What Is Personalization or Blaming? | Assertiveness Basics

  • Personalization and Blaming are Cognitive Distortions, automatic irrational thoughts.
  • It refers to placing the entire responsibility onto one single source or factor, one that often had nothing or little to do with the results of a situation.
  • Personalization refers to those contexts in which we see ourselves as the single source, factor, or trigger for a situation.
  • Blaming describes the contexts in which we place the responsibility exclusively on others.

Examples of Personalization and Blaming


“He failed the exam because of me. I shouldn’t have kept him on the phone for so long yesterday.”

The responsibility for the exam results is with the person taking the exam, not someone else.


“You always make me sad”.

How we react emotionally in a certain situation has to do with us, not with the other person’s actions.

How To Manage Personalization/Blaming

Retrain your mind to consider the objective factors that trigger a situation or outcome. The causes of an event are rarely singular and for each context, we should consider each of them with their respective amount of significance and influence.