To feel some sense of power and control, people with BPD or NPD strike out at those they perceive are hurting them -with physical violence, verbal abuse, hurtful rumors spread to family and friends (often called “distortion campaigns”), other actions, or some combination. When a divorce is initiated, regardless of who filed with the court, blamers particularly feel threatened. Many cannot handle seeming in any way responsible for the divorce, which triggers their life long fears of abandonment and inferiority. Therefore, they split their partner into all bad. It feels like a war between good and evil to blamers, so they create one. Their extreme feelings [of losing power] create their own problems.
Blamers constantly misperceive events, and they experience overwhelming emotional distress and frequent interpersonal conflict. They view all problems as caused by external forces and truly don’t understand why “bad things” happen to them. They chronically feel like helpless victims -even if they initiated the divorce- and are unable to reflect on or change their behavior. While the source of their problems may seem obvious to everyone else, they don’t see it themselves.
When targets fight back, blamers intensify their attacks -with physical abuse, verbal abuse, distortion campaigns, or legal abuse- in frantic efforts to get others to change or to get revenge for perceived abandonment or narcissistic injuries. They think this will make them feel better.
[Note: This is a strong argument for going No Contact instead of battling with the narcissist.]
Blamers pressure other people to take a position in this blaming war: “Either you’re with me, or you’re against me.” The intensity of their anger and blame catches people off guard. Often, just to calm a person down, others will reluctantly join in the blaming of the target.
Since divorce is seen as a failure, narcissists cannot tolerate any suggestion that they had a role in ending the marriage. After all, the narcissist is a “superior” person. It would be too much of a narcissistic injury to have any deficiencies as a partner, even though these flaws may have been a primary cause of the divorce. The divorce must be totally blamed on a person who is so “inferior” that it’s all about that person’s fault.
Thus, while narcissists sometimes physically abuse their partners, they often will focus on making allegations of sexual or parenting defects against their partner -their target of blame. They may attempt to take over the role of the “only good parent” in a custody battle or visitation dispute. They may take or hide money, based on the belief that they deserve a larger share of the family resources because they always feel entitled to “more”.
Narcissists who are persuasive blamers can be skilled in convincing others that it’s all your fault. Partners are often totally surprised to discover that they have become targets of blame in a formal, public setting, aggressively attacked by their former loved one. Since emotions add credibility and power to a person’s statements, blamers are often believe at first. Others assume the target must have done something to have caused the blamer’s distress, and thus they become convinced that the blamer is really a victim. Persuasive blamers are skilled at aggressively stereotyping you from the start as the evil villain. Deceitfulness is one of the strongest traits of people with antisocial personalities.
Source: Splitting: protecting yourself while divorcing someone with Borderline or Narcissistic personality disorder.
p. 52 – 59
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