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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324 comments to Alcoholics Blaming Others for Their Problems

  • Linda

    Dear particia
    #1 They live in denial its easier. Its easier to blame someone else or get new enabler.This disease destory’s. Families, My son,s don’t speak to me. I left my 35 year marriage because of abuse phyical, emotional, . I am treated like a outsider in my own home.. it became more important to deceive his wife.. Its know way to live. Find yourself. The A ego is most important to them,they are. Running from the truth….

  • Is this love?
    Emotional infidelity – constantly checks young women out and flirts with them (he is turning 48 year’s old), then denies it. Had an emotional affair with a women with questionable behaviors. Allowed a women from his past to message him for about 8 months, saying loving things to him then told me, “at least she says nice things to me”. Told me that there are women out there who are way prettier than I am. Said if he was single, he would date a slutty women. Although I am tall, fit and attractive, told me that he prefers tall women and that if I were to get into a car accident and die, he would look for a nice, tall women.
    He denies that he said most of this stuff to me. He does admit to a couple things like the car accident and preferring tall women.
    Emotional abuse and abandonment – moved my kid’s and I to a remote area, about 100 miles from his job, 9 year’s ago. And then stayed in a room (at his work) or his travel trailer up to 5 nights a week while we struggled to adjust to isolation and lonliness. Was extremely emotionally abusive to my son for a long period of time. Moved out over a week ago and left my daughter and I to clean his stuff out of the garage and shed.
    Alcoholic – has been getting constantly drunk on a regular basis for probably 11 years now. Lately, has been raging and has been having threatening bully-like behavior, getting in my face and screaming at the top of his lungs and breaking things. Is leaving “me” because I won’t be his drinking buddy anymore (hate alcohol! Makes me sick.), won’t continue to live in isolation anymore and refuse to accept his emotional infidelity. My daughter and I planning on moving close to my son.
    Now he is transferring his affections to my daughter. Is texting her pretty regularly and wants to take her “shopping”. Ignored her and expected for her to fend for herself for college and a car although she was struggling, up until recently.
    My daughter is 17 year’s old and is impressionable. I don’t want my daughter to associate love with buying her, especially because he really hasn’T been there for her. That is what my husband did to me, bought my love…is this love?

  • Mary

    ALCOHOLICS DO NOT LOVE (with all due respect I am not saying they are unhuman) but let’s be honest, they have a DISEASE, their love is didfferent than most, and that is what the crux of the disease does. It is built on self doubt, insecurities, selfishness, anger, arrogance, narcissim and so much more. The hardest thing for those surrounded by A’s AH’s are we don’t understand their minds, their needs, their rationalizations and justifications What we do, is we engage (whether right or wrong) it continues to cause the merry go round affect. As I stated, you can stay silent or even respond or try and justify (especially when they are verbally abusive and or blaming you for EVERYTHING they do and their actions) it’s just a constantly roller coaster and yes WE are guilty (to a point) none of us were RAISED on how to deal with an A, none of us are professionals, but the more you learn, go to Alanon and therapy (with people trained specifically on this disease) the more you will realize WE ARE NOT unique, we all follow the same pattern our stories are different and yes some worse than others. But know, it’s NOT ABOUT US, the A will always find a way to justify, manipulate and basically throw you or ANYONE under the bus to preserve their truth, their deciet and their lies. And yes, I agree, whether you stay with your A or AH, they will find another enabler they will continue to live in this horrific life (and yes, I do feel sorry for them) but I can’t rationalize how A’s think they are actually human and can act the way they act. In all my years alive, I have never ever endured this kind of emotional and physical encounters in my life (although I do take my responsibilities and my own actions and how i’ve handled situations, but then again, its call suriving and standing up for oneself) but then it just puts me right back into the merry go round. Remember this isn’t about us, but if you get to the point where you start to question yourself or think that this is about ourselves – STOP and focus on you and only you.

  • Susie

    Here’s my advice to y’all. What other people think of you is now of your business. Stay out of the alcoholic’s business and focus on what works for you. There’s my business, your business, and none of my business. Stop trying to figure out your AH’s behavior, you’ll just wear yourself out. Oh, and remember, every time an alcoholic opens his mouth, it’s a lie.

    I learned all this and much more in Al-Anon. This is a serious disease. STOP trying to fix him. He’ll use your behavior as an excuse to drink and cheat more. LEAVE THE SICK ALONE OR THEY WILL DIE.

  • Susie

    Oops, I meant, “what other people think of me is none of my business” :)

  • Susie

    yes, yes Laurie. Every one GO GO to Al-Anon… and while living with your A “Say what you mean and mean what you say, but don’t sav it mean.” :)

  • Sally

    While it’s all well and good to try to figure out a drunk, the bottom line is: When it came down to a choice of living a life his way or mine, I chose mine. After more than 3 years, I still don’t regret my choice. Still love him, haven’t seen or heard from him in all that time and I’m ok with it. I don’t choose to live like that ever again. My life is better without him in it.

  • Susie

    Laurie,
    Thanks for the gardening tips. I will share them at my next meeting! :)

  • Susie

    Awesome Laurie!I love your “If You Love Me Let Me Fall By Myself” Words of wisdom for us prone to enabling!

  • Sharon

    Laurie, I love your story, “If you love me let me fall by myself”.
    I’ve been in Alanon for about 7 months now and am attending group meetings 3 times a week and have just picked up two AA meetings twice weekly to work to develop some understanding of my husband’s alcohol addiction.
    He left over a week ago. Couldn’t stand his lies and his volital behavior anymore-very difficult time for me to grasp all of what is going on. I have had many highs and lows over these past 12 day’s since he left but today is a better day for me.
    I do have to admit that my AH has been trying so hard for me lately, in some ways but he still hasn’t let go of the alcohol or the denial.
    Good thing is that he attended an AA meeting a week ago. Hopefully, he will go tonight.
    I do love him dearly and would like to work things out. My issue for me is that I have developed serious trust and jealousy issues because of his womanizing behavior. I just can’t seem to get over and beyond it. But as I commented earlier, he denied that he did those behaviors and yet I watched him do it several times!!!
    He is planning on divorcing me because of “my” issues.
    I can see where the insanity comes in. Lol

  • Mary

    sorry if I offended anyone stating that A’s don’t love – what I meant is they LOVE differently and their love is challenging and difficult to relate to. Not my intention to ever make judgements on how people LOVE. We all LOVE differently, but the A’s mindset is much more complexed. As stated in many of the comments, WE CAN ONLY worry about ourselves, we are not the CAUSE, the CURE nor can we control (and if we try we will end up in the PATTERN that is painful and puts us into the same realm of the A) – Thanks all for your responsess – this is helpful, useful and encouraging!!!!

  • Kesa

    I really appreciate you guys comments. Mary, I understood what you were saying. Thanks to everyone.

  • Brenda

    I have been reading all the comments on this blog and just wanted to add my 2 cents worth. Addiction of any kind is a disease. There are always root causes to a persons need to numb themselves through Alcohol and/or Drugs. What I am not seeing in the comments is alcoholic husbands going beyond detox. Detox alone will do absolutely nothing for a severe addict. They need to go directly to a Rehab Centre from detox. Detox is only withdrawal treatment to get them off of alcohol and/or drugs safely, it does not get rid of the cravings, triggers, root causes etc. We have to remember that addicts do not wake up one day and say I am going to become an Alcoholic today. This is a progressive disease with the tolerance level rising all the time. Inside each one of these people is the person they once were and with the right kind of treatment they can learn the coping techniques for triggers, learn how to let go of root causes, but this takes a true commitment on their part. When they have gone through a withdrawal treatment centre (usually up to two weeks) they come out with their brains still in the fog of their addiction this is the reason they need to go directly into a Rehab Centre. In a perfect world they would be in one centre that would be doing the detox and rehab treatment in one facility. Yes private rehabs can be expensive but the help the addict is receiving goes above and beyond to help them with the mental health aspect of their addiction. The reason I am writing this is hopefully to help other bloggers understand that without further treatment beyond detox, there is a very high rate of relapse which sadly is out of the control of the addict. Simply put they come out of detox still craving and without further help very few do not relapse.

  • Sharon

    Thank you, Laurie.

  • Mary

    how is it possible that my AH sees fault in everything that happens to him and somehow it’s my fault??? if i respond i end up getting crucified, if i say nothing he’ll find a way to blame me. how is it that my AH has double standards to anything that happens in his life or what he says, thinks or feels? and yet when it’s reversed, I AM ont allowed to feel, respond or react – it’s excruciating to live a life of constant turmoil and blame. no matter what I do or don’t do it will never be enough and somehow my fault. how to people justify themselves and actually find a way to blame someone over the smallest of things? i wasn’t put on this earth to be my AH parent, conscience or kicking bag – i am a human with feelings and needs, but his expecations are unrealistic and delushion. if A’s really do mirror and project to their spouses, children, loved ones (friends & families) how can they honestly sit there and think they are completely truthful and righ. it doesn’t matter if you stay or leave or ignore or fight back or even respond or react, NOTHING in this realtionship is allowed unless the AH justifies or thinks is correct in their mind. it’s really sad to see someone be so angry and cruel to not only me, but others (but mostly me) as the live in lies and shame, but again, we werne’t put on this earth to be the pile of garbage who has no say, gets kicked around and treated like they are nothing. life is much to short for anyone who lives this life. truthfully i know deep in my heart and soul that whomever he is with he will do the same, will it make him realize that maybe just maybe he has some issues that are far deeper than drinking, it’s a vicious cycle for A’s but at the end of the day, they will do anyting to proect and survivee and at anyone expense

  • Mary

    agree – everyone can change, but we are responsible for ourselves. there is only so much one can take living with an A (a functioning full on in DENIAL alcholic) but sadly anyone who is surrounded by an A, will get their anger, rage, depression, mood swings, blame , shame, lies and projection. this is my life and my truth and it’s beyond painful. no point in getting angrier or resenting, it’s a waste of time, energy and pointless – better to continue my therapy sesions, attend Alanon and find a way to walk away from this once in for all with a little bit of dignity i have left.

  • Susie

    Read the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous for more understanding. Al-Anon is built on it.

    In chapter 6…(I have an old edition)…

    “The alcoholic is like a tornado roaring his way through the lives of others. Hearts are broken. Sweet relationships are dead. Affections have been uprooted. Selfish and inconsiderate habits have kept the home in turmoil. We feel a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough. He is like the farmer who came up out of his cyclone cellar to find his home ruined. To his wife, he remarked, ‘Don’t see anything the matter here, Ma. Ain’t it grand the wind stopped blowin’?”….

    Point is, just stopping the alcohol is not going to fix anything. There’s the spirituality part that must be healed also.

  • Kristy

    I found my answers in Al Anon. Maybe you can too. It takes time. Heal yourself and let him be responsible for his recovery. If you want to help him you need to help yourself. I too was afraid I was going to be told to leave my A but, I wasn’t. I have been in Al Anon for 20 months now and life is so much better. It’s not perfect but, I’m happier, healthier, and I feel safe and once again confident in my actions and abilities. Remember, you are not the problem no matter what he says. Alcohol is the problem. I am still with my A and he has found sobriety. For now. It is a disease and one that can grab ahold of him at any time. The other side of that is he is filled with personality defects that are results of the alcoholic thinking. He can still be an irrational thinker even in sobriety but, now I have the tools to react in a more responsible manner than to allow myself to be sucked back into the diseases path. No one will tell you what you need to do. No one has the right answers for you but, they will give you support, take away the feeling of being alone, remind you of what the true spirit of intimacy is, and hep you to regain your sanity if you give them a chance. Go to more than one meeting, visit several meeting sites and find those you fit in with the best. Help is out there.

  • I think I’m having a flare up of emotions and anger, confusion hurt, resentment, abuse, neglect etc.

    My AH is currently on house arrest for the third time in a year for 30 days and is being monitored for his drinking. So, for thirty days he can only go to his VA meetings 3 times a week and has to blow in a machine twice a day… He did go to detox prior to his house arrest but it was only for 5 days! My husband is a severely dependent alcoholic who also suffered from ptsd.

    So, now he is supposively getting better though his diabetes taken a real blow this time around with his heavy drinking. I know I’m supposed to be supportive while he is sober but now here I am sick and finding myself going over my hurt and pain over and over and over again to the point that I’m badgering him. I’m getting worried that once again his time will be up on house arrest and he will lose his mind all over again, I feel horrible after I have these out of the blue melt downs and I’ve told him that I hate him… I feel horrible and need help to get through this. I know I have anxiety, but could it also be ptsd? Has anyone been prescribed meds due to the anguish of living with an alcoholic?

  • Sharon

    I am married 5 yrs to my A husband, 7 yrs together, he hid his problem from me, but there were warning signs that I chose to ignore, but I have recently discovered he is narcissitic. I just don,t know how to deal with all this, the worst part about my husband is he just runs away, it started off, it would be 2 weeks at a time, then a mo th, then 3, now its 5 mths, 5 mths, who puts up with that, every xmas he is gone, my birthday, I,ve never had a holiday with him, and I did everything for us. He is in totl denial, every word is a lie and no way has he a drink problem. I get the same txt messages, I,m sorry or I miss u, but yet I still don,t see him, and I tell him he needs help, I don,t hear no more until another week or 2. My heart is broke at such total unacceptable behavior for any relationship, I just don,t know what or who I am dealing with, especially the abdamnoment which seems to apply more to narcisstic personality disorder

  • Sharon

    Thank you Laurie

  • Susie

    Thank you for the awesome post. This brings a lot of understanding to me!

  • Mary

    Thanks for sharing Laurie (Personally my experience with AH is Narcissim, Alcoholism, NPD) = ALL of it combine is what I endure DAILY. Many articles, blogs, therapist, PHD’s state that this disease can share in all of these personalities. What I encounter is constant BLAME, ANGER, RAGE and completely SELFISH, inconsiderate, projection, mirroring and very abusive behavior (mentally and physically) AND yet, it always comes back to ME, I caused it, I need help, I’m the one who makes him do things, I make him drink, I cause him stress, I yell, I nag, I critisize (honestly, the list is ENDLESS) and even when I keep my mouth completely shut, I am again WRONG or to blame. I can say nothing and he will turn to me and state that I have that “smug look on my face” or when in TEARS (as I am only human and the things he states about me, would bring ANYONE to tears – I am a VERY strong individual, but I have been tested to my limits) NO ONE should ever be told they are the cause for someele’s actions – NO ONE. If I answer, he’ll mock my answer and my tone, if I stay silent, I’m told I’m a Bitch or the C (word) and then told repeatedly how I am only making things worse. Even when i say nothing It’s not a roller coaster (as we know when your going up and coming down) with my life it’s a constant merry go round – it’s exhausting, horrific, excruitatinly painful and yet I still stay…. as they say, those surrounded by the disease are just as sick (if not worse, because there is nothing worse than being told you are the problem and the cause when anything and everything you do NEVER is good enough) I know the next step, and I admit I’m stuck and have been so entrenched in this disease myself that I have truly LOST me and who I am and what I know to be wrong and right. I do think an alcoholic is entertwined with so many demons of narccisim, shame, regret, failure, ANGER, rage, BLAME and sadly it’s a long battle once they even conceed to accepting that they even have a disease.

  • Sharon

    Hi Mary, I know only too well, what is so hard to comprehnd for me, how do they not feel, how do they not care the hurt and obvious pain they inflict and how do they just disappear and then to turn up, don,t you ask a question or anything like that, ur suppossed to just carry on, until the next time, its so cruel and demeaning.

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