If you’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist for a while you already know that every single thing that happens is your fault. If there is absolutely no way that it can be your fault then it will be his employer’s fault, the pastor’s fault, or even one of the kids’ faults.
It’s called the Blame Game and after a few years of being blamed for everything that happens you really do begin to take responsibility for everything whether it’s something you did or not.
It Isn’t Your Fault
It’s important for you to reprogram your brain to believe the truth – it isn’t your fault.
- His anger
- His rage
- The loss of his job
- His lack of success
Not one of those things is your fault, but he will be proclaiming your guilt for as long as anyone will listen. A narcissist can’t do anything wrong, he can’t fail, and he can’t make a mistake – it would crush his fragile ego. It’s much easier to find a scapegoat and pin it on them. That makes all the bad feelings go away.
And he can rationalize anything.
I got to the point where he didn’t even have to blame me anymore. I just accepted that it was my fault whatever “it” was.
- He lied because I over-reacted to everything.
- He cheated because he felt neglected, unloved, criticized, or all of the above.
- He gave up on our relationship because he couldn’t make me happy.
Blah, blah, blah.
I still tend to apologize for anything that happens. We upgraded our Internet and cable today and I apologized to the guy who came out to do it because there were problems and it took him six hours to get it handled instead of the one hour he planned. Was it my fault?
Of course not.
It’s Called the Blame Game
It is called the Blame Game and your favorite narcissist is a master at it. A narcissist will tear you apart emotionally and then when your feelings are shredded and you are in a heap on the floor he will sneer at you in disgust, “You are overreacting.”
He will show up for a lunch date an hour late and lament how inconsiderate you are because you have to leave. Once my ex-husband and I were to meet for coffee. He had a quick errand to run so I went ahead and ordered coffee for us both. I watched his coffee get ice cold as I sipped my cup, and then another cup. Over an hour later he sauntered in just as I was leaving. He totally couldn’t understand why I was angry and upset.
Obviously it was my fault because I had gone on ahead. By the time the day was over I was apologizing for overreacting and having a bad attitude.
You Experience a Constant State of Stress
When you are constantly wondering what you are going to be blamed for next you are in a constant state of stress and anxiety. Not only does that do awful things to your blood pressure you also end up with adrenal glands that are shot and weight gain from all of the cortisol that is being dumped into your system.
Since you never know when you are going to be blamed for something you become very insecure. Eventually, you can even start to accept the idea that it is your fault. You start to feel guilty and it just spirals downward from there.
That Evil Ex-Wife Black Magic
Even after he is out of the house things will continue to be your fault. The failed marriage is sure to be your fault. Any problems that the kids may have will be your fault. Even his financial problems will be your fault. You might as well get used to the idea that you will be the crazy ex-wife and every time he tells his story it will get more and more pitiful. Remember, he thrives on people’s sympathy. He positively sparkles when he gets those pats and “you poor thing” comments. He does it so well that those people he has collected since he left really do believe in your evil ex-wife black magic.
I have been accused of turning the kids away from their father. It doesn’t matter that he chose to move out of state, doesn’t call, and rarely visits – it is my fault. Me, and my evil ex-wife black magic.
Change Your Way of Thinking
It’s imperative that you begin to change your thought patterns. It isn’t your fault and it’s important that you stop allowing him to shift the blame over to you. It’s time that he shouldered the consequences of his own actions – you’ve shielded and protected him long enough.
He’s held the same cards and had the same opportunities as everyone else. It’s time to throw him in the deep end and let him sink or swim.
It’s best to keep your distance if possible. Tell your friends that you don’t want to know what he writes on his Facebook page. Deal with him through your lawyer whenever possible and when you do have to see him in person keep it businesslike. At first it takes concentration and constant vigilance to monitor your thought but it gets easier as time goes on.
Deflect, Deflect, Deflect
If he does happen to decide to blame you for something the most effective way to deal with it is to ignore it. This has taken me some time and I am still not great at ignoring his pointed comments and accusations. I’ll admit that sometimes they hurt.
The thing is? I am learning to remember the source. This is the man that changed jobs every couple of years – in 30 years of marriage I think the longest he held a job was 7 years. It was always someone else’s fault. I know from experience he can’t accept the blame for anything he has done and I also know that it won’t change.
Well, with one caveat. I have known narcissists to take the blame for something when they can do it in such a way as to get sympathy. They will say things that are exaggerated enough, and pitiful enough, that their audience is spellbound, hearts full of sympathy, and words of reassurance and comfort.
In the long run even when they do take the blame they somehow insinuate that it was your fault.
When these things happen, and they will, any way you react will feed his narcissism. If you get angry he’ll feed off of that energy like a hungry vampire. If you deny the accusations he is making you give credibility to what he’s saying. Ignoring it is your best bet.
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Lead Image Courtesy of Flickr's Creative Commons, User: Walt Stoneburner