Why you Blame Yourself for Everything after Leaving a Toxic Relationship

Photo by Claudia Soraya on Unsplash

A common norm for most survivors of abuse is blaming themselves for what happened in the relationship and in turn they find themselves in this cycle of self-blame where they think it’s all their fault. Instead of the abuser taking ownership for their abusive behaviors and ruining the relationship, the victim may take this ownership and responsibility over things they didn’t have any control over. This is a saddening and depressing state to be in coupled up with the fact that they’ve been betrayed by their partner. One may find themselves with thoughts like: -

· “I feel I’ve terribly failed and I should have seen it coming; I might have made the problem worse by not spotting it earlier.”

· “He came home one night and started shouting at me. Come to think of it, I think I provoked him because I didn’t understand what was happening.”

· “People have said that she’s better without me and I stress her a lot… I think it’s true, I am such a woose and she’s better off with someone else.”

· “I always ruin everything in my life.”

· “I shouldn’t have talked back at them when they called me those names. I should have just kept quiet to save the relationship.”

The cycle of self-blame just goes on and on to justify every single situation in that relationship as your fault. So why do victims of abuse blame themselves for everything?

1. Manipulation or Gaslighting from their Partners

The main cause of self-blame for every victim comes from the fact that they’ve been constantly called out that everything is all their fault in the relationship and they’ve believed that as true. Toxic partners distort someone’s sense of reality through gaslighting and other manipulation techniques to the point that a victim cannot rely on their own truth and they find themselves relying more on the perceptions of their abusive partners. They will convince the victim that they’re to blame for everything or that the abuse is happening to the point that the victim takes those false statements as facts. This will also be reinforced by the fact that a manipulative person, with their superficial charm, will be liked by other people which then triggers thoughts of “Everyone likes them, I must be the problem.”

2. Societal Victim Blaming

The society we live in does play part either indirectly or directly when it comes to implanting that idea that we’re to blame for what happened in the relationship. Some widely held norms may feel like an invisible finger pointing at how you need to take the blame for what happened. The ones pointing the finger may probably be your family, friends, church or just the people you around you. You may hear awful comments like “she wasn’t submissive enough”, “he was not providing for his family and that’s not what a real man is supposed to”, “she usually dressed like an unmarried woman” or something of that sort. This sort of comments will really add more salt to that wound of blame you had. In fact, research has shown that when bad things happen to someone, the first thought is to see the victim as the bad individual.

3. Negative Self-Criticism

One thing with life is that we may find ourselves consciously or uncosciously setting high standards for ourselves. We may have been brought in an environment or family where everyone expects so highly of us. It’s more like that golden child who’s always been getting good grades, good morals which paints a picture of this ‘perfect’ child. This tape plays in our heads for most of our lives and so when a first major setback happens in life like leaving a toxic relationship, you will find yourself in this negative self-talk of how you’ve failed and that you’re worthless or bad. When we set very high standards, the consequences of failure can be wrecking as we will find ourselves carrying huge responsibility for even things beyond our control.

4. You’re too Kind to see any fault in Others

When you are too kind, you will always avoid seeing any fault in other people and you will prefer taking that blame instead. You will go to an extent of just makings things up so that you end up blaming yourself and forgiving the person you love. You just can’t imagine yourself ‘hating’ the other person and because you are not capable of assigning blame elsewhere, that pain has to be directed somewhere, and that is often inward within yourself. The fact that we’re also trauma bonded means that we cannot simply fault our partner who we ‘love’ so much.

5. Self-blame is a survival response

Ending of any relationship can be a painful experience but there’s always this thought of maybe we can still make it work. This means that it will be easier to blame ourselves than accepting that the relationship was never going to work. It’s the part of the denial and bargaining phase of a breakup as you might think, “maybe if I act this way, maybe if I change this or that about me, the person I love will come back.” Self-blame may offer this path of least resistance as you can’t imagine yourself starting over alone in this crazy world. Self-blame will feed you this false sense of control and safety over the situation.


One thing about blame is that we all find ourselves doing it in one way or the other. It’s more like we’ve been conditioned since childhood and that blaming ourselves is a default response in all situations we find ourselves in. But one thing we can do is understand how destructive blame is in our healing journey as it will keep us stuck in the past instead of looking at how our lives are in the present moment. Blame distracts us from seeing things as they are, and it burdens us with a responsibility and emotional baggage which just wears us down as we strive to find peace in our lives. Here’s the thing, the only thing you’re responsible for is what’s happening in your life at this moment and no amount of overthinking about the past can reverse what happened. Self-blame can keep you stuck in pain and trauma but you always have the power to heal safely and reclaim that happy life you deserve.



Helping you Break Free from Toxic Patterns, Live Happily & Attract the Right partner. Book Free call ▶️ bit.ly/Bcall 📧biiedwin8@gmail.com

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Edwin Bii

Helping you Break Free from Toxic Patterns, Live Happily & Attract the Right partner. Book Free call ▶️ bit.ly/Bcall 📧biiedwin8@gmail.com