No, Your Abusive Partner Was Not Your Fault

09 Apr 2019

Abused empaths take responsibility for everything that happens to them – regardless of whether it is in any way their fault.  Abusers, on the other hand, spray accusations all around them like bullets, taking responsibility for precisely NONE of the mayhem that they cause.

According to their own narrative, abusers are never responsible for any of the harm that they do.  None of it was their fault.

As a general principle, when someone tells me that they are without fault, I see ABUSER writ large in front of my eyes.  I have had too much firsthand experience of self-professed People Without Fault and the damage that they inflict on others.

Conversely, when someone tells me that they are ultimately to blame for Everything, I sense a likely victim of abuse.  It takes someone who has had a long training in carrying the heavy burden of other people’s accusations for a very long time to assume blame for Everything.

The problem with being a wounded empath

Being an empath with a wounded, fragile sense of self is that it leaves you with few certainties about yourself. That leaves you with a major problem.  Through no fault of your own, it doesn’t take much to send you into melt-down.   All attacks on you hit their mark.

You become defenseless against the attacks of your so-called “near and dear ones” – despite doing nothing to deserve it. Sadly, that defenseless extends out to others who do not even enjoy that privileged status.

In fact, those “near and dear ones” have trained you to accept that it is always open season on your psyche.  Your role in all of this is, essentially, to stand there and be target practice.

What really happens when you “fight back”

I often hear from women who protest that they “fight back”.  To the best of their ability, they do.  Unfortunately, they fight back with a view to getting the offensive person to retract their accusations.  They try, in other words, to get the abuser(s) to change their opinion.

Abusers – rightly in my view – register this attempt as an acknowledgement of the overwhelming importance of their good opinion.  Whyever would they  choose to give up that power?

So “fighting back” serves only to lock you into an ongoing battle with an abusive partner.  You tell yourself that you need the validation that they will never give you to be – and see yourself – as a worthwhile person.

Now, that is already quite crazy-making enough.  Unfortunately, there are other factors that make it even worse.

The victim blaming tradition

From popular wisdom  – “You made your bed. Now lie in it.” – all the way through to the Law of Attraction, there is a line of thinking that argues that the victim is somehow responsible for the bad people and things that happen to them. I don’t buy that, at all.  Rather, I find it deeply offensive and damaging. This is, in fact, fits comfortably with the long tradition of – unthinking – victim blaming.

The wasband’s last – and most expensive – psychoanalyst actually asked me to go in and see him.  When I did, he informed me, “It takes two to tango.” (The wasband was happy to pay for platitudes because he and his analyst enjoyed a meeting of two small minds.)

The shadow side of the Law of Attraction would have you believe that you “attract” the bad into your life, as much as the good.  At its most obscene, that kind of approach suggests that you caused your own cancer by not being sufficiently “woke”, or whatever.

What makes victim blaming a smart move

Blaming the victim is usually a smart – move for the accuser, anyway.  People who have been habitually victimized are used to shouldering the blame for anything in which they are even tangentially involved.

I see that tendency in my clients and I know that I did it myself in the bad old days. (At one stage I agonized about causing my mother’s demise – according to my father.  Happily, mother invalidated father’s diagnosis by surviving for a further four decades.  In rude health. I use the word “rude” advisedly.)

Abusers are totally shameless.  They will blame you for anything and everything that serves their ends. The more pain their accusations cause you the better, as they see it.

You cannot accept blame and heal

Your healing hinges on you rejecting all these appalling claims of being at fault. You cannot accept that you are at fault for an abusive person’s behavior and heal.

Bad things and bad people have played havoc in your life because you were not in a position to defend yourself.  Most of us lurch into an abusive relationship with a partner because we suffered abuse growing up. As children, we had no possibility of protecting ourselves from abuse.  By adulthood, we automatically accept the blame that other people foist on us.

Your healing requires you to understand your own wounds and take responsibility for moving beyond past mistakes. But that is a very different thing from being at fault and causing the damage.

Nobody, as far as I know, ever says, “I hereby declare that I am going to do everything in my power to attract to me people who will use, abuse and make me feel worthless, powerless and invisible for the longest time.”

Your abusive partner was not your fault

Your abusive partner was not your fault. Your tolerance of abuse was not your fault.

That trope about you “attracting” toxic people into your life is, in reality, another form of abuse.  By people who lack compassion.

I totally believe in taking responsibility for your present and your future.  I believe in owning responsibility for your own part in your own past.  However, I do not believe in accepting the negative judgement that a critical, hostile, interested party passes on you.

The key difference between you and an abuser

The time has come for you to trust in yourself.  Unlike an abuser, you are not the kind of person who would dream of diminishing your own responsibility for anything to make yourself look better.  Rather, you have an ingrained pattern – that you need to lose – of accepting any accusation that makes you look and feel worse.

In reality, you do, and always have done, the best you possibly for other people can in any circumstances. Now, it’s time for you to do that for yourself first of all.  And if that means rejecting the accusations of being at fault, that is what you need to do.

Besides, all those accusations of being at fault were never intended to help you improve in any way.  They were designed purely to keep you stuck in a situation of inferiority.  The grown up way is different.  As and when you do make a mistake – which we all do – instead of agonizing about “faults”, you simple make appropriate amends.  Then you move on.  End of story.


Annie Kaszina, international Emotional Abuse Recovery specialist and award-winning author of 3 books designed to help women recognise and heal from toxic relationships so that they can build healthy, lasting relationships with the perfect partner for them, blogs about all aspects of abuse, understanding Narcissists and how to avoid them and building strong self-worth. To receive Annie’s blog direct to your Inbox just leave your details here.

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