5 Phrases The Narcissist Uses To Blameshift



It is fundamental that we remain unaccountable for our actions. One of the most effective ways of avoiding this accountability, provoking you and leaving you exasperated and stunned is to engage in blame-shifting. We are the blame shifters who will always use this form of manipulation in our ceaseless quest to maintain the upper hand.

Not only is it the case that we believe we are entitled to complete immunity for what we say and do, occasioned by our innate superiority, we also believe it to be necessary for us to be able to gather fuel as often and as effectively as we do. If we were slowed down by having to make meaningful apologies, explain ourselves, account for what we have done and accept responsibility for the consequences this would absorb time that would be far better spent in the pursuit of fuel. Hampering us in such a way would result in us becoming weaker since we would not be able to gather as much fuel as usual. It is therefore necessary, so we remain sleek, effective and light of foot, for us to never be concerned about accountability and also to never allow responsibility to rest with us. As with many of our machinations, this approach also allows us to gather fuel in itself by the imposition of blame on others, usually you and the astonished and outraged emotional response which then flows from this staggering act of walking away scot free. As ever, words are our best allies when it comes to throwing off the attempt to make us assume the mantle of responsibility. Here are five of our favourites.

  1. What do you expect me to do about it?

 A delicious subtle piece of blame-shifting to begin with. We do not even state that we regard it as your fault, your responsibility or your liability with this question. Nevertheless, the implication is clear – we expect you to do something about it because we do not ‘do’ responsibility, your role is to clear up after us and you signed up to that role when you accepted our overtures. Did you miss that term of the contract? Don’t blame us, that’s your own fault.

I regularly brag about how brilliant and special I am. That I have many talents and if I so chose I could remedy many situations within moments, but notwithstanding this being the stance that I adopt to the world at large, I am not going to do that with you. Not a chance. I am not here to pick up the pieces after you, although I expect you to do so for me repeatedly. I can do as I like and you are obliged to make good the damage that I cause – collect the broken pieces of crockery, apologise to the shell-shocked friend after an outburst, try to solve the financial headache that we have left. If you have caused a problem, and let’s face it, it is always your fault anyway, you cannot expect me to do something about it. I am above such menial tasks. I have important and bigger things to attend to. Such as? I don’t have to explain myself to the likes of you. If I caused the problem (which in reality is usually the case) I am not going to do anything about it.

  1. Deal with it.


That’s the way it is and you had better get used to it. This haughty declaration is par the course for our sense of entitlement to do as we please. We bulldoze through everything and you just have to put up with it. You can’t walk away; we will not allow that to happen. Issuing this barked instruction at you is an effective way of upsetting you. It is telling you that you are useless and you should just be getting on with the situation rather than complaining about it. You shouldn’t be complaining; you should have already guessed that you needed to sort the situation out. Don’t ask me for help because I just do not have time for this mickey mouse nonsense.

  1. You caused this to happen.

We like to maintain that we act with the omnipotence of a god but how many times have you found that you have somehow caused something to happen so that it would suggest that you exercise the powers of a deity? My late arrival was down to you. My failure to remember something was caused by you. My infidelity for the sixth time was wholly as a consequence of what you have done. At its most brutal this declaration is issued without any explanation as to why it is that you caused the problem to arise. We say that it is the case therefore that must be right. Does this exchange seem familiar?

“Why is that the case?”

“It just is.”

“But why?”

“Because I say so.”

Other than our kind, who comes out with such assertions bereft of reality or explanation? That’s right, children. That tells you all you need to know about our mentality when we accuse you of being the one who has caused the problem. If you are “fortunate” enough to be given some kind of explanation it makes perfect sense when viewed from our perspective, although it will not from yours. That is deliberate. We want you to feel astonished, bewildered and annoyed at our sheer audacity to make the connection between our wrongdoing and your causation.

“If you were more loving I wouldn’t go elsewhere.”

“What do you mean by that? I couldn’t be anymore loving towards you.”

“Oh that’s right, deny it is anything to do with you and make me out to be the bad person.”

“Well, it is you who had the affair.”

“Caused by you.”


“I have already told you and if you cannot accept that then there is no point continuing with this conversation.”

You get no answer no acceptance of blame. All you get is a tenuous (in your world but not ours) explanation as to why our wrongdoing is all down to you.

  1. Why do you have to spoil everything?

A cousin of the third shirking above but with an added layer of blame. In the above example, you have caused the problem although you may not necessarily have intended it. With this statement we are telling you that not only is the problem not of our doing, it is your fault and guess what? You meant to do it because you are such an awful and horrible person. Our rampant paranoia causes us to believe that you are out to get us, to topple us and that you are plotting to unseat us as a consequence of our behaviour towards you during devaluation. This is why whenever anything goes wrong you are the architect of that misfortune as you have purposefully set out to cause a problem for us, driven by your innate nastiness and jealousy.

  1. Why do you make my life so hard?

Poor us. Put upon by you and your terrible behaviours. This is often thrown at you when you begin to wise-up to our manipulations and either through choice or out of sheer exhaustion you are no longer engaging with our provocations and machinations. What we are actually saying to you here is, “Why do you make it so hard to extract fuel from you?” Your failure to play ball and do what we want is causing us to expend more energy in order to get the negative fuel from you and in accordance with our outlook as a victim, you are doing this on purpose. We need to get that fuel and you should be helping us, not hindering us, no wonder we lash out at you as we do because you are horrible and you make our lives far more difficult and hard than you should or once did.

14 thoughts on “5 Phrases The Narcissist Uses To Blameshift

  1. Mary says:

    OMG, so much of this rings true.

    One morning (years ago), my hub was screaming at me when I thanked him for fixing the trash can lid. He was making a smoothie for us, but rather than stand there being screamed at, I decided “fuck this” and went to work. When I got home, the smoothie was knocked over on our stove top. He then subjected me to a 3-day silent treatment. When I asked him when he was going to clean up the mess, he said “It’s not my mess, it’s yours!” I said no, you knocked it over. He said, “You made me do it!”

    He then proceeded to say my leaving for work that morning the way I did, was abandoning him in his time of need, and that I am arrogant and ungrateful. He has since told me I have no empathy for him in other situations also, like when I scream at him for raging at our geriatric dog.

    The most difficult part of this is the self-doubt. He says these things with such conviction, that I constantly think “surely he’s right, because he has no question at all when he says these things, and I know I’m far from perfect.” Even after reading this stuff, I think surely, my hub must be right. He says it with absolute certainty.

    1. NarcAngel says:

      If being complimented and making a smoothie is his time of need……well……I dont think you should have any self-doubt.

      1. Mary says:


        Thank you for your feedback on this. I prob should have also added (in fairness for his perspective) that we had been trying to clean the house for his mother’s arrival later that week. I think in general, by the “time of need” he meant the stress of getting ready for a guest, but also I learned long after this day, that he was upset about something at work that happened. He did not tell me about it, so I had no idea it was a time of need in that regard.

        I want to be fair to him, and acknowledge he had a reason to be anxious. Then again, I’ve been letting that justify abuse all these years, while not allowing myself to feel justified in actions that upset him. If that makes any sense?


        1. NarcAngel says:

          Yes, you are still justifying his behaviour. In that scenario all you did is diffuse the situation (him yelling at you) to go to work. You did not abandon him for the week and leave him to prepare for her visit himself (even then dont get me started-it was his mother…). You went to work and came home to find the mess waiting for you. Doesnt sound like he was worried about cleaning up for her then. The excuse about work was likely just that, and again, so what? Doesnt give him the right to add up stuff and then attack you. That is what I see from the outside looking in and with the information given. Is it easier for you to see it objectively if you write it down as you did in the example and examine it as though it were someone else and you read it in the newspaper? What would your response be? Im not asking you for the answer. I just thought that might help you to see a situation before your emotional thinking starts adding in excuses for him and justifying his behaviour.

      2. Mary says:

        Hi NarcAngel,

        That is a wise idea, to write his behaviors and comments down (without all the “buts”) and imagine reading it from an outside perspective. I can see how fucked up it looks. I think the reason I throw in the excuses is because I don’t want to be making our dysfunctional dynamic all his fault. I can be a very difficult person to live with. I feel like it’s important to include my flaws in relating any behaviors of his that are abusive, because otherwise, I’m not taking responsibility for my own stuff. Does that make sense? I feel like I’m being unfair in holding him to basic standards of decency because I don’t always meet those standards either.

        You’re 100 percent right that he couldn’t have cared less about that smoothie being cleaned up. We never resolved that argument. It was more like two hours before her plane landed, I insisted that it had to be cleaned. We “agreed” to both clean it together, which ultimately became me cleaning it. To this day, I wish I had left it on the stovetop and let her SEE what a mature son she has. She has seen his rage episodes, and I’ve been told by his family that they were an ongoing thing long before we met. I’ve seen him explode at a few others in context where it was NOT justified or excusable. Those were defining moments in showing that he would act this way even if he was married to someone far better.

        1. NarcAngel says:

          Your last sentence is very disturbing. Far better as defined by whom?

          1. vegan49 says:

            She s much more than he deserves ….Zeroooooooooooooooooooooo

      3. Mary says:

        Hi NarcAngel,

        Far better in the sense of more energetic/motivated, cleaning up my mess around the house (we both have mess all over the house, but I get depressed/have fibro and chronic back pain/etc. and just don’t clean up often, and he’s said he’d feel like being intimate more if the mess in the house wasn’t depressing him). Also, I pay bills late sometimes. Some we share, and some we each are in charge of. Our water was turned off on Valentine’s Day (for the first time ever in our 12 year marriage). I apologized profusely and paid it right away, but he did not speak to me at all Valentine’s night. I suspect I have undiagnosed ADD which is hard to treat anyway because I cannot take a stimulant, due to the a-fib stuff.

        You know what he said to me the day a cardio doc said I have a-fib? He said, “Am I really supposed to believe there could be SO MUCH WRONG WITH YOU?” (Referring to the a-fib on top of fibro and joint/back issues and depression/anxiety.) I think a lot of the time I feel incompetent and forgetful and like he didn’t get a real wife. Like he’s being ripped off because he’s the one always having to carry heavy stuff, do cleaning that involves leaning forward, etc. and now someone who failed to pay a water bill. I feel so incompetent and like I have truly nothing to offer anyone healthy. My hub is okay physically but NOT mentally, and he refuses to ever do therapy, either as a couple or separate. Fuck. Sorry, I get started and overshare.


    2. Becca says:

      I have been had the exact same fights
      Crazy how predictable these people are.
      Mary, maybe you should consider leaving this person and getting back your self worth and self esteem.
      They will never change and the abuse will just get worse.

  2. Catherine Parr R says:

    I agree with whomever said that great tranquility of the heart is his who cares for neither praise nor blame.

  3. Kat says:

    My favorite phrase of all time w my narc was….I would never do that to you!!! Yet, that was projection because he DID do it to me! I felt like a horrible person til I exposed the game!

  4. T says:

    So damn true!
    Thank you HG for being you!
    I am learning.
    And even though it hurts sometimes, I know I need it, your writing frees my soul.
    I hang on every word.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome.

  5. SN says:

    1. Whatever you choose. I have a brain too.
    2. I am.
    3. I know, I know. As usual.
    4. Perspectives, perspectives.
    5. To each their own.

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