While everyone who is in a sense within the control of narcissistic people could be considered a victim, they’re not all the same. When we think the victims of narcissists normally we think of the person they’re using as their ‘supply’ but that’s not the only person in their clutches.
The narcissist is surrounded by lots of different kinds of people and some of them are much more enabling than you’d think. The cycle that narcissists push the people around them through is complex and quite confusing to some. Some people who are victims of narcissists are not aware they’re facing a narcissist at all. They do not see the toxic side of this person and their experiences with them are positive.
These people do not realize the narcissist is actually a dangerous individual until others come forth with proof of what they themselves are going through with this person and even then if they’re too under the narcissist’s wing and swayed by his charm they may still be unwilling to see things as they are. We tend to call these people pawns.
They are people that narcissists use as best they can but do keep their distance from. They never get close enough to these people for them to see the mask come off. They are similar to a supply but without having to deal with that painful side of the narcissist firsthand unless the narcissist thinks a bridge needs to be burned in order for him to get further down his path.
While he might not always show his narcissistic side to everyone, he is well aware of how to get what he wants. Now, from there we also have enablers. These are people who know the narcissist is toxic and doing bad things all the while helping him get them done. They keep feeding into his ego and allowing him to run rampant. They do nothing to stop him.
These enablers will often even tell his supply that they’re overreacting and downplay the abuse they’re facing in order to get them to stay by his side. Yes, I know that’s messed up but it is very true. For instance, if you’re with a narcissist and his mother sees what you’re going through and still takes his side time after time. While she knows that what he’s doing is wrong, she isn’t going to do anything about it and will stick by his side no matter what.
Narcissists know how to trick others into giving them what they want and if they need someone to feel bad for them, they know just who to target. Whether they’re looking for an empath, someone to follow in their footsteps, or even someone to attack for doing the things they’re doing already they have a plan in mind. Sure, they might not all seem sneaky offhand but I assure you they are.
Psych Central writes as follows breaking down the four major parts of the narcissistic cycle of abuse:
Feels Threatened. An upsetting event occurs and the narcissist feels threatened. It could be the rejection of sex, disapproval at work, embarrassment in a social setting, jealousy of other’s success, or feelings of abandonment, neglect, or disrespect. The abused, aware of the potential threat, becomes nervous. They know something is about to happen and begin to walk on eggshells around the narcissist. Most narcissists repeatedly get upset over the same underlying issues whether the issue is real or imagined. They also tend to obsess over the threat over and over.
Abuses Others. The narcissist engages in some sort of abusive behavior. The abuse can be physical, mental, verbal, sexual, financial, spiritual or emotional. The abuse is customized to intimidate the abused in an area of weakness especially if that area is one of strength for the narcissist. The abuse can last for a few short minutes or as long as several hours. Sometimes a combination of two types of abuse is used. For instance, a narcissist may begin with verbal belittling to wear out the abused. Followed by a projection of their lying about an event onto the abused. Finally, tired of the assault, the abused defensively fights back.
Becomes the Victim. This is when the switchback occurs. The narcissist uses the abused behavior as further evidence that they are the ones being abused. The narcissist believes their twisted victimization by bringing up past defensive behaviors that the abused has done as if the abused initiated the abuse. Because the abused has feelings of remorse and guilt, they accept this warped perception and try to rescue the narcissist. This might include giving into what the narcissist wants, accepting unnecessary responsibility, placating the narcissist to keep the peace, and agreeing to the narcissistic lies.
Feels Empowered. Once the abused have given in or up, the narcissist feels empowered. This is all the justification the narcissist needs to demonstrate their rightness or superiority. The abused has unknowingly fed the narcissistic ego and only to make it stronger and bolder than before. But every narcissist has an Achilles heel and the power they feel now will only last till the next threat to their ego appears.
The more we understand this cycle and who the people around the narcissist are as well as how they interact with him, the better we can all come to terms with what they are and how to distance ourselves from them. The narcissist doesn’t just get people under his wing in one way, he does it in a lot of ways and what might draw you in might not draw someone else in the same way. Each case/situation a person has with a narcissist is very unique.