Yes, they literally do! One of the most painful parts about being in a relationship with a narcissist is the accusations and labels the narcissist puts on you!
During your relationship with the narcissist you were probably accused of doing and being all sorts of things that you know at a logical level were not even possible or you wouldn't do them. Such as; being unfaithful, a pathological lair, untrustworthy, unscrupulous, a gold digger, mentally unstable, attention seeking, a horrible parent, a child abuser, unloving, selfish ("its all about you"). "You didn't treat me like an equal" or that you are the narcissist (that is the best one.... I mean, really??).
Maybe you had a narcissistic parent and you were told that you weren't good enough, that you were a bad person and selfish. Today I want to explain how when a narcissist accuses you of such atrocities he/she is actually speaking to a MIRROR.
I hope by explaining how the narcissist projects his/her behaviour onto you, you can let go of the feelings of unworthiness that the narcissist may have led you to believe about yourself.
What is Narcissistic Projection?
All narcissist’s project their unhealed parts – because they simply can’t and won’t take responsibility for them. Narcissists don’t like the fact they are empty, needy for approval, pathologically envious, and have horrible thoughts about themselves and other people. They detest their own feelings of vulnerability, deep shame and unworthiness. When the ‘mask’ (False Self) can’t keep the cover up holding these feelings submerged (which it can’t indefinitely) these broken parts rush into the narcissist’s consciousness, and they feel horrendous for the narcissist. Narcissistic injury feels like emotional annihilation to the narcissist.
It is unthinkable, unbearable and will be avoided at all costs. Non personality-disordered people do not have this issue. They are capable of accepting being ‘wrong’ and ‘imperfect’ and realise it is a part of the normal human experience. ‘Normal’ people may not necessary like it – but they can accept it and take responsibility for it. Naturally when you confront the narcissist about his or her disgusting behaviour you create the same situation – ‘Here are your broken disowned parts’. The narcissist’s False Self then goes into automatic deflection and projection. Due to the narcissist’s self-disgust with his or her unhealed/ disowned parts, this is a necessary emotional survival mechanism. He or she will inevitably assign these parts on to you. This ensures two things:
1) You are punished for challenging the False Self, and
2) You become the atrocious person who has committed all of these unacceptable things (or at the very least have been the cause of them).
Narcissistic parents project their unhealed parts on to their children, narcissistic bosses do it to their employees, and narcissists do it to their love partners. You do not have to ‘critique’ a narcissist for it to happen – he or she may just be having a painful internal moment – which for a narcissist is regular.
Unattended unhealed parts scream out painfully for attention – that’s just what they do. The narcissist will use any method available to project. This means fabricating, distorting, assigning significance to, or exaggerating what you said or did as ‘evidence’, and / or quoting third party allies which can also be fabricated. You will be astounded after stating the facts and gaining some sort of sensibility (forcing the narcissist after a mammoth battle to admit the ‘truth’ regarding these fabrications) when at a later date the narcissist will deny all of that and default back to his or her fabricated version of projection. You will also be amazed at how the narcissist lies about an ‘event’ that you were present to and upholds it as absolute truth regardless of the fact you were there! I promise you this: Narcissists actually believe their fabricated versions. You need to understand that the narcissist’s thinking and brain-wiring is so disordered that when he or she uses a deflection to avoid his or her disowned parts – this becomes real to the narcissist.
When you understand all of this, you can clearly see that the narcissist is speaking to a mirror. The narcissist’s accusations about your character and what you ‘do’ are exactly what the narcissist feels internally about him or herself and how he or she operates in the world.
Projective identification is a term introduced by Melanie Klein to describe the process whereby in a close relationship, as between mother and child, lovers, or therapist and patient, parts of the self may in unconscious fantasy be thought of as being forced into the other person. Projective identification is a complex and much misunderstood concept in the world of psychotherapy. The term originated of course from the work of Melanie Klein in her ground breaking work on the paranoid-schizoid and depressive phases of childhood development in the 1940s and has since been much researched and expanded upon especially when trying to understand personality disorders.
While based on Freud's concept of psychological projection, projective identification represents a step beyond. In R.D. Laing's words, "The one person does not use the other merely as a hook to hang projections on. He/she strives to find in the other, or to induce the other to become, the very embodiment of projection". Feelings which can not be consciously accessed are defensively projected into another person in order to evoke the thoughts or feelings projected. Projective identification may be used as a type of defense, a means of communicating, a primitive form of a relationship, or a route to psychological change; used for ridding the self of unwanted parts or for controlling the other's body and mind.
The objects (feelings, attitudes) extruded in projective identification are of various kinds – both good and bad, ideal and abjected. Hope may be projected by a client into their therapist, when they can no longer consciously feel it themselves; equally, it may be a fear of (psychic) dying which is projected.
Projective identification may take place with varying degrees of intensity. In narcissism, extremely powerful projections may take place and obliterate the distinction between self and other. In less disturbed personalities, projective identification is not only a way of getting rid of feelings but also of getting help with them. In an emotionally balanced person, projective identification may act as a bridge to empathy and intuitive understanding.
The first thing to be aware of in the relationship is that the primitive defence of projective identification involves both loving and hateful feelings affects being evacuated from the client into the therapist.
Many mistakenly believe that projective identification only involves the more chaotic dysregulated emotions such as raw arousal, excitement, elation, rage, terror, disgust, shame and despair which are split off and expelled because they are felt to be unmanageable. It however occurs equally when one is unable to own and manage more positively accepted qualities because of fear of guilt or envy, retaliation, abandonment, loneliness or fear of harming someone important to them. By defensively inducing the projected experience, whatever it is, in another one is more able to avoid the reality that the projected content is part of one’s own experience. This of course occurs continually in all of our relational interactions.
Ultimately, projective identification is born out of the narcissists inability to form a connection or bond in a healthy way with another person. And so, this is where the crux of the disorder lies, their inability. That's why all of their out of control comments and emotions are projected onto you because they are unable to contain or process reality in a healthy way. Another post that you may be instructed in is Identity Disorder, this post talks about this concept of the narcissist not having a fixed identity.
Your Views: What do you been accused of by your narcissist? Did you ever catch your narcissist in admit their projective identity?