Throughout my own personal journey and in getting to know others who have endured narcissistic and sociopathic abuse, I've come to learn that "playing the victim" is a hallmark of folks who emotionally and verbally abuse others.
As someone who owns mistakes—and owns them very publicly at times—the victim mentality is a hard one to understand. I grew up with two loving, stable parents who taught my sister and I to take responsiblity for good and bad. For awhile, I thought maybe this victim play was part of the psychosis but the more I've come to learn, the more I understand it's very calculated.
For example, publicly the abusive person will project an image that he or she is a deep feeling, deep thinking person who rises above. Behind the scenes, they are lashing out in ways that chill the average person. Somehow, whatever has transpired is someone else's fault. They are the victim who is enduring abuse. I've written about this concept before in more of a general way in "Flip the Script" where I talk about how even my psychologists were warning me to expect nothing less from a man who is a pathological liar and serial cheater.
There's always a new group of flying monkeys and groupies to appeal to, so this particular tactic of prophecizing victimhood works well in doing just that. After all, as caring human beings, most of us react to sad stories with concern and empathy in our hearts. They know this.
Someone who has cheated his way through two marriages with countless women (while telling everyone but his wives that he was in an open relationship), stolen money from clients in the furniture and interior design industries, stolen designs, stolen company merchandise, harassed women who started to speak out, and used the same predatory tactics (love bombing, promises of tantric massage, same songs, same lines etc) to seduce women young and old is not the victim, but he plays the role well. This is what I've experienced personally, but many of the women I've spoken with could basically just copy and paste this particular paragraph about the person who was in their life, changing only industry info.
This story is all too common. My advice is if someone immediately starts telling you about all of the bad stuff that happened to them in childhood and beyond (aka, creating a wounded attachment set-up), take a huge step back. Don't fall for the very convincing victim story.
Playing the victim is truly role of a lifetime for narcissists/sociopaths.