Last Updated on April 6, 2021 by Alexander Burgemeester
“What do you do against someone who blames you for everything? Because it’s almost like I can’t do anything right. No matter how hard I try, it’s never good enough. I just get told how stupid I am or how I should have done it differently. I feel so exhausted and resentful.”
Does this mental script sound familiar in your relationship? Are you constantly being told that you’re the problem, even if you’re just doing your best? If so, you may be asking yourself, why do people blame others for their problems? Why is it never their fault but always yours?
There are many reasons why this happens—blaming someone else for your problems is called narcissism, denial, and projection. It’s also merely an intense form of self-absorption and selfishness. After all, it’s much easier to throw your problems onto someone else rather than reflect inwards.
How do you deal when you’re on the receiving end of this awful cycle? Let’s get into what you need to know.
4 Common Traits of People Who Blame
Not all blamers are the same, but many of them share similar traits. Understanding these traits can give you better insight into your relationship.
#1 Narcissistic Tendencies
Narcissists are notorious for blaming everyone and everything around them. This projection happens because they believe they know how to do things the right way. Moreover, they cannot accept accountability when making a mistake, even if everyone else recognizes it.
If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, they may blame you for:
- Being too sensitive.
- Not being a good enough/attentive enough partner.
- Their mental health.
- Any and all problems that exist in your relationship or family dynamic.
- The relationship ending.
In other words, don’t expect a formal acknowledgment or sincere apology after a conflict. In some cases, you might receive a fake apology, but they only make this effort to meet their needs and restore the usual status quo in your relationship.
#2 Poor Impulse Control
I didn’t want to buy the car. But you kept mentioning wanting a new one, and the price was unbeatable!
I would have loved to say, but my job was toxic. I should have quit months ago.
You always said you wanted to go to Hawaii! That’s why I booked the plane ticket. I wanted to make you happy.
Blamers tend to have poor impulse control. They often make erratic financial decisions without thinking about the consequences. When confronted, they then blame something else to defend their action. In many cases, to present as a victim or hero, they will deny that they wanted to make that choice in the first place!
#3 Fear of Rejection
Most people worry about rejection from time to time. But some blamers have such an intense fear of rejection or abandonment that they use blame as a shield to protect their ego. This fear can manifest for many reasons, including:
- Having a history of trauma.
- Having a history of persistent rejection in the past.
- Low self-esteem.
- Unstable, toxic relationships.
- Personality disorders or traits of personality disorders.
Regardless of the origin, this fear can cause people to want to present perfectly in front of others. As a result, they refuse to acknowledge their shortcomings and assume responsibility when they make mistakes.
#4 Enabling Loved Ones
A blamer can only blame as much as someone else tolerates it. If you refuse to take responsibility for their accusations, they can’t do much with their blame. Instead, they have to sit with their own discomfort.
Unfortunately, many people assume the blame for the blamer. They guilt themselves, question what they may have done wrong, and falsely believe that the blamer knew best.
What to Do When Someone Blames You for Everything?
My wife blames me for everything. I don’t take out the trash right. I’m not wearing the right shirt for the occasion. I didn’t feed the kids the right kind of dinner. It’s so frustrating, and it makes me feel like I’m never enough. Am I just stupid, or is she just mean?
Label The Dynamic
The first step to untangling this problem is recognizing it. In our relationships, we sometimes want to give our partners the benefit of the doubt. We want to believe they have our best interests at heart, and we don’t like to acknowledge their shortcomings.
But if you’re in a relationship with someone who constantly blames you, they don’t have your best interests at heart. They aren’t respecting you or your efforts. This relationship is one-sided, and it results in you feeling guilty, insecure, and angry.
This insight may be painful. It can be especially difficult if you identify as an empath and feel overly sensitive to the needs of others. If you’re in this familiar pattern, it’s normal to feel compassionate towards the blamer because you:
- Feel selfless towards everyone.
- Feel immense protection and love for the blamer.
- Feel sorry for the blamer and want to give them the love they don’t get elsewhere.
Unpack The Truth
It’s important to remember that their truth isn’t inherent to the actual truth. Blame is usually a manifestation of power and control. The blamer doesn’t want to assume responsibility for what they did. They want to shift that problem to someone else.
You should have picked up the dry cleaning. You weren’t listening to me. You can’t even cook dinner right. What’s the common theme here? These retorts are nasty, but they are simply perspectives. At the core of it, the blame is an opinion, and opinion doesn’t translate to a truth.
How to Deal With Someone Who Blames You for Everything? An Overview
“My husband blames me for everything. I didn’t get the car washed. I should have called around and gotten more quotes. I shouldn’t have spent so much money grocery shopping. I don’t know what to do about it anymore!”
If your wife or husband blames you for everything, you need some actionable steps for dealing with this pain. Chances are, their behavior makes you feel like a bad person. It can trigger immense emotions of guilt, shame, or fear. Likewise, it goes without saying that this cycle can also trigger resentment and tension in the marriage.
1. Consider the Context
When dealing with a blamer, you need to be mindful of your intentions. The stakes are obviously different depending on the person.
For example, if you are dealing with a distant colleague, their frustrating behavior may not matter as much. You might be able to let the issue roll off your back because it isn’t worth the effort. But if it’s your partner, it’s a different story.
If it’s an isolated event, it may be best just to let it go. People make mistakes. At times, trying to fight it and defend yourself may cause more distress than doing nothing at all. If it’s a repeated pattern, you will need a more assertive approach.
2. Share Your Feelings
In mild cases of blame, it may be worth sharing your feelings with the other person. This strategy is beneficial if you suspect they may be unaware of their behavior. It’s also helpful if you believe they have enough empathy to understand and acknowledge how you may feel.
When you share your feelings, it’s crucial to be direct and specific. Some examples include:
- I do not appreciate being blamed for _____.
- When you blamed me for ____, I felt ______.
- I am feeling blamed right now.
Try to avoid excessive all-or-nothing statements like you always blame me for ____ or you never take responsibility! The world rarely exists in such absolutes. Furthermore, these statements often come across as accusatory, making the other person feel defensive.
If the other person is receptive, you can both work together towards building a healthier relationship. It’s important to continue sharing your feelings if the same problems emerge.
There is a caveat to this suggestion. Sharing your feelings often won’t work if the other person is highly manipulative, narcissistic, or abusive.
These individuals won’t be able to recognize their role in the blame. They will likely insist that you’re dramatic or unfair. They might also deny blaming you for anything in the first place. In severe cases, they may become physically abusive to “punish you” for standing up to them.
3. Educate Yourself On The Symptoms of Emotional Abuse
Blame isn’t always harmless, especially if the other person blames you persistently and chronically. If that’s the case, this pattern can be one of the key factors associated with emotional and physical abuse.
As a loved one, it’s crucial for you to identify these warning signs associated with blame:
- Accusing you of flirting, cheating, or being distrustful.
- Accusing you of their abusive behavior (it’s your fault for making me so angry!)
- Accusing you of being abusive.
- Accusing you of being needy, clingy, or dependant on the relationship.
- Accusing you of messing things up.
- Accusing you every time an issue arises.
This pattern of someone constantly blaming you is toxic. Over time, it can utterly destroy your well-being. If you have children, it also places them at significant risk for abuse.
Remember that emotional abuse can start slowly. It’s not uncommon for blamers or narcissists to charm others when trying to build a connection. This charm can be enchanting, and it can trick you into believing that they are kind, compassionate people. Unfortunately, once they build your trust- and it may not take very long- they can easily take advantage of you.
4. Enforce Your Boundaries
When someone continues to blame you, it’s essential to reflect on your reactions. Do you become combative and argumentative? If so, this reaction often triggers them to continue with the blaming.
Or do you become quiet and submissive? This approach can also reinforce their behavior. At that point, they have a reason to believe they’re right since you appear to be “giving in.”
Of course, boundaries can be different for everyone. Some of the boundaries are verbal and tangible, such as telling someone you won’t take responsibility for specific behavior. Others are more abstract, such as you distancing yourself emotionally from a toxic person.
Some healthy boundaries to maintain with someone who blames you for everything include:
- Labeling the action (I feel blamed) with the consequence (and I won’t tolerate it).
- Remaining neutral and nonreactive when being blamed.
- Asking the person to leave your home or end the conversation altogether.
- Setting limits as to how much information you share with the blamer.
- Ending your relationship with the person altogether.
5. Cultivate Your Self-Esteem
What makes you feel important? What makes you feel happy and fulfilled?
Your self-esteem sets the foundation for the relationships you enjoy in your life. Unfortunately, people with low self-esteem tend to enable toxic behavior from others. They often don’t think they deserve anything better.
Spend time trying to strengthen your self-esteem by:
- Practicing positive affirmations that remind you of your inherent worth.
- Spending more time with people who make you feel good about yourself.
- Engaging in meaningful hobbies that you enjoy.
- Practicing more mindfulness throughout the day.
- Cutting back or eliminating the time spent on tasks that drain your energy.
The more you build your self-esteem, the less tolerance you will have for negative people. You will naturally require respect in your relationships, and you will also enjoy a mutual take-and-give symbiosis with others.
If you constantly feel blamed, you probably also feel tired, overwhelmed, and angry. These reactions are normal. But it’s important to take action to change the situation. You are not required to tolerate this behavior. Subsequently, you are not obligated to be treated like a punching bag!
Consider talking to the other person about how you feel. If they are not responsive or the situation continues to worsen, it’s time to seriously reflect on your relationship and your intentions for staying together.
Nobody is perfect. But if someone constantly blames and puts you down, is that really a person you want around in your life?
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