Blaming Others for Their Problems


One of the behavior patterns of an addict is blaming others. Alcoholics are not exempt from this character defect. It’s not until people get into recovery that they begin to grasp what it means to take responsibility for their own behaviors.

Why do people with addictions do things such as judge and criticize others?

Basically, someone who is struggling with an addiction has a very difficult time looking at the real person on the inside. It’s easier to point the fingers at everything and anybody who can take the blame rather than them having to.

What accompanies the blame game that the alcoholic doesn’t really realize they are playing with family and friends?

Alcoholic Pointing FingerWell, generally there is anger that goes along with the alcoholic who is blaming others for their problems. They will get mad at the power company for turning off their power and say that they are unjust, even though the electric company gave them a one month grace period. They will blame their spouse for the pool being filled with green algae because they did not have any money to purchase chlorine. Yet, every day they were able to purchase two packs of smokes and a twelve pack of beer.

It’s not an uncommon thing for them to imply that they told someone a particular thing when they never did, just to get themselves off of the hook.

Deep down inside they really don’t want to be the way that they are, but the power that the alcohol has over their lives greatly affects their behavior. They will even blame the outcome of things to be related to the alcohol that they consume. This may be very true, but using alcohol as an excuse is not ever acceptable behavior.

How to deal with an alcoholic who is constantly blaming others for their problems

I would highly suggest that the phrase “I’m sorry you feel that way” become a part of your daily lifestyle when you are conversing with an addict who is constantly blaming everything on others. If the blame is directed toward you, this phrase is a mighty tool to deflect things right off of you when they do this. You will find several other phrases here: Communicating With An Alcoholic.

By saying “I’m sorry you feel that way” it keeps us from reacting to the lies that they throw at us. If they are blaming us for the pool being green with algae, instead of us defending ourselves and pointing the finger at them, by saying: “well, if you didn’t spend all of your money on beer…”, we put an end to the thing immediately by communicating more strategically.

When we react to the blame game, then there is just too much room for an argument. Trust me, things will be a lot quieter around the house if we do not confront the lies that accompany the blame they hurl upon us. This is all apart of learning how to handle an alcoholic.

It’s a rare thing for addicts or alcoholics to take responsibility for the things that they are personally doing wrong. They feel so bad about themselves already because they drink all the time that somehow blaming others for all of their problems helps them to feel OK about themselves. The best thing that can be done, if you are coping with someone who is constantly blaming others for things, is to adapt my favorite saying, “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

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275 comments to Alcoholics Blaming Others for Their Problems

  • Pez

    I think I also read somewhere about “the family secret” but don’t remember where? It might have been in the Empowered Recovery book. If I remember I will post it.

  • Debbi

    Maybe what happened to me will ring a bell with others. During my 15 year marriage my exAH was telling all kinds of lies about me, almost from day one, to his family to make it look like all the problems (any of them, even unrelated to our relationship) were my fault. So his daughter who I helped raise and gave her the same things as my own son were hearing these lies but because I was still in the picture she had to have contact with me. It wasn’t until my marriage was close to ending that I heard that the in-laws were lying about me. Remember the family still gets most of their information about us from the A’s so after the breakup the A tells even worse lies about us. The in-laws did not see what was going on behind closed doors. So, my future has 2 hopes: 1-the truth comes out & my good reputation gets restored & 2-success–for that is the best revenge. Always remember to stay no contact with the ex and their family–they will always take the A’s side, they were doing that long before any of us entered the picture. So to all–think success–that will be your BEST Revenge. Go have a much better life.

  • Pez

    Debbie I now I agree. I was hoping this second time around it would be different. it is quite obvious what he is what he did and who this woman is. in other words there’s no denying it! but the dysfunction of the A I believe creeps into the whole family Denial and all! people told me to cut all ties to everyone even the children. but no me with the big heart has to try and believe. they were right. this big heart isn’t a big heart anymore its a balanced heart. weighing situations and then forming a judgment of how much of my heart I should be willing to invest.

  • Julie21

    Debbie you make a good point. The family in my case saw some things but even when my xah father picked him up for DV and intoxication to spend the night at his house, my xah told him lies and twisted what had happened around to make it look like i was the bad one trying to get him into trouble. And of course they close their eyes to the evidence before them so that they may live in ignorance and take no action to help because that would be too much effort on their part. They woulld rather just hand him off to me and tell me he is my problem. Haha now that we are divorced they can no longer do that. They can try and did but now they see it is not working. I just feel a little bad because i know he tells lies about me and has in the past and i wonder how much they really believe. Or do they know in their hearts that they are lies. I am trying to get to the place in my mind where i say who cares i know the truth so who cares what they think of me. But that is very difficult to do.

  • Debbi

    Yes, Pez & Julie21 -The lies that really hurt are not the ones where they’ve lied about how much they drank or their whereabouts but the lies they tell about us. Really good liars, A or not, always put a little truth into it & the receiving person tends to believe it. So here’s how my ExAH did it:
    -when we were alone he said horrible things to me (no one else could see this)
    -When we were with others he complimented me in front of them-result: he looked like a nice guy & I thought that he was speaking highly of me & not realizing this only occurred when I was in the room
    -When he was with others and I was not around he would spin his lies with that little bit of truth that made others believe him—just like I too believed him.

    Took me quite awhile to catch on–I’m slow & assume people are telling me the truth. And basically, think about it, if a man says something nasty about his wife or girlfriend are we likely to go to her & tell her or find out if it’s true? Unlikely & so they get away with it. if the person on the receiving end is their family and you are the outside person–very unlikely they will ever tell you what he is saying about you & even more likely they believe it.

    I figured it out because of 3 incidents:
    1-he asked me to call him while he was working to check out an item on sale for him. I did & it went into voicemail where I left a message. Later that night I hear him telling his co-worker that it was me that called him that day & that’s how I control him because I am a controlling b**?. Is this man going to question it? No, because of the element of truth–he heard his phone ring.

    2-I came home one day & his niece was visiting. They did not hear me come in. I hear him telling them that the desk in my living room that I had told everyone belonged to my grandfather was in fact a desk from his dad’s house & I had broke in & stolen in. Does this niece question it or ask me? No because his father did have a similar desk. So because of a small element of truth, she believes the whole story to be truthful.

    3-This one is the horrible one that devastated me. I was diagnosed with a non-cancerous, non-threatening brain tumor but would need radiation. He tells everyone. It gets confirmed. Then what happens–from that point on he tells any crazy story about me & tells its because of my tumor. Do they believe him? Of course, the one element of truth. Now he carries around in his wallet a copy of my diagnosis so that when things got out of hand and I had to call the police, he whips out this piece of paper & the cops leave me there with him. Do they believe him? Of course–he shows an element of truth to backup the lie.

    My own attorney would not believe me over his lies. I solved this the only way possible–took pictures & recorded him when he & I alone in house to capture the horrible things he was saying and doing. Not until I did that & documented escort charges on credit cards, visits to liquor store & the like did any of his words not get believed.

    So, I don’t want him hurt or revenge–I just want the truth to come out & my good name cleared & the only way I can control that is to live a good life & slowly dispel all those lies about me. Having a good successful “After the A Life” will let people slowly see I’m not that horrible person he made me out to be.

    Sorry to be so long but thought my story might help you in your situations.

  • Julie21

    Wow Debbi similar to my situation. My AH told lies about me all the time and still does. In the beginning people believed him because it was either people at the bar who did not even know me or people at work i did not know. But toward the end of our marriage as he drank more and more he was unable to keep up his facade. For example when we went to the BMX bike track where my sons raced bicycles everyone thought he was such a great father who knew so much about bikes and did so much for our boys but then as the years went on and they started to catch him swearing at us and threatening us when he thought no one was around or when they caught him pouring beer into his plastic cups at the track and then even later on when he started to increase his drinking at the tracks they would smell him and see him stumbling around and hear him slurring his words. He also started promising to help people out or help out the track and then failing to do so which he always tried to blame me and the kids when he did this. But then people started to see what he was really like. In the beginning of our divorce he tried to play like the perfect husband and father and tried to paint me as the crazy vengeful wife out to get him and brainwash the kids against him. It was not until i got recordings of the terrible things he was saying to me over the phone that the courts would believe me either. They did not even care at the time that he had a history of DV or Alcohol abuse or that the kids were begging not to have to visit with him. But after he showed up hung over and was tripping up over his own lies in the CPO hearing, now the courts are seeing him for what he really is. My chldren always called him The Poser and it is the perfect name for him, but even he cannot hold up the facade forever,

  • Pez

    No one can. especially a drunk or a drug addict. eventually the addiction will be so far out of control they will not be able to control when they indulge. and the problem will become more and more evident to more people. don’t worry Debbie your day is coming!

  • Pez

    the family secret thing I was telling you guys about was actually in al-anon pamphlet. the secrets and the lies and the fear and shame the whole family covers. but that won’t be for ever sooner or later there son or daughter or sibling will be completely out of control and quite evident.

  • Debbi

    Thanks Julie21–good to know others in my shoes where you had to record things to prove you were in fact the non-crazy one. Mine continues to keep up the facade & controls his drinking so no one ever sees it–I never even saw him drunk–I know his tolerance level was quite high.

    Pez: Thank you–sure hope you’re right & my day is coming because tomorrow is the last day here for me–abandoning my house, lost job & no sale yet on the house. With cold weather here now I have to close it up and hope it sells soon & so I really have only one more day for “my day to come” otherwise I will never get to hear if the truth comes out about my ex because I will be thousands of miles away.

  • C

    Debbi:

    Never fear, the next woman, and there will be many, will see through him quickly. My A bf never stumbled in front of me during the almost 5 years I knew him. When he was at his other home 100 miles away, he would call slurring his words, etc. I knew he was drinking even more when he was away.

    The woman who was with him for several years, wrote me letters (!), called me and left messages saying I was “dumb” to be dating him! The Police in two states have files on the constant stalking – I had to change my phone No., and also my internet site. How did she get all that?

    I never answered her – she didn’t exist in my world – and, in time, she finally stopped. But, without her stalking me with information about him, I would have found out on my own.

    Move, enjoy your new area – celebrate your life and future. There are millions on this Earth – you will meet someone in time, and this will be a memory you will want to completely forget.

  • Pez

    Debbie, I know it’s hard but you have got to think more positive. Really think logically here. If a person is a drunk for years and it effects brain function year after year after year–how long do you think they can maintain their marbles?? Seriously. They will NEVER be truly happy, they will never have a good relationship because they will be found out and it will crumble, the best indicator of how the will be with the next one is how they were in the past (with you), it’s a cycle and he will continue to repeat that cycle!!!! Unless he wants sobriety and that’s a whole other monster. He will treat the next one just like he treated you in time, if not sooner. they are NEVER happy with anyone or anything, they are buckets with holes, nothing fills them up. Your thinking is not logical, you are still in depression. See it for WHAT IT TRUELY IS. your XAH & my XAB are going down to hell in a hand basket. Yes, I want justice NOW, but it won’t happen in my time. It will happen when it happens. You may not hear about it (hope you do though) but that does not mean it isn’t happening. Take the facts you’ve learned about alcoholism and apply it to his future! Doesn’t look good to me.

  • Pez

    I am sure you are all interested in the 1st date after the X. It went well, He took me to a very nice place and was a gentleman. Not bad looking–average. I was a bit disappointed he talked more about himself and was more animated when he talked about him but a little board if I was talking which would not work for me. So, I will just be straight with him about it and see how he handles it and see if he responds positively. I want someone very interested in me for a change. Been with someone self-absorbed way too long : ). Not settling for anything less than what I want this time.

  • Debbi

    To C:
    Your words helped remind me that I don’t need to see him drunk to realize the alcohol was causing problems between us. Thank you. I believe he was/is stalking me with mail and giving out my email but can never be sure as his family might also do this to me. In your case it was another woman that was stalking you–when did she make herself known to you and why? Was she seeing him after you or was she the one he dated before you? Just curious.

  • Debbi

    To Pez:
    Glad you had a nice time out & you instantly recognized this is not someone you wish to pursue–that’s progress, recognizing what you want now–good girl!

    Thank you also for helping me get my head back on straight. My situation seems different & that’s why I question everything. I never saw my ex drink to excess and the amount I saw him drink was never very much so his behavior never made sense to me. My depression is very real but it’s not all related to the ex–alot is because this sad story just keeps repeating with me–everyone walking away from me: husbands, son, family, co-workers, & some friends. Just like you I want to have what I want for a change but I realize I might be the cause for attracting this in my life so I am so trying to figure out my part in this and how not one aspect of my life over the years has gotten better, it all seems to get progressively worse: career, finances, friends, family, just about everything. I need to deal with my aspects for what I “bring to the table” that maybe also causing this. But I can’t explain all the emails, calls to my banks–I never seem to get the answers to know who is doing this?–ex, his daughter, his sister, mother because they have all done some crazy things to me that they would never do to someone else. Thus my depression due to feeling I have no control over my own life & everyone else seems to be pulling the strings of my life.

    But always appreciate your kind words of encouragement. Wish me luck–tomorrow I head out and leave this state I have lived in for almost 40 years.

  • Pez

    I hope this move does a world of good for you. I sometimes think I’d like to make a major move just to get away from this area (although it’s beautiful and I love it) just for a new start. My Xab lives here and his X wife (who is putting me off too? Have no clue why). Everyone knows Who he is, a liar and a drunk living with a low-life woman that’s been proven. everyone knows how he treated me and what he did but now, it seems, I am the bad guy or something else. Can’t figure it out but hope to hear someday? If this is the way they are going to treat another human being, this is not who I am, and I will cut them off too. The whole thing surrounding the A is dysfunctional and F’d up. It makes no scence and I’m tired of the dysfunction and games with all of them. It seems they become like the A, treating people with disrespect etc…I’m not going to maintain aqaintences with people who putt me off and lie–Had way too much of that and can’t tolerate it anymore.

  • Pez

    PS. If they are believing lies from him–they are idiots!!! They saw it all and they are accountable. I think it’s more either family pride & secrets, giving in to his demands, fear of anger and retaliation with the parents. With the X wife it just may be she used me when I was with him for info and to look after the daughter and now has no use for me? or she’s in fear of loosing child support if I would report him for drunk driving or something, ie that I may do something, or the daughter is bonding with the ho and she doesn’t want to address it with me. Anyway if there is no appreciation for me I’m gone! They can all deal with future consquenses of his drinking with out my support.

  • C

    Debbi:

    Document any odd calls you receive, any mail items and if your internet site is flooded with spam, change it. The woman who stalked me stalked the woman who came after her! I was the second person he dated after leaving the mentally challenged nut!! She found a neighbor in his development and kept in contact with her after the breakup so she knew what he was doing in MD and PA! She wasn’t threatened by the woman after her, but when he met me all hell broke loose!! I have a wonderful life – lots of great friends, successful children, and I don’t need anyone to pay my bills. She was the opposite – he just got tired of it when he started meeting capable women.

    But, the drinking continued no matter who he was seeing – so, you see, no one but the drinker is the constant and he blames the women in his life for everything!!! They had a chance to control the intake of alcohol and didn’t – it isn’t like all of us aren’t aware of the dangers of too much.

  • Julie21

    Pez if his family and any friends who are still his friends are practicing the same behaviors as he is (lying etc..) then it is much better for you to have them out of your life. I am thinking the same for me and my ex’s family. Yes it is a loss but only if they are healthy in mind and spirit and would be a supportive addition to your acquaintances. I am learning to cut off any negative people. They are not true friends if they are not supportive in the truth. But i understand it still hurts that it seems they are turning on you. I feel the same way.

  • Pez

    Julie said, “They are not true friends if they are not supportive in the truth. But i understand it still hurts that it seems they are turning on you.”

    I agree. But all the loss still sucks and People with a heart like me just don’t understand this type of crap. I am very loyal and very much about the TRUTH. Other people are not, they look out for their own best interest. I am not going to beat myself over the head trying to figure out WHY? I’m done with that. He is, by far, the biggest, Largest, perpetrator of all this hurt and pain. If the family wants nothing to do with me, they can continue to live with the way they treated me. My conscious is clear : ). It doesn’t “seem” as if they are turning on me–they are. Just very disappointed in them! I guess, I thought I meant more–guess not. But this too shall pass.

  • Debbi

    To Pez: I watched my exA & their daughter turn his back on his first wife–They just buried her yesterday–she died homeless & even her own sister not speaking to her because he had an affair with the sister while married to her. Even her own daughter stopped contact with her own mother & stuck by the A father. Once you are not part of the A’s life all his family, friends, co-workers have to cut you out too–unfortunate but true. You too need to do the same–No contact with any of them & that way less hurt.

    To C: Thanks for answering my questions. Strange that his ex’s stalk the new ones even after they are no longer with the ex. I keep thinking my ex may be sending this stuff to me but it could be one of the women he had affairs with that did not get him after he broke with me & so they are taking it out on me. One started calling my house and leaving messages for him like they were best friends–I knew he wrote her off a long time ago but I guess she wanted me to think “she got him”–joke’s on her, she never had him! But there are some things I truly can’t explain unless it’s the ex because no one else would know certain things (ss#, date of birth, return to my maiden name). Just wanted my answers if him? and if so why? He got everything he wanted–he wanted away from me!

  • C

    Debbi:

    If you have not contacted him, and he thinks you are doing just fine without him, he will want to do anything to prove you are an awful person! That is in case you start to spill the truth about him. Family/children will only support him if he is giving them something! In time, you will see others go through similar situations and the answers will come to you.

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend. Try to let the stress go, and enjoy being super you.

  • Pez

    Yea, I know Debbie. It’s the only way to go for less hurt. I think this happens a lot in a normal divorce too. My Aunt said her XH (not a drunk) she lost all contact with his family and children too. It also happened to her In long term dating relationship when she was young and the mother loved her, but after the boy moved on the mother did too. It’s a family thing not just an A thing. Part of life that sucks. I wonder if we would be like that if the A was in our own blood line–I hope not. C what you said is probably very true for me too. I rejected him at the supermarket and he probably has been slandering me now he knows no going back still, if they believe him it’s only because he’s family. What he did was too evident to all and undeniable. But, people believe what they want to believe. It’s their son. The X wife, don’t know what got up her ass. But in the long run, it’s better this way. Just gotta get past the disappointment.

  • Julie21

    Pez it is like i mentioned in an earlier post about this issue. They are more concerned about themselves and how they “look” to the world or they want to deny the real problem because then they may have to face some realities about themselves in order to do the right thing. So much easier to jump on the bandwagon and blame someone else. Unfortunately we are the easiest targets. And now that we are bringing that out in the open i guess it is a blessing for sure that his family is not having any contact with us at all. It is just hard and our feelings are hurt to think that the grandmother did not even really care about her grandchildren and is cold enough to just turn her back on all of us and support her son as he uses their money to try to hurt us in court. Unbelieveable. And i am sure that they blame me for that too. I am sure the truth about what he is really doing is not something he is telling them either. I understand not wanting to put your son out on the street and homeless but to actively help him hurt his own children is something i know i would never do in that situation because i know myself and after what i have been through i could never forgive myself if i did something like that.

  • Pez

    Love you guys and gals here. Thanx for all your love and support–it means soooo much. Someone that’s walked in your shoes. And I have to say, those ladies who joined me on facebook are Physically beautiful women. Amazing, why do we end up with addicts?? I hope more will join me Phyllis, Amy, lois, and Dale on facebook, it’s a blessing.

  • Camille

    Hi, my name is Camille and I just wanted maybe some advice or tips. My XABF left me and my 4 boys 15 days ago. He was my best friend for 20 yrs and my lover for 3 yrs. He moved back to live with his family in ND. He didn’t call me for 10 days and then when he did of course he was all drunk. I have so much to share I don’t even know where to start. feeling so lost and alone and trying to keep it together for my kids. Any words of wisdom from people who have been through it would be so very appreciated.

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