Home > Shift the blame to responsibility | Handle Blame-Shifting

Shift the blame to responsibility | Handle Blame-Shifting

Take responsibility; easier said than done.

Humans are wired with genes that have an in-built defense mechanism, i.e., an immunity system. However, immunity cells, antibodies, and proteins don’t blame each other for the foreign invasion but step forward to take their respective roles in saving our body from illness. I love the way our cells take responsibility for our bad diet or lifestyle instead of blaming.

Blaming is also a form of defense mechanism, just in the wrong way. We become victims of blame-shifting when we feel unworthy. It all starts with the powerless emotion that ultimately turns into narcissistic behavior when left ignored.

What is blame-shifting?

Blame shifting is an attempt to put the responsibility of the mistake on others. It is a form of emotional abuse and mental harassment so that the abuser can enjoy the benefits of sympathy.

It is also very subtle because sometimes we don’t know if we are raising boundaries or blaming.

Why do you blame them, or do they blame you?

It is a symptom of feeling like a powerless victim of someone or something. We use blaming as a distraction, away from our own responsibility or our ability to respond away from recovering our own inner power.

Usually, narcissistic behavior begins with blame-shifting habits. When you can’t admit to your mistakes, flaws, or failures, it creates a craving to feel somehow super important, which leads to turning the tables. Then, an irresistible control to remain as the center of importance begins.

While you are in the middle of an argument, if you find yourself trying to prove the other person wrong rather than finding a solution, you are playing the blame game. You are keen on ensuring that your worthiness is boasted, and nobody identifies your mistake. In short, exaggerated self-importance but low self-esteem.

But why do you do this?

As we grow, we have been hurt, betrayed, and tossed around with no valid reasons. This leads us to create walls as a defense mechanism. So, it is common for us to sometimes not admit to our mistakes because we fear what might flow after that. To stay safe, our mind activates blaming behaviors.

Also, when you are continuously exposed to a narcissistic environment, you would have infected the same within you. Everything needs to be about you because the pain caused by them made you turn a bit stubborn.

But do you think that blaming others will help you to rise above your miseries?

When you blame others for every adverse occurrence, you will never understand the power of self-confidence. Although if you know the other person has done wrong to you, there is a part where you can still take some responsibility for yourself. When acceptance happens inside, the outside will not find fault with others.

How to Handle Blame Shifting?

Well, there are two possible places where we often get into arguments—work and marriage. These two places make up our most human relationships. When you blame your colleagues, you lose your financial and personality growth. In marriage, blaming leaves a painful scar because you damage the tranquility of an entire family. It runs deeper than you realize.

a) At the workplace

Imagine you are a product manager at a global brand company. Your CEO has given you a year’s timeline to launch an app like Tik-Tok to take over the global entertainment market.

You have successfully designed, developed, and are ready to launch it. Unfortunately, your technical team failed to run a few tests; the app crashed. There was an enormous loss to your company because of that unpleasant surprise. Your boss calls in for a discussion with your whole team.

What do you say to him?

“I didn’t do anything wrong. It was them, the tech people’s fault.”

If you claim fault on the tech team, you lose your opportunity to become a self-confident person to save yourself from the boss’s wrath. Instead, if you accept that you failed to double-check the deliverables before the launch day, you would have actually gained the self-confidence to fix it.

When we blame our colleagues for everything, we miss the chance for our career growth.

Handling conflicts at work by seeking a solution rather than throwing people under the bus will shape you into a strong soul. Taking responsibility also gives you a leadership outlook.

So, to handle conflicts at the office without becoming the victim or making other victims,

here are some ground rules you can set for yourself,

1. Always put the objectives of the projects or tasks as the top priority at all costs.

2. Work for both your personal and company’s growth.

3. Accept only your faults. Never play the role of Mother Teresa in office. If something is escalated, accept only what is your mistake in it. For the rest of it, stay put without roping in your colleagues.

4. Don’t point out the mistakes of your teammates or colleagues. Instead, give them constructive feedback. If you have to criticize something, start with a positive note.

5. Stay away from people who fan your emotional flames. When you are angry, sad, or emotionally vulnerable, there might be few who want to exploit that. Look out for the well-wishers and well-pushers (the one who pushes you into well)

6. Never gossip about your personal life at the office. When you chat about your personal life, you are giving away your healthy boundaries. Practically you are volunteering to become a victim of blame-shifting behavior. No matter how bad your personal life is, keep it private.

b) At marriage

Marriage without conflict is pasta without sauce. It doesn’t stick together. Arguments make the couple bond more but when done in the right way. Most of us blame our spouses for all the misfortunes. If the kid is throwing some tantrums, then it is our spouse’s fault. If we did not have a good day, it is their fault. All these never-ending ripples are toxic. Also, when you hold them responsible for your happiness, you are enslaving them.

I understand marriage requires two people to work and fix things but to begin that work, it needs a trigger from one, and that can be you.

To stay happy in wedlock, you need to practice a few things from below to argue healthily without damaging each other’s self-respect.

1. Accept your mistakes to yourself. If you are guilty of something, don’t cover it up by pointing to your spouse’s behavior as a reason. His/her behavior should not influence you to do something negative. For example, if your partner is cheating, not spending time, or avoiding you, don’t take that as a validation of your own faults.

2. Take responsibility for yourself. Don’t accept their mistakes as yours, but you cannot deny yours. Find ways to take responsibility for your desires, your mistakes, your life, and your actions. Start from you to have more power to channel your emotions in a positive direction.

3. Don’t bring irrelevant issues. While arguing or discussing, avoid referring to what they did last summer night at 8 PM. Discuss what is required for the present conflict.

The past is static, but the current argument is dynamic, focus on solving the present, not the past.

4. Correct your attribution errors. Blame-shifting can often be explained as a classic case of fundamental attribution error. In simple words, we often attribute our spouse’s actions to their personality and character. However, we often attribute our own behaviors to external situations and factors out of our control when it comes to us.

5. Distract your distractions with affirmations. Psychoanalysts say that we have a defense mechanism built-in because we lack insight into our unhealed wounds. These lead to building a coping mechanism that triggers blame-shifting in us to stay safe inside our raised walls. Instead, watch your feelings, accept them and take them forward to work on them. Don’t divert your feelings and emotions.


Self-discipline is the center of all material success; you cannot win the world if you can’t win the battle against your own mind. So to win in life, I think it begins with you.

To accept that our flaws require disciplining our own minds through lifestyle, diet, and other mindfulness habits. It takes time to do this. Besides, it is normal to slide a few steps back while climbing a wall unless you don’t give up. With a few emotional support systems from regular coaching, you can gain the power to stop being a victim.

I request you to listen to the podcast of Christy and me discussing our own journey in blame-shifting behavior. The conversations will enlighten you on the common scenarios of conflicts and how you can tackle them in multiple ways without being a victim to the blame-shifting behavior.


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