Narcissists and other emotionally immature, self-absorbed disordered individuals typically have a lifelong pattern of blaming others, the world, inanimate objects, the dog, the weather, what their parents did to them 50 years ago, -isms and anything, everything, anyone and everyone but themselves for life not being the way they want it to be.
It’s always someone else’s fault. If you’re married to or divorced from someone like this, odds are you’re the preferred target of blame. Lucky you!
Common blame refrains include:
- I sacrificed my career for you and the kids!
- My boss doesn’t appreciate my genius!
- My coworkers had it in for me!
- You make me act this way!
- Only you bring out the worst in me!
- Other women hate me because they’re jealous of me!
- You ruined my life!
- You changed!
- It’s the dog’s fault we don’t have sex anymore! (*True client story. It was actually the narcissistic wife years of rejecting my client and her cruel personality that became a turn-off. Hanging out with the dog outside doing yard work was far more pleasurable.)
The blaming excuses are often some form of projection, gaslighting or outright lies. Blaming others is how they avoid taking responsibility for their actions and being held accountable for their actions. This stems from a fundamental lack of emotional and psychological maturity.
Very often children see themselves as the victim, no matter how aggressive or abusive their behavior is. Thinking of themselves this way gives them the ability, in their mind, not to take any responsibility—and if you don’t take responsibility, then you won’t have to change” (Lehman, EmpoweringParents).
The victim mentality is the result of distorted reasoning or thinking errors in troubled children and adults. Thinking errors allow them to blame others for their own behavior, not take responsibility for their actions and not make positive changes. Their distorted reasoning allows them to avoid thinking about how they hurt others.
This kind of person rarely does anything they don’t want to do. If they’re unemployed, it’s because they don’t want to work. Not because they’re making a sacrifice for you and the kids (especially true if you’re beseeching them to return to the workforce). If they fail a college class, upon investigation it’s because they didn’t fulfill the course requirements. They got fired because they were rude to customers and chronically late. Which, to be fair, the boss probably didn’t like.
When a narcissist/adult toddler blames others for their life circumstances, relationship failures, career troubles, etc., you can usually connect the dots directly back to the narcissist’s choices and behaviors. For example, not persevering at learning a skill, a job or a course of study when sustained effort is required, their volatile behavior, selfish attitudes, entitlement and dishonesty. These are all choices and behaviors that are entirely under each sentient being’s control.
The next time your narcissist tells you that you ruined their life, destroyed their career, the divorce is your fault or they don’t have friends because of you, twirl your imaginary mustache and marvel at your awesome powers. Then marvel at why the narcissist is still talking to you if you’re such a malevolent jerk. You are the great and powerful Oz!
Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries or send an email to email@example.com.
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