People with a Narcissistic personality will often blame their partner for their bad behaviour. This is known as scapegoating and is a form of mental abuse. If your partner blames you for their aggression and mistakes you may be part of a Narcissistic/Codependent Marriage.

What is Scapegoating?

kimScapegoating is when you blame your problems on someone else. The person you blame is then called your scapegoat.

This is very common in a Narcissistic/Codependent Marriage with each partner blaming their bad behaviour and emotional immaturity on each other, instead of facing the areas in their own life that need work.

Like all forms of aggression, scapegoating can be destructive to a person’s health and vitality and may damage their confidence, relationships and mental health.

How People Scapegoat on their Partner

People with narcissistic personalities often blame their bad behaviour on their marriage partner. For example; they may say the reason they have affairs or seek attention outside their family is because their partner is angry, jealous or complains too much. They may also accuse their partner of being crazy to excuse themselves doing things that otherwise could not be justified.

People with codependent tendencies, on the other hand, will be more likely to blame their addictions, moods and other negative emotional states on their partner’s bad behaviour. This may play out as them being more concerned about getting their partner to help them ‘feel better’ or ‘make up’ rather than effectively setting boundaries against being exploited.

People with codependent tendencies may also scapegoat their children. They may blame their addictions, emotional immaturity or volatility on their children’s bad behaviour.

What Makes a Person Likely to be Used as a Scapegoat?

A person with a Narcissistic personality may choose a partner to be their foil; looking for someone who is less socially confident and perhaps emotionally over reactive. These problems, as well as being generally anxious or naturally feeling a lot of guilt and shame will make that person an easy target for scapegoating.

How do I Stop Being Scapegoated?

Facing your own problems, becoming more emotionally mature, learning better relationships skills and setting effective boundaries will help you stop being a soft target for scapegoating. You should be aware, however, that in the beginning this may cause your partner to behave even worse. You becoming stronger may cause them to try and knock you ‘off balance’ and back to your old ways of reacting that make it easy for them to point the blame at you.

No matter how much you feel you are the innocent victim of your partners bad behaviour, statistics show that if you leave (and put all the blame on them for your relationship problems), in the future you are like to form exactly the same type of relationship again.

This does not mean you are to blame and there is nothing you can do to protect yourself. We want to help you learn to stand up for yourself effectively. This may or may not earn your partner’s respect – but if their bad behaviour continues and you do end up separating, in the end still it will leave you in a much better position.

Kim Cooper

How I ended the scapegoating . . .

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