Ah, lovely. Projective identification sounds just way more real than plain old ‘gas lighting’. I like this formalised approach, it actually lends powerful credence to another strata of the disordered personality that is, in your opinion, albeit and undoubtedly born from a steep learning curve and terrifying experience but nonetheless a person that you diagnosed a narcissist. Did you self diagnose ones own co-dependency also? I only ask because a whole load of humans seem to stop with the diagnoses when they do the 'my ex is a narcissist’ thing - more later, please bear with.
How you defend yourself against such things is to go no contact, learn and practice grey rocking if you absolutely must stay in the dynamic and if not then leave as soon as you possibly can. Also, get serious about learning how to spot them in the first place and how to thwart them entirely with nothing but simple and healthy boundaries.
Let's explore these things a little.
Going no contact. This is in the purview of the recently separated. It's worthwhile doing this at all levels of the narcissistic experience be it the short intense exposure or the lamentably more lengthy dynamics. Often though it can't be achieved in any sort of beneficial way due to ongoing connections such as children or financial stuff. If you can though, it's your best ‘after the fact' defence, it's the ultimate boundary that when used in conjunction with law enforcement as required, it works and it saves you.
If you can't though…
Learning & Practicing Grey Rock. GR isn't just a dark arts defence tool, when done properly and with time comes the skill and then it's actually emotional intelligence puppy training for an adult that as a kid was never brought to understand healthy love from an upbringing in trauma either known or unknown or sadly, usually both. It's literally asking them what they think in many various ways but in all ways, and at every opportunity that you can.
You see, what they're doing when they out reach for your emotions is that they're not managing their own. They're often just wailing, literally in some cases or having some form of meltdown of varying degrees and they want to justify their behaviour/guilt’s/ridiculousness in that moment by dragging another adult into it. It's very easy for a co-dependent with empathy to fall foul of the entrapment into another unnecessary circular argument with added projective identification to only inform the narrative and during which the narcissist will calmly look you in the face, at your worst, and tell you it's all your fault, but… they forgive you etc. which really is the sort of behaviour that's indistinguishable from the same emotional intelligence that a child has and mainly because that's literally where they go when they're emotionally challenged, right back to the known or unknown trauma point in childhood and definitely before the age of 9ish. It's quite sad really. Some might say that Grey Rock can be cruel and it absolutely will trigger the person that before took your emotions to only never visit their own true self (the broken child) but it isn't, don't fear it and above all else enjoy it as it will empower you by also showing you a different way to manage your own emotional intelligence.
What do you think? And at all times remain stoically unemotional, at all costs. What's your thoughts about that? Passing the emotionality right back to where it belongs, in their head only. I know you want my opinion, I just don't have any idea right now, what do you think? Remain sort of emotionally flacid but give nothing but solid and real empathy in the form of puppy training your narcissist with Grey Rock. Please also do a Google of the term and study it as it will literally set you free and support you for life as it gifts you the opportunity to now choose who you gift your now healthy emotions.
How to spot and thwart them from the get go. That's easy really, you have to first recognise that your likely a co-dependent person and in that co-dependency you can't make and ensure boundaries and if you do think you can, yours are all too easily eroded by those that simply don't recognise them at all, unless it's their own of course.
And so we start small and think big with my patented goodnight test which is literally piss easy. When dating and at the chatty catty stage, say goodnight at a reasonable hour and with a reasonable truthful reason for wanting sleep such as work the next day or that you don't want to feel overwhelmed in the first few interactions. Say it's been pleasant and that your looking forward to catching up next day but otherwise, “goodnight” and then simply observe what happens — of which, if they honour your simple boundary and respectfully await your next opening chat gambit or they tentatively lean into you again the next day with reserve and respect and they continue to enjoy boundaries then they may well be a good sort. Anything less than having that basic skill to say good night back and resume the next day is someone who you'll eventually label a narcissist and so, help thyself and fix yourself some healthy boundaries and damn well stick to them. If YOU let a person rule YOUR boundaries, especially at the outset and during dating, then you'll be a victim again before long.
Projective identification is a thing but we never really have to endure it. If you know your absolute truth backed with objectivity and empiricism then that is that no matter what an adult child having a tantrum is saying to only stoke your emotions simply because they don't understand their own.
Which leads me to my closing position.
I believe that narcissism is the great unknown in that people afflicted with it just don't know their own cause and effect and that what they're doing is operating in their own learned behaviour reality.
Meanwhile, co-dependency - the opposite side of the same trauma coin is in the end just as unhealthy and toxic to the narcissist.
To their child like emotional intelligence we giveth our love in abundance and then taketh easily away as they don't even recognise the trauma that their childhood brought into the dynamic in the now or what they've even done wrong when the 'love’ is removed. They think that your being the dick.
It isn't though, well not for them at least, it's mainly a self manifesting traumatic event for you and this is why setting and sticking to boundaries is essential to avoid them as is no contact and Grey Rocking if you have to and all of which are actually simple life skills that neither the narcissist nor their favourite victim, the co-dependent were ever taught in any healthy way by the very same equally misaligned parents — the whole thing is completely generational.
Only you can break the generational chains because despite the issues that co-dependency has brought you time and time again, it's very much born of empathy. Just got to turn it onto self for a change and heal up because your worth it and the world needs empathy warriors now more than ever.
Hope this helps…*