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Victim or Narcissist? Tell Them Apart!

Uploaded 8/27/2023, approx. 16 minute read

Okay, Ishvan Panim. I'm going to try something new. I'm going to proceed each and every long video with a bullet points summary.

You can watch the summary. It's usually between five to 10 minutes and ignore the rest of the video. It will break my heart.

But hey, I'm a narcissist. I deserve it. Here's your chance to break a narcissist's heart.

Okay, Ishvan Panim. So now, the bullet points summary and innovation on this channel, followed by the longer presentation, deeper with examples and so on and so forth.

You can skip the second part because the first part captures all the information in the second part without the examples. Narcissists always claim to be victims and they do so convincingly because they're charming, they're attractive, they have thespian skills in order to act, they're convincing, they have cold empathy, they can scan you, you know which buttons to push, the manipulative, etc, etc. And so their claims to victimhood sound very true and very, very plausible. They persuade people that they're victims. Codependence and people pleases use two techniques to manipulate other people. One technique is known as control from the bottom. I'm helpless without you. I need you. This is a form of manipulation and it's control from the bottom, control through submissiveness. And the second technique used by codependence and people pleases is victimhood. I'm a victim. I'm entitled to special treatment, special consideration and your constant sensitivity and vigilance to not hurt me again.

So, but narcissists use these techniques as well. It's virtually, it's very difficult to tell apart narcissists from real victims, narcissists from codependence and narcissists from people pleases. Many narcissists claim to have been victims of narcissistic abuse, to have been discarded, cruelly, to have been devalued unjustly. These claims are made both by real victims and by narcissists who hijack the narrative, mimic the victims and essentially snatch the whole scene. So how to tell which is which, which is the real victim and which is the narcissist? Number one, splitting. Narcissists, exactly like borderlines, split. Splitting is an infantile defense mechanism which says, I'm all good. Everyone else is all bad. It's also known as decotomous thinking. There's nothing wrong with me. I have done nothing wrong. I am a kind, empathic, nice, loving, caring person, compassionate, helpful, attentive and yet I'm constantly being taken advantage of, abused and used because people out there are bad. I am all good. They, wherever they may be, are all bad. This is splitting. Splitting defense is used only by narcissists and borderlines. Real victims do not split. Even people pleasers and codependents do not split. Splitting is a prime, prime red alert, prime warning sign that you're dealing with a narcissist. Listen to what the narcissist says and ask yourself, is he constantly presenting himself as essentially all good while everyone else is taking advantage of him, harming him, hurting him, etc. So this is splitting. Number two, non-discrimination. The narcissist would blame whole populations. He would say, for example, all my girlfriends betrayed me and hurt me and abused me and cheated on me. All my spouses, all my business partners have victimized me, stolen from me, took advantage of me, etc. So the narcissist would generalize. He would generalize to populations. Generalization is a fallacy, is a kind of mental health issue and it is dealt with in cognitive behavior therapy. So narcissists generalize. A narcissist wouldn't say, well, this girlfriend was really bad, but this girlfriend was great. A narcissist would say, my girlfriends, as if they all belong to a club or a political party together, you know, my girlfriends did this to

me, my business partners did this to me. He would generalize about groups of people and he would then go on to place himself as

the victim of these people. Only narcissists do that. Victims are much more nuanced.


Number three, self-pity.

Narcissists and especially covert narcissists pity themselves and they pity themselves visibly, publicly, ostentatiously, conspicuously. It's a currency. Their self-pity is a manipulative ploy to pull at your heartstrings.

And so the self-pity and the ostentation that goes with the self-pity, they are coupled with goal orientation. The narcissist wants something from you. If he is on YouTube, he wants your views and the advertising money. Otherwise, he wants to become a celebrity. He wants to have sex with you. He wants to take money from you. He would pose as a victim, a helpless, hapless, innocent, totally innocent victim, just to get you to do what he wants. It's manipulative.

Remember, a true victim, a real victim, would never wallow in self-pity, in public at least. He would never do this and he would never ever couple self-pity with some goal. He would never go on YouTube and pity himself.


Next, alloplastic defenses and an external locus of control.

A narcissist would blame others for all the misfortune in his life, all his failures, all his defeats and all the bad turns. It's never his fault. He is never in the wrong. There's an external locus of control. He is just there, a passive inert object, the recipient of other people's malice and mental illness. He is a victim by virtue of existing. There's no responsibility or blame. He never assumes responsibility or blame. It is a defense against shame and guilt, which in the narcissist case, a life threatening, but still it's there.

So if you watch someone online or you talk to someone and they keep saying, "This was not my fault. I have been a victim. I'm not responsible. I've been abused. I've been taken advantage of. I've been discarded cruelly. I have been shamed. I have contributed nothing to my predicament. I am perfect. I am an angel.

Well, that's a narcissist. Many of them are called empaths.


Next is denial of misconduct or proportionality of response.

The narcissist would do the most horrible things. He would steal your work. He would sleep with your wife or girlfriend. He would forge documents. He would lie to your face. He would go behind your back. He would backstab you. He would bed mouth you. He would do the most incredibly immoral and in many cases illegal things.

And yet he would deny them in the face of hard evidence. He would still deny this, his misbehavior or misconduct. He would try to reframe it, perhaps, as justifiable because he is on a moral crusade or God knows what. He would invent a narrative that would convert the misconduct into proper conduct, moral conduct, laudable and commendable conduct, etc.

But it would still be misconduct, of course.

A narcissist would also contest the proportionality of the response. A narcissist may say, "Yeah, well, you know, I have done it. I have done this, but I think the response was out of all proportion. I didn't deserve this. I've been victimized. It's wrong what the other party did to me. I have wronged the other party in maybe it's debatable. I don't think so, but maybe, but in any case, the other party's reaction was out of bounds and totally insane and unjustified. And I've been discriminated against and I've been maltreated and it's horrible what's been done to me. Totally ignoring, neglecting and denying.

What had triggered this cascade of events, the original sin, the primal sin, the narcissist's misconduct or misbehavior, the narcissist engages in grandiose ostentatious morality. He is a hero. He's a rescuer. He's a savior. He's a healer. He's a fixer. Whatever he does, even if it's patently immoral and possibly criminal and illegal, whatever he may do, whatever he does, it's all in the name of ethics and morality and religion and the greater good.

He is selfless. He's not doing any of this for himself. God forbid. It's not about revenge. It's not about some lowly instinct or drive. No serenity.

He is pro-social. He is communal. Anyone who comes with these BS stories is a narcissist.

A narcissist would also try to explain his misconduct and his misbehavior in terms of, I have been baited. I have been tempted. I have been entrapped. I have been seduced. I have been coerced. I have been brainwashed and entrained. I didn't know what I was doing. I didn't recognize myself. I broke my own principles and boundaries. Someone made me do it. He made me do it.

The victimizer, the abuser made me do it.

This anyone who resorts to these idiotic excuses is a narcissist.


Next, the narcissist never apologizes, never assumes responsibility, never acknowledges guilt, never tries to make amends, never agrees to discuss even the outstanding issues, never provides closure.

Real victims do.

Finally, automatism. The narcissist is an autopilot. He never reflects on his behavior. He never analyzes it. He never synthesizes his lessons. He is not introspective. He is incapable of seeing himself. He sees only others and only in a way which is self-justifying and conducive to ego-syntony.

The narcissist engages in automatism because automatism, being an autopilot, prevents him from introspection, allows him to not engage in any soul-surgery.

So narcissists would react automatically. They have stock phrases. They have regular sentences. They have habitual words and behaviors and they would go through them as if they were robots, badly programmed robots.

Many of you know such people. They are online, as self-styled experts, as coaches, as victims, as empaths. They're offline, as your colleagues, as your friends, as your girlfriends or boyfriends or spouses or intimate partners. They're all over. I've just given you the tools to tell apart narcissists from real victims.

Real victims occupy reality. They are alert and aware of nuances. They have dignity. They seek resolution and real solutions. They accept responsibility for their contributions to their own predicament. They learn lessons. They modify their behaviors. They grow. They evolve. They learn.


Perhaps the best sign that someone is a narcissist is that the same thing keeps happening to him time and again. It's as if the narcissist has learned nothing from previous replays, identical replays of the same cloned events.

A narcissist who goes online and says, "I have had three girlfriends and they all did this to me." Well, it means you're incapable of learning. You're incapable of growth. You're incapable of evolution and personal development.

This is typical only of narcissists, never of real victims.

Remember this and apply this from now on to all your interactions with everyone around you.

And now to the more detailed presentation replete with examples.

Here is something to boggle your mind. Every narcissist overt, covert, dead or alive, claimed to have been a victim or at the very least to have been victimized, discriminated against, framed, set up, treated unjustly, abrasively, harshly. Every narcissist says this, no exception.

How on earth can we tell the difference between narcissists posing as victims and real victims?

Now, mind you, here's the problem.

Narcissists truly and honestly perceive themselves as victims. They're not acting, they're not lying, they're not gaslighting, they're not faking. They truly, honestly, profoundly, deeply, irrevocably, and you know that I can continue for another half an hour, firmly believe their own confabulation, their own narrative, their own fantasy, their own storyline in which they are the hapless victims of malevolent, malicious, dark, malign, evil forces out there.

So how can you tell the difference?

I'm going to teach you a few ways.

These are kind of tests to tell apart a real victim from a narcissist who believes himself to be a victim.

Now, of course, when I say he, it's a she, when I say him, it's a her, etc., half of all narcissists nowadays are women. Women's lib, equality is upon us.

And for those of you who are lucky enough, fortunate enough, do not know who I am. My name is Sam Vaknin. I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love and Narcissism Revisited. I am a former visiting professor of psychology and a current member of the faculty of SIAS-CIBA.


So let's delve right into the quagmire and swamp of victimhood.

Narcissists always claim to be victims and they're very convincing. They're very convincing. They're charming, they're outgoing, they put on a facade of compassion and affection and empathy and so on, and you buy into their stories.

Many of them pose as codependents, as victims of narcissistic abuse, as victims of generalized abuse, as post-traumatic people in the throes of post trauma. Many of them go online and kind of merchandise their victimhood. Many of them compete.

So there's a phenomenon of competitive victimhood.

And they, many of them are so convincing that this has become their identity, their badge of honor. They are the perennial, well-known, famous victims and that's how they're judged. Even though a substantial minority, perhaps even a majority, are actually narcissists and especially covert narcissists, but not only.

How to tell which is which?

Here are a few tests.

Number one, splitting. A narcissist would engage in splitting, which is a primitive, infantile defense mechanism. Splitting says, "I'm all good, they are all bad. I've never done anything wrong. I've been wronged all my life.

Having introspected, having interrogated myself, having so searched, I discovered that I am blemishless. I'm flawless. I am 100% on the high moral ground. There's nothing wrong with me and I've never done anything wrong to anyone. This all or nothing, black or white, all good, all bad, all angels, all demons. This kind of thinking is known as splitting or dichotomous thinking and it is typical only of narcissists.

Real victims don't have this.

So many, many, many of the so-called empaths of coaches who pretend to be co-dependence and victims of self-styled experts who claim to have been victims of narcissistic abuse. Many of these people are actually narcissists because they engage ostentatiously, conspicuously, visibly, and publicly in massive acts of splitting.

Only narcissists split.

Remember that victims never do. Ring victims have a much more nuanced perception of reality. They are much more attuned to the gray zone, to the gray area between the black and the white, to the fact that people are not all bad and never all good, that life is a complicated proposition, that things happen even to the best of people.

So, real victims have a much more realistic grasp of the process that had led to their victimization. As I said, much more nuanced, not so with narcissists.


Second test, non-discrimination.

Non-discrimination is simply every girlfriend I've ever had has betrayed me, abused me, destroyed me, abandoned me, cheated on me, killed me and my dog. Every girlfriend. There has never been a single exception. All of them, no exception, have done this to poor me.

And by the way, the element of self-pity is an awarding sign. If you spot self-pity, that's a narcissist.

Victims have dignity. Victims don't pity themselves. They're angry sometimes, but self-pity is a hallmark of a narcissist, especially a covert narcissist. Overt narcissists don't engage in self-pity, but covert do.

So, there is this self-pitying tone. All my girlfriends were horrible to me. All my spouses, all my business partners, they victimized me, they discarded me, they treated me harshly. I was so good to them. I gave them everything. I gave them love. I gave them money. I gave them sex. I gave them this. They just keep victimizing me. Everyone keeps victimizing me. Poor me. Please. I'm so in need of compassion and empathy and so on and so forth.

It's a manipulative technique, a narcissistic manipulative technique.

Beware. If you see anyone whose narrative, whose story is that everyone in his life has victimized him, everyone, and that he has done nothing to deserve this and he self-pities and shares this self-pity with you, but in a setting where there are certain positive outcomes, certain goals.

So, for example, the narcissist would share his story with you because it gets him views on YouTube, or he would share this story with you because it would make him some money, or he would share this story of victimization and self-pity with you because it would get him laid. He would get him to have sex.

So, narcissists, exactly like psychopaths, in this sense, are goal-oriented.

Non-discrimination goes hand in hand with goal orientation. You see something like that?

Be very, very, very suspicious. Do not give the benefit of the doubt. It's 99.9% a narcissist.


Next, alloplastic defenses. It's everybody's else's fault. Never mind. None of this is my fault. Everything that has ever happened to me is not my fault. I'm a poor victim. I'm a poor codependent. I am a lamb. I didn't see it coming. I am so innocent and pure of heart. I'm so giving and so caring and so amazing and so loving and so this and so compassionate and so empathic and so warm-blooded and so I don't know what.

And you see what they're doing to me? You see none of it is my fault. I'm not responsible. I contributed nothing to my repeated predicament. Nothing.

This is called alloplastic defense. Alloplastic defense is when you keep blaming others all the time. Even when you have misbehaved egregiously, even when your misconduct screams to high heaven, it's still never ever your fault.

You want to figure out if someone is a real victim or a narcissist? Listen to him. If he never ever says, "I'm sorry. I did something wrong. It was partly my fault. I contributed to it somehow. I accept responsibility, accountability. I am learning to recognize myself and my involvement in all this." If he never says, "I'm sorry." That's a narcissist. If he never says, "It's partly my fault." That's a narcissist. If he never accepts responsibility or his contributions to whatever has happened, that's a narcissist.

Real victims go through thorough, functional, healing, self-soul searching. They recognize their contributions and their involvement, the wrong choices they've made, the bad decisions, and they vouch for themselves to never repeat.

But the narcissist? No way. He just happened to be there in the wrong time and the wrong place. In the wrong place, that's all. None of it is ever his fault. None of it.

Yeah, well, he did, you know, he did misbehave here and there. He did steal. He did, you know, forge. He did do all kinds of things which happened to be anything between immoral and illegal, but so what? He did not deserve to be victimized. His own bad behavior is never acknowledged and he never expresses remorse or regret ever. That's a great sign of a narcissist.

Real victims never do, never behave this way. Never.

And the last thing I would say, although there are quite a few other things, but the last thing is automatism.

The narcissist has at his disposal, ready-made phrases, responses, answers, whole texts, and so on.

So whenever the narcissist is confronted with a situation, he goes on automatic pilot, autopilot. So whenever something bad happens to the narcissist, automatically he says, I've been a victim, I've been victimized, I'm codependent, I'm helpless, I'm traumatized, I'm, you know, it's not my fault.

And that's it. It's automatic.

He never bothers to go deep. He never bothers to really think. He never bothers to introspect. He never bothers to analyze. He never bothers to synthesize. He never bothers to truly consult others. He doesn't really consult others. He goes through the motions very often, but in order to self-justify. And he blocks out any information that contradicts his self-justifying alloplastic narratives. It's never my fault. I'm always the victim. I'm codependent. I'm traumatized. I'm helpless. I am, and therefore I am prayed.

I fall prey to malicious, malevolent predators out there. They are all bad. I am all good. So I have nothing to apologize for. None of my behaviors has been wrong. I've never done anything wrong ever. And that's me. That's a narcissist. Period.

You come across someone like that. That's a narcissist.

And never mind how eloquent he is, how charming he is, how attractive he is, how well versed he is in the lore of victimhood. That's a narcissist. Simply a narcissist.

Peel your eyes. Pierce and penetrate the facade. Have a really look at the person and ask yourself, is this human being on the screen or next to me or to my workplace or my family, is this person real or is it an act? Is this person a victim or is it a narcissist claiming to be a victim?

And I've just provided you with four tools to answer this question.

So make good use of them. ###

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