People who struggle to take responsibility for their mistakes usually have these 9 character traits

People grapple with taking responsibility for their mistakes for many different reasons, from insecurity and a big ego to a lack of emotional intelligence and denial. 

Understanding these factors can shed light on why some people find it hard to own up to their mistakes. It’s a complex interplay of emotions, mindset, and learned behaviors.

In this article, we’ll explore the character traits of these people but also the underlying reasons for their often annoying conduct. 

1) They’re blaming others

When faced with their own mistakes, they’re quick to throw someone else under the bus. Their default setting is pointing fingers instead of owning up.

That’s not just unfair to other people but also highly unethical, especially in some circles. 

But why do they do it? Why can’t they just own up to their own damn mistakes? Well, for each person, there’s a myriad of different reasons. 

I already mentioned some in the intro. But more often than not, it’s simply insecurity, fear of consequences, or preserving their self-image. 

Blaming others is a convenient way to shift the focus away from themselves and onto someone or something else.

Plus, when you accept responsibility, you have to admit you messed up, which can make you feel pretty bad about yourself. 

And lastly, blaming others is a protection that helps you avoid feeling ashamed or guilty. It’s a way to keep those icky feelings at arm’s length.

2) They’re making excuses

People who can’t accept responsibility are the experts at crafting elaborate stories to justify why they couldn’t meet expectations. 

They always have an excuse ready and a whole repertoire of creative reasons ready to roll.

For example, let’s say you ask your friend if they could help you move apartments the next weekend. I mean, you helped them many times before, they should be happy to return the favor, right?

Well, not if they can’t accept responsibility. They’ll, without a flinch, make up an excuse on the spot and leave you hanging. It’s not that they have something important to do. You could understand that, no problem.

They just don’t want to be inconvenienced and want to enjoy their weekend, even though you were counting on them.

With friends like these, who needs enemies. 

3) They’re denying facts

Everything’s fake news these days. And no matter how much evidence is stacked against them, they refuse to accept the cold, hard truth. 

They’d rather live in denial than face the reality of their errors. But not in all cases.

In some instances, they purposely deny the facts, even though they know they’re true. And it’s not even that unusual. You see politicians do it all the time, and they’re the masters of deception and gaslighting

In no other profession can you lie through your teeth that much and not face almost any consequences. In fact, those who don’t lie and don’t embellish the truth are often the ones who get the short end of the stick.  

4) They’re defensive

Constructive criticism? Nope, they see it as a personal attack. Instead of taking feedback in stride, they throw up their defenses, ready to go to battle. 

Even when someone offers them feedback meant to help, they don’t see it that way. Instead of taking it as a chance to learn and grow, they take it as something incredibly serious and hurtful.

I’m sure you don’t have to look far to recognize someone who does this all the time. Heck, it could even be you. 

And look, defensiveness can show up in different ways. Maybe they start making excuses or shifting the blame onto someone else. 

Or perhaps they get really emotional and start arguing aggressively, trying to prove they’re right.

For them, accepting feedback feels like admitting defeat. It’s like they’re afraid that acknowledging their mistake will make them look weak or incompetent. So, they put up walls to protect their ego and maintain their sense of self-worth.

But being defensive can also backfire. It can create tension in relationships and make it harder to resolve conflicts. 

Instead of listening and learning from feedback, they end up shutting down communication and shutting out valuable insights.

5) They’re avoiding accountability

phrases someone deflecting People who struggle to take responsibility for their mistakes usually have these 9 character traits

When the spotlight shines on them, they’re nowhere to be found. They’ll duck, dodge, and weave their way out of any situation where they might have to own up to their mistakes. 

Responsibility? They’d rather hand it off like a hot potato.

And look, we all do it sometimes. For example, I’m trying to exercise and eat healthy food more regularly. 

But when I’m not in the mood to exercise, I’ll find every excuse imaginable to make myself feel better about it. I’ll say it’s too cold or too hot. I’m hungry or too full. I have too much work, or my horoscope said I could hurt myself today. 

You get the picture. It’s never gonna be my fault, and I won’t hold myself accountable for it. 

6) They don’t have empathy

Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes? Not their strong suit. They have a hard time understanding how their actions affect others, leading to a lack of genuine remorse. 

They live and operate in their own little bubble, oblivious to the emotional impact they leave behind.

And you have to admit, that’s no way to integrate into society. If you wanna be a highly functioning member of the community, you need to have empathy and compassion.

There are no ifs, buts, or maybes about it.

People who struggle to take responsibility for their mistakes don’t get that. They’re often too selfish and have a short-term perspective on life. 

7) They have a fixed mindset

These people also often don’t believe they can’t change. They believe their abilities and intelligence are set in stone, refusing to embrace growth or learn from their errors. 

I see too many people with this mindset, and it’s frankly holding them back. They tend to shy away from tasks or activities that might push them out of their comfort zone. It’s like they’re afraid of failing and proving their perceived limitations.

They believe that putting in effort won’t make much of a difference in their abilities or outcomes. 

They’re resigned to the idea that they’re either naturally good at something or they’re not, with little room for improvement.

Plus, in the face of setbacks or obstacles, they’re more likely to throw in the towel instead of persisting and trying different strategies. 

8) And a sense of entitlement

They also believe the world owes them something – respect, admiration, you name it. This entitlement doesn’t let them accept when they’ve missed the mark. 

Just picture someone who always expects things to go their way, even when they mess up. They think the rules don’t apply to them or that they should be immune to the same standards as everyone else.

Simply put, they want all the perks without any of the responsibilities.

9) They’re not learning from errors

We all know of the old: History repeats itself. But I believe that the people who aren’t accountable are stuck in a never-ending loop. 

They make the same mistakes time and time again, failing to learn any lessons from their missteps. 

Even if they recognize their blunders in the moment, they quickly forget about them once the dust settles. 

But why do they do that? Are they raised like that? It could very well be. But it could also be that they believe they’ve got it all figured out, so they see no need to learn from their mistakes.

Final thoughts

Okay, in the end, one or two of these signs don’t make a Spring, right? But if you look at the context in the sense of how someone is behaving overall, you quickly recognize when they simply can’t take responsibility for their actions and, more importantly, their mistakes. 

Picture of Adrian Volenik

Adrian Volenik

Adrian has years of experience in the field of personal development and building wealth. Both physical and spiritual. He has a deep understanding of the human mind and a passion for helping people enhance their lives. Adrian loves to share practical tips and insights that can help readers achieve their personal and professional goals. He has lived in several European countries and has now settled in Portugal with his family. When he’s not writing, he enjoys going to the beach, hiking, drinking sangria, and spending time with his wife and son.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.