A characteristic feature of people with strong narcissistic and the other dark personality traits (we will call them “the narcissist”), is the desire to avoid taking responsibility for their dysfunctional or incompetent behavior.
They are characterized by fluctuating and low self-esteem, which they try to mask with false confidence. An important part of this defense mechanism is that they never acknowledge their wrong. Some of them occasionally can admit they were wrong in something frivolous in order to “prove” that they actually can admit they were wrong in principle, but in fact it is deception.
The denial and illusion
In order never to acknowledge himself wrong and to take responsibility for anything negative, requires a lot of effort. This is usually accompanied by constant denial. The denial of reality, the denial that certain events occurred, denial that they did what they did, the denial of those good things which made other people, denial of the consequences of their behavior, etc.
First, it could be a conscious denial, but when you lie so much yourself, you eventually start to believe their lies and it becomes your reality. In any case, the result is the same — loss of connection with reality. This loss of connection is called illusion.
You try to come to mutual agreement about how best to solve the problem, but they do not even agree as to what constitutes reality. And even if in some cases they can agree, their decision is so bizarre that can never lead to anything good.
Toxic amnesia and gaslighting
It is a form . His goal is to make you question your own perception and memory.
Blame the victim or cast the victim out of himself
Two constants in the repertoire of a narcissist is blame the victim and playing a victim. Blaming others, often those they hurt (victims or objects of persecution), the narcissist “proves” that he is not guilty, and the very man who he hurts. The victim deserves the abuse, then the narcissist has done nothing wrong.
However, sometimes it is more useful to play the victim of yourself instead of blaming others. And so they distort history to the point that really look offended, while they themselves are the aggressors.
Sometimes narcissists use both tactics in the same case. This phenomenon is well known in public life. For example, Umberto Eco describes it in the context of Nazi propaganda, where the enemy is at once too strong and too weak depending on which narrative is more favorable at the moment
Prayer of a narcissist
Many of these and other typical tactics of a narcissist summarized in the so-called Prayer of Narcissus:
Now let’s look at what the narcissists are doing here and what response they expect:
1. It was not. – Clear negative, toxic amnesia, gaslighting.
Expected reaction: “You’re right, maybe not, maybe I understood something wrong. I’m sorry.”
2. If it happened, it was not anything terrible. – Denial, minimization.
Expected reaction: “You’re right, this was no big deal, I took it too close to heart. I’m sorry…”
3. If it was, then it is not so important. – Denial, minimization.
Expected reaction: “You’re right, sorry, nothing, there was no need to talk about it”.
4. If it is important, not my fault. – Denial, disclaimer, avoiding the topic.
Expected reaction: “You’re right, I really took it too seriously, it’s not your fault”.
5. If I’m guilty, I didn’t want to. – The denial, the lies, the disclaimer.
Expected reaction: “I know you don’t want to hurt me. All right.”
6. And if you want to … then you deserve it. – Denial, blame the victim, avoiding the topic.
Expected reaction: “I’m Sorry, I didn’t want to force you to do so. This is all my fault, I’m sorry…”
Summary and conclusion
The narcissists seek to improve their shaky self-image by denying any responsibility for their dysfunctional behavior. Among that they use to achieve this goal tactics — denial, illusion, toxic amnesia, gaslighting, minimizing, avoiding the topic, blame the victim, playing the victim themselves, etc.
Refuse to accept such treatment.
- Author Darius Cekanavicius
- : https://blogs.psychcentrrcissists-responsibility/
- Translator — Cyril Melamud