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Emancipate Your Mind: 079: The Victim and the Martyr: Understanding Vulnerable Narcissism

The final type of narcissism that you’re most likely to run into in high demand religion is the vulnerable narcissist. This type of narcissist will often seem like the perpetual victim of life circumstances. They’ve had a rough life and they need YOU to save them. Their narcissistic supply is the pity and sympathy of others. They want you to take away the burdens of adult life for them and take on the emotional weight of their problems. These types of narcissists thrive in religious communities because empathic people often are attracted to religion as a means to help the world. Having a victim in their midst can appeal to the part of them that gets validation from fixing, enabling, or saving the day. The other kind of vulnerable narcissist is the martyr. They feel an exaggerated obligation to sacrifice and suffer for others, even if you don’t want them to. These types of narcissists thrive on feeling superior because of how much they sacrifice and believe you are indebted to them because of how much they have given up for you. ___________________________________________________________________ RESOURCES: Dempsey, K. 2020, August. How to spot a vulnerable narcissist. The Awareness Centre. Martyr complex and covert narcissism. 2020, July 1. Toxic Ties. Sullivan, M. 2022, July 16. 6 signs you might be dating a vulnerable narcissist, which is the toughest type to spot. Well and Good. Collier, N. 2021, Feb 22. When you’re in a relationship with a martyr. Psychology Today. Rakshit, D. 2020, Dec. 4. What is ‘the victim complex’ and why do people experience it? The Swaddle. Alethia. 2021, October 27. 23 signs you’re suffering from a victim mentality. Lonerwolf. Streep, P. 2021, July 20. When a controlling mother plays the victim. Psychology Today. ____________________________________________________________________ JOIN THE DISCUSSION Come join the Emancipate Yourself Facebook group for more discussion about the podcast and random thoughts that pop up while I’m researching or in the shower. DONATE TO THE PODCAST: Want to support our work and keep these resources available to all who want or need them? Consider making a tax-deductible donation at

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