One of the things I despise the most is someone who can never take responsibility for their actions. Blame shifting is their second nature.
I hate to admit that I’m way too familiar with blame-shifting. For years of my life, I thought everything was my fault, even when obviously it wasn’t – it was complete with evidence in my favor. Did that evidence ever make the blame shifter stop in their tracks?
Nope. That’s because a blame shifter is good at what they do, and they will do it as long as they can get away with it.
Blame shifting is insidious
The biggest issue with blame-shifting is that it can greatly damage a healthy person’s self-esteem. This heinous act will leave you questioning facts about your life and about your character as well. Shifting the blame onto someone else can be dangerous and completely destroy lives.
I know all this sounds like an exaggeration, but unfortunately, it’s not. Many otherwise mentally healthy individuals have been hurt so badly that they constantly question their self-worth. Do you know what we need to do? We need to see blame shifters before they get to us.
Recognizing the storm before it hits
1. The apology with strings attached
If by chance, you get the blame shifter to apologize at all, which hardly ever happens, they will use the “I’m sorry, but…” tactic. What I mean by this is that they will apologize, but they have to add some sort of defensive mechanism to the apology.
Whether they are about to put some of the blame on you or make an excuse for their behavior, you will recognize them by their inability to apologize without the added “but”, which totally eliminates the sincerity of the responsibility. What they are doing is finding a crack to slip out from under what they’ve done wrong.
2. Because of this, and because of that
Shifting the blame can be as easy as using cause and effect. While cause and effect do exist, responsibility is the main concern. Listen to this small interaction to understand:
Real victim: “You really hurt my feelings when you yelled at me.”
Blame shifter: “Well, if you would stop complaining about the same thing over and over, I wouldn’t.”
There are two ways that the blame shifter is really in the wrong. First of all, they shouldn’t be continuing behavior that makes someone else constantly complain. Most people complain when something bothers them, and they want to communicate.
Blame shifters don’t usually communicate, and so the problem gets ignored. After much complaining, they use verbal abuse as a scare tactic. There are many other situations like this where toxic people use the cause and effect technique to excuse any blame placed on themselves.
3. No communication
Blame shifting always comes with the inability to communicate. While these people can talk about problems on the surface level, when they are proven wrong, they clam up. They have no excuses or reasons for their behavior. They may even outright lie.
Then, ultimately, they will say there’s no reason to discuss the issue anymore. This is so damaging because it leaves the issues hanging and they’re never resolved. Then this causes bitterness to set in. Many marriages have failed due to the lack of healthy and honest communication. And most of the time, you will recognize the blame shifter by their communication aversion.
4. The pity party
You will also know you have yourself a blame shifter when they start telling you stories about their troubled childhood and how it makes them the way they are. While many people really did have a bad childhood, the toxic person will tell this story and exaggerate it to keep from taking the blame for present issues or mistakes.
It’s also okay to talk about past issues and how they’ve made you do things, but you cannot use this excuse for every mistake you make. If you cannot take the blame for doing something now, you will always be a child. Watch out for the pity party.
5. Flipping the script
This is an old term, but it fits so perfectly with a tactic that the blame shifter uses. When they’ve been caught red-handed, their first response is shock, their second response is to find the quickest way to turn the incident over onto you… using you as the villain.
Now, I know what you must be thinking, “How could someone caught in the act make the victim look bad?”
Well, they use carefully calculated manipulation. For example, let’s say you went to see your husband at work and he wasn’t there, and so, when he arrived home at the usual time, you asked him about it.
Now, some people will lie and say they had to leave for this or that reason, but if the blame shifter wants, he can turn the attention to you. He might say, “Why were you stalking my workplace?”, “What is wrong with you?”, oh, and my favorite, “You still don’t trust me, do you?” and then proceed to make an excuse for where he was, then stay mad for several days.
The blame for the whole confrontation is now your fault. You should have minded your own business and stayed at home.
How do we deal with these people?
Well, I hope you never have to endure such people because they have serious issues with themselves. Never ever believe that these things are your fault. Anyone who cannot take logical blame for their imperfections has a problem that can only be fixed by them or by professional help.
If you happen to be in a marriage with someone like this or stuck in a situation you cannot get out of at the moment, you will have to find various ways to living with this issue, and it’s a difficult one.
Your best outcome would be if your loved one came to you for help and genuinely wanted to change. Believe it or not, some people eventually see what they’ve become. In this case, it’s worth sticking around. If there is no desire to change, then the choice is yours.
Just remember, none of this nonsense is about you, and sometimes it’s best to walk away than to get into arguments with toxic people because you will never win. If this applies to you, I hope everything works out for the best.
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