“I wouldn’t have cheated on you if you hadn’t nagged me so much.” “I would stop getting angry if you stopped getting upset about everything.” “I would not have done this if you wouldn’t have done that.”– Are these statements incessantly recurring in your relationship? Do you feel like no matter what you do, something is always lagging, and you are the only one blamed for it? If the answer to these questions is “yes”, you are a victim of blame-shifting in your relationship.
What Is Blame-Shifting?
The abusers in blame-shifting do not take responsibility for their actions. They lack emotional maturity and emotional intelligence. Escapist behaviour is a common trait of blame-shifters. They tend to victimise themselves and perpetually portray negative situations as someone else’s fault. Whatever they do, whatever happens to them, it is always some other person who is fed with blames.
Acute level of blame-shifting can lead to shocking amounts of emotional abuse, domestic abuse, and mental harassment.
It is more disturbing to observe that the victims of these blame games start believing the accusations of the abusers, and futilely work hard to make the relationship better.
It is difficult for the victims to realise that they cannot make it better, for the hard work they put in to make the relationship better simply confirms the blame shifters beliefs in their faults, which would only give them a leeway to blame the victim even more.
The Psychology Behind Blame-Shifting
Generally, the behaviour of blame-shifting arises from the attribution of failure internally. Often, when people find themselves not good enough for their significant others, they feel emotions of inability, incapability, or irresponsibility. Rather than realising this pattern and bringing a change in their behaviour, they begin blaming their partners for everything going wrong in their life. This could be seen as an attempt for them to feel better about themselves, or to break the confidence of their partners.
Related reading: Why am I being blamed for my husbandâ€™s failures?
The roots of blame-shifting can be traced back to the abuser’s childhood. Growing up in an unhealthy environment of ceaseless arguments can lead to poor self-esteem, and the abuser ends up blaming everyone for everything.
5 Ways Blame-Shifting Is Affecting Your Relationship
Relentless blame-shifting can affect a relationship. It can lead to fights, low self-esteem and even to depression. You are internalising blame-shifting if the following things are happening to you.
1. You are certain everything is your fault
The blame game of your partner is so strong, you are certain everything that goes wrong in your or their life is your fault. You feel yourself to be more powerless than ever. The pro-activeness you once had to make things better in your relationship has dwindled and you blame yourself for making so many mistakes and not correcting them.
2. You’re afraid to make any decisions
You’re constantly afraid that any step you take will be another mistake for your partner. For the same reason, you do not make any decisions anymore. These decisions could be as small as buying a new item or as big as communicating your problem with your partner. The certainty of being blamed for every single thing has rendered you fearsome, tired and in some severe cases, terrified.
You decide on sitting in a corner, not doing anything very frequently to avoid another episode of emotional abuse. You have stopped making any form of choices to avoid any form of criticism, which is a major red flag that the blame-shifting is heavily affecting your relationship.
3. The communication gap is broader than ever
A healthy relationship provides a safe space for a person to share their insecurities and have a healthy conversation about the problems in their relationship. However, in your case, an attempt to discuss your relationship issues directly results in a verbal vomit of how everything is your fault and how if you wouldn’t have done something, your partner wouldn’t have behaved in a bad manner.
You are extremely familiar with the blame-shifting narrative, and as a result, you have stopped conversing about your problems to your partner. The communication gap is becoming broader and broader, but there’s nothing you can do to alter that since you’re only going to be blamed more in return.
Related reading: Emotional abuse- 9 signs and 5 coping tips
4. You feel resentment towards your partner
There is no space for respect in your relationship. You avoid going home or talking to your partner. If you feel a sense of anger every time you think about your partner, it is proof that blame-shifting has affected your relationship and you are building resentment towards your significant other.
Irritability, dread, tiredness, etc. are all signs that you are resentful towards your partner and rightly so. Nobody can take incessant blames and always be the victim. Not everything can always be your fault. You realise that you are unnecessarily being blamed for your partner’s anger outbursts and the thought of just being with them makes you bitter. This also means that your relationship is heading towards a breach.
5. Intimacy is a lost concept in your relationship
Do you feel the need to be intimate, but you do not want the intimacy with your partner? If yes, that is a clear sign that the blame-shifting of the abuser is affecting your relationship in a way that cannot be altered.
Surely you wouldn’t want to be intimate with a person who constantly blames you for everything. You distance yourself from your partner and avoid entering the bedroom when they are in there. You do not know how to be intimate with your partner anymore, for a wrong move in bed would also be your fault. Save yourself from a loveless marriage before the abuser of blame-shifting ruins your life.
Of course, there are ways wherein you can make things better in your relationship and avoid the blame-shifting chronicle, but if your significant other is simply unable to have a sensible insight of their faults and you consistently continue to be the target of their fury, step away from that relationship. Blame-shifting is a type of mental harassment and emotional abuse and an abuser is less likely to make a change in his/her behaviour. A relationship full of blame games is an unhealthy relationship that you need to get out of immediately.