What is DARVO?

DARVO is an acronym that stands for “Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender.”

It is a manipulative tactic that is commonly used by individuals or organisations in response to accusations of wrongdoing or abusive behaviour.

If you have ever tried to communicate in a toxic relationship you may have experienced this form of manipulation. In this pattern you may end up feeling self-doubt, unheard, crazy, and at fault every time. ⁠Sounds familiar? It might be DARVO.

The first step, “Deny,” involves the accused person or organisation denying the allegations made against them. The second step, “Attack,” involves attacking the credibility of the accuser or witnesses. The third step, “Reverse Victim and Offender,” involves flipping the narrative so that the accused person or organisation becomes the victim, and the actual victim is portrayed as the offender.

DARVO is often used to deflect responsibility, minimise, or trivialise the harm caused, and avoid accountability for one’s actions. It can be a very effective tactic, particularly when used against individuals who are vulnerable or lack power, such as victims of abuse. However, it is important to recognise and resist DARVO in order to hold abusers and wrongdoers accountable for their actions.


This article contains original content from The Relationship Room.

Follow Along