Playing the Victim (re-posted)

November 26, 2013

Borderline Personalities are notorious for playing the victim. They have this notion that the whole world is conspiring to get them, that life itself is out to get them. Their lack of self compels them to seek out a feeling of self-importance.

What I found odd about my ex was that her accusations were more about her than me. If she accused me of being hostile it was usually because she was being hostile. She was always complaining that people were being overly intense or aggressive. But she would ignore the fact that she was usually the one being intense and overly aggressive. It was as if she was looking for a fight. She would provoke people just to get a rise. And then when they did respond, she would accuse the other person being abusive. If anything, people went out of their way to accommodate her moodiness.

My ex hated to be criticized, but often engaged in acts that called for negative attention. She would engage in abusive acts and wait for you to condemn her. And as soon as you did, she would then accuse you of abusing her. She was the victim, never the abuser. At least, in her troubled mind.

I thought this following article on borderline personalities was spot on. In particular, the observation that BPs will often play the victim to flatter their suffering egos:

Borderlines can be both very self-loathing and narcissistic at the same time. Some Borderlines see themselves as a victim to the entire world, a world which in their eyes wants to crucify them though they are nothing, and at the same time share the belief that it is because they are so “special”, that everyone around them is “hating” on them and wants to crucify them. For many Borderlines, the belief that someone doesn’t like them or wants to hurt them makes them feel significant, big, like they are somebody or else why would people want to diminish someone they thought of as small. Because most Borderlines thrive off of the idea of people wanting to victimize them, they often find themselves creating self-defeating situations around them, even when all the cards are stacked up in their favor.

Towards the end of our relationship I was skeptical every time my ex cried wolf, even when she complained about headaches or some other imaginary ailment. It got to a point where I assumed she was just looking for attention. Playing victim was her way of making sure no one would abandon her.

It only got worse when she split me black. I was already breaking my back to repair a relationship she had destroyed. And she was simultaneously pushing me away and stringing me along. One second, accusing me of harassing her and then, the next minute, calling me to meet her- to soothe her feelings of loneliness. And then discarding me, once she had found someone else to give her attention. She went back to playing the victim and I went from savior back to being a villain. Whatever was convenient for her at the time.

This victim mind game is abuse at its worst. It’s playing with someone’s mind and heart. It’s not caring about other people’s feelings, because you are so consumed by your own pursuit for attention. Borderlines surround themselves with people who are more than willing to feed this insatiable hunger for attention and expel anyone who denies them the satisfaction. The sad thing about my ex is she’s crying out for help, but nobody is listening. That’s what happens when you cry wolf too many times.

11 Responses to “Playing the Victim (re-posted)”

  1. baymaggie said

    I am borderline, and while I agree that your ex’s behavior sounds very much like me, I have to say that not all borderlines are as severe as your ex sounds. Good for you, though, for getting out of that relationship. Borderlines who are unstable are not good people to have a relationship with! I, myself, am taking a break from relationships to work on myself, both as a favor to myself and to my next prospective partner.

    • savorydish said

      I agree, not all borderlines are created equal. I try not to generalize, but I can only speak from my own personal experience. I wish I could take credit for getting out, but it was my ex who ended the relationship. Knowing what I know now, I can honestly say I am grateful to be out of that relationship. Had she not been so brutal, I would thank her.

  2. Lindsay said

    My mother is a borderline and it has been very hard trying to navigate through her personality and it was only very recently (the past few years) that therapy helped me understand that I was not the one responsible for her happiness. My parents have divorced and my mother is still the ‘victim’ and does what she can to try to triangulate and pit me against my father to validate that she is right and he is wrong. I agree with what you quoted about borderlines creating self-defeating situations. My mother continues to do this and even hinges the kind of relationship she and I can have on the status of what is going on with my dad and her. Though they have been divorced for what seems like a decade now, she still thinks my Dad is to blame for her not being able to attend important events in my life. For example, she is crying for not being able to attend my first born’s baptism because she does not have any cars that work that my dad has title to. It is almost as if she doesn’t understand that this has nothing to do with her ability to take a taxi to the airport (or catch a ride from a friend) and fly here (she lives in SC and I live in Florida). She truly believes that Dad is preventing her from being at the baptism and so she is being victimized. Makes no sense.
    I have learned to realized that my mom is not well and that being a borderline is something that she does not understand and is not aware of. Luckily, I have broken out of the cycle and will do what I can to try and keep whatever relationship my mom and I do have at whatever time that might be as strong as it can be.

  3. Smiler said

    My ex girlfriend with BPD was exactly like this. She would be cruel and distancing and then set things up so that I would get angry a and respond sharply and then BOOM – I had offended her and she would cry abuse. She once told me during our relationship that she would come to a friend’s 50th. She then changed her mind. When I was at the 50th (alone) she texted me indicating that she wanted to see me. I Le the party early to go and see her and what do you think happened. She pretended (at first) to not be at home. Then she said she had a man staying and could not see me etc etc. next day she refused to discuss other than to say that she did not sleep with him etc. I then said her behaviour was very bitchy. Guess what came next – I have kept a copy of that text to show the police how you abuse me… Wow – and who was the victim of poor nehaviour and abuse here?

  4. rstolk said

    Take, take and more take,

    I have married someone with BPD which lasted 2 years. I’m now divorced, but have been hovered me in quite a few times. She cried and told me she didn’t want the divorce. I found out the hard way that she just wanted me to keep her on my health insurance at a cost of $753.00/month and not get back for me. I had asked her many times to help me because her and her daughter’s insurance went up $123.00/month and I had to take a cut to my salary by 4.6% due to the economy. She sympathized, but did not help. She is capable of getting her own insurance through her company for free she just has to pay for her daughter. She makes $90,000.00/year, but is broke every month due to her compulsive gambling. Now mind you, I took her to concerts this summer, fed her because of her gambling, and bought her stuff for her home because I have things and she doesn’t from what she tells me. I was paying for her daughter’s health insurance, but her daughter dictates that her mom and I don’t get back together. My wife didn’t want to tell her daughter that we were trying to rectify the relationship because she has to have her own secrets and it’s none of her daughter’s business what she is doing. This was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. I took her off my insurance, and now I’m the villain! She told me that her daughter and she had chronic disease processes, and now she doesn’t have insurance. I can no longer take her ups and downs. I’ve been hurt and devastated, but for a long time I sensed our relationship wouldn’t work. Her famous words: shut up and do as I tell you. Well, I can’t shut up anymore! I wish everyone on this site the very best and hope we all get over the extreme pain these women have caused us. By the way, She is in therapy, but I think she was gaining tools to control me better.

    God Speed to all of you here,

    • Gerard Jacques said

      Mine was bad with money, too. She was a student, so I concluded “Hey, most students are poor” when she came to me alone for help.

      Now I’m no sycophant, so I asked her why the hell her boyfriend doesn’t help her. “He’s poor”. Then I ask why her parents can’t help. “They’re having mortgage/money problems”. Okay, so what about that ex-fiance? “I can’t. We’re not close anymore”.

      Finally, as she’s starving, decide to help her out by feeding her and clothing her. I didn’t buy her expensive designer ****; I’m no chump. But I did take her food shopping and buy her some small necessities over a few months. I made sure she was fed; after all, though I wasn’t nailing her anymore, despite the ups and downs, I still cared about her as a person.

      Well, you know what happened? After three months of a return to the ‘Honeymoon Period’ of incessant, daily contact from her, she goes as cold one night – as she had many times over the years.

      Knowing better, I left it alone, and that worked for a day or so, until we argued that despite everything I’ve done and everything we’d been through, some new guy who was ignoring her, was more important.

      We fought, then made up. But even though she said everything’s fine, I knew it wasn’t. Why? Because I didn’t sit there and let her devalue me for another man.

      In the end, after the silent treatment was in ful force, she threw it all back in my face with these goldies:

      “I never wanted your help”.

      (when reminded that she HAD asked): “I was desperate! So I asked!”

      (being told that friends don’t behave like this):
      “I don’t dislike you; I’m indifferent to you”.

      (asked why she came to me for help):
      “I’m indifferent to you. But if someone is giving away free stuff, who wouldn’t take it?”

      (told ‘so you text-bomb, confide, and go to people you don’t care about?’):
      “I didn’t want to take anything from you. You mean nothing to me. I don’t care”.

      And that was the last straw for me. I know, I know, she ust said those things to hurt me – she doesn’t really want me out of her life for good. But nah, I’m not like those bozos who take crap from women on a regular basis. I don’t care what condition she has, that **** is unacceptable.

      I told her succinctly that I love her and wish she had a good day. Haven’t spoken to her since. No goodbyes.

      Don’t get me wrong, I miss the pleasant side of her terribly. And at times, I still feel like I did when her and I were an item: on the edge of insanity. But in the end, it’s either you or them. You have to choose.

  5. jhan1969 said

    “I have to say that not all borderlines are as severe as your ex sounds.”

    Yeah . . . there’s a problem with this. The ‘we’re/they’re not all like that’ statement is pretty useless in explaining the behavior and WHY it is so widespread and prevalent in the first place. Rarely is it the case that ANY reasonable person is accusing ALL people of a particular group of being anything. We’re all so afraid of being accused of generalizing and being politically incorrect; I think this is a reason WHY severely disturbed people can get away with so much these days. We’re all playing this game where we’re terrified of offending ANYONE, and disturbed individuals are using this to their advantage. I’ve experienced this first hand. It’s like we’re not allowed to call things what they really ARE anymore. And the ‘mental health’ industry is a primary culprit in this.

    I’m not accusing anyone here of anything. All I’m saying is that in my experience, the whole ‘don’t generalize’ game is often used to shut people down. In order to make any sense out of human behavior, SOME generalizations must be made . . . unless we find a way to account for the behavior of each individual on the planet.

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