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Stopping the Blame Game

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So Alice had screwed up. How does she deal with it? Blame Bob, of course. It couldn't have possibly been her fault, so it's obviously Bob's. How? He was the only other person there when she screwed up and it wasn't her fault so it has to be his.

But Bob is not just going to stand there and take the blame. He knows Alice is responsible and makes damn sure she knows it. He specifically calls out that it was her own fault she screwed up, that she was the one who had sinned, and that she is not going to dodge responsibility or consequences of her own actions. In fact, if Bob actually was partly responsible, he may even admit it, but he will also point out that, unlike Alice, he's not too insecure to face his own mistakes, and he doesn't actively try to shift the blame onto others.

This trope is where someone denies any responsibility for their own actions and tries to blame someone else, only for who they're blaming to lay it out for them that it is actually their own fault and to stop trying to blame someone else for their own mistakes.

Compare with Rage Breaking Point which can be a factor leading to this and Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse which also calls out someone who is trying to deny responsibility for their own actions. A subtrope, of course, to the Blame Game.


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    Comic Books 
  • All-Star Superman: During a battle between Superman and a temporarily powered Luthor the latter halts in their fight as his senses grow to match Superman's. After being awestruck by his newfound comprehension of the universe his powers start fading ahead of their time limit because of some cleverness on Superman's part. When Luthor goes to grab more of the serum that gave him the powers, only to find Superman had grabbed it without his awareness, Luthor breaks down and starts ranting at Superman, angry over being denied the chance to regain his senses and the ability to use that knowledge for further scientific innovations. Luthor blames Superman for keeping him from saving the world but Superman just fires back with the truth - that the reason Luthor hasn't saved the world is that he simply doesn't care and doesn't want to.
    Luthor: I could've saved the world if it wasn't for you!
    Superman: You could have saved the world years ago if it mattered to you Luthor.

    Fan Works 
  • In The Beast That I Am, Haruka repeatedly shuts down Naru's efforts to blame Keitaro for everything going wrong.
  • Code Prime: Suzaku, owing to a mix of naivety, Black-and-White Insanity, and an inability to take responsibility for his own actions, condemns and blames the Black Knights as baseless aggressors who are needlessly causing issues with their violent actions. When he actually gets the chance to levy these accusations against members of the group, he gets told that he doesn't get to point fingers at them given his willing alignment with the Britannian Empire and the Decepticons and especially his willingness to turn a blind eye to any of those factions outright evil deeds whereas the Black Knights are doing something about the systematic injustices the Empire enforces.
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail:
  • Throughout The Karma of Lies, Plagg does his best to counter all of Adrien's efforts to blame his problems on everyone else. Not only does he repeatedly warn him that trying to shield Lila and Gabriel from the consequences of their own actions will draw their bad karma down upon his head, he repeatedly points out all of the ways that Adrien has screwed himself over. Such as blaming Ladybug for "not warning him" about his unwanted advances, stating that "Kid, you not listening isn't her fault." Sadly, Adrien refuses to listen, and Plagg eventually gives up.
  • Played With in let's go out with a bang!. Kokichi justifies his constant, casual cruelty towards Miu this way — her actions during the virtual killing game proved that she's a horrible person, and he's just trying to make her accept responsibility for her own awfulness! However, Kokichi himself is just as bad about owning up to his mistakes, and his goading only succeeds in pushing Miu further away from her classmates.
  • Pokémon: A Marvelous Journey: Amara blames everyone around her for not caring enough about her feelings in regards to the death of a friend, often lashing out at them over the slightest provocation and doing cruel things, such as abusing Pokemon, out of spite, frequently using her younger sister Julia as The Scapegoat. In chapters 57 and 58 they finally have them air out their grievances with one another, with Julia in particular reminding Amara that people around her did want to help her and reach out to her, but she chose to push them away and be violent with them, simply using her anger as an excuse to throw a months-long temper tantrum rather than doing what the courts told her to do and find healthier ways to heal and cope with her situation.
  • Pokémon: Harmony and Chaos: When Lightning Blitz and Trixie lose their Double Battle against Timber Spruce and Gloriosa Daisey, Lightning puts all the blame entirely on Trixie for "getting in his way". Luna and Celestia step in and tell him it was his own fault he lost, and he has no right to insult others for his own failures
  • In the sequel to Project Sunflower, Meadowlark tells Erin Oslen/Sunflower that if she doesn’t leave Ponyville, she will forbid her daughter Marigold from making friends, and that it will be because Erin didn’t listen to her to stay away from her or her daughter because of how she lied about who she was. Erin calls her out on it, telling her that she did listen to Meadowlark by avoiding her for months and that she’s not going to wait forever, demanding that if she wants their friendship to be over, then she should just go ahead and tell her so that she’ll stop holding on to what little hope she has that she’ll forgive her, but she will not let Meadowlark blame her for her actions.
  • Ranma Club: Several characters outside of the Tendo Dojo and Ranma himself realize that the residents have been defaulting into blaming Ranma for things going wrong that were never really in his power to stop for a long while. After leaving the Dojo and running into anyone that tries to treat him like The Scapegoat, it just leads to him telling them where they can cram their attitudes.

    Films — Animation 
  • Beauty and the Beast: This exchange leads to a back-and-forth between the two leads, which is ultimately the beginning of their romance starting to blossom. The Beast is injured saving Belle after she runs off, and blames her for his injuries, but she points out that she only ran away because she was terrified of him. He tries to turn that back again by pointing out that she'd gone in the West Wing against his orders, but she points out that his out-of-control temper is still ultimately the problem. This actually manages to shut him up.
  • The Lion King II: Simba's Pride: Kovu does this when Zira blames him for her son Nuka getting killed during the Outlanders' ambush on Simba.
    Zira: What have you done?!
    Kovu: (nervous) I-I-I didn't mean to... It wasn't my fault, I... (turns angry) I did nothing!
    Zira: Exactly! And in doing so, you betrayed your own kind! Betrayed Scar!
    Kovu: I want nothing more to do with him!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Blades of Glory: Stranz and Fairchild Van Waldenbergs's parents were killed in a car accident while taking their little sister Katie to ice-skating practice. For years, the two have been using this to emotionally manipulate their little sister into helping them cheat, telling her that their parents would still be alive if it weren't for her and that she "owes it" to their memories to help them. After falling in love with Jimmy (whom she had been forced to seduce in order to learn his secrets), Katie refuses to do anything more for them, and responds to the mention of their parents by pointing out that their deaths were their own fault; neither of them was wearing seatbelts, and they made an improper left turn.
  • Scream 3: The killer is revealed to be Roman, the director of Stab 3, who also reveals himself to be Sidney's brother. He explains his backstory of being born from Lorraine being raped and given up for adaptation. He grew up and tracked her down, but she slammed the door in his face wanting nothing to do with him. So he plotted revenge, essentially being the cause of the killers in the first Scream movie and indirectly the killers of the second. After Sidney survived both of those events and unwittingly gained fame from them, Roman decided to try and kill her directly, ranting that she stole the life he should've had. By this point, however, Sidney is utterly sick of killers blaming her for something she had nothing to do with, firing back that he's to blame for his own actions and he's looking for an excuse to shift it to someone else to justify his murders.
  • In Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Anakin's Face–Heel Turn costs him his relationship with Padmé — and he blames Obi-Wan, who will have none of it.
    Anakin: You turned her against me!
    Obi-Wan: You have done that yourself.
    Obi-Wan: Your anger and your lust for power have already done that. You have allowed this Dark Lord to twist your mind, until now... until now you have become the very thing you swore to destroy.
  • Thor: The Dark World: After escaping Asgard, Loki goes into another bout of blaming Asgard and especially Thor for rightfully locking him up after his rampage on Earth in The Avengers, acting like he's entirely blameless and it's just another example of the neglect he receives from his home. Thor has had enough at this point and starts smacking Loki against the walls of their escape vessel and spells it out for his brother — "Yes it is your fault and you damn well know it."

  • In Lord of the Rings, Gandalf reminisces about the time Elves and Dwarves used to be friends. Gimli states it was not the Dwarves' fault the friendship ended, and Legolas answers he never heard it was the Elves'. Gandalf states that he heard both, and that they can't afford the discussion anyway.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Chernobyl: Subverted. During Dyatlov's trial, the KGB try to force Legasov, a scientist from the Kurchav Institute of Atomic Energy and the one leading the investigation committee of the Chernobyl disaster, into placing full blame of the incident on Dyatlov, who was the deputy chief engineer of the titular nuclear power plant, in exchange for quietly fixing the design flaws of the RBMK reactors; Dyatlov, for his part, insists he was blameless for the accident and that the reactor's design was to blame. Though he had to be convinced, Legasov ultimately decided against following through with the KG'’s orders, flatly pointing out that while Dyatlov definitely deserves much of the blame for creating the right conditions that would lead up to the explosion, he did so believing AZ-15 (the failsafe shutdown prompt) would operate as intended and shut the reactor down. The reason it instead ignited the explosion was because of a fatal design flaw in the reactor's control rods, (they had tips made of graphite which ended up accelerating reactivity rather than slow it down), which the KGB was well aware of and did nothing to fix.
  • The Office (US): Michael tries to throw Pam under the bus several times when he does something stupid. In one episode, he throws away a memo from Jan, joking to Pam that the trash can is a special filing cabinet. When Jan later confronts him about not getting the memo, he tries to blame Pam for not giving it to him. She is having none of it: she reminds him (in front of Jan) that he threw it away and made a joke about filing.
  • Succession:
    • It's something of a Running Gag that people in Waystar-Royco tell everybody they knew something of the cruise ship scandals, but not how bad it was because everyone is afraid of being The Scapegoat.
    • Tom has been participating in the coverup of the Waystar cruise ships scandal, and dragging Greg into it, although he didn't actually commit any of the crimes (which include rape and murder). However, when he realizes he's being scapegoated in the Senate trials, which will lead to him going to prison, he threatens Shiv with divorce because he isn't responsible. Whether or not he intends to go through with it, Shiv takes his threat seriously, begs Logan not to let him take the fall, and he doesn't.

  • Inverted in Into the Woods in which the characters all sing the song "Your Fault" blaming each other, only for the Witch to put a sudden end it by interrupting it with the song "Last Midnight." She tells the group that if what they want is someone to blame, then they can give her the blame, so long as they give her the boy Jack to give to the Giant's Wife. When they balk at this, she calls them out for hypocrisy and then pulls a Screw This, I'm Outta Here.

    Video Games 
  • In Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced, Big Bad Duumvirate N Tropy and N Trance kidnap and brainwash the three main bandicoots, however, N Tropy mistakenly teleports doppelgänger, Fake Crash over the real deal. When he finds out, he angrily blames N Trance for brainwashing the wrong bandicoot, who immediately snarls back N Tropy was fooled into sending him in the first place.
  • Freedom Planet: Lord Brevon always tries to paint himself as the victim of the circumstances and guilt-trip others into believing that it was their fault for his villainy and their suffering. He mocks Lilac for her claiming she fights to protect her friends by pointing out that she assisted Torque, his sworn enemy, and directly interfered into a conflict that had nothing to do with her, and that her own actions only endangered her friends even more than ever. Lilac calls him out on the fact that he was the one who stole the Kingdom Stone and broke the years-long peace between the three kingdoms of Avalice, but Brevon still denies his fault by claiming that he wouldn't have done that if she stayed out of his affairs. However, Torque eventually calls him out on him acting like a blameless force of nature that is unbound by rules and then rebukes Brevon's claim of excusing his actions under the guise of saving his world by pointing out that the sole reason his world is in danger is that he is the one who's bringing suffering to other worlds. After that, Brevon stops denying his actions and admits his cruelty through sarcastic "apology".
  • In mission 18 of Project Wingman, over the ruins of Prospero, Crimson 1 tries to pin the blame onto Hitman and Sicario for the Federation using Cordium bombs to push back the Cascadia Independence Force from retaking the capital. Comic and Diplomat both tell him that he is in no position to talk, as he’s fighting for the very faction who developed the bombs and used them to cause a Second Calamity.
  • Spider-Man: Miles Morales: For much of the game Big Bad the Tinkerer has been blaming Spider-Man (Miles Morales) for getting in their way and escalating the damages of their fights. Miles himself feels guilty over everything as he took advantage of the Tinkerer's really his old friend Phin trust to try and stop the Underground in the course of Tinkerer's revenge plot against Roxxon. By the time of the final battle, Tinkerer claims they're done listening to Miles but Miles just fires back that the villain never even tried to hear him out.

    Western Animation 
  • The Powerpuff Girls: In "Brought and Scold", Princess makes crime legal, preventing the girls from fighting back against the villains. However she forgot to take into account that means she could be robbed as well. When it happens, she calls the girls and whines for them to help her, lest her father will blame her for not taking responsibility for the town when he bought it for her.
    Princess: (after being robbed, blubbering) And they took all of it! Everything! And if daddy finds out, I'll be grounded forever! Just because I begged him to buy me Townsville and make me mayor. He'll say it's my responsibility, then he'll blame me and think it's my fault.
    Bubbles: (matter-of-factually) It is your fault.
    Princess: THAT'S NOT THE POINT!
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: In the third season finale, reality itself is falling apart because of Catra's actions. She of course blames this on Adora but Adora has had enough of Catra's blame-shifting by this point and angrily shouts back that she's not the one who broke the world, that it's Catra who's responsible for this, and Adora is done playing nice with her.
  • Downplayed in Steven Universe: Future, in the episode "Little Graduation". After learning that Lars is returning to space with the Off-Colors, Sadie is dating another person named "Shep", and they (along with the rest of Steven's teenage friends) are leaving Beach City to move on to bigger and better things, Steven accidentally puts up a force-field around them so that no one leaves and puts the blame on Lars for not admitting that he's jealous that he and Sadie broke up. However, after learning that Sadie and Lars tried again with their relationship and just couldn't connect (without Steven's knowledge), it takes Shep telling Steven why things have to be the way they are that gets Steven to accept that forcing his friends to stay together isn't the right thing to do.
    • This is later inverted in I Am My Monster, where everyone blames themselves for Steven turning into a monster, only for Connie to show up and stop it by saying that, while it is their fault, it isn't time to be playing the Blame Game.
  • In the VeggieTales episode "Larry-Boy! And The Fib From Outer Space", Junior accidentally breaks his father's collectors plate and is encouraged by an alien Fib to blame his friend, her brother, and aliens before Fib becomes a Miracle-Gro Monster that grabs him and starts rampaging. Overhearing Larry-Boy's communicator saying only he can stop it, Junior finally admits that he alone was responsible, causing the Anthropomorphic Personification of the lie to shrink and disappear.

    Real Life 
  • Famously, President Harry Truman kept a plaque on his desk reading "The Buck Stops Here," meaning that as President he would take full responsibility for the executive branch, refusing to pass the buck.


Video Example(s):


I Am My Monster

When it seems like nothing they can do can help Steven, who has corrupted himself into a giant monster, everyone (The Crystal Gems, Greg, Spinel, and the Diamonds) begins sobbing uncontrollably over how this is all their fault for not noticing the pain Steven was in or how much they hurt him in the past or hurt someone else that eventually hurt him now... until Connie shakes them all out of their self-pity and rallies them into bringing Steven back to normal.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / ItsAllMyFault

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