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How to Cope With Being Blamed for Something You Didn't Do

Audrey's desire to help others understand human behavior led her to study psychology. Discover how to handle accusations and blamers.


Learning How to Deal With The Accuser

At one time or another, most of us are blamed for something we didn't do. It feels unjust and unfair, and it is. Even though we may be entirely guiltless, we still feel guilty.

Here's what you'll learn about in this article:

  • Why it's about the accuser and not you
  • Why all that matters is the truth
  • Being a victim of a narcissistic personality
  • Knowledge is power when dealing with negative personalities
  • Seven critical signs of a blamer
  • Narcissistic personality disorder criteria
  • The typical body language of liars

The Accusation is a Reflection of Your Accuser, Not You

Let's face it, being blamed for something you are innocent of hurts. But the truth is the one thing that survives after all time and recriminations have passed. I've learned that anyone who accuses us of improper behavior and lies isn't worth worrying about. Your accuser has personal issues that have absolutely nothing to do with you. At the time, you are being blamed, knowing this may not help much; even so, it is true.

Jealousy, insecurity, and low self-esteem often flow through a liar's veins. The only way they can feel their importance is to gossip viciously about other people, bringing them down so they can feel better about who they are.

To intentionally accuse someone of doing something they know is a lie gives the liar a feeling of importance. Feel sorry for them, my friend, because they are probably miserable individuals and cannot find joy. They cannot feel good themselves, so they continue this endless road of slum and slime as they pass judgment and make up lies about other people.

You Don't Need to Prove Your Innocence.

You do not need to prove your innocence to anyone if you are indeed innocent. You already know in your heart that you have clean hands, which is all that matters. It is not necessary to prove to anyone that you are not guilty. Do not fuel the evil fire by giving these lies power.

The Bible says, "Pray for those that despitefully use you." The advice is good whether you believe in the Holy Book or not. Only by feeling love for our enemies (anyone against us) can we be free, so try to forgive, which includes forgetting.

Is this easy? No, it isn't. It's hard, very hard. But if you can grow to this level, it will help you to feel peace as you struggle through a difficult time. Have patience, both with yourself and your accuser. The truth will eventually be known, and it is the truth that will set you free.

7 Key Signs of a Blamer

The following list will help you identify the signs and behaviors of a blamer:

  1. Pessimism. Pessimism is one of the sure signs of a blamer. No matter how positive you are, they will always find something bad to happen. There's often no talking them out of their negative thinking.
  2. Making excuses. Blamers are always making excuses for their own actions. They are very good at this. They will rarely take responsibility for their behavior.
  3. Passing the blame. Blamers will tend to always pass the blame on to someone else, while never taking responsibility for their actions.
  4. Quick temperament. Being quick-tempered can be another sign to watch for. Blamers are known to have short fuses.
  5. Takes credit. A blamer always insists on credit for being right. Oh, how they love to shout, "I told you so!"
  6. Betrayal. Being trustworthy is not part of a blamer's character. They are typically back-stabbers. So, be very careful. If you don't want something you say to be repeated, then don't say it.
  7. Envy. Envy is the blamer's middle name. Any time you get something nice, they become angry and envious. This includes any success you might have. When you're sick or in pain, believe me -- they're happy. They may not realize this and in fact, will deny it. Then, when you feel great and positive again, they may immediately remind you that "soon, bad things will happen, so don't get too comfortable."

Beware of people who automatically assume the fault is yours. After all, it could never be their fault. By the way, these people also love to play mind games. They rehearse their entire dialogue so they will be prepared for your next conversation. It's a full-time job for them.

Unjustly being blamed.

Unjustly being blamed.

"It's Not My Fault." -- Being the Victim of a Narcissistic Personality

Chronic blaming is a form of emotional abuse and often hurts just as much as physical pain does. We feel helpless over the blamer and a certain fear sets in.

Most blamers see nothing wrong in blaming others for anything and everything. When things go wrong in their own lives, someone else is always to blame -- nothing is ever their fault. They tend to be irrational; therefore you can't reason with them. Don't even try.

It's best to avoid this type of personality (narcissistic), as this disorder includes being negative, which can have a destructive effect on you. Blamers are unhappy people.

Unfortunately, I have a family member who fits this type of personality. It has taken me a lifetime to recognize that she lives with a mental disorder. I became a victim by buying into her belief system, accepting criticism and verbal abuse. I felt sorry for her because she had a rough childhood. I found myself walking on eggshells with every conversation.

Negative people seem to blame others for their own mess. Don't become a victim of a negative personality. It can literally ruin your life, especially if you and your accuser are related or are close friends. You may even be better off by choosing to disassociate (and thereby severing) the toxic relationship. If you find that you just can't do this, at least set up specific boundaries to protect yourself.

Don't become a victim of your accuser.

Don't become a victim of your accuser.

Learning New Strategies for Dealing With Blamers

Help is on the way. You're going to feel relieved as you learn how to deal and cope with destructive behavior. No longer will you have to be a victim of blame or get defensive with your accuser.

When I finally learned that I had been manipulated to believe that something was wrong with me I felt empowered with a sense of freedom. Though it wasn't easy to give up the close relationship between my sibling and me, it has been the best choice I ever made. I no longer need the approval of that particular person to know that I have value.

Armoring yourself with knowledge is like a bullet-proof vest, the toxic blame will bounce right off of you. The more aware you are, the better and you will avoid these types of relationships and save your self-esteem.

In the words of Don Miguel Ruiz, author of "The Four Agreements", do not take anything others say personally. This takes much practice but oh, my, you will feel empowered. You have the right to believe or not believe the opinions of others. And be careful of your own self-dialogue. Even the opinions you have about yourself may not be true.

So begin now to practice not taking anything personally because when you do this, you set yourself up to suffer. When we really see people for who they are, without taking it personally, we can never be hurt.

The best way of protecting ourselves from a blamer is to establish an impenetrable boundary between what we know about ourselves and what this other person needs to believe about us.


Narcissistic Behavior: "It's All About Me"

One way to spot a blamer is by narcissistic behavior. If the person demonstrates signs of NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder), blaming others for personal problems in life feels normal to them.

Learning all we can about narcissism is beneficial in two ways.

  1. It provides us with an understanding of the behavior itself. In turn, we are better prepared to cope and deal with the effects of this disorder.
  2. We may even recognize some signs of narcissism in our own personalities and take steps to correct them. With awareness and desire, combined with some hard work, we can overcome this disorder. Seek the help of a qualified doctor.

Extreme selfishness is a red flag for identifying narcissism. While most of us tend to be a little on the selfish side, those with NPD carry it to a whole different extreme.

Narcissists are preoccupied with fantasies of power, success, and brilliance, along with a high sense of entitlement. They can be rude, arrogant, and even abusive.

They are usually quite defensive and arrogant. You'll never be able to reason with them, so don't even try. This includes those with a passive/aggressive disorder. Remember that this type of personality will throw the blame on you whenever it's convenient.

The best defense is no defense. Learn to ignore a narcissist completely.

Here's something to remember: "A narcissist’s criticism is their autobiography.” ― M. Wakefield.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Criteria

To give you more ammunition for how to cope with being blamed for something you didn't do, listed below are criteria for NPD.

  • A grandiose sense of self-importance, exaggerating talents and achievements. Look for a feeling of superiority.
  • Hungers for excessive admiration and attention.
  • Has a sense of entitlement.
  • Displays arrogant behavior.
  • Really believes that others are jealous of them.
  • Lacks empathy for others.
  • Takes advantage of others to further self.
  • Is preoccupied with fantasies of power, love, or beauty.
  • Harbors feelings of jealousy
  • They are seldom, if ever, wrong.

Remain Calm When You Are Accused

Being accused feels like an attack.

Being accused feels like an attack.

Three Rules to Help Protect You When Dealing With a Narcissist

I could have saved myself plenty of pain and stress if only I had learned years ago how to set boundaries for myself when dealing with a narcissist.

  • They are quick to blame others instead of taking responsibility. And they are champions at this. Be prepared.
  • Never confide or give too much personal information to this type of person. They'll use it as ammunition later when it's convenient.
  • Don't take anything they say personally. This isn't easy but it's necessary.

A person with NPD will not change so don't expect them to. Honor yourself by setting up boundaries.

Is That Person Lying to You? Check Their Body Language

If you want to know whether someone is lying to you, check their body language. While there may be exceptions to the following tips, these are used by police and investigators:

  • Check the eyes. If the person avoids eye contact, that's a clue that he or she may be lying.
  • Watch the gestures and expression. If the gestures and expression don't match the verbal dialogue, that's another sign. Example: "I like you," while frowning.
  • A guilty person will get defensive.
  • Using humor or sarcasm is another sign of lying.
  • Touching the nose often can be a sign of lying.
  • Covering the mouth indicates deceit.
  • Be aware of eye movement. The eyes move to the left during a lie.
  • Watch out for body movement. When a person tells the truth they tend to lean forward. When they tell a lie they tend to lean backward.
  • Watch hand, arm, and leg movements. When lying, these body movements are stiff and restricted.
  • Pay attention to too many details given. Liars tend to go on and on to get you to believe them.

Note: Some of the behaviors listed above can also be demonstrated by someone who might not be lying at all. People who are nervous, shy, easily frightened, or guilt-ridden for another reason, can have these same reactions.

Responsibility isn’t about taking the blame for everything, rather it’s about your ability to respond to whatever situation you’re in.

Dr. Daniel Amen

Just Do Your Best

I'd like to share a simple but powerful thought written by Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements:

"Just do your best - in any circumstance in your life. It doesn't matter if you are sick or tired if you always do your best there is no way you can judge yourself. And if you don't judge yourself there is no way you are going to suffer from guilt, blame, and self-punishment. By always doing your best, you will break a big spell that you have been under."

I challenge you to read this several times. Every time you do, this message will become more ingrained and you will learn something new and valuable.

Set yourself free of all guilt regardless of where the blame comes from by always doing your best.

In Conclusion - Exemplify Honesty

If we live in such a way that we exemplify complete honesty, we develop integrity. This is the best way to ward off being blamed or accused in the first place.

Honesty begins in childhood. Children learn best by example. Teach your children and your grandchildren the value of always being truthful.

Oftentimes problems are sent to us as gifts. Even being blamed for something we are innocent of can be a path to discovery. We can learn and grow from this painful and unfair experience.

All meaningful change comes from the inside and not from our external circumstances.

When we blame others, we prevent ourselves from learning. Taking responsibility for our actions and even our thoughts keep us free from blaming others. Consider this if you've been a victim of blame.

The title for this article was inspired by a post in the HubPages forum on the same subject. Remembering a time when I once took the blame for something I didn't do (it was traumatic for me), I decided to share my thoughts and write an article about how to deal with this problem. I hope you've found it helpful.

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”
Mark Twain

Consider This:

Never take anything personally. This isn't easy to do but it's important to trust yourself when it comes to believing or not believing what someone says to you.

"Hurt people, hurt other people". When I'm blamed for something I didn't do, I try to remember this. It keeps me from reacting emotionally.

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Questions & Answers

Question: I said sorry for something I didn’t do, but the person I said sorry to doesn't believe I didn’t do it, they think I’m lying. What’s your advice?

Answer: If you apologized and the person doesn't believe you then the problem is theirs, not yours.

Question: What do you do when no one believes when you are wrongly accused?

Answer: As long as I know I'm innocent, then it's my accusers' problem and not mine. Continue to live with integrity and be proud and confident that you always speak the truth.

Question: What do you do when it’s your spouse that’s falsely accusing you? That’s mental abuse. Is it a reason to divorce if it’s an ongoing situation?

Answer: I recommend that you talk with a counselor about this.

Question: Should I apologize for something I didn't do just to obtain their forgiveness?

Answer: This is more the other persons' problem than yours. You know you're not guilty. I think it depends on the person. Sometimes its just better to leave it alone. The person may not have the ability to forgive anyhow. Listen to your heart and follow what it tells you to do. If saying you're sorry makes you feel better than go for it!

Question: I have been married for forty-four years, since I was sixteen. After reading your article, I realize that I am married to a narcissist. Most of the time he is wonderful but when his narcissism kicks in I get so depressed. How do I deflect him when he is in the mode? P.S., I also have mental issues of which I see a psychiatrist monthly for my meds.

Answer: My suggestion is for you both to seek counseling. A professional will be able to help you better than I.

Question: One friend of mine keeps on taunting me for the things which I haven't done. He and some of his friends keep saying that no one likes me and I only use people for my own use. Once I considered them my friends, and now they turned out to be like this. At school, they keep on criticizing me and makes memes on me in social media. I'm very sad and depressed about it. What should I do now?

Answer: It might be a good time to drop these friends and find new ones. Real friends do not taunt and criticize. Instead of being sad about this, be grateful that you are seeing the true nature of these people.

Question: What do we do when someone is so toxic and accusatory that you actually start to believe that you did something wrong. How do we make ourselves feel better as guilt runs all over us even when being innocent?

Answer: It's best to avoid this type of personality (narcissistic), as this disorder includes being negative, which can have a destructive effect on you. Set up specific boundaries to protect yourself. You do not need to prove your innocence to anyone if you are indeed innocent. You already know in your heart that you have clean hands. This is all that matters. It is not necessary to prove to anyone that you are not guilty. Do not fuel the evil fire by giving these lies power.

And if you don't judge yourself there is no way you are going to suffer from guilt, blame, and self-punishment.

The best way of protecting ourselves from a blamer is to establish an impenetrable boundary between what we know about ourselves and what this other person needs to believe about us.

Question: My blamer is my brother, and my whole family always believes him. What do I do? I can’t just disconnect from my whole family, can I?

Answer: This is a tough position to be in. My suggestion would be for you to sit down with your family and talk to them about your feelings. It's important that you be the leader during this discussion and be as mature as possible about it all. Don't be afraid to ask the question, "Why do you believe my brother and not me?" There must be a reason. Meanwhile, live a life of complete integrity. Be careful of what you say, and how you say it. This is the only real recourse we each have. We must be an example of complete honesty in every way, including our thoughts and actions. If all else fails, rise above the blame. You know the truth about yourself. Be grateful that you stand blameless before your Maker. This is all that really counts.

Question: My husband passed away last year and his sister is very upset that he did not leave her anything in our Trust. She says how could he not care or love me enough to not leave me anything. She is saying someone must have talked him into it. Hinting maybe I did this, which I did not! What should I tell her?

Answer: Oh, but your husband did leave her something. He left her memories that are priceless and these memories cannot be awarded in a trust. But, I realize the sister feels cheated because nothing of a material nature was left to her. When you have the chance, talk to her gently, showing empathy and understanding. Focus on being a good listener and try not to be defensive. Firmly, but void of emotion, let her know that in spite of the way things might look, you had absolutely no control or influence over what your husband dictated in the trust. What the sister needs more than anything at this point is someone to understand her position. If the end result is, she still feels the same way, at least you've done what you can to resolve this. Good for you!

Question: I have a friend who keeps accusing me of things. Since she is close to me, I started judging myself and believed I was wrong. How do I avoid taking things personally?

Answer: Learning how to avoid taking things personally is a challenge, but when we realize that comments directed to us are about the other person, where they're coming from, past experiences and the level of maturity, we can begin to stop reacting emotionally. We are all at different levels in our life. I've been where you are and it almost destroyed me until I learned to dismiss anger directed at me. I taught myself to accept where another person is. I soon realized their accusations had absolutely nothing to do with me. I was soon set free. You must detach yourself from the pain.

If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it's actually a gift if they walk away from you. If that person doesn't walk away, you'll endure many years of suffering and unhappiness. Make it a habit not to take anything personally and respect and love yourself.

Question: I have a girlfriend who was accused by my mom of things she didn't really do. Now, I told her that it's not her who has the problem because she didn't do anything. But now she's very angry and broke up with me. How can I let her realize that she doesn't need to feel rage and angry about the people who accuse her. Maybe I can't but I don't want to lose our relationship?

Answer: You may want to question your relationship with this person. She may not be emotionally ready. Trust is important between two people. She's not indicating that she trusts you. I understand that you want to save this relationship. Perhaps, she just needs time to process this situation. It may be in your best interest to take some time as well.

Every situation is different and so are people. If your relationship is going to last it may be best to let some time pass before approaching her again. I wish you the best.

Question: What can I do to make my mom believe me when my aunt accused me of stealing her bracelet. (I took things that didn’t belong to me without permission when I was little)?

Answer: Unfortunately, stealing from your aunt sets the standard for your character. Once a person is caught stealing, it can take a lifetime to overcome the stigma. If you have truly stopped then talk to your mom and tell her you to understand why she doesn't believe you, but you're working hard to overcome this bad habit.

Question: I have a sister who always accuses me of things and she swears up and down that she is right. I love her dearly but it hurts so much when she does this. It stays on my mind all day long and I feel confused and alone. She’s like my best friend but her accusations are beginning to wear me out. I’m tired of it. I just don’t know how to prevent this from bothering me so much. What should I do about my accusatory sister?

Answer: It sounds like it's time for you to set some boundaries. Start by either ignoring her accusations or simply walk away. I've had this same experience and it took me a long time to practice setting boundaries. Once I did though, she got the message and stopped her behavior. Please, give this a try because it just might work!

Question: What should I say when I want to confront my accuser about the situation?

Answer: Above everything else, remain calm and collected. Keep a handle on your emotions. State the truth as concisely as you can. Avoid making false allegations in return, as they may compromise your reputation as a teller of truth. Remember that time will solve all the accusations if they are false.

Question: If someone accuses me of theft, and I told that person I didn't do it, but the person is too mad to see reason, what should I do?

Answer: It's so very frustrating when someone doesn't believe you and you're telling the truth. I hate it! So, what can you do? This person probably has trust issues based on some experience that happened in the past. Is this fair to you? No. The more honest you are in life with all the people around you, the apter they are to believing you.

Don't let this person's opinion stick to you. Keep going regardless of what the person thinks. Don't react. Some people need more time than others to start trusting someone. Just keep on being the honest, reliable and trust-worthy person you are. In time, you will be seen as what you are.

Question: I get accused of lying or hooking up with people. I even went as far as to take a polygraph and passed. At first, I got an apology but not too long after was told I'm a pathological liar and believe my own lies which is how I passed the polygraph. I love love love this man. It's killing me inside and It seems like it comes out of nowhere at times. It cuts me to my core and yet I don't want to be without him. What do I do about my suspicious significant other?

Answer: Okay, my dear, it sounds like it's time to start loving yourself. You're in a relationship with verbal abuse and struggling because you say you love him. Guilt is a tool that abusers will use to keep control over you. Set boundaries on what you will and will not accept from him. Surround yourself with people that will give you support. And another thing...If you react to the abuser, you are rewarding them. Letting them know they have power over your emotions. Don’t allow the abuser to have control over how you feel. Abusive behavior is not love. Remember: You can't reason with an abuser. I know you love this person, but if he doesn't change, you just may have to walk away.

Question: My brother is in jail for a vile crime. In my area, his actions are well known and many, many people scrutinize me and make disgusting comments. Other than being victimized what else can I do in response to my brother's reputation?

Answer: Don Miguel Ruiz says:

" Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in." Still, when we hear disgusting comments directed toward ourselves it affects us. I'm sorry about your situation and how this makes you feel.

Sometimes, we simply can't control what others say to us or about us - but we can control how we react to hurtful comments. At times the only way to respond to hurtful comments is to directly confront the offending person and request that they stop it. In some cases, it's best to just walk away with no response whatsoever.

To not let others hurt you, it may be necessary to stand up for yourself and make a retort when you disagree with what they say. This allows for expression, which pretty much helps to clear up the negativity inside you. Trust me — it will make you feel a lot better when you express yourself and you will at least know that you did your best and everything you could against things you disagree with.

Question: How should I respond to a sibling who turns anything I say against me?

Answer: Don't respond at all! Your sibling is looking for attention so avoid taking anything that is said personally. Learn strategies for redirecting your focus as your sibling is chatting away. Do not begin to defend yourself or explain. If you need to, simply walk away. Do not become a participant!

Question: What you do when your boss subtly accuses you of something that she says you did in the past but you are so shocked you didnt know how to respond. Is it too late after time has past to ask to discuss it?

Answer: Well, I've been there too and I sure understand what a shock it is when you're accused of something you didn't do. Most of the time, it does little good to try to discuss the problem. Remember this: being accused is rarely about's about the accuser. They may be having a bad day, or they may be a little on the narcissistic side. The thing is; you know you're not guilty and for now, that may have to be enough. Keep living a life of integrity and in time your accuser will realize they were wrong about you.

© 2012 Audrey Hunt