7 Tactics Narcissists Use To Play The Victim

Playing the victim may always come as a rescue for manipulators as they can get away with anything. Narcissists especially, use this tactic of playing the victim, where they try to escape from accepting the blame.

But how do they play being the victim despite being the culprit? Here are 7 Tactics Narcissists use to Play the Victim, that may come in handy for you when you may be wrongly blamed by narcissists.

Playing the victim is a manipulative tactic usually applied by abusers, especially narcissists to condemn others for all the malpractices they might be including in their behavior. They would be doing this to protect their fake righteous selves they might have tried to project on others.

They portray themselves as unimpeachable, unaware of their wrongdoings, and wish to seek justice, sympathy, and help from others. It is a tactic, where the wrongdoer tries to escape from their wrongdoings, and instead blames the victim as the culprit.

This technique of playing the victim often involves victimizing one’s self to get away from accepting the responsibilities and blame and highlighting one’s sufferings and pain after creating havoc. It is a way for the culprit to distract attention from their faulty personality to their fake innocent and pitiful projected self.

Why do Narcissists play the Victim?

Narcissists can or may use the Victim card or have the victim mentality if they believe that they can gain something out of the guilt-tripping. Narcissists are manipulators and they tend to manipulate people around them to gain benefit.

However conceding their toxic and manipulative personalities and characteristics, they lack self-reflection and self-awareness. Generally, people with narcissistic personality disorder or narcissistic tendencies find it difficult to make themselves aware of their nasty and delusional behavior.

This can be the prime reason why they may feel attacked when someone points fingers at them. They just cannot accept the fact that they might have done something wrong due to their inflated sense of self-importance.

The tendency of self-obsession and self-absorption along with a boosted sense of self-superiority may leave a narcissist to observe the situation of absorbing the blame as something improper or targeting, thus they may decide to play the victim card.

Besides playing the victim serves them many purposes,

As Defense Mechanism – People with a narcissistic personality disorder use playing the victim as their defense mechanism when they feel their grandiose self-image is threatened, when someone is about to disclose their toxic self, or when they think they are being criticized for something.

To express Passive Aggression – Playing the victim may be one of the ways to express their rage and cover up for their toxic behavior, or deal with unwanted situations in some narcissistic individuals.

Need for control – Usually, people with narcissistic personality disorder have an obsession with controlling others around them. Thus while doing so, playing the victim might help them gain control and attention.

Lack of empathy – Lack of empathy or low empathy has been proposed as a prime reason for the narcissist’s hurtful, nasty, cold-hearted, insensitive, and negative behavior towards other people. Thus to conceal their nasty behavior they play the victim and diverge the attention.

To weigh in the most important reason why a narcissist would play the victim is that, it is just a coy move or a strategy to maintain their grandiose self-image, and self-importance and effortlessly manipulate their victims. Such behavior and a victim mentality help them deflect responsibility, gain attention through sympathy, and control others through guilt-tripping them.

Now that it is clear why narcissists play the victims, let us know a few tactics Narcissists use to Play the Victim,

7 Tactics Narcissists Use To Play The Victim

These 7 tactics used by narcissists, would astound you as you might be a part of these without even being aware,

The Blame Game

Narcissists have a strong blame game going. They are the masters of hoaxing and would deflect the blame in no time. They would avoid taking responsibility and would transfer the blame to others. While facing criticism, they would twist the reality of the situation, emotionally manipulate others into believing that they are innocent, and make themselves appear weak, vulnerable, and powerless.

They would be playing all sorts of blame games, which may include tricking others with swiftly intertwined words that are the ultimate form of flattery. They try to gain sympathy thus making it difficult for others to hold them accountable for their faults.


To leave others doubting their sanity is one of the most cunning moves made by narcissists. If they are unable to convince you of their innocence, they choose to entirely distort the situation, misinterpret scenarios, and deny obvious truths to confine their victims.

This creates an environment where narcissists establish themselves as the victims, hiding behind the fog of confusing concepts that they have deliberately created to steer clear of all accusations. By gaslighting their victims, narcissists would downplay their damaging actions.

Dry Begging

Dry begging also very well known as emotional blackmail is a form of manipulative technique that narcissists seek by relying on deeper forms of emotions that include guilt, fear, dejection, and sympathy. This tactic is solely utilized to gain sympathy and pity from others purposefully.

The narcissist can also exaggerate the situation and circumstances more than it already is. They would be hinting to you about their troubles, misfortunes, and pitiful situations which may or may not be genuine as they present. Dry begging is a sly form of convincing others to seek pity for them and manipulate them to feel sorry for the narcissist to maintain their fake facade and grandiose self-image.

Playing the Martyr

Playing the martyr is a tactic to manipulate others into gaining their sympathy, admiration, attention, and compassion by exaggerating one’s suffering, pain, and problems. It may be genuine or exaggerated, but in the case of narcissists, everything is extra with a touch of overplaying the situations.

They may circle back to their problems, sacrifices, and hardships while having conversations, or discussions while playing the martyr. With the help of this tactic, narcissists establish their significance by presenting themselves as victims. They often portray themselves as heroic figures who are brave and endure never-ending suffering.

Just remember one thing here, it is a mere attempt to guilt-trip others to seek attention and deflect any sort of criticism.


Triangulation is a circumstance, where one person(here the narcissist) tries to get a grip over situations, where they maintain control over their victims or opponents by encouraging differences of opinions and forbidding the other two parties from uniting. They only want to become the centre of the dispute and both parties fight it off to side with them.

It is a manipulative tactic where two parties or two people try to draw in a third party or third person to change the trajectory of the problematic situation. They pit individuals against each other ultimately to establish their image as the victim. They would present themselves as this pitiful individual who is stuck between the situational crossfire, and effortlessly dividing attention.

Triangulation may encourage others to support the narcissist by complimenting them, admiring their presence in the argument, and being supportive of them, thus providing them narcissistic supply and solidifying their image as a victim.

The never-ending Sob Story

Sob stories refer to narratives of sorrow, inconvenience, and setbacks that run in an infinite loop, meaning manipulative people use sob stories as a means to magnify their minutest hardships into something gigantic and seek pity and sympathy from others. Sob stories are the best means to establish oneself as a victim, and narcissists use it aptly.

Narcisists would simply play their sob stories on repeat, to seek attention and elicit sympathy. It is a human mentality that an individual would automatically be able to connect deeply and closer when someone shares personal experiences that are sad and hurting. Thus they would play the victim through narrating their sob stories.

Emotional Exploitation

Narcissists are natural manipulators, meaning they can manipulate others even with their eyes closed. Their effortless techniques often allow them to manipulate others emotionally. They would try to provoke negative emotions intentionally and then accept the role of victims themselves.

It is them who would intentionally provoke anger, jealousy, and resentment and then play not guilty. This allows them to change the narrative of the situation and prove themselves faultless and blameless.

How does the narcissist’s victim mentality impact others?

The narcissist’s victim mentality would impact others around them negatively. They would be guilt-tripping others. A victim mentality creates an unhealthy atmosphere in relationships often violating boundaries. Narciists would find an easy escape and thus would keep on repeating their toxic tactics and lure more and more victims.

This also blurs the line of reality for people creating a delusional atmosphere. This may also destroy other people’s self-esteem and self-worth as they may be bearing the blame that they may not be even related to.

Dealing with a narcissist may seem overwhelming in some situations especially when they play the victim card after causing that much damage. In such situations, you must remain calm and try to relax as much as possible.

Counterarguments or self-blame may lead to a much more toxic situation than it already is, so without internalizing, without idealizing, and without trying to change the situation entirely, here are a few ways that may help to protect yourself when the narcissist is playing the victim card,

  • Keep your self-worth in mind
  • Do not argue or try to negotiate
  • Do not internalize the situation
  • Setting Boundaries

Final Thoughts

One may find it difficult to outsmart the narcissist when they are playing the victim, but one must remember that this kind of behavior is not normal. It is abusive and is gradually destroying one’s self-esteem and worth.

Thus recognizing this toxic behavior and trying out ways to escape such situations or fight them may serve as your chances to get past such situations. Stay strong and do not fear the narcissist.

Ella Carrillo

Ella Carrillo

Hey Reader, I am Ella, an Online and Offline Therapist holding an experience of 6 years in this field. From Relationship, Depression, and Personality Disorder to Narcissistic problems, I have helped a lot of people find their solutions. Upon gathering a number of common problems that people face, I decided to put the information on this blog so that anyone can get their answers easily.

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