Why you Blame Yourself for Everything after Leaving a Toxic Relationship

Why you Blame Yourself for Everything after Leaving a Toxic Relationship why you blame yourself for everything after leaving a toxic relationship
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A common tendency among most survivors of abuse is to blame themselves for what happened in the relationship. Consequently, they find themselves caught in a cycle of self-blame, where they believe everything is their fault. Instead of the abuser taking responsibility for their abusive behavior and the deterioration of the relationship, the victim may assume this responsibility for things they had no control over. This situation is distressing and disheartening, especially considering they’ve been betrayed by their partner. They might have thoughts like:

  • “I feel like I’ve failed terribly, and I should have seen it coming. Maybe I made the problem worse by not recognizing it earlier.”
  • “One night, he came home and started shouting at me. Looking back, I think I might have provoked him because I didn’t understand what was going on.”
  • “People say she’s better off without me. I must be a weak person, and she’s better suited for someone else.”
  • “I seem to ruin everything in my life.”
  • “I shouldn’t have responded to their insults; I should have kept quiet to salvage the relationship.”

The cycle of self-blame perpetuates, leading to the conviction that every situation in the relationship was their fault. But why do victims of abuse tend to blame themselves for everything?

1. Manipulation or Gaslighting from their Partners

The primary source of self-blame among victims originates from the constant assertion by their abusers that everything is the victim’s fault in the relationship. This manipulation is achieved through tactics like gaslighting, which distorts the victim’s perception of reality.


The victim becomes unable to trust their own judgment and relies more on the abuser’s perception. The abuser convinces the victim that they are to blame for everything or that the abuse is warranted, leading the victim to accept these false claims as truth. This belief is reinforced by the manipulator’s charm, which gains approval from others, leading the victim to think, “Everyone likes them, so I must be the problem.”

2. Societal Victim Blaming

The society we inhabit indirectly or directly contributes to the notion that victims are to blame for relationship issues. Certain societal norms imply that blame should be placed on the victim. This blame may come from family, friends, religious institutions, or those around you.

Hurtful comments like “she wasn’t submissive enough,” “he failed to provide for his family as a ‘real man’ should,” or “she dressed inappropriately for an unmarried woman” further amplify the burden of blame. In fact, research indicates that when something negative happens, the initial reaction is to perceive the victim as the cause.

3. Negative Self-Criticism

Life often leads us to unconsciously or consciously set high standards for ourselves, possibly due to our upbringing or environment. Growing up as the “golden child” who consistently excels academically and morally can create an image of a flawless individual. When faced with a significant setback, such as leaving a toxic relationship, negative self-talk ensues, branding the individual as a failure or worthless. Setting high standards can amplify the impact of failure, as the consequences seem more catastrophic.


4. Excessive Kindness Leading to Self-Blame

When kindness becomes excessive, acknowledging others’ faults becomes difficult, and individuals may opt to shoulder the blame instead. Some might even fabricate situations to justify blaming themselves and forgiving the person they care about. In some cases, it’s challenging to imagine disliking the other person, and since victims are often trauma-bonded to their abusers, they direct their pain inwards.

5. Self-Blame as a Survival Mechanism

Facing the end of a relationship can be incredibly painful, and a victim might cling to the hope of salvaging it. Self-blame becomes more appealing than accepting that the relationship is beyond repair. Denial and bargaining manifest as thoughts like, “Maybe if I change, maybe if I act differently, my loved one will return.” Self-blame offers a false sense of control and security, shielding the victim from the unsettling prospect of starting anew in a world that seems overwhelming.


Blame is deeply ingrained, often serving as our default response. Yet, understanding its destructive nature during the healing process is crucial. Blame keeps us anchored in the past, preventing us from fully experiencing the present.

It distracts us from reality, burdening us with unnecessary responsibility and emotional baggage that hinders our progress toward inner peace. Remember, the only responsibility you bear is for your current life. No amount of dwelling on the past can undo what has happened. Self-blame can keep you trapped in pain and trauma, but you possess the power to heal and reclaim the happiness you deserve.


  1. https://solaramentalhealth.com/understanding-self-blame/
  2. https://www.7cups.com/qa-breakups-21/why-do-i-always-blame-myself-for-the-breakup-3311/
  3. https://www.rosscenter.com/news/self-blame

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns (in less than 2 months) , then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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