Narcissists Play The Martyr For Attention And Control.

What is playing the martyr?

Playing the martyr refers to the act of intentionally and melodramatically sacrificing oneself for others or for a cause. It entails adopting a self-perceived sense of victimhood in order to gain attention, sympathy, or validation. This behaviour often involves an exaggerated display of suffering, selflessness, or hardship, with the underlying motive of eliciting admiration or guilt from others. Playing the martyr can be seen as a manipulative tactic, as it aims to shift focus onto the individual and their perceived sacrifices rather than addressing the broader issue or genuinely helping others. Such behaviour can undermine genuine acts of selflessness and compromise the authenticity of one’s intentions.

Why do narcissistic people play the martyr?

Narcissism is a complex psychological disorder characterised by an over-inflated self-image, an excessive need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others. One intriguing aspect of narcissistic behaviour is their tendency to play the martyr, presenting themselves as self-sacrificing heroes who endure immense suffering for the sake of others. This behaviour can be attributed to several underlying motives.

Firstly, narcissists play the martyr to reinforce their grandiose self-image. By presenting themselves as martyrs, they create an illusion of nobility and martyrdom, thus garnering attention and admiration from those around them. They crave constant validation and seek to be seen as exceptional, even if it involves exaggerating their hardships.

Secondly, the martyr role allows narcissists to manipulate and control those in their social circle. By portraying themselves as victims, narcissists invoke sympathy and empathy from others, who may be inclined to fulfil their needs and desires. This manipulation serves to reinforce their sense of superiority and dominance over others.

Lastly, playing the martyr also helps narcissists avoid accountability for their own actions. By consistently casting themselves as innocent victims of circumstance, they deflect blame and responsibility onto others, perpetuating a narrative where they are exempt from criticism or consequences.

How narcissists play the martyr?

As narcissistic individuals are driven by an inflated sense of self-importance and an excessive craving for admiration, they have a remarkable ability to manipulate situations to their advantage. One tactic they frequently employ is adopting the role of the martyr. By portraying themselves as victims of circumstances, narcissists skillfully exploit sympathy and empathy from those around them. So how do narcissists play the martyr?

Firstly, narcissists excel at exaggerating their hardships. They often describe their experiences as overly catastrophic, amplifying any minor inconvenience or hardship they face. By doing so, they manipulate others into perceiving them as long-suffering individuals deserving of special attention and care. Their exaggerations distort reality and cast themselves as unfortunate victims deserving of sympathy and support.

Secondly, narcissists frequently employ selective vulnerability. They carefully display vulnerability in certain situations to evoke a compassionate response, yet rarely expose themselves fully. This strategic use of vulnerability allows them to maintain a sense of control and power over others, as they decide what information to disclose and manipulate emotional reactions to suit their needs. It is a calculated way to engage others and establish dependency on their perceived emotional support.

Thirdly, narcissists employ a subtle form of emotional blackmail where they leverage guilt to gain sympathy. They may exploit the generosity of others, making them feel responsible for their well-being. By doing so, they control and manipulate those around them, ensuring they remain at the centre of attention while others constantly strive to alleviate their perceived sufferings.

Additionally, narcissists frequently adopt a victim mentality, even when they are responsible for their own misfortunes. Rather than accepting accountability, they shift blame onto others, presenting themselves as hapless victims of external circumstances or individuals who have supposedly wronged them. This self-proclaimed martyrdom deflects attention from their own shortcomings and manipulates the perception of their role in any given situation.

Another way narcissists play the martyr is by utilising self-sacrifice as an emotional weapon. They often present themselves as individuals who put others’ needs before their own, suggesting their selfless concerns for others and moral superiority. By emphasising their supposed selflessness, they gain admiration and validation while subtly pressuring others to fulfil their desires and expectations, often at the expense of their own well-being.

Moreover, narcissists frequently exhibit a heightened need for validation and praise, making it seem as though they are constantly fighting battles against negative perceptions and unfair treatment. They actively seek recognition for their struggles, twisting reality to fit their narrative of persistent injustice. This allows them to maintain their idealised self-image while manipulating others to admire and support them unconditionally.

Lastly, narcissists use their seemingly relentless suffering to manipulate others into acting on their behalf. They skillfully manipulate guilt and compassion, convincing others that their sole purpose is to support and protect the narcissist. This creates a situation where individuals are coerced into enacting the narcissist’s desires, regardless of the personal cost to themselves.

Narcissists display a consummate ability to assume the role of the martyr, employing various manipulative tactics to cast themselves as victims deserving of sympathy and special treatment. Through exaggerated hardships, selective vulnerability, emotional blackmail, victim mentalities, self-sacrifice, constant validation-seeking, and manipulative dependency, they cunningly shape situations to their advantage. Understanding these tactics is crucial in recognising and protecting oneself from the manipulative behaviours exhibited by narcissistic individuals.

How does the narcissist playing the victim negatively impact their victims?

The narcissist’s strong tendency to assume the role of the martyr has a profound and detrimental effect on those unfortunate enough to be in their orbit. This carefully crafted facade presents itself as a selfless act of sacrifice, wherein the narcissist positions themselves as the victim, all while manipulating and exploiting those around them.

One of the most immediate consequences of this behaviour is the emotional toll it takes on others. By adopting the martyr persona, the narcissist skillfully elicits sympathy and support from those around them. This emotional manipulation can lead to a sense of guilt in others, as they feel obligated to provide care and validation to the narcissist. The constant focus on the narcissist’s suffering can drain the emotional resources of those caught in their web. The narcissist’s cravings for attention and adoration become paramount, selfishly overshadowing the needs and struggles of others.

Furthermore, the narcissist’s martyrdom can also create a toxic dynamic within relationships and social circles. By consistently emphasising their sacrifices and hardships, they invalidate the experiences and feelings of those around them. This invalidation can result in a diminished sense of self-worth and a feeling of being insignificant in comparison to the narcissist’s supposed martyrdom. Such tactics undermine healthy communication and prevent genuine emotional connection, ultimately causing turmoil and resentment within relationships.

How to protect yourself when the narcissist is playing the Martyr?

The narcissist’s manipulation through the guise of martyrdom has far-reaching consequences on their surroundings. By exploiting the sympathy of others, they drain emotional resources and create a toxic dynamic within relationships. Recognising and understanding these behaviours is crucial in order to preserve one’s emotional well-being and foster healthier connections.

Protecting oneself when dealing with a narcissist who assumes the role of the martyr can be both challenging and distressing. However, in such situations, one can adopt several strategies to safeguard their emotional well-being.

Firstly, it is essential to maintain a strong sense of self-awareness. Recognising the narcissistic tendencies and manipulative tactics of the martyr will allow individuals to distance themselves emotionally from the situation and avoid becoming entangled in their web of deceit. It is crucial to remember that the martyr’s self-pity is not a reflection of reality, but a manifestation of their need for attention and control.

Secondly, establishing and maintaining boundaries becomes paramount. Setting limits regarding the level of involvement in the martyr’s life, as well as clearly communicating these boundaries, can be vital in protecting oneself. By doing so, individuals can prevent the narcissist from taking advantage of their kindness and exploiting their empathy.

Furthermore, seeking support from trusted individuals can be immensely helpful. Sharing experiences and seeking perspectives from friends, family, or professionals can provide validation and guidance, reinforcing the notion that the martyr’s behaviour is not acceptable or healthy.

Lastly, self-care is essential. Engaging in activities that promote mental and emotional well-being, such as exercise, meditation, or spending time with loved ones, can help maintain a strong sense of self, reduce stress, and provide a much-needed respite from the negativity associated with the narcissistic martyr.

In conclusion, protecting oneself from the manipulations of a narcissistic martyr requires self-awareness, establishing clear boundaries, seeking support, and prioritising self-care. By employing these strategies, individuals can navigate these challenging interactions with grace and safeguard their emotional health.

Click the links below to join Elizabeth Shaw – Life Coach on social media, for more information on Overcoming Narcissistic Abuse.

On Facebook. 

On YouTube.

On Twitter.

On Instagram. 

On Pinterest. 

On LinkedIn.

The online courses available by Elizabeth Shaw.

For the full course.

Click here to sign up for the full, Break Free From Narcissistic Abuse, with a link in the course to a free, hidden online support group with fellow survivors. 

For the free course.

Click here to sign up for the free online starter course. 

To help with overcoming the trauma bond and anxiety course.

Click here for the online course to help you break the trauma bond, and those anxiety triggers. 

All about the narcissist Online course.

Click here to learn more about the narcissist personality disorder.

The narcissists counter-parenting.

Click here for more information on recovery from narcissistic abuse, and information on co-parenting with a narcissist.

Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.

Click here for Elizabeth Shaw’s Recommended reading list for more information on recovery from narcissistic abuse.

Leave a Reply