A very common tactic of narcissists is to make their victim look mentally or emotionally damaged somehow. Doing this works out very well for narcissists, & equally badly for their victims.
If a narcissist can make the victim believe that they are damaged, the victim naturally will look elsewhere for information like what they should feel in situations, what they should do, & even just how to live. Naturally they look to the person closest to them, which usually is the narcissist. A victim who believes they are inferior to the narcissist will trust that narcissist to help them navigate life, & become a very well controlled victim.
A victim who has been humiliated in this manner & doesn’t understand what is happening also will be anxious to do anything to prove this isn’t true, which also gives the narcissist control over him or her. Since the narcissist is the one who started this lie, the victim may think they can get the narcissist to change his or her mind. The victim may try to get the narcissist to see they aren’t crazy or whatever the narcissist claims they are by behaving however the narcissist wants them to behave as an attempt to regain their favor. I felt this way growing up when my mother told me that I “needed help” as she often did. I failed to realize at the time if she was so convinced I was mentally ill, she should have taken me to a doctor.
Convincing victims that they are seriously flawed damages their self-esteem at best, & destroys it at worst. Either way works for the narcissist, because he or she will feel superior to their horribly flawed victim. Feeling superior adds to the illusion that the narcissist is a wonderful person, which is tremendous narcissistic supply.
If a narcissist can get other people to see the victim as clearly inferior, those people won’t believe the victim if the victim speaks up about the narcissist’s abusive behavior. They will chalk these stories up to the victim being unstable, over sensitive, neurotic, crazy or whatever the narcissist has said the victim is. This means people won’t help the victim escape the narcissist. In fact, they may even encourage that victim to change their behavior & listen to the narcissist, & maintain the relationship. Victims in this situation are left without support, & may resign to maintaining this abusive relationship.
If a victim does escape the narcissist, their reputation that the narcissist created will do them plenty of harm. People who believe the narcissist’s lies will flock to the narcissist’s side to offer comfort & support, while (often very cruelly) rejecting the victim. They assume the victim really is as bad as the narcissist has said because he or she left the narcissist. Victims in this situation are often left with little or even no support at the time they need it most.
There is another reason narcissists behave this way. Doing so convinces them that their victim is the problem, not them or their abusive ways. Claiming the victim is mentally or emotionally unbalanced makes that victim the narcissist’s scapegoat. Having a scapegoat opens the door for narcissists to blame the scapegoat for anything & everything they want. This means they can justify their abusive ways in their mind. Narcissists with scapegoats can function without worry that there is anything wrong with them, because they have convinced themselves that the scapegoats are to blame for every single problem they have.
If you are faced with a narcissist claiming that you are deeply flawed mentally or emotionally, remember, this isn’t about your mental health. This is about the narcissist having an ulterior motive, & that motive is going to hurt you! Protect yourself & don’t believe the lies! Remember, narcissists attack what they feel threatened by. They tell beautiful people they’re ugly, they tell smart people they’re stupid, & they tell sane people they’re crazy.