Blame is the foundation of domestic violence. While it may be theoretically possible to dominate another person without using blame, such as in a prison, in a domestic relationship, blame is essential to both implement and disguise power and control.

Blame is placing the entire responsibility for one’s unpleasant actions, consequences, and feelings on another person or external event, and insisting that others agree. Airing a grievance is not necessarily blame if the injured party still takes responsibility for their own actions. Primary aggressors are recognizable by the primacy that the act of blaming plays in their relationships. Survivors may not recognize the relentlessness and the controlling function of blame. They may believe that the primary aggressor is trying to help them or the relationship by bringing flaws into focus.

In reality it is not possible to productively address any issue with blame because at least one partner is not taking responsibility. The purpose of blame is to weaken the partner, and blame often erupts most strongly when the survivor is acting independently or strongly. Blame may also be practiced somewhat indirectly (see the list below).

Less Obvious Ways to Blame