“Why can’t you just do things right?!”
If this is a line you hear often, it can definitely eat away at your self-esteem. Not only that, it can be quite frustrating, too. It takes a lot of maturity not to raise a white flag and just say “I quit!” right to their faces.
It gets harder if they’re someone very important to you like your father, your best friend, or your business partner.
If you’re suffering from being blamed for everything, here are 15 effective ways to deal with it.
I. Guard your sanity
1) Maintain a cool head
This is a must-do if you’re dealing with someone with negative personality traits.
As tempting—and easy—as it may be to let your temper soar, it’s important to hold yourself back.
The last thing you want is to give them even more ammo to shoot you with. Lose your temper, and they’ll find a way to use it to pin the blame on you. They might break a vase and then tell you “you shouted at me, so look at what you made me do!”
This doesn’t mean you have to endure it silently. If anything, by keeping a cool head you can better figure out how to deal with your situation.
2) Learn how to soothe yourself
When you’re stressed, what things help you calm down or feel good about yourself?
Things like chewing on candy, listening to soft jazz, or rolling marbles between your fingers, for example.
Give it some thought, and try to find a way to always have some kind of stress relief close at hand for the times when you feel like you might burst.
Even small distractions can help a lot when things become stressful, because they grant you a way to escape your situation mentally.
You may want to bring a small bag of candy around with you, for example. Or make sure you always have a fidget spinner in your bag. Try to address the root of the problem though or else you’ll ruin your teeth! But for the meantime, that will do.
3) Think happy thoughts
While thinking of good things might not solve anything, it can at least give you that cushion from your suffering.
It might help if you make a list of the things you’re grateful for and keep it in your wallet when you’re feeling incompetent and blue from being blamed for everything.
Go ahead and list down your achievements, your big dreams, the memories you’re fond of, the things that make you proud of yourself.
When you hear them rant about how you’re the reason the apartment is always dirty, remind yourself that while that is probably true, you’re leading an awesome life with lots of good things to be thankful for.
4) Remind yourself that they’re just a small part of your journey
Being blamed all the time can make us feel useless and insignificant—like we are and will never be good enough.
If you’re dealing with an especially hard-to-please mentor or boss, you might feel like you’re always just one mistake away from messing things up for good.
If you’re dealing with a nagging, overly-critical parent, you might feel like you’re simply good for nothing.
But that’s not true.
These people who keep on pinning the blame on you are just one of many you’ll meet in your journey through life.
They won’t matter so much ten or twenty years from now so don’t mind them too much and just focus on becoming the best version of you instead.
Also bear in mind that even though it doesn’t seem like it, right now, you’re good enough. And with every day that you live, you’ll only keep getting better.
5) Consider it a training
There’s nothing you might want but to run away from people who keep on pushing the blame on you. But sometimes you might just be unable to. Maybe you’re still dependent on them, or maybe you simply don’t have the resources to start over elsewhere.
For now, it might help to change your mindset instead—to consider the whole experience with them as training for your patience, kindness, and self-love.
People say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. That isn’t always true, because sometimes it’s up to you whether you’ll let something build you up or tear you down.
To make it a bit more fun, you may want to imagine yourself being a contestant in Hell’s Kitchen with Gordon Ramsey. Plenty of lessons you can learn from that, too.
Don’t focus on how you can transform them. Instead, focus on how you can use the experience to improve yourself.
6) Do not take it personally
It’s difficult not to take pointed comments and behavior towards you personally, especially if they do it to you all the time and even more so if they’re someone important to you.
Whoever they might be—may they be a lover, colleague, or groupmate—don’t think that their hurtful words define who you are as a person.
In fact, it’s quite possible that they’re projecting their issues on you. They’re using you as a scapegoat not because of what you’ve done, but because of the things going on inside their own minds.
Maybe they decided to dump all the blame on you, for example, because they thought you’re too cheerful. And maybe the reason they hated your cheer was because they used to be cheerful too, only to get mocked for it.
II. Do a bit of self-reflection
7) Ask yourself “Are they really always blaming me or does it just feel like it?”
Look, you definitely shouldn’t gaslight yourself. However, it could do you good if you do some self-reflection. While it’s true that they blame you for things, there’s a chance they don’t do it as often as what it feels like.
In order for you to answer this question, you have to pay attention to the frequency of your interaction and whether most of them are actually negative.
The best way to do it is by keeping a diary. Note down your negative and positive interactions for the day for at least two weeks. If they blame you for everything every single day, then that’s a toxic relationship you should get out of.
However, if you only note three bad interactions out of twenty, then either those three bad interactions were just especially severe… or it could be because you’re insecure and what they said just happened to trigger your insecurities.
Don’t take all of the blame, of course, but it’s something both of you should work on.
8) Ask yourself “Am I being too sensitive?”
It’s time to take a hard look at yourself—from the moment you’re born up to this day.
Do you consider yourself a sensitive person? In general, do you get easily offended?
Do you think people are too careless with their words? There’s of course, no shame in being sensitive. In fact, being a highly sensitive person has its gifts.
Asking these questions shouldn’t invalidate the fact that you’re dealing with someone toxic. It will just give you a better idea on how you can deal with the feeling of always being blamed.
9) Ask yourself “Did I really do something wrong?”
So it’s important to ask yourself if you actually did something wrong because it can erode your self-esteem if you just allow them to verbally abuse you.
Think of the last three or four instances that they blamed you for something. Replay them in your head and put them under a microscope.
Let’s say they blamed you for not waking up early because you’re late for an event. Ask yourself if you’ve actually committed an offense and if it’s a big one. Let’s say it’s a wedding…then of course, you did something wrong.
But let’s say that they blamed you for being lazy and that’s why you’re not earning enough, when it’s clearly not the case—you’re working 50 hours a week and you’re still looking for another job—then hey, you’re not doing anything wrong and they’re just mean and whiny.
If you think you really didn’t DO anything wrong, don’t allow their words to get to you.
10) Ask yourself “Do they have a problem?”
After analyzing yourself, of course you must analyze the person who constantly blames you.
Do they have anger management problems? Do they have very high expectations? Are their parents strict? You probably know them enough and it helps to understand what goes through their mind.
After that, ask yourself if they’re going through something. Did they tell you about a problem they’re worrying about? Maybe they’re just stressed, that’s why they blame you for things.
Some people are not good at handling stressful situations and if you believe this is the case, try to be patient and help them deal with their stress in a healthy way.
III. Try to investigate
11) Pay attention to patterns
There’s always a pattern or a common thread behind abuse or negative behavior, and figuring out exactly what that is will help you deal with the problem itself.
Think about when they’re most likely to put the blame on you.
For example, a colleague might make it a habit to blame you when they’re close to a deadline, or they might do it in front of their superiors to make themselves look better.
Another example would be the love of your life blaming you for anything that goes wrong every time they lack sleep.
When you’ve figured out the triggers and most likely scenarios when they’d begin dumping the blame on you, you can see it coming ahead of time and prepare for it both mentally and emotionally.
It can also give you clues on what to ask them to change.
12) Pay attention to how they treat others
If they blame others for everything too, then it’s probably time you just accept them for who they are. It doesn’t mean you’ll allow them to blame you all the time, but you should manage your expectations.
They are what they are, especially if they’re already old. Sure, they can still change but it will probably take a while.
However, if they’re nice and patient to others yet they blame you for everything, it could be a sign that they don’t respect you or have deep-seated anger towards you.
13) Identify the things they usually blame you for
It might feel like they’re blaming you for every single thing, but chances are, that’s not the case. No one would have that kind of energy even if they’re the grumpiest person in the world.
But let’s say they do blame you a lot. It’s time you list them down and categorize them.
For example, if they blame you for waking up late, for sleeping late, for not being on time, and for not paying the bills, you can see that there’s a common pattern. These are all related to poor time management.
Another example is if they blame you for your company’s bad performance because you didn’t do your part well, and for not getting a client because your presentation “sucked” because you’re up drinking till three in the morning. Both of these are connected to irresponsibility.
By identifying the root, you would know which ones you could possibly work on. They might be negative, but it doesn’t mean they’re totally wrong. It’s always good to know which areas you need to work on.
IV. Deal with it once and for all
14) If you’re sure you didn’t do anything wrong, defend yourself.
If they keep blaming you for things just because they can, put a stop to it.
There are some people who just enjoy bullying and putting the blame on people so they’ll feel superior. Show them you don’t tolerate this anymore.
But if they’re more superior than you or you have a delicate relationship—say they’re your boss or your wife—then you have to use gentle language. You also have to defend yourself in a very straightforward way, without frills or drama.
If they say “You’re the reason we’re late again!”, because you woke up late. Tell them “Yes, I woke up late again but I was already waiting for you five minutes before the set schedule.”
Of course they will refute, but make sure you don’t get emotional when you defend your case. Make it very clear to them that you will not accept the blame.
15) If you did something wrong, say sorry.
Those who often blame others are often controlling people, and most of the time, a controlling person would want a proper apology so you both can move forward.
It’s annoying but it could have a dramatic effect on how you treat each other.
And who knows, maybe they’ve been hurt all along that’s why they’ve been blaming you for everything.
Even if it’s something simple as you not turning off the faucet, you really should just say sorry to unclog the emotional tension.
16) Try to improve
You might say “But I’m not doing anything wrong”, and in that case, you’re truly with someone abusive. Get out right now before they suck the life out of you.
But generally, when we say that, and we’re dealing with someone who’s still sensible, it’s not ENTIRELY true. There may be some things that you’re doing that truly need improvement.
Go make some changes and make sure you monitor your milestones. You will need it the next time they attack you with blame.
For example, if you’re always late for 30 minutes, but you made changes and you’re now only late for five minutes every single day, you’re not perfect but you’re definitely improving. Tell them that the next time they blame you again.
17) Tell them how their behavior affects you
If you’ve been feeling this way for a long time already, it’s time you have a sit down talk and tell them you’re not okay with it anymore.
It’s difficult and your voice might be trembling but it’s something you have to do for yourself and your relationship.
Sometimes, some people aren’t aware of how they affect others and this might be all it takes for them to minimize what they’re doing.
Try to make sure you’re both relaxed (and even in a happy mood) when you do this. It could be just what you needed to do.
18) Teach them how to treat you right
We know that changing habits takes time. They won’t become nice overnight even if they tried, so be ready to play the role of a “guide”, helping them learn how to treat you right.
Sure, you might have your own flaws, and that might be why they keep on pushing the blame on you. But nobody is perfect and what’s important is that you’re trying to do your best to get better.
Both of you are entitled to human dignity— to not be treated like trash. So think about how you want to be treated and tell them.
For example, if they have some complaints about you, at the very least tell them to not say it in front of your kids or other people.
Or tell them that you prefer that they tell you directly instead of rolling their eyes and giving you a cold shoulder when they think you did something wrong again.
V. Protect yourself before it’s too late
19) Set boundaries
If they’re someone you can’t just walk away from, then the next best thing to do is to set clear boundaries.
If you have a toxic boss, ensure that they respect your personal hours by not taking their calls when you’re not at work—like when they decide to call you in the middle of the night, for example.
If they’re your parents, you don’t have to stay at the dinner table until they’re done giving you a lecture about the things you’re bad at. You can nod respectfully then excuse yourself.
If they’re your girlfriend or boyfriend, tell them not to call you at work just to complain about the way you wash the dishes.
You have to set very clear boundaries and they should allow you to eject yourself from toxic situations without taking it against you.
20) Find a good support system
It feels bad enough to take the blame for things that aren’t your fault, and it’s even worse when it happens all the time.
Go ahead and find the people who can help you deal with this—someone you can trust to protect your secrets and offer understanding. It can be your best friend, your loving grandma, or your therapist.
This is especially helpful if you can’t get away from the person who blames you.
Tell them how you feel, ask for their advice, allow yourself to be soothed with their words and attentive ears.
It’s difficult to deal with this alone. If you’ve done all the things above and your husband or wife still doesn’t change, you shouldn’t feel guilty for talking about your problems to your best friend. You’re not spreading gossip here, but crying out for help.
21) If all else fails, cut ties
Let’s say you’re a very patient person and you’ve improved a lot in accommodating their complaints about you…and yet, they treat you just the same or even worse. Well then, it’s time to pack up your bags and leave.
No relationship or job or career is worth it if your mental health and self-esteem has to suffer every day until you’re worn down into an empty shell.
That’s a fate worse than death. Trust me, there’s a better way to live.
Think about it like this. If you’re reading a book in the park and every five seconds a random kid throws a pebble at you. You tell them to stop throwing pebbles at you, but they don’t listen.
Do you stay there and just accept having pebbles thrown at you, or do you go elsewhere so that you can read in peace?
Most importantly, cutting ties will give you the tranquility you require to heal and move on.
Being with someone who keeps blaming you for everything will chip away at your self-esteem, and the longer you stay with them the greater the damage to your psyche.
They make you question your worth and abilities, making you fixate on your flaws while failing to acknowledge the things you’re good at.
If you’ve done everything you can but they still treat you badly, may this be a sign that you have to be proactive in protecting yourself from them.