Satir Categories

Satir Categories Blamer

Virginia Satir suggested that 30% of people will typically use the Satir Categories Blamer attitude. They say no regardless of what they really feel or want (it’s the principle!)
The blamer takes responsibility from self, and puts it on someone or something else. They only recognize their own view, and the context of a situation, and don’t respect the other persons view.

The blamer’s language is authoritarian and direct. They tend to disagree and highlight important points. They find fault with everything you do or say. They play the game of “if it weren’t for you”. They use generalizations to distract and cast blame on someone. They use pointing gestures. The blamer stance appears to be harsh, and is used to make firm points when giving a speech, and to elicit guilt. It can easily create relationship rifts and communicating problems

Getting obedience makes them feel powerful and effective. To get into this stance, point your finger and use lots of Modal operators of necessity and Universal quantifiers.

  • You should …
  • You never …
  • You always …
  • Why do you always/never …?
  • Why did you …?

Then, no matter what the other person replies, use this to make them even more wrong, by mismatching. My dad was an expert at this. If I said something was black he would argue it was white. If I studied I was a boot licker, if I didn’t I was a lazy good for nothing.

Being in a blamer posture can trigger others placatory posture – a fear response to intimidation.

This is about domination. It’s how we respond when we get angry. I think of the marine colonel in Avatar – fear is not an option. Blamers play hardball in negotiations. They want to win at any cost and can sometimes cut off their nose to spite their face, or win the battle only to lose the war.


Using a blamer stance, if you were late to a meeting you might storm in, throw your bag down and say,

“I cannot believe the traffic, you would think they would stick to doing road works at night. And then I found some moron had parked in my spot, I had to park in the public car park 3 blocks away. And you know what they wanted to charge? I’ll have to put it on my expense account, unbelievable. And who in their right mind decided 9am is a good time for a meeting anyway? No one has any consideration for people who have to commute around here”

Written with Craig McClure


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