Loving Yourself in the Face of False AccusationsBy Dr. Margaret Paul
November 28, 2017
Being falsely accused by someone close to you is very painful. Learn how to respond to the accuser and how to love yourself in the face of false accusations.
For many of us, being falsely accused is extremely painful. Were you ever falsely accused as a child? How did you feel?
I was falsely accused numerous times by my parents – accused of being irresponsible when I was over-responsible, of faking pain for attention when I was in deep pain, and of having sex when I was nowhere near having sex. Not only did I feel deeply unseen by my parents, I felt unbearably helpless and lonely. What I did to avoid all this deep pain is I kept trying to be more and more perfect to prove myself. It never worked.
Madeline asked me, “How should I respond to false accusations from my boyfriend?”
The problem is that when someone makes false accusations rather than being opening to learning with you, they are operating from their wounded self, so there is nothing you can say that they will believe. Explaining or defending is only going to dig you deeper into the conflict. When someone is in their ego wounded self, they are not open to anything you say. They just want to be right.
Since there is nothing you can say that will change their mind when they are in their wounded self, loving yourself means not saying anything about the accusation. What Madeline needs to say to her boyfriend when he is falsely accusing her is, “I’m not going to talk to you about this when you are accusing me,” and then disengage from the conversation.
I know it’s hard to walk away rather than try to convince the other person that they are wrong. It’s hard to accept that we are helpless when it comes to getting someone to hear us and see us. But accepting our helplessness over the other person frees us to take loving care of ourselves.
The other thing to understand when someone falsely accuses you, is that often they are projecting on to you something that they’ve done or have thought about doing. For example, my experience of my mother was that she was often acting the victim, crying to get someone to pay attention to her. When I was in authentic pain, she projected onto me that I was doing what she did – crying as a victim. In addition, my mother took very little responsibility in the world. She didn’t work and was always looking to be taken care of, so she assumed that I was equally irresponsible and she could not grasp how different I was from her.
My father was sexually addicted, so he assumed that I thought about sex in the way he did and projected on to me his concept of sex.
Often, when one partner accuses the other of lying or cheating, they are projecting their own lying and cheating on to their partner. The same thing often occurs when a selfish, self-centered partner accuses another person of being selfish.
Obviously, all this is crazy-making, and it’s loving to yourself to acknowledge that you are being crazy-made, and, as I stated above, refuse to engage in discussing the accusation with the person who is projecting their feelings or behavior onto you. Bring much compassion to yourself for being falsely accused and for being crazy-made. Be very kind and gentle with yourself, because this is, indeed, a very painful experience. We all want to be seen, heard, understood and acknowledged by the people we care about, so when they do the opposite, we feel lonely and heartbroken.
Loving yourself means that you see, hear, understand and acknowledge your truth and help your hurting inner child to not take the false accusations personally. They are not about you.
Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Relationships Course: "Loving Relationships: A 30-Day Experience with Dr. Margaret Paul - For people who are partnered and people who want to be partnered
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If you are not letting yourself do what brings you joy, attend to what you fear that is stopping you. Do you fear rejection or failure? Do you fear doing well and then losing your free time, or then not living up to expectations? Not following your joy and passion indicates that your loving adult is not creating a safe space for your essence to express itself. Today notice the beliefs that are limiting you.
By Dr. Margaret Paul