It's no fun being on the receiving end of constant accusations. Being blamed for things that are not your fault or not your intention can be a blow to your self-esteem, creating feelings of anger and resentment, as well as a rift in your relationship. While you can't control how other people treat you, you can do your best to deal with the situation in a mature and positive way.
Try to understand what causes this person to blame you. Putting yourself in the other person's shoes may help you pinpoint part of the problem. He may be placing blame on you because he has low self-esteem and wants to lessen any hard feelings on himself by making you responsible instead, says clinical psychologist Jack Ito in his blog post "When You Are Blamed for Everything by Your Spouse." This may be the only way he knows how to handle problems. On the other hand, he may have high expectations that are difficult to meet.
Stand up for yourself to gain respect. If you are the go-to blamee, the blamer has no respect for you. When you put up boundaries, the blaming will only hurt the blamer, because it won't be worth it to continue to accuse you, says Ito. Standing up for yourself will let the blamer know that you value yourself and believe that you deserve respect. In asking for the respect you deserve, be assertive but not aggressive, so -- if possible -- you can keep some peace in the relationship.
Practice positive communication to let the blamer know how her words hurt you. Use "I" statements to focus on how you feel and the actions you have taken, instead of placing the blame back on the person, advises physician and researcher Neil Farber in "5 Ways Blaming Hurts Relationships…" for Psychology Today. Saying, "I feel hurt when you blame me for causing us to be late, because I did my best to get here on time to beat traffic," will be better received than saying, "You always blame me for being late, but you took too long to get ready."
Focus on what he is really saying, not how he is saying it. Your friend may have a point about something you need to take responsibility for but may be delivering it in a negative way. If you can see his point through the yelling or exaggerations, you may be able to take away a bit of advice on how you can improve something in your life. If you want to save the relationship, try to be the bigger person, ignore his negative attitude and focus on what he is really saying, advises marriage and family therapist Don Elium in a blog post on his professional website.
Take full responsibility for your own feelings and know that you are not responsible for how others feel. It can be hard not to take accusations personally, but at the end of the day, you are only in control of your own feelings, says Elium. If the blamer accuses you of making her sad, angry or upset, remember that you are not responsible for her feelings, especially if you feel you haven't intended to hurt her. In the same way, when she comes to you with accusations and harsh words, it can be empowering to know that you do not have to take her words to heart if you do not want her negativity to affect your mood or feelings of self-worth.
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Sarah Casimong is a Vancouver-based writer with a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She writes articles on relationships, entertainment and health. Her work can be found in the "Vancouver Observer", "Her Campus" and "Cave Magazine".