I am a writer and a scientist. I’ve read several books about blamers, and I want to share what I’ve learned.
What Is a Blamer and How to Identify One
They go by many different names: Debbie Downer, Negative Nelly, Hillary Clinton, emo, the-glass-is-half-empty kind of person, crazymaker, pessimist, et cetera, et cetera. They come in many different forms, from the kid that lives in the dorm room down the hall who talks about death all day and complains about not having friends to the over-critical and overbearing mother-in-law. No matter what name you call them by, or how you know them, this kind of person always sucks the life right out of you. They kill your confidence with a single remark, twist your good news into bad news in seconds, make a happy, healthy person depressed, and they generally just make life miserable. It’s nearly impossible to experience joy in their presence, and their bad mood and biting remarks always seem to spread.
Dealing with a negative person is never pleasant, but blamers can be the worst type. A ‘blamer’ is a type of narcissist (meaning they have an inflated sense of self) who, in their own eyes, can do no wrong. Everything that happens wrong around or to them, whether their own fault or not, is immediately blamed on the other people in their life. For example, if they got in a car accident, it’s your fault for distracting them. If they steal your phone and start rooting through it, it’s your fault for leaving the phone out. If they didn’t get the job, had a bad day at work, or burnt dinner, somehow, someway they will make it the fault of the people around them. Blamers are the most difficult type of negative person to deal with, and dealing with them often leaves you stressed, depressed, and feeling guilty for things that are not your fault.
The best thing to do is to ignore or avoid the Negative Nelly in your life or get them out of your life as quickly as possible. Cut the cord, and never look back. That is the advice most self-help books will give you. But for many of us, that just isn’t possible. Maybe that person is your parent or sibling, maybe that person is your roommate and you can’t move, or—even worse—maybe that person is your boss, the guy who never has anything nice to say, and you have to look at pictures of kittens and rainbows just to get through the day.
How one deals with your common, everyday Debbie Downer will not work on a blamer. You need to adopt different techniques. But it can be difficult to even identify a blamer, let alone know when to use these different techniques.
There is no personality type associated with a blamer; they come in all walks of life. However, below are typical traits and common characteristics to help you identify whether or not that negative person in your life is really a blamer, and what you can do about it.