In my research, many articles concurred that the narcissist projects their own image onto you. Necessarily, the narcissist is projecting their own self–image/insecurities and concerns that he’s the crazy one, bipolar and mentally unstable as a defense mechanism. Rather than turning inward and trying to self–evaluate and learn to own up for his own actions, Scott projected them consistently onto me. This also included behaviors that he/himself was conducting, yet accusing me of during the divorce.
One day while in our home office, I did my sweep of the home computer history (he had hacked my files at that point) and saw that Scott had searched information about Bipolar Disorder along with articles about child custody when one parent is mentally unstable. Scott had his own work computer. There was no reason or need for him to use our home computer. Yet, he managed to leave printed copies of the articles on the office desk. I couldn’t decide if that was an accident or pure mental cruelty. Did Scott honestly believe I was crazy? With increasing regularity, especially since filing for divorce, Scott repeatedly told me that I was insane, delusional, even bipolar. I also heard him tell this to our family and friends.
Even with my background studying psychology in college, Scott made me question my reality and sanity. I understood the diagnosis of bipolar. Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder marked by alternating periods of elation and depression. I wasn’t bipolar. Sure I had exhibited some symptoms of depression and anxiety over the years, even more so with the divorce, and with good reason! But Scott was so convincing, he actually made me question what I knew to be true. It’s difficult to explain precisely how he did it. But I learned over time in reading and researching how I got to that place in my life and the profound effect Scott’s manipulative tactics had on me throughout the years. Plus, the court ordered psychiatric evaluations provided validation that I wasn’t the crazy one.
I thought it funny one day, during one of the Christmas parties we hosted for his employees at our home, that one of his staff referred to him as the “Master Reflector.” I chuckled, because he had hit the nail on the head. Like a boomerang, if you would express a concern or action to Scott that hurt or bothered you, instead of addressing your feelings, he would come back at you with angry, spiteful malice at full force. Half the time you didn’t know what hit you. It was like taking a dart to the forehead meant to throw you off the subject at hand.
Throughout the divorce Scott would accuse me of various things such as dating, hiding money and spying on him, etc. When in fact, he was the one doing those things all along. He was essentially projecting his own version of guilt (if he’s even capable) and actions onto me. Eventually it became crystal clear through my studies that Scott, exerting those declarations onto me, was merely projecting his own internal fears, insecurities and actions.
So, how do you cope when a narcissist projects back at you? Best thing to do is to ignore their reply (usually it’s a question or a jab) and try to keep the initial subject at the forefront. You may have to repeat yourself dozens of times asking the same question over and over. Sometimes it’s like jumping on a crazy wheel that just keeps spinning. Rarely, if ever, will you get the answer you want from a narcissist or even recognition of your feelings. Instead most often you will feel attacked. Projection is a narcissist main defense mechanism. When that happens, its best to walk away and just let it go. Let it go…..