DARVO is an acronym that stands for Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender. It refers to a pattern of behavior where an individual, often in a position of power or authority, responds to being confronted or accused by denying the allegations, attacking the person making the accusations, and reversing the roles to portray themselves as the victim.

This concept was introduced by psychologist Jennifer J. Freyd, who explored it in the context of interpersonal relationships and situations where abuse or misconduct is alleged. Freyd's work primarily focuses on understanding the dynamics of betrayal trauma and the ways in which individuals cope with and respond to experiences of abuse.

This shows up with addicts and betrayed partners in passive aggressive communication.


Deny that he  has done anything wrong.


Attack her by becoming defensive and blaming her for her inquisition.


Reverse the roles of the addict and the betrayed partner.


The addict will take on the role of victim and try to convince her that she is “picking on him” for no reason.


The addict calls her the offender and wants her to believe that she is being unfair to him.


Freyd, J. J. (1997). Violations of Power, Adaptive Blindness, and Betrayal Trauma Theory. Feminism & Psychology, 7(1), 22–32. doi: 10.1177/0959353597071003.

From the workbook Help. Them. Heal. page 189, by Carol Juergensen Sheets LCSW, CSAT, CCPS-S, CPC-S, PCC

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