Am I to blame?


I’ve put this here because I am not sure if I have this core belief that I am to blame.

I’ve been blamed for things my whole life. I took on all the problems at home alone with my mother who was mentally ill, when I was a youngster.

I’ve had an abusive relationship where he continues to blame everything on me. He’s the father the of my son, can’t get rid of him.

I attract men who are nasty to me verbally, and get blamed again for things going south.

When do I start to accept that it maybe is me?

But then people tell me to not blame myself?

But I’m the common denominator in all of the situations in my life.

But then am I just taking all the blame?

Am I alone because nobody wants to be around me? Or because I pull myself away from people because people for me = fear.

I’m genuinely trying to figure this out. Is the problem me? Or am I taking the blame because it’s easier to? Is there a middle ground. Help me get out of this loop! I hope someone can resonate with the way I’m feeling/thinking right now?


Yes I understand, I had a similar conversation with my counselor recently. Some people just pick on and abuse vulnerable people because it makes them feel good to unleash their anger and abuse at someone. Their is a thing called "the internal and external locus". Internal is acknowledging your own faults and external is other people's faults. With abusers, everything is the fault of someone else.

My advice is set boundaries with people. When someone starts having a go at you and abusing you say to them "stop having a go at me!, why are you treating me like this?!" "I won't tolerate it".

Everyone makes mistakes and no-one is perfect but as for being the "common denominater", I think that's to much self blame. Give yourself a break my friend. 🙂


gentle empathy, jr. i share the tendency to blame myself for all the evil of the world and if you won't blame me, i'll find someone who will.

sigh. . .
works in progress. . .

what i currently call, "the blame game" is huge within my own psycho snot knots. the further i get into my recovery, the less sure i am which thread to blame for my blame game habits and the less sure i am that there is any point, whatsoever, in playing the game. knowing who and/or what to blame doesn't seem to fix a thing. it only seems to keep me more focused on the problems than the solutions. at this stage in my recovery, i am working on radical acceptance of my blame game habits so i can set them aside long enough to focus on solutions. it's okay if that didn't make a lick of sense to you. i'm not sure it makes sense to me, either, but it seems to be working better than my psychotic business-as-usual.


I think a good way to think about it is about actions and reactions.

Like @Survivor3 said, abusers will blame the victim of their own behaviour instead of acknowledging their own behaviour, and for doing that they’re going to look into something into the victim’s profile, stuff victim’s said to or done to them, projections, conjectures, circumstances, or even their own past as a justification to explain how f*cked up they are. Basically anything that takes them away from having made an action. So they can place themselves as having been wronged and being only just responding to something that happened.

And where it gets tricky is that in a sense it’s true: they are responding to something that happened, whatever it is. But it doesn’t mean it’s justified or right. Responsibility is distinct from causes.

i.e., hitting someone ’because’ they were yelling doesn’t erase the fact the action is a hit and it’s not proportional with the yelling. Is yelling okay? Might not. But hitting isn’t okay neither. And it’s a serious escalation, it’s not just yelling back. So it’s not proportionate.

i.e., yelling at someone because they’re annoying also constitutes an escalation and it’s justified even if the annoying behaviour is a trigger. That’s the kind of thing someone says they’re sorry for and then not continue to do, because keeping yelling at someone over time builds up intimidation and constitute abuse.

The way a victim does trigger or even responds to an action doesn’t change anything. Responsibility is responsibility.
If someone did hit me because I yelled it doesn’t make my yelling better, or their hit okay.
If I forgive the hit it doesn’t mean I accept it as okay.
Even if I blamed myself and accepted it as okay it wouldn’t make it okay.

And God knows how people who do lash out and/or control and abuse do end up finding people who are less likely to respond with correct boundaries or are incapable of enforcing them enough. Simply because the others would have made themselves safe.

Now not being able of protecting ourselves from someone else’s doesn’t mean we are to blame. It’s not the same kind of situation of walking on a puddle because not looking in front of you. A puddle doesn’t have any will.

That we can do something to avoid to be harmed by others? To a certain extent, yes. And even then, we can’t take luck out as a factor. Sometimes there wasn’t anything that could be done to prevent the harm from happening. But it doesn’t mean that you’re to blame for what others did to us.

And it’s also knowing that that we can efficiently adjust our actions to create the conditions where good things are more likely to happen than bad ones. I find what’s difficult with this is that it’s not a 0-or-1 situation, it takes a certain amount of time to see the results of our actions and/or the same actions don’t always make us get the same results.

So even you’re the ’common denominator’ of problems, it doesn’t mean that the problem is you or that you caused these problems to happen.

The same way of being has resulted me in making some friends but also people who really don’t like me. Of having a nice relationship and another that was violent. There were things that I could have understood before, learned or controlled to avoid or foster things I wanted or not, but not all. Identifying the ones from the others is difficult at times.

Sometimes it’s even the context.

The trait that makes me real nice to the people I love and don’t give up easy made me have very long and good friendships but also the ones that kept me in a violent relationship. It doesn’t mean I was wrong, it means I couldn’t identify or efficiently predict what was going to happen and take the required actions to prevent it.

Being avoidant and sometimes hostile might have helped me avoiding a lot of jerks in my life, but it also made me miss opportunities or scare people off, and it also contributed to isolate myself and sometimes feed explosive situations. Now this too I can try to adjust to have a better ratio of results.

Perhaps one thing that happens is that when we blame ourselves it’s that big thing that entails what we are, while having responsibility and being accountable is about what we do?

I hope this helps.


I used to feel this way a lot. My ex blamed me for everything that went wrong, and he also would tell me I blamed him for a lot of things. I didn't. Since he liked to assign blame a lot he projected that I did too. I personally don't think it helps anything to assign blame. It doesn't further understanding.

I think the trick to not attracting verbally abusive men is to look for the red flags, then get rid of them before you get too involved. If, and I don't know if this is true for you, they are verbally abusive by the 4th or 5th date, there shouldn't be a 6th. Especially if they are showering you with love. Those are big red flags.


Don’t take credit for someone else’s actions… good or bad.

Don’t cut your own balls off by teaching yourself to be helpless… with no -or crippled- ability to make choices, make mistakes, get lucky, learn; f*ck up or triumph.

That’s the sweet spot in figuring out where responsibility lies, IME.


Policy Enforcement
My game plan, still in progress, is to begin from a place of recognition that I have something of a brain condition, which is the product of abuse when I was a boy. It's not my fault that the helpless child was hurt by his protectors. And it's not my fault that as an adult, the shockwaves of that abuse provide extremely difficult challenges to overcome.

Starting there lets me avoid adding shame on top of the challenges already present. So when I ask, 'why am I like this? why can't I be like normal people?' I can say, you are doing your best, with the hand you were dealt. We don't shame here.

From there, I look at my behaviour and habits and how I conduct my life, and knowing what I do about the way my brain works, try my best to make the best decisions I can, and to treat people as best I can.

I'll use the example of a close friend of mine to illustrate this. He had a very terrible divorce, and from the outside looking in, I suspect he had a lot of anger towards women. He kept getting into hardcore BDSM relationships with women, which involved a lot of humiliation and so on. Not my scene, and whatever consenting adults want to do is fine by me. But one day, after the fourth person he started dating wanted to engage in that kind of thing, he said, "Wow, how weird is it that I keep dating women who want me to do XYZ?" I gently suggested that maybe it's not luck or chance that he's drawing a particular kind of person into his life. He sort of balked until, at work, a female coworker told HR that she didn't feel safe being alone with him.

He never did anything. He never made any untoward comments. But he had a vibe. A kind of...threatening, brooding vibe. And I think part of that vibe came from unresolved stuff about how his wife left him.

So his challenge was to recognize first that he had this pain, then do his best to work on that in his daily life. He's now married to a lovely woman, and on his way to becoming a father.

(As an aside, his wife once asked me what he was like before they met. She'd be VERY surprised at who he was before he worked through his issues)


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I am going to simplify as simple as I can so please take what may appear beneficial to you and toss the rest back right at me...probably all of it!

At minimum, I see two views. One is perhaps you are in a abusive relationship and no matter what you do or dont, you will keep feeling this cause you cannt get dry while swimming. The only solution is to get out and sit in the shore for a while.

The other is more complex so will try again - you have tendencies of whoever abused you and you are not conscious of it(it is layered deeply in your personality) so you are not aware of how you may acting as the parent/adult who abused you - just like they were subtle with their abuse of you - you too can be subtle of your own behaviour (it may not be abusive from your own intention but you can be repeating what was taught to you in the abuse process) and those around you - are pushing it back - the push back seems "blame to you" cause you never learned the pushback...yourself.

it is like are they blaming you or they are protecting themselves?

In short, you can be pushing their boundaries and not recognizing ouch stop from them and confused cause again you do not see it yourself - this is not a blame - it is how trauma gets around forever. This layering of acting out of trauma can be so layered - the outcome is infinite.

How to distinguish is obviously a long therapy and safe space but from my perspective - if you are in abusive relationship - the choice is leave.

If you know from your experience you are not in abusive relationship but confused truly about this then it could be trauma blindness and the best is therapy and play a role to see the thread of confusion and be willing, humble, and curious to untangle you from the abuse and its consequences. This is not intuitive and requires letting go of something - only you know that or will know that as you process.

If I blame you something for sure you did not do, it does not go to the gut level to is superficial. If you are bodily reacting, ruminating, and carrying it in your head trying to solve it in its infinite outcomes, it is trauma and therapy can help much more deeply.


If you know from your experience you are not in abusive relationship but confused truly about this then it could be trauma blindness and the best is therapy and play a role to see the thread of confusion and be willing, humble, and curious to untangle you from the abuse and its consequences. This is not intuitive and requires letting go of something - only you know that or will know that as you process.
Please define trauma blindness? I’m not currently in any relationship. My mind is only clear enough to sort anything when alone.


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oh I am sorry @JRRTG I was using the "trauma blindness" as metaphor. It is not something existing as it is. It is what we all try to recover from - the stain of the abuse we endured. However, speaking of real senses, I learned personally I lose my vision when dissociating so I may not notice the expression of others' face if I am in dissasociatitive state. I also learned a friend of mine who has a lot of abuse that she cannot hear the therapist when triggered.

It is really layered response sometime so deep that I would not be a good position to point out yours. I can tell you that examples from my own life that may make sense. For example, I feel criticism quite deeply but I often choose to forcefully by pass. Feel it and dismiss it as "I get the jab but I will let it go" except I do not it goes a lower layer and I see a bit of posturing in my body language or silence taking over the energy between me and whoever I felt criticize me. Sometimes I will ruminate on it and try to build myself back up (basic narcissistic injury). Then eventually I realize two things: I could say ouch that hurt when a person does it to me (take a chance at being hurt and vulnerable), often people say ooh I did not mean that or double down to "you misunderstand me" and blahhha...either way, my hurt is real and their response is OK but the experience usually just dissolve much faster than when I do not say anything and keep it for later rumination - which can work itself to I do not care or baseline hostility of "they better not do it again" or closing myself off to them - all not real plans but again rumination. You see it is complicated.

Eventually what I realize was the criticism was a thing but my rumination was bigger....and I start to ask am I annoyed at this event or deeper (the deeper the trauma the freakiest of this exercise). I am digressing and feeling it is too complex for me to articulate but I hope you get it.

Another one maybe simpler is my husband gets low back pain (often so severe that he cannot get up) and over the years I would blame myself that maybe the fight we had cause him to swallow his anger and now his anger is hurting him (very child like blaming here but it is real feeling for me and I have had it for a long time) then one day many years later. My husband woke up one day and said, I think I know why I have the lower backpain because I am 6'5 and all these doors in the house are too low and just to avoid (or be mindless), I am always a bit lowering my head...sort of from the tip that he even walks with somewhat (what I thought) a swagger but it was just lowering his body from the hip. When he said it with conviction of his own understanding of his body, I could not believe my ears and also my whole body was relieved and I realized how poison it is to believe I have such a control or power to impact others so big and take it on me! After that, I actually became less intense when he express his pain.

Hope this makes sense. I am not clever enough to make all these observations - years of therapy also shed some light!