We need to watch out for, and push back on, and resist, those who perpetrate the “Siblings in the Back Seat” ruse.
You know the schtick: where one sibling will poke and prod and annoy the other until, understandably, they push back, and then it’s all “MoooOOoOooooOOOOooom, they’re hitting me!” And thus the instigator turns themselves into the victim, and the actual aggrieved is the one who gets punished.
It’s a depraved and cruel way of behaving, though it is most certainly cunning.* Cunning enough to become adopted and carried forth through life, where the stakes become much higher than that in the back seat and where the effects are felt not only interpersonally, but through families, communities, companies, and even to the level of countries. Where the stakes are very high indeed, and where this trickery is used to delegitimize and dehumanize, as a pretext for theft and persecution, to justify highly asymmetric responses, and, in general, to excuse and even try to legitimize all manner of deleterious and harmful behaviour.
But it is possible to see through this deceit. Once we observe enough back seat shenanigans, we can begin to recognize the pretense. We can stop falling into the trap. We can call it out, and align ourselves accordingly.**
Even on ruses that have been perpetrated for 73 years.
* This is, in many ways, a variant on the DARVO technique.
** We can do this even if, once, we bought into them. Perhaps even bought into them fully. Unquestioningly. Gleefully.
*** Said another way is simply this: We need to be very wary of and verify the stories of enthusiastic aggressors.