I have a family member who deflects fault/blame onto others as a means to defend their sense of self. They do not accept responsibility for their role in the story, and do not accept that how they feel is actually brought about by their own thoughts and opinions of themselves, so they deflect it and blame others for how they are being treated and how they feel.
The story is that she is always being victimised by her superior at work and by other work colleagues. It took me awhile to work out what was going on because no matter how many times we discussed it, looked at it – it never changed and she always blamed the others – it was always their fault that this was happening and she was totally innocent and bewildered to why they were doing this to her. She also projects her dislike of them onto them, and then blames them for disliking her! This allows her to avoid them and to avoid her own feelings perpetuated by the dislike.
I didn’t recognise for a long time that her stories were in fact about her holding onto her ‘victim’ self very tightly and defending it ferociously. As soon as something happened at work that triggered this particular victim story, up would come the deflection shield, to keep the victim self intact. Everything was deflected off her shield back onto the so called perpetrator/s, who were picking on her for no reason, and were trying their best to brow beat her so as to be the alpha, so as to be seen as better than her, or so the story goes.
I got tired of hearing the same story over and over again, and it showed up in other stories as well. She was never the problem, it was everyone else who was the problem and they, the others, needed to fix themselves because they were in the wrong and couldn’t see it! When I tried (yep, my bad) to get her to see this story and her other victim stories differently, and tried get her to process her feelings…then I became the scapegoat of her deflections and projections. As we are not able to discuss any of this, because it brings up feelings for her that she does not want to visit or acknowledge, then, I, again, further become the scapegoat of her deflections and projections, as I cop the blame and everything is my fault! Our relationship is always tenuous and really cannot be called a relationship at all. For this reason I keep my distance now, and others also keep their distance. She is left alone and lonely and doesn’t understand why.
The irony of this story is that she feels victimised by her superiors and some of her work colleagues, so that she doesn’t have to feel the feelings that are triggered., she deflects her feelings and feelings of inadequacy etc onto those people; she then dislikes those people as she believes they have something against her – a vendetta. This is where the irony is – it keeps the loop of being a victim real. If she actually looked at this pattern and how it continues to play out, and if she processed the feelings associated with being the victim and all of what that means to her, she would clear the pattern and bring changes to her work life and her relationship with so called disliked work peers and colleagues. It would even go further than that…it would change her relationship with herself, with others and with life.