Why Narcissists Always Blame Others

The Blame Game

Narcissists like to externalize blame. It’s a fundamental feature of their modus operandi. Why do they do it? Traditional viewpoints assert they simply have to. As the theory goes, it would internally decimate them to fault themselves. It would cause emotional pain too great to bear. And it could crush their “fragile” egos. So, their unconscious mind puts up defenses, Particularly, defenses of denial and projection. They may know a mess has been made. But it can’t be because of them. It has to be someone or something else’s fault. These defenses supposedly keep them from feeling anxious or loathing themselves. But are these really the reasons why narcissists blame others? Many these days think not. At least not always.

As I’ve written about before, there are two kinds of narcissists. (See: Two Main Varieties of Narcissists.) And the theories above seem to fit one of those types, at least to some degree. But the majority of narcissists these days are of a different ilk. Some folks are just plain selfish and heartless. And such folks can also be quite cruel. They may blame others for “starting it,” deserving it, or for being “just as bad.” But they don’t unconsciously do it as a defense against inner pain. They do it to justify the pain they deliberately cause others. And they do it to look better than they know they really are.

Blame and Impression Management

Narcissists always have to be right. That means others have to be wrong. That is, unless those others agree with them. Some narcissists solidly believe in their superiority. Accordingly, they always try to assert it. They want only validation and vindication. And they can seek it with enough passion and conviction to make you to doubt. They can make you feel small. They can even make you feel crazy. That’s the “gaslighting” effect. (See also: Gaslighting Victims Question Their Own Sanity.) But the reason they blame is even more sinister.

It’s easy to call out the faults of others. We’re all flawed creatures. But narcissists go on the attack for a reason. They know how others really regard them. More importantly, deep down, they know how character-deficient they are. So, they build themselves up by tearing others down. It’s all part of the game of “impression management.” Now, some are fairly skilled at this game. And some are so charming and slick about it that others get seduced. They become enamored. But certain narcissists can be downright boorish. Their impression management tactics offend the sensible. But they can succeed with the naive, vulnerable, or equally disturbed.

Blame and Shame

The old thinking was that narcissists blame to avoid shame. And, as mentioned before, this can sometimes be the case. But many narcissists today have no shame. In fact, shame and empathy deficiencies define some narcissist’s pathology. (See: Malignant Narcissism.) So, the truth is they blame only to try and justify their attacks. Dare to offend them, and as they see it, you’re a fair target. They don’t care enough about what they’re doing. Nor do they care how it makes them look doing it. They lash out without compunction. And that’s because they lack both empathy and a sense of shame.


No new workshops are scheduled for this year. But some are being scheduled for January and March 2019. Check the Seminars page in a few weeks for details.

Podcasts of Character Matters are still available on the UCY.TV YouTube website. And I’ll soon be posting a link to the latest pilot podcast for the new program still in development.

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2 thoughts on “Why Narcissists Always Blame Others

  1. Off Topic

    I have some news, I saw my The brother and his second daughter. I had gone to the town down the road to buy some books that I wanted. I was walking back to my car through the park near the town centre. I had seen him about 300 yrds ahead. I new it was him straight away. I just kept walking to were my car was parked. He and his daughter had sat down on a bench. I got to within about 100yrds of him AND THE HE SAW ME. He virtually ran away. He grabbed his daughters hand and walked away very hastily. I just kept walking to my car.

    Narcissists hate to think anyone “has their number,” so to speak. People who always see themselves as superior to others hate to see the field of “play” (i.e. social interaction) levelled. They especially hate it when someone else in is a position of greater power or authority.

    This is why I think he walked away. Not because of fear, but because I AM INDEPENDENT and my position is now levelled.

    I will I hope have some more news later

    1. Joey,

      My first thought was guilt. I believe he knows what you went through and endured, something he was spared due to living with the father. I believe he feels guilt and dread of knowing you were the Scapegoat and he too was a party to the Scapegoating and still is… To the very end he is so cowardly and lacking in character he would rather run with his tail tucked and blame you.

      Truly, it has nothing to do with you, he is an extremely damaged and weak person. Out of all these tragedies you alone are the healthy one, even though you were the one who took all the beatings.

      Stay strong in your truth, know you have value and are of value to all of us. I am glad you said nothing and retained your integrity. I know it is difficult and painful, hold true and keep going forward.

      The truth can set one free or keep one a prisoner. You are free, he is the prisoner.

      Well done, I will keep this in mind when I may happen upon those in my family who are similar.


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