Narcissist’s Play the Blame Game

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Blame is the foundation of domestic violence. While it may be theoretically possible to dominate another person without using blame, such as in a prison, in a domestic relationship, blame is essential to both implement and disguise power and control.

Blame is placing the entire responsibility for one’s unpleasant actions, consequences, and feelings on another person or external event, and insisting that others agree. Airing a grievance is not necessarily blame if the injured party still takes responsibility for their own actions. Narcissists are recognizable by the primacy that the act of blaming plays in their relationships. Survivors may not recognize the relentlessness and the controlling function of blame. They may believe that the primary aggressor is trying to help them or the relationship by bringing flaws into focus.

In reality it is not possible to productively address any issue with blame because at least one partner is not taking responsibility. The purpose of blame is to weaken the partner, and blame often erupts most strongly when the survivor is acting independently or strongly. Blame may also be practiced somewhat indirectly (see the list below).

Less Obvious Ways to Blame

  • Constantly shifting the focus onto the survivor’s behaviors. This is the core maneuver of an abusive relationship.
  • Taking on the role of ‘victim.’. Results in life are mostly the consequences of one’s choices, with a little bit of other people’s actions thrown in. To be a victim is to ignore the  one’s ability to make choices, and insist that other peoples’ choices are all that matter.
  • Talking about all the things done for the survivor, which at a minimum blames the other for being ungrateful and exploitative. It is like an attempt to obligate the other person to respond the way the primary aggressor wants, which is controlling.
  • Insisting that interpersonal conflict has a “right” and a “wrong” to it, and explaining in a pressured way how one is right. This is an attempt to make any difference or disagreement into an injury against the primary aggressor.
  • Feeling and acting entitled. If done well enough, the survivor’s not giving what is wanted starts to look like an injury to the primary aggressor.
  • Feigning compassion and understanding for the survivor, and then going on and on about how their outrageous behavior exceeds the primary aggresor’s otherwise huge capacity to forgive. This is still changing the focus to the survivor’s behavior and acting the victim.
  • Labeling the other person’s point of view ‘crazy,’ or irrational. This can be done to any disagreeing point of view, but often is used to discount another person’s feelings or perceptions. Men are more likely to label a woman’s feelings crazy.
  • Talking endlessly about reasons, but avoiding talking about actions. This is called justifying. Everyone has ‘good’ reasons for what they do, including violence. Actions, however, are how control is maintained in an abusive relationship.

Posted on April 7, 2014, in Narcissism. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. How can people like this be helped?

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  2. One day I woke up. Everything clicked. My eyes opened. It wasn’t me. It was him. I’m in a relationship with a narcissistic man.

    God he made me fall fast. Complementing me. Repeatedly saying I was the best girlfriend in the world. Telling me how lucky he was that he had found me. He had just gotten out of a bad relationship and I was his next victim. He made an effort to show off how happy we were. I honestly thought it was genuine. Boy was I wrong..

    Shortly in to our new relationship (by short I mean months).. the subject of children came up. I was so confident I had found the one. My family loved him. He was affectionate. He was always close to my side. And I mean close! He spent the night before we officially started dating.. and he never left. It didn’t take us long to become pregnant.

    He was ecstatic about becoming a father. But something seemed off. I started to realize things… At his family get togethers if they were playing a game and he was in the lead he would brag and put others down.. but once the tables were reversed and he was teased he became irate. I just assumed it was my hormones that were triggering the tension between us. He would push my buttons. Telling me that my mother never loved me and that my father was never in my life. Pushing my past in my face. I had dated around for a year after a bad break up and he called me a slut for that. He would remind me that I was the most filthy woman he had been with. Of course he had basically only dated virgins. Latter he admitted he didn’t feel confident enough to have sex with an experienced woman, and that’s why he seeked out inexperienced partners..He would tear me down to tears and then bear hug me when I tried to get space. He wouldn’t let go of me. I lashed out and became physically abusive towards him.. he said hurtful things and then once the tears came he would try to scoop in and not give me a chance to have my space. I snapped. And he used it against me. Making me feel that our relationship was suffering because I was abusive to him. He was emotionally abusive to me and I was oblivious to the fact that the issue was not from me.

    At the beginning half of the relationship I was making great money. His view as he stated was that because I made the most money I should be responsible for all the bills, and his money would be his. I made it very clear that I would not be in a relationship on those terms. None the less my money provided the funds for most of our outings. Dinner out, movies, vacations. All paid by me. It’s not like he had a decent job anyways..

    His birthday came around and I wanted to make it a special day for him. He had never really been given a proper birthday cake or celebration from what he had told me. I paid $200 for a custom small cake. Arranged to take him to a museum he was interested in with his brother and sister in law. I made a special shirt for our baby to wear celebrating his birthday, and then paid for a nice dinner out for everyone. When we got home I presented him with the kindle book he had been hinting he wanted. Months latter when my birthday came… nothing. Not even a card. He seemed dumbfounded when I locked myself in our room crying. Finally late afternoon he got up off the couch… I’m sure in an effort to shut me up.. and went to the store. He returned home and pushed a card under the door. I ripped it to shreds. I popped the ballon and threw away the cake. I couldn’t believe that my once Prince Charming could be so cold to me after I had done so much for his birthday. Soon I came to realize not to expect anything on my birthday, Valentine’s Day, Mothers day or to even expect any candy in my Christmas stocking we had hung together. But if something wasn’t done for him I wouldn’t hear the end. Fathers Day approached and I of course did my best to make it a special day. He had complained that he didn’t have nice clothes. So I went and bought him a few hundred dollars of nice clothes. I wrapped them with a gift receipt in case he wanted to exchange anything. I paid for a weekend trip to Disney. We ate at nice restaurants. And on the way home he mentioned he had never been to the cheese cake factory. Of course I treated him to his first dinner at a cheese cake factory that night. While we were eating I asked him if he liked his Father’s Day weekend. Silly me thinking I had gone above and beyond and he would be appreciative.. nope. He casually mentioned that what would really make his weekend great was a new tattoo. He asked if we could go get it done. I was completely tapped out of money. We had easily blown through 2 grand that weekend. Any normal human would understand. Not him. He became irate that I didn’t have any money left for the tattoo he desperately wanted to get. All the gifts and luxuries I had showered him with in the past 48 hrs didn’t matter. We got into a huge fight.
    Not too long after the wonderful Father’s Day weekend he ended up breaking his iphone. I offered to pay the insurance on the phone but he wanted to switch to a Samsung model and instead of the $150 insurance it would cost $700. He again became irate and we got into a fight. Finally he apologized and said he’d be happy with $150 for the insurance. Only he came home with a different phone. He took my money and had his mother cover the rest.. Class act..

    We started talking about a second child. He wanted them exactly two years apart.. so it was time to start trying. I brought up wanting to get married and he promised it would happen before our second child was born. I became pregnant on the first try. Towards the middle of my pregnancy I brought up marriage again. Any time I mentioned it, he would snap! He wasn’t ready, stop pushing him into it… I was dumb founded. He had voiced it before, he was the one to bring it up. Then it became my fault. I wanted too expensive of a ring. My expectations weren’t reasonable. So I showed him a ring under $100. It was a nice swavorski crystal band. I thought I had solved his issue and made something manageable. He bought it! I was ecstatic. We would finally become the family I had wanted and I would have the same last name as both our children. Only moments latter he handed me the bag and said “Here put this on”. Really? My heart sank. I was completely crushed. He didn’t want to be a family with me. He was making excuses and I pushed him into a corner. He was just trying to shut me up.

    I was seven months pregnant with our second. He was working nights and sleeping on the couch during the day. We were planning to get together with his family one day and he was going to nap until they called us. His phone went off.. so I picked it up thinking it was his brother. It was a random number saying hey. He snatched the phone out of my hand. When I asked him who texted him he bluntly lied to my face that it was no one. So that night I pulled up his phone records. The number that texted him had been in contact with him constantly for weeks at all hours of the night when he was working. My heart sank. I called the number. A girl answered and I asked her what her name was. She responded. I asked her how she knew him, and she hung up. So I called and confronted him. His story was it was a female at work that needed help. I asked to go with him to work the following night(he delivered newspapers) he snapped at me that he didn’t want to be stuck in the car for hours with me and would not let me ride with. It was never an issue in the past.. I questioned more about the woman who had hung up on me..She was happily married and they were just friends according to him. I reached out to her husband and showed him the phone records. She came clean to her husband that they were sleeping together. Even after they were caught she was willing to still see him. He must have had her in really deep. To think they were having sex in my SUV at night right behind our kids car seats while I was in the last trimester of my pregnancy is the most disgusting thing I can imagine. The day that I had proof of his infidelity he became infected with staph, bad. Talk about karma! Me being the kind hearted person I am ended up taking care of him when I should have dumped him right then and there. He of course blamed his cheating on me. I wasn’t treating him right and I pushed him away. Any time I talked about leaving he would cry his eyes out and say he hated himself for hurting me.

    A few months latter our second daughter was born. In the hospital I noticed the mom I shared a room with interacting with her husband. The connection they had. The way he talked to her and was so affectionate. Not once did he kiss me or have an intimate sincere moment with me in the hospital. It broke my heart. But it was my fault. I wasn’t good enough to him.

    I became deeply depressed, and decided to see a therapist. I ended up on anxiety and depression medication. Any time I voiced an issue with him he would just ask if I had taken my meds. “Just go take your medicine.” I heard that almost daily. It was my fault. I was the one on medicine so surely the issue was mine?..
    Then he started to call my psychotic. I had a temper and I admitted that so maybe he was right I thought..

    Over the following three years I told him I need some sort of affection. I worked so hard to curb my anger towards him. I built up a business with him. I stayed home and take care of our family and worked our business from home. I always figured we could work on getting back to being a close loving couple like we use to be. Then one day it clicked. I had done everything to change and make an effort and he was completely emotionally detached from me. He had been for years. I flat out asked him.. do you think your a narcissist? He just kinda laughed and nonchalantly said “of course I am I thought you knew.”

    The problem isn’t me. It never has been. I have fought seven years for something that will never evolve. That ends now. I deserve love. I deserve compassion. I will not tolerate the emotional abuse any longer. He will no longer trigger my emotions or hold my happiness hostage. I will get out.

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  3. This is so awesome to read. It points out all of the experiences I have had with a narcissist and blame. Now is the best way to end it is zero communication and just learn from it…..?

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  4. May I use excerpts for my magazine.
    What u have done here can help so many
    952 232 9777

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  1. Pingback: The Abuser’s Blame Game | Diary of a mad white woman

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