There’s a poem called “The Narcissist’s Prayer” by Dayna Craig that perfectly captures what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a narcissist:
That didn’t happen.
And if it did, it wasn’t that bad.
And if it was, that’s not a big deal.
And if it is, that’s not my fault.
And if it was, I didn’t mean it.
And if I did, you deserved it.
Every line is basically the narcissist gaslighting their victim to keep up with their fantasies of the reality.
“That didn’t happen”
Narcissists avoid hurt by dismissing what doesn’t match their expectations or fit into their narrative of reality.
The first step to gaslighting their victim is to lie and say that whatever you think happened didn’t happen. They may go further and ask you if you’re okay, feigning concern for your mental health.
They may say and ask things like:
- “You’re crazy!”
- “Are you feeling okay? I’m worried about you.”
“And if it did, it wasn’t that bad”
Okay, fine. It happened. The narcissist’s next move is to minimize its importance. Whatever happened wasn’t that bad.
This is perhaps the best example of a narcissistic person’s fragile ego.
“And if it was, that’s not a big deal”
Narcissists will keep dismissing things that happened because they don’t want to take accountability or be confronted.
Narcissists perceive themselves as “perfect” and superior to others, even when they have inferiority complexes. Narcissism is a spectrum, and not every narcissist has narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).
Narcissism is strangely complex, but understanding how superiority and inferiority — or complexes in general — come to be helps it make more sense.
Holding themselves accountable is out of the question, since it forces them to acknowledge and feel feelings that they’re not used to feeling or dealing with.
The narcissist might ask you why you keep bringing up the thing that did happen.
“And if it is, that’s not my fault”
Blameshifting is when a perpetrator shifts the blame to someone else. In this case, the narcissist wants their victim to question their reality and lose trust in themselves. The moment their victim stops accepting everything the narcissist tells them as the truth and starts trusting themselves is when the narcissist loses supply.
Narcissistic supply is anything that enables a narcissist by helping them feel better about themselves. While narcissists are driven by personal gain, they need external attention/admiration to boost their self-esteem.
Per a narcissist’s delusions, they “need” you to doubt yourself so much you’ll trust them instead.
“And if it was, I didn’t mean it”
When a narcissist apologizes, it’s for personal gain and not because they are taking real accountability. Again, narcissists don’t take responsibility for their actions.
They deflect any negative emotion that doesn’t help them feel happy, because it’s uncomfortable. Sometimes, that turns into aggression because they instead take their feelings out on another person.
Narcissists don’t separate themselves from their feelings; they become their feelings — and the source of their feelings is what they enact revenge upon.
“And if I did, you deserved it”
Finally, the narcissist believes that their victims deserve whatever they do to them. Projecting and shifting the blame to the victim brings everything full circle.
Whatever they did to you is your fault, and you need to pay for it.
They might even think they’ve done you a favor. Their goal is to lower your self-esteem so you will doubt yourself more. However, the more you succumb to their influence (abuse) the more you’ll rely on them for acceptance, affection and approval.
To a narcissist, that is “love” — acceptance, affection, approval — and they are the only source you should seek it from. Depending on a narcissist places them in a position of power, where they can withhold their love in exchange for you being at their mercy.
If you make it this far and continue believing them, you’ve become a new source of narcissistic supply — a parasitic relationship between a narcissist and their victim.
If you loved this post, please share or buy me a pretzel: