Thoughts on this post? Share them with me on Facebook, join the SPANily or Tweet me at @angieatkinson. ~Angie

I was reading this article today from YourTango (that really strikes home for many people who are in relationships with narcissists) when one line jumped out at me.

“He’s a master at deflection. His actions are no longer the focus; I’m the one on trial now.”

Boy, that sounded familiar. There’s so much truth in those sentences for people who have been the victims of narcissists.

Gaslighting and the narcissistic flip – a toxic combination 

Narcissists are becoming quite infamous these days for their honed manipulation tactics, often called gaslighting.

(Learn the definition of gaslighting, here, and learn some coping techniques here.)

The Narcissistic Flip 

One of the most effective kinds of gaslighting is when a narcissist sort of “flips the script” on you during an argument. 

I have dubbed this practice the “narcissistic flip,” and have found that it’s a regularly employed manipulation technique for many narcs.

The “flip” happens most often when you make a valid point or have the nerve to question the narc about anything.

That’s about the time everything turns around and suddenly, you’re the one who’s sorry (mostly that you bothered engaging in yet another pointless argument).

Flipping the script: How they do it

How does it happen? Let’s look at an example of how a narcissist will flip the script during an argument.

As you read through the following paragraphs, do you recognize anything familiar?

Are you in love with a narcissist? 12 ways to know

Jeff and Alisha: The Narcissistic Flip in Action 

Jeff and Alisha have been married for 15 years when suddenly, Jeff develops a drinking problem.

Though he’s been a social drinker until now, he’s suddenly spending more time away from home, and when he is home, he drinks more often than not.

This causes the kids to complain to Alisha, who gingerly brings her concerns to Jeff.

Jeff acknowledges that he’s heard complaints from the kids, but then says she’s the one causing the problem in the first place.


Because, he says, they are only children and not capable of forming those thoughts on their own. So that means that Alisha must have told them her concerns, poisoning the children against him.

Now it’s Alisha who is under the microscope. As Jeff systematically pulls the old switcheroo on her, he not only removes the focus from his own bad behavior, but he begins a whole new process of putting Alisha on trial.

Before she knows what’s happening, Alisha begins to question her own thoughts. What if Jeff is right and she really IS a bad mom? 

What if she’s really been the problem all along? Maybe she’s as crazy as Jeff says – after all, she can’t seem to even make a simple decision anymore.

Alisha has just been gaslighted – and after 15 years, it’s just another day in the life of a narcissist’s wife (aka his narcissistic supply).

Have you experienced the narcissist flip? Share your thoughts and experiences below, or hit me up on Facebook. Let’s discuss this!


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3 Responses to The Narcissistic Flip: Why and how it’s always your fault

  1. Yes, this has happened to me all my life but by my overt narcissistic mom and covert narcissistic golden child sister.
    Thank you for the article. It’s well written and better great education for those who don’t know what narcissism is.

  2. Hell yeah, just yesterday was the latest round. My husband has borderline personality disorder and is a horrible narcissist. After 4 days of following me around whenever I was around him and accusing me of being a horrible person and never concerned about his needs and constantly flirting with other people trying to cheat (jealousy and projecting are hallmarks of the disorder; he’s actually the one trying to hook up with others, usually via Craigslist skanky posts ), and on and on and on while I was trying to get ready for work, and I note he hasn’t found a job in over a year, he would not leave me alone and just kept verbally battering battering battering against me while standing right in top of me and in my face. I simply repeatedly refused to take the bait and told him to get away from me. When I eventually snapped and tried to push him out of the bathroom so I could finish dressing, he looked at me condescendingly and clucked his tongue and said, your PTSD is taking over your ability to talk with me rationally, and he called me one very sick person. I’m filing for divorce this month and I’m really glad this relationship has ended by my choice. I had hoped he would get himself together but that never happened and I am ready to move on. Thanks for this information in this article, all of it is very helpful for those of us dealing with narcissistic sociopath borderline personality disorder bipolar so on and so on people who really do not need to be in any intimate relationship with anyone. They will make it appear as if we are the crazy problematic ones in order to justify themselves and their outrageous behavior. If one only hears their side of the story then one of course usually believes them so it’s nice to have this information and other people who know what this crap is like, for support.

  3. wow. I was raised a narcopath stepfather and a severely codependent mother who allowed him to do as he wished, even if she had tried to save me he would have found a way to torture us. I genuinely thought I’d never make it out of that house. The first time I considered suicide I was 7 yrs old. The first time my stepdad kicked me out of the house I was 12.
    After almost 20 yrs married my mom finally left. A few years later I reconnected with an old from highschool. We really hit it off in a romamtic way. We got married a few years after that, and after 12 yrs of marriage and MANY MANY issues with my inlaws, I finally realized that my husband’s sister is a narcopath too. This woman has tried so many times to destroy me, and I was so heavily triggered, so thoroughly confused, so emotionally distraught due to her games, threats, manipulations, projections and smear campaigns that I had a breakdown- had to go on disability due to the situation leading to other very serious digestive issues that required emergency surgery. I was laid off at this time and suffered really bad agorophobia. I have really strong flashbacks and I’m realizing I’m still very much in survival mode. Finally… finally i ended up in therapy- Something I should have done a long time ago. i have been diagnosed with severe Complex PTSD. I have really bad panic attacks
    after more than a year with my therapist I’m finally able to feel good about having been no contact with my abusive sister in law. She has the entire family snowed- even my husband to some degree. She lies and manipulates with every breath. She’s terribly abusive to her children. It has caused countless arguments in our family. I’m finally now able to see this abuse for what it is instead of making excuses for her and doubting myself, not allowing myself to feel my feelings. I’m in the deepest part of this recovery and I have no intention of going back to the way things were. so ya. I get what you’re saying here. But also wanted to tell you that while reading this article I realized that I avoid arguments or confrontation because I’m mentally preparing myself for the flip, and I try to think thru all the scenarios that will be presented to me in the flip with whoever I’m dealing with- whether they’re a narc or not. I guess I’m trained. I want to change this- like right now. Thank you for helping me see this.

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