What Is Blame Shifting?

Written by: Tanvi Vinay Gangavali – MA (Clinical Psychology)
Last updated date : January 06, 2023

When dealing with people there are many issues. More so, dealing with your partner or loved one has its own ups and downs. There are many times in an argument they tend to blame us or put the mistake on us. At this time, we feel hurt and angry. But, if this keeps happening every time then it is called blame shifting. Blame shifting is emotionally tiring. It takes a toll on your emotions and mental health. It makes you feel that you are at fault for everything even if you are not. You love the person hence give into their demands and say sorry. This creates a constant cycle and seems to never end. There are many red flags in any relationship which if identified early can help. This article helps to know what is blame shifting, how it takes place, and also examples of blame-shifting.

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Chapter 1:

What Is Blame Shifting

  • It is a behavior that is emotionally abusive.
  • In this, the person tends to put the onus of their emotions, thoughts, and behavior on the other person.
  • It is an abusive way of dealing with people.
  • The person tends to constantly blame the other person for their issues, actions, and even their own state of mind.
  • It is a way of self-defense.
  • This happens when the person does not want to accept the consequences of their actions and chooses to blame others for it.
  • In blame-shifting, the person knows all your weaknesses and uses them against you.
  • They will use harsh words to hurt you and then shift the blame on you. This also makes you say ‘sorry’ even if it is not your fault.
  • They make you believe that you are the main reason for their bad behavior towards you.

Chapter 2:

Why Do People Do Blame-Shifting

When we know that it is abusive then why do people do blame-shifting? The reasons are as follows-
  1. They do not want to take responsibility for their own actions and words.
  2. After hurting the other person with words they want to escape from the after-effects of it. For example, they say- ‘I don’t get angry but because of you I have to use abusive words.” This kind of statement makes us believe that it is really our fault.
  3. To control others.
  4. To show that they are more powerful than others. They do not want any others to be better than them.
  5. To always be right.
  6. To preserve their superiority.
  7. To meet their own unmet needs during childhood. Usually, they come from families where they were not given enough love, support and warmth. This makes them feel the need for these emotions. This in turn makes them seek in ways like blame-shifting.

Chapter 3:

Ways of Blame-Shifting With Examples

There are many ways in which blame-shifting takes place. It happens naturally so we do not understand that is happening. But, if we are more watchful then we can notice these signs early. Some of the ways in which blame-shifting happens are-

Chapter 4:

Disregard for Your Emotions

Most of the times, you will see that they are blaming you for their reaction. They might say that you are oversensitive and also over reacting to things. This makes you feel that you really are doing this. This also creates a shift from their bad behaviour to you as a person. They do not treat you as a person but as someone who does not have any emotions.

Chapter 5:

Playing the Victim Role

This is also very common if you stop them to do certain actions. They start to show how they are being victimised. They start thinking about other events that took place in the past where you had hurt them. This also means they are shifting the focus from them to a victim. In a way, this makes you to say ‘sorry’ even if you are not at fault.

Chapter 6:

Creating Stories Filled With Emotions

It is true that people who do blame-shifting come from homes where their emotional needs are unmet. They might have also been neglected. Hence, they make you feel sorry for them. They justify every action of theirs to the environment they came from. An example of blame shifting is where they create an image of themselves as being hurt and weak and hence they cannot control their actions. This also means they are not doing things on purpose but because of something that took place in the past.

Chapter 7:

Making You Feel Defensive

When in an argument they will make sure that you are defensive. They will not focus on the content of what is being discussed but about the way you are discussing it with them. An example of blame shifting is that they might tell you they do not like the tone of your voice. Other things that they can do are- gaslighting, accusing and blame-shifting.

Chapter 8:

The Last Resort

When they realise none of the techniques seem to work they start saying terrible things to you. You are trying to explain to them how you are feeling but they are busy telling you things that you did not do. They abuse you in ways that hurt you deeply. It shakes your core but it does not stop. They are doing this to escape from the consequences of their behavior. But remember, it is not your fault. It is theirs and they need help for this.

Chapter 9:

To Sum Up

Blame shifting is real. It happens in abusive relationships. It makes the other person stressed out. Also, it affects them mentally and emotionally. No matter what we do this does not stop. The best thing to do is to take counseling support. This helps to know how to protect your emotional needs. It is okay to seek help. It is hard to manage hence seeking help definitely makes a change. You can also notice red flags in your relationship and try to identify if it is blame shifting. This can also help you to draw your boundaries.

At Epsychonline, we have various courses on mental health. All these courses are enriching and help to know concepts related to mental health. One such course is on ‘perfectionism‘. This course is helpful. You can enroll for this course online on our website now.

"Quizzes and recommendations were very uselful" Donna

87 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

$9.00 $12.00

25% discount