Who is to blame?
Dr Stephen Covey's first habit of highly effective people says, "We are responsible for our own choices and have the freedom to choose, based on principles and values rather than moods and conditions. Proactive people choose not to be victims or to blame others."
For years I have been fascinated by hypnotism. Mesmer was one of the first people to use suggestion to make people do things against their will. Freud explored hypnotism before he invented the talking therapy of psychoanalysis.
I have always been dubious. Then I was attending an outdoor fair and one of the entertainers gathered people around and he had them 'under his spell'. He first asked for volunteers, then he tested them. The ones he found susceptible to his control he kept, the others who laughed or would not go along with him, he dismissed. At the end, he had the hypnotized subjects doing strange things. When he woke them up, they appeared dazed and surprised,, to the amusement of the crowd. They were not planted there by the entertainer, they were normal people, just like you and me.
I knew a Narcissist who held sway over a group of people, me included. A doctor in the group told me he was fascinated by the hawksters at markets who would play slight of hand tricks. This doctor and the Narcissist were in a dyad (codependent couple) and the N held sway over other people, some who were narcissists (with a small n, denoting lesser syndrome of NPD). I finally threw the N out, he was a buffoon. But I wondered how he was able to hypnotize people. Were we fools? Or foolish?
A Narcissist told me he wanted to become a psychiatrist so that he could play with people - he believed he could hypnotize anyone. He would pay attention and compliments to the women and they loved it. He amused them, fed their egos. Some of the women couldn't stand him - but there were some men who also fell under his spell. The N was a salesman; the product he sold was himself (Dale Carnegie graduates will know what I mean).
At a dinner with a millionaire, one of the guests was a 'snake oil salesman' who was selling a product for eternal youth. He regaled us with tales of how he lived in the jungles of Guinea in South America where the natives had long spears they used to fend off the cheetahs that jumped on them from the trees (Guinea and cheetahs are not in South American). I showed them some Indigo dyed cloths I had purchased in China, and the snake oil fellow told us how Indigo was a poison - it is in fact used in the Orient for medicinal purposes.
It just goes to show you that we are can all become victims of Narcissists. Most of us find them amusing. Others are more susceptible to their charm. At one time I invented the term Echo Personality Disorder to describe such people (I may or may not have been the first person to think of this title, but who cares, only a narcissist would!). For what ever reasons, perhaps low self esteem, need to be loved or have attention, there are victims who fall under the sway of Narcissists. The person who says they can not be fooled, is a fool!
Some people involved with websites devoted to discussing Narcissism, and the pain of falling victim to them, have complained that the victims of Narcissist abuse are being blamed for being victims. That is like blaming someone who falls ill after being exposed to a germ for being a victim of a germ. If you believe that NPD is a mental disease/disorder that can cause to harm others, then you understand that anyone can be a victim of a narcissist. ( Some people have better immune systems/boundaries than others)
If someone escapes a N's influence, it may be because they have been 'immunized' or they have natural immunity to the N. Like the entertainer who chooses only the people who are easily hypnotized, the N chooses his or her victims from those who are 'ready made victims'. I believe that if you think you cannot be hypnotize then you can be, and if you think you can ignore narcissists then you are already a victim. (Isn't the Internet the because hypnotizer of them all?)
I told a Narcissist that it is horrible to be emotionally abused by someone and she told me, "Adults can walk away." SM
Ah yes... so easy to play the victim.