The Art Of Deflection: When Your Partner Accuses You of Being “Crazy”


, ,
the art of deflection

Has your partner ever called you crazy, even though deep down inside, you knew that you were not at fault, and your opinion was completely justified? Well, chances are, you might have been a victim of deflection.

During my initial session with a client who is having relationship issues, he or she often says, “It’s me. I’m the problem.” Yet as we delve into specific circumstances, it is clear that the client is not at the root of the couple’s dysfunction. He or she has a partner who continually deflects.

Deflection is a common, universal, and unconscious defense mechanism, yet when used to an extreme, it can blind a person to the information he or she needs to be close to others. Almost like a force field around a person’s ego, it maladaptively keeps out the material that causes tension regarding who a person is and what he or she believes.

Having a partner who routinely deflects often results in a person feeling punished for having any feeling that differs from the partner. The defense may be especially robust if a person has a feeling about the partner that the partner does not appreciate.

Read 5 Things A Narcissist Says To Make You Feel Crazy

For example, say Sally is hurt because of a comment Tim made while out to dinner with friends the previous night. “Sally won’t get that promotion because she’s too naïve. Her employees would run circles around her,” Tim said as he chuckled.

Perhaps Sally is very trusting, but the term naïve is slightly degrading and Tim’s belief that Sally will not move up in her field understandably hurts Sally. Yet when Sally shares with Tim that his comment made her feel bad, Tim deflects and says, “I didn’t say it like that. You are making stuff up. You are crazy. We had a good time last night. Why do you have to ruin it?” Now, even more upset, Sally attempts to explain why the comment hurt her, but Tim continues to deflect accountability, “I was joking. Can’t you take a joke? You’re too sensitive.”

Because Sally does not share the rigorous need to deflect, and because Tim is absolutely adamant that he did nothing wrong, Sally begins to doubt herself and her feelings. “Is all of this in my head?” she wonders. She lets it go, blaming herself. Yet, over the course of several months, if the dynamic is repeated, Sally may begin to think she is the problem.

Alternatively, if Tim does not deflect, he may be able to understand how and why his sentiment caused discomfort in Sally. Acknowledging that he grasps why the comment hurt Sally’s feelings, owning it, and repairing the conflict by rephrasing, “Sally, you have a big heart, I worry that manipulative employees may try and take advantage of you, but I am sure you will handle it like a pro,” helps Sally instead of hurts her.

Tim gets his opinion across, which may provide Sally with important insight, but it is relayed in a respectful, supportive, and encouraging manner. It is important that both parties see, understand, and respect each other’s perspectives. This is not possible when one party continuously and robustly deflects.

In the long run, if one person is shamed or dismissed for having any feeling that contradicts a partner’s, he or she may stop acknowledging how he or she feels in the relationship. Stifling feeling states within the context of a close relationship may eventually lead to symptoms of anxiety and depression. This may inflate the deflector’s belief that the person has “issues.”

The tricky aspect regarding this dynamic occurs when the deflector accuses the other person of deflecting. Often an individual who uses deflection to a fault also utilizes projection. He or she may constantly accuse the person of having character defects that he or she actually embodies but refuses to see. For example, A narcissist frequently calls his or her partner a narcissist.

when your partner deflects

Taking the example above, the deflector may say, “I am telling you the truth, but you can’t hear it. Being a manager is not for you. You just never want to listen to me.” The key in this situation is to understand the criticism as a projection. It may be that the deflector is a poor business manager because he is rarely accountable and barely listens to ideas that are not his. Responding calmly and logically to the projection is important.

“I understand you believe I do not listen, so that may hurt me in business. I get it. I’ll keep that in mind when I get the new position.”

Read Why Do Narcissists Project Their Wounds Onto You?

Ultimately, if a partner deflects, projects, and attempts to continually disempower a person, the person may need to take note of this so he or she does not surrender to the belief that he or she is impaired. Maintaining a cohesive sense of self in the midst of deflections and projections is difficult but important.

A relationship takes two. Respecting and honoring each other’s feelings and perspectives is essential. A partner who supportively and respectfully attempts to provide a person with insight in a way that encourages and empowers is a loving and healthy partner. A partner who refuses to try to understand a person’s feelings because he or she pervasively deflects and projects may need professional help.

Written By Erin Leonard
Originally Appeared On Psychology Today
the art of deflection pin

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Up Next

7 Red Flags Of A Future Faking Narcissist: Beyond The Façade

Red Flags Of A Future Faking Narcissist: Beyond The Façade

Have you interacted with someone who promises you the world, but when the time comes to do good on their promise, they leave you high and dry? Chances are you might be dealing with a future faking narcissist.

Future faking narcissists are charming and diabolical at the same time, and are experts at lying through their teeth. They will paint a picture-perfect image of themselves in front of you and will promise you a beautiful future. However, it’s all smokes and mirrors.

In this article, we are going to talk about the signs of future faking narcissists, so that it’s easier for you to understand when someone is genuinely interested in building a future with you and when someone is simply playing you.

Up Next

The “False Self” Of A Narcissist: Look Beyond The Facade!

Hidden Narcissist False Self: Make Believe Traits in Them

The narcissist false self is charming and confident, masking underlying insecurities and emptiness beneath. Let’s find out other secrets they hide!

Narcissists have a false self. They’re master illusionists. They behave like a little king or queen — whether bragging or sulking. Their whole personality is a charade crafted to deceive you into believing they are confident, superior, self-sufficient, likable, and caring.

In studies, groups of people met with and liked a narcissist, but after 6 more interviews, they discerned the narcissist’s true nature and changed thei

Up Next

How To Deal With Your Partner’s Obsessive Ex? 4 Tips For Successfully Handling One

Deal With Your Partner's Obsessive Ex: Tips And Tricks

Have you ever had to deal with an obsessive ex? Moreover, have you ever had to deal with your partner’s obsessive and toxic ex? If you have, you already know how disturbing it is to go through this. This article is going to talk about some of the best ways to deal with a toxic ex or deal with your partner’s toxic ex.

My friend is happily married to a man who has a child. He is a devoted and loving father who sought full custody of the children; the court denied his petition.

His two children are living with their narcissistic mother who actively alienates the children from their father. His ex was obsessed with him during their short and turbulent relationship. She was deceitful, abusive, controlling, and highly destructive. They hooked up while drunk.

Up Next

Dog Whistling Narcissist: 8 Ways Narcissists Use This Covert Manipulation Tactic

Dog Whistling Narcissist: Covert Ways They Manipulate You

Have you ever had the feeling that when you are talking to someone, there’s a hidden message they’re trying to get across to you? A message that feels insulting, condescending and hurtful? If you answered yes, then you are dealing with a dog whistling narcissist, my friend.

These people are experts at sending subtle messages that are extremely hurtful and humiliating, but only you understand it, not anyone else. When a narcissist uses dog whistling, their main motive is to manipulate you and keep you under their control. They’ll use it to dominate you, and put you down, while pretending to be harmless.

But what is dog whistling, and how narcissists use dog whistling? Let’s find out, shall we?

Up Next

What Is A Superiority Complex And How To Deal With Someone Who Thinks They Are Better Than You

What Is A Superiority Complex And How To Deal With It

Have you ever met someone who believes they are inherently better than others? Do they constantly exude an air of superiority, belittle others, or dismiss others’ accomplishments? This is a superiority complex in action. What is a superiority complex?

People who exhibit traits of condescension and arrogance are believed to have a superiority complex, a psychological phenomenon that drives such behavior. Let’s explore the superiority complex in psychology, its signs, causes, and most importantly, how to deal with someone with a superiority complex.

What is a Superiority Complex?

A superiority co

Up Next

What Is A Devouring Mother? Overcoming A Narcissistic Mother’s Toxic Grip

What Is A Devouring Mother? Ways To Overcome Toxicity

Do you feel overwhelmed, smothered, or suffocated by all the love and attention your mother gives you? Perhaps you know people who feel trapped in situations where their mother’s love becomes an all-encompassing affair? This phenomenon is referred to as “The Devouring Mother Archetype.” Let’s explore what is a devouring mother and how to deal with the devouring mother archetype.

What is a Devouring Mother?

The Freudian devouring mother describes a controlling, overbearing motherly figure hampering a child’s development and independence. It is marked by possessiveness and narcissism.

As the term is not a literal description, a devouring Mother does not mean a mother who consumes her children ph

Up Next

Is It Love Or A Trap? 10 Ominous And Warning Signs Of Love Bombing

Ominous And Warning Signs Of Love Bombing: Love Or Trap?

Have you ever experienced the turbulent side of love, that comes from falling head over heels for someone? The butterflies in your stomach, the passion you feel, and the feeling of being swept off your feet – feels amazing, doesn’t it? But what if I told you that behind this seemingly perfect façade lies something dark and sinister? What if I told you these are warning signs of love bombing?

Welcome to the dark world of love bombing; a psychological tactic used by manipulative people to gain control over your mind and heart. In this article, we will talk about what does love bombing mean, and the signs you are being love bombed.

Let’s get started first with what does love bombing mean, shal