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20 Ways People Deny their Own Wrongdoing

wrongturnsSome of these ways to deny wrongdoing are direct denials.

Others are indirect….and some are downright subtle. Still, each and every example below is an attempt to avoid responsibility.

Interestingly, denial comes so naturally to all of us. Denial doesn’t take sophisticated communication skills.

In fact it seems to require no effort at all!

1. Blame someone else.

Not my fault! Someone else is the cause of my behavior.

2. Blame self.

It’s not my fault…this is how I was created, how I am, who I was raise to be. In most cases, self-blame denies responsibility – another form of blaming others.

3. Minimize it.

Sure, it happened, but it’s not that big of a deal. You’re exaggerating.

4. Get confused.

Huh? I don’t know….how could you….wait….what??

5. Highlight someone else’s issues.

Yeah, but look at so-and-so! I am not that bad, am I?

6. Flip out.

Throwing a fit serves to take attention off the wrongdoing, as if to say, see how crazy you’re making me? See how wrong YOU are?

7. Divert attention.

Wait, this isn’t the real issue. Look at all this other stuff that’s going on!

8. Lie.

No I didn’t do that at all.

9. Blame their emotions.

I can’t control myself – my emotions just take over.

10. Blame society.

This happens when you live in a such a society.

11. Everyone does it.

How can you expect me to not make the same mistakes that everyone makes?

12. Blame the victim.

If he or she weren’t such a jerk, I wouldn’t do such things.

13. Go full self-righteous.

Well! How could you! To think that I would intentionally do something like that!

14. Pretend to be above the law.

That’s how I roll….deal with it. You want me around, right?

15. Accuse self-righteousness.

Oh, so you’re so holy that you can go around pointing out others’ mistakes, huh?

16. Relabel it.

Nah, that’s just me and the boys being boys.

17. Act like you had no other choice.

Not my fault….it was the only option.

18. Claim positive attributes.

Hey, I more than make up for things like that by virtue of my good qualities.

19. Make you doubt yourself.

Are you sure? How can you doubt my intentions?

20. Play dumb.

Oh I had no idea that was wrong!

Denial is an insidious form of self-sabotage

You think you are protecting yourself by denying mistakes and wrongdoing. In fact, you are committing an act of self-sabotage. What are you sabotaging?

• Your self-respect: How can you respect yourself when you are avoiding responsibility?
• Your relationships: How can you be close to people with whom you cannot be honest?
• Your personal growth: How can you develop when you deny keys areas in need of growth?

Self-sabotage is one of those hard-to-pin-down issues that requires education to even understand. When you get that things like denying wrongdoing is self-sabotage, you must realize that we do all kinds of counter-intuitive things to get in our own way.

The solutions are counter-intuitive as well, which I why I always recommend this free video as a way to understand how self-sabotage works in your psyche, so that you can begin to take steps to correct yourself.

You, me….all of us. Let’s focus on being honest about mistakes and wrongdoing. Freedom self-sabotage awaits!


20 Ways People Deny their Own Wrongdoing

Mike Bundrant

Mike Bundrant is the author of Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage and co-founder at The iNLP Center which offers online certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and life coaching.

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APA Reference
Bundrant, M. (2016). 20 Ways People Deny their Own Wrongdoing. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 23, 2020, from


Last updated: 13 Oct 2016
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