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Narcissists and Blame Shifting: Understanding Control Tactics


In relationships with narcissists, a common and insidious tactic employed when their control is threatened is blame shifting. This manipulative strategy becomes more pronounced as the narcissist senses a diminishing hold over their victim. In this blog, we'll explore the dynamics of blame shifting, its psychological impact, and how victims can recognize and cope with this challenging aspect of narcissistic behavior.

Understanding Blame Shifting:

Blame shifting is a psychological defense mechanism that narcissists use to deflect responsibility for their actions. When their control over a victim is jeopardized or diminishing, they instinctively shift the blame onto the victim. This serves a dual purpose: maintaining the narcissist's perceived superiority and undermining the victim's sense of self-worth.

The Narcissist's Need for Control:

Narcissists thrive on control and manipulation to feed their insatiable need for admiration and validation. As the victim begins to assert independence or question the narcissist's behavior, the narcissist may resort to blame shifting as a means of reasserting dominance and preserving their distorted self-image.

Recognizing Blame Shifting:

Understanding the signs of blame shifting is crucial for victims seeking to break free from the cycle of manipulation. Common indicators include:

1. Deflection: The narcissist avoids taking responsibility and shifts the focus away from their actions.

2. Gaslighting: Manipulative tactics to make the victim doubt their own reality or memory.

3. Projection: Assigning their own negative traits or actions to the victim.

4. Invalidation: Dismissing the victim's concerns or emotions as unwarranted.

Psychological Impact on Victims:

Blame shifting can have severe psychological effects on victims, including self-doubt, anxiety, and a distorted perception of reality. Victims may internalize the blame, leading to a cycle of guilt and confusion that further empowers the narcissist's control.

Coping Strategies for Victims:

1. Educate Yourself: Understanding narcissistic behavior is the first step to breaking free. Knowledge empowers victims to recognize manipulative tactics and regain control over their lives.

2. Establish Boundaries: Clearly define and enforce boundaries to protect yourself from further manipulation.

3. Seek Support: Reach out to friends, family, or a mental health professional who can provide emotional support and guidance.

4. Practice Self-Care: Prioritize your well-being through self-care activities, such as meditation, exercise, and engaging in hobbies.

Breaking Free:

Ending a relationship with a narcissist is a challenging process, but recognizing the manipulation and seeking support are crucial steps toward liberation. By understanding blame shifting and its impact, victims can embark on a journey of healing and reclaiming their autonomy.


Blame shifting is a potent weapon in the narcissist's arsenal, designed to maintain control and undermine the victim's sense of self. By shedding light on this manipulative tactic, we empower individuals to recognize, resist, and ultimately break free from the toxic dynamics of narcissistic relationships. Remember, healing is a journey, and seeking support is a courageous step towards reclaiming a life free from manipulation and control.

Dr Purity Carr

GP& Menopause Doctor

Harvey, WA

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