like (as the common saying goes) nailing Jello to a tree. This conversation is chock-full of not just blame & justification, but also a bunch of other tactics of abuse & control. For the purposes of this post, though, the instances of blame/justification are in red. Comments in purple are my notes.
I’d love to hear your comments on this. How many of you can relate to this type of conversation? What are your experiences with this? Share your thoughts, below!
In this script, the wife has called the narcissist, to address the issue of him giving her the silent treatment for days at a time, refusing to respond to- or even read- her texts, answer her calls, or call her. The first part of the call (about 5 minutes, maybe?) “got dropped”, but the wife’s phone had remained live, and so she heard him talking to his landlady about how his wife just demanded “things” (like respect and consideration) from him, and then punished him (got upset, and angry), if he refused to give them to her. (Imagine that!)
The landlady, not in any way guessing that he could have possibly been talking about the fact that he completely disrespected her and that she did not care for that kind of treatment, responds by validating his statements, saying that it is logical that he would not feel like giving his wife things if she was demanding them. The wife hangs up when her husband seems like he’s done smearing her, and calls back. He answers with a tone that already suggests that he is frustrated that she dared to call back.
Throughout the entire call, she remains amazingly calm… speaking slowly and with a soft voice. The narcissist, however, vacillates between ‘snarky’, aggravated, and outright attacking. Take a look…
WIFE [W]: Hey… did you accidentally hang up on me?
WIFE [W]: OK, so you did not hang up on me…but my phone was still working…
<span style="color: #800080;">(pause…as he tries to find an answer) </span></em><span style="color: #ff0000;">You could stop responding in a manner that is… i don’t know…I don’t even know what to call it…. <em><span style="color: #800080;">(yet, here’s the rub… the fact that he would even consider answering at all, shows that he understands that he mistreats his wife, but that he is committed to always finding justification for his abuse in her behavior)</span></em></span”>N: That would be freaking awesome. (his tone softens a bit, now that he hears he might be getting something from her)
[W]: … but is that a bad idea, obviously? I mean, you put the phone down because you thought I hung up, and I heard you bad mouth me to your landlady.
[W]: I heard you talking about how I don’t deserve respect from you, because I demand it… ‘She just demands things all the time
[W]: I heard every word you said.
[W]: That’s because she doesn’t know the whole situation.
[W]: You actually….I mean, if I treated you this way, would you be happy? I’m pretty sure you’d be livid.
<span style="color: #800080;">(pause…as he tries to find an answer) </span></em><span style="color: #ff0000;">You could stop responding in a manner that is… i don’t know…I don’t even know what to call it…. <em><span style="color: #800080;">(yet, here’s the rub… the fact that he would even consider answering at all, shows that he understands that he mistreats his wife, but that he is committed to always finding justification for his abuse in her behavior)</span></em></span”>N: I don’t even know what you’re referring to.
[W]: As far as just not responding to me, not reading my texts…if every time you called me, trying to be nice…to encourage me, trying to be supportive…if I was snipping at you, and accusing you of being ‘disgusting and negative’
<span style="color: #800080;">(pause…as he tries to find an answer) </span></em><span style="color: #ff0000;">You could stop responding in a manner that is… i don’t know…I don’t even know what to call it…. <em><span style="color: #800080;">(yet, here’s the rub… the fact that he would even consider answering at all, shows that he understands that he mistreats his wife, but that he is committed to always finding justification for his abuse in her behavior)</span></em></span”>N: I didn’t say anything bad about you.
[W]: Yes, you did.
[W]: Yes, it is!
[W]: Would that make you feel good, if I did the same thing to you?
[W]: Just yes, or no…it’s a simple question.
[W]: You’d never have occasion to do something like that because I would never treat you the way you treat me.
(relate a completely UNrelated event to the types of text messages his wife send him?? He is saying things that don’t even make sense to try to confuse and throw his target off-balance) So, yeah, I’d be upset if you were to not respond to my messages, because MY messages are not provocative. They’re not…they don’t have any sort of consequence, like something that you’ll bring. (Again, he is blaming his wife’s supposedly provocative text messages for being the cause of him giving her the silent treatment. Guess he must have missed the class where they teach you that there is NEVER ANY excuse for abuse- EVER)
[W]: Neither are mine. Any time I text you, and you respond (in a reasonable length of time), there are never any problems. For example, just like last Tuesday, when you were actually reading my texts, and responding. I asked nothing. I demanded nothing. I mean, obviously, it now looks like at this point you were just responding and being nice and respectful, because you wanted money from me. (That is EXACTLY why he was responding and being kind. Thankfully, she is starting to catch on to his game.) Every day since then, you have NOT treated me with that same level of respect and consideration…
[W]: You know?
we’re not going to spend the whole day talking about all the bad things that happened 2 days ago and then, the day before that….(trying to justify that this behavior was “in the past”, and therefore his wife is the one causing negativity, or problems, in the relationship because she is bringing up the past. The narcissist is attempting to shift the focus from his abusive behavior being the source of the problem, to making his wife’s attempt to address it- and therefore causing “negativity”- being the problem.)
[W]: OK…if you could….
[W]: OK…that’s fine with me…but could you please…
HAD to be up at 8 AM this morning. You were going to be woken up then. I called because I thought you had overslept and were missing something really important. I called to say good morning, and how are you….and just…to say nice things to you. And you did nothing but snip at me, and say rude things to me. But, I didn’t get upset.
[W]: And I understood. I’m just saying that I was being as nice and as pleasing as I could be, and I got nothing but rudeness back. Then, you call me, and I’m talking to you and everything is fine. Then, you asked to call me be back in 15 minutes. OK. Sure. But an hour goes by, and simply because I said “Hey, you know, I tried to text you”, I get this reaction…
You don’t read my messages, at all, and you don’t respond to them. You don’t call when you say you will. And, if you’re on the phone with me, ours is the last conversation you care about participating in. Anybody else- even a total stranger could walk by- and you’d just turn away from the phone, as I’m in the middle of a sentence, and start talking to the stranger. And, I don’t feel very valued or respected like that… would you? No? Ok then…I’m asking, respectfully…I am requesting…could you just treat me the way you treat total strangers?…and this is NOT a demand…And it’s just that…respect is supposed to be a two way street, you know? And that’s it.
[W]: Hmm…well, you didn’t say that.
[W]: I’m sorry. You didn’t, though.
[W]: You did not say that. You were only speaking rudely…. (In the background, (The conversation takes a turn for the worst here, and he goes into a long bout of gaslighting- which I will include in the post about gaslighting… Finally, she gets irritated enough to put an end to the nonsense, and pulls him back the the original point.)
[W]: Look. You’re trying to get me to accept bad treatment from you, Husband. The only thing I’ve asked you, is to just please acknowledge my texts, or my phone calls, and if you say you’re going to call me at a certain time, then could you please do so? Very simple.
[W]: I’ll acknowledge that, sure….BUT, do you think HUSBAND could perhaps just send a brief text or something that says “Hey- got busy. Call you in (ballpark time frame)‘?? No…he just blows me off and doesn’t call for hours (or days!) on end…
[W]: Which…if I told you that I was going to call you at a certain time, and I didn’t call, or text you….I just blew you off altogether…you would feel disrespected.
[W]: Ha! Yes, you would.
[W]: Hmmm….what if I did it all the time?
<span style="color: #800080;">(pause…as he tries to find an answer) </span></em><span style="color: #ff0000;">You could stop responding in a manner that is… i don’t know…I don’t even know what to call it…. <em><span style="color: #800080;">(yet, here’s the rub… the fact that he would even consider answering at all, shows that he understands that he mistreats his wife, but that he is committed to always finding justification for his abuse in her behavior)</span></em></span”>N: Wife…. (He says her name in a low, warning tone)
[W]: …and it doesn’t seem to bother you then…
[W]: It only bothers you with me? You are giving me every excuse for why you should not have to treat me with consideration.
[W]: Well…that is what you’re doing right now… and I don’t understand why, because I started this by saying “What do I need to do? How can I behave in such a way that you would feel that I may be worthy of the same respect you would give to strangers, or your business associates, or whoever else that isn’t me?”
[W]: Kindness perhaps? A manner that is placating?
*** END SCRIPT ***
The conversation goes on into more attempts to gaslight, minimize, shame, and etc.- stuff better suited for future posts.
So…what are your thoughts? Have you guys experienced this type of crazy-making conversation? Can you relate to this madness? Leave your comments below- I would love to hear from you…
Until next time,
~The Narcissist’s Wife
Hi. I’m Story Lynne, (a.k.a. The Narcissist’s Wife). Nice to meet you. I’m the mother of 4 amazing kids, the (soon-to-be-ex) wife of a narcissist, and the author of this blog. I’m also a teacher, a healer, an intuitive empath, and Angel Card Reader.
I love fairies, angels, the color pink, anything sparkly, and Legos. (the Elves are my absolute favorites). I also love fixing cars, building shit, and shooting my bow (as in, bow and arrow).