DARVO—Role Reversal


A strategy common to all abusers is called DARVO.




Deny the abuse, Attack the victim, and Reverse the roles of Victim and Offender.

This is roughly how it can be done (ad absurdum for emphasis):

You are stupid.

Are you accusing me of being stupid!?

You are accusing me of making accusations!

…but what you said was rude and untrue.

More accusations! And you are calling me a rude liar!
You are hostile and name calling. Leave me alone.

Why did you call me ‘stupid’?

You are harassing me.

I want an explanation. Was it something
I said that sounded stupid?

I told you to leave me alone! Stop harassing me! Look, everyone, I am being victimized by that evil person for no reason!

Do you recognize this scenario?
Please leave a comment and share your story!


6 thoughts on “DARVO—Role Reversal

  1. Wow! I live with this on a daily basis! Almost verbatim! If I didn’t know better I would think someone has been in our home listening to what is said!


  2. I lived with a narcissist for 17 years. I kept trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, until I finally realized it wasn’t me. So glad I ended that relationship!


  3. My mentally ill narcissistic mother is highly critical & judgmental of all others while utterly incapable of receiving merely the hint of any criticism herself, anyone who attempts is then attacked on every level that she can conjur up, & also placed on her radar for further smear campaigns against them as well!


  4. I have a twin sister who does this to me all the time….she will go years without talking then come into my llife again..a few weeks go by..then she will make up some lies and make believe I treated her poorly, all the while she follows my websites and post nasty remarks to embarass me until I am left with deleting all my work and friends to get rid of her. worse of all… she will make sure I know she is attending my grandchilds birthday party so that I will not go to prevent farther arguement in the front of my grandchild… I am tired of living like this.


  5. I am divorcing a serial cheater/ manipulator who is so skilled at impression management, spreading falsehoods, and has managed to win people over, whom I thought were my friends. I don’t know how he does it, but it works. Here’s just one scenario of many that have taken place.

    He had been moved out of our home for 6 months, and when our children were with him (and mentioned I was not home) he would bring them to the house and make them let him in and take things.
    In light of this, I set up our alarm system so I receive alerts on my phone when the house alarm is turned off or on. On one occasion I texted my oldest daughter to find out why the alarm was again being turned off when I wasn’t home. She told me her dad wanted to come get a jacket (things I’d been asking him to come get for months, and he refused). I promptly tried calling him to tell him he needs to schedule these pick-ups when I was home (a conversation we’d had 20 times). He hung up on me and would not respond to texts; so I texted my daughter and told her I was resetting the alarm remotely, to please leave the house. She informed me her father had made her go sit in the car. At that point I was so tired of dealing with this repeated boundary violation that I set the alarm, and of course he set it off rummaging through the house. He ran outside and asked our daughter to turn it off; by that time I had already gotten a call from the monitoring company and told them to please dispatch police. They left before the police arrived, and I was told to file a police report when I returned home. After he left the house he sent me a text that said, “stop putting Our daughter in the middle!” Are you kidding me? The problem is not my response to his behavior, the problem is his behavior! This is just one of the hundrededs of examples! He likes to tell people I called the police on him and how I’m trying to make him out to be a bad guy because I’m angry and bitter! Yes I’m angry, I’ve repeatedly requested he not enter the home when I’m not there, and when I finally had enough of repeating my request (that falls on deaf ears) I took action in the most responsible way I knew how. He leaves out the past occurrences of his behavior, telling the story as though he is the victim of my irrationality! It is quite infuriating!

    His version of our divorce is “he made a mistake (had an affair) and I just couldn’t get over it and work on our marriage” He conveniently leaves out that he made 5 “mistakes” with escorts. Our children live in this community and I wouldn’t be doing them any favors by revealing the truth to every Tom, Dick and Harry, but I am so tired of hearing all the lies he spreads! I know I can only control me, but how does one deal with this!

    Everything I’ve read says to suck it up, time will reveal his true character, but as I sit and wait, the lies accumulate. I regret the day I met this man! I just want to run away and never look back, but I have to co-parent with a man who is constantly saying horrible things to our children (and others) about me. He told our oldest daughter I would have aborted her if it wasn’t for him (a total lie). Who says that to their child!!! I really wish there were some helpful techniques to help deal with this sort of thing. I am at a total loss as to how to cope effectively and not allow myself to be drawn into constantly trying to defend myself of all the lies.


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