A major pet peeve of mine when it comes to narcissism is how so many people think the victim is responsible for the feelings of the narcissist. Here are a couple of examples from my life…
- When my mother’s abuse hit its peak when I was in my late teens, she spent a great deal of time daily screaming at me, telling me how terrible I was. One afternoon, her friend called. I answered the phone since my mother was busy. This person told me how I needed to start ‘behaving myself’, obeying my mother & how lucky I was to have a mother who loved me so much. I didn’t feel lucky!
- When I broke my engagement with my ex husband in 1990, everyone who knew us told me I was making him miserable & should get back together with him. No one cared that I was miserable with him or asked why I even broke up with him.
- When my father was dying in October, 2017, I can’t even tell you how many people told me I needed to say good bye to him so he could die in peace, I wasn’t honoring my parents, I was a “bad Christian,” I needed to “put my feelings aside” & more nonsense. Not one person cared why I was no contact with my parents.
Pretty disgusting, isn’t it? And I know I am far from the only person who has experienced situations like this. It seems to me every victim of a narcissist has been made to feel responsible for their narcissist’s feelings not only because of the narcissist making them feel this way, but other people too.
Dear Reader, although you may know this already, this is WRONG! You are absolutely NOT responsible for the narcissist’s feelings any more than you are responsible for any other human being’s feelings. Each person is responsible for their own, & that includes narcissists. Even though narcissists often act like spoiled, bratty little kids in adult bodies, they’re still adults & that means that their feelings are their responsibility, not yours.
When faced with people who do their best to make you feel responsible for the feelings of the narcissist in your life, chances are slim you will make them see the error of their thinking. Probably it will be best for you simply to ignore what they say. Change the subject, tell them you won’t discuss this topic with them, or ignore their text or email. Why frustrate yourself trying to change the mind of someone who is determined that their thinking is right while you are absolutely wrong?
If you feel you must say something to the person, treat them as you treat any flying monkey. Remain calm & don’t let them see that you’re frustrated with them. You can ask them logical questions too. “What makes this person’s feelings so much more important than mine?” “Why are this person’s feelings my responsibility?” “Other people take responsibility for their own feelings- what makes her exempt from doing that?” Questions like that may shut the person down because really, there is no reasonable answer to those questions. Of course, they may try to come up with excuses, such as the infamous, “But that’s your MOTHER/FATHER/etc.!” If they do, let logic prevail again. “So you’re saying that because this is my mother/father/etc we’re talking about, that I should be responsible for his/her feelings?” “You mean that you honestly think I should do ___ to make him/her happy, even knowing how miserable that would make me? That really makes sense to you?!”
Whenever these situations come up (& they will if you have any relationship at all with a narcissist), be sure to pray about the best way to handle them. God won’t let you down & He will give you some very creative & effective ways to shut these people down.