Deny, attack, and reverse victim and offender (DARVO) is a tactic a person may use to deflect responsibility onto an individual they have abused. DARVO (an acronym for “deny, attack, and reverse victim & offender”) is a reaction that perpetrators of wrongdoing, may display in response to being held accountable for their behavior. Some researchers indicate that it is a common manipulation strategy of psychological abusers.

As the acronym suggests, the common steps involved are:
1. The abuser denies the abuse ever took place
2. When confronted with evidence, the abuser then attacks the person that was/is being abused (and/or the person’s family and/or friends) for attempting to hold the abuser accountable for their actions, and finally
3. The abuser claims that they were/are actually the victim in the situation, thus reversing the positions of victim and offender. It often involves not just playing the victim but also victim blaming.

The acronym and the analysis it is based on are the work of the psychologist Jennifer Freyd, who wrote about it in 1997. The first stage of DARVO, denial, involves gaslighting. Freyd writes:
… I have observed that actual abusers threaten, bully and make a nightmare for anyone who holds them accountable or asks them to change their abusive behavior. This attack, intended to chill and terrify, typically includes threats of law suits, overt and covert attacks on the whistle-blower’s credibility, and so on. The attack will often take the form of focusing on ridiculing the person who attempts to hold the offender accountable. […] The offender rapidly creates the impression that the abuser is the wronged one, while the victim or concerned observer is the offender. Figure and ground are completely reversed. […] The offender is on the offense and the person attempting to hold the offender accountable is put on the defense.

Usage and effectiveness
Freyd stated that DARVO is frequently used and effective, although the number of people who are inclined to believe a DARVO response decreases once they understand the tactic. However, the examination and determination of who is using DARVO proves to be difficult until the abuser and the victim in a case are clearly established. An example of the difficulty was seen in the Depp v. Heard case.

Based on the “Generator Transcript”

“Surrender: Your Mind Must Be An Ally
It’s very important to understand something as a Generator: Generators were given this gift of surrendering. Let me explain to you how surrender works for a Generator. A Generator comes to Human Design and they’re told that they make decisions in response. So they begin this process of making decisions in response, and they begin this process by doing the mental work first.

If you do not seduce your mind as a Generator, you will never have a real opportunity to be yourself. Your mind must become your ally. The way in which you make your mind an ally is that when you begin your Generator process, you begin by a “Question and Response Episode.”

The Mind Will Fight Your Surrender
See, Generators are here to know themselves. You’re here to know yourself so you above everybody else is here to know the power of your Not-Self because it’s your greatest enemy! In recognizing the power of that Not-Self you cannot expect your mind – who does not work for you – to work for you!

You cannot expect that you’re going to be able to teach your mind, to be able to compensate for your Not-Self.

Your Mind Is Not on Your Side
It all comes back to your own process. It comes back to you remembering every moment of every day that your mind is not on your side. It’s going to tell you whatever it tells you. It has to learn. You have to teach it. You have to fool it. You have to get it to a point that it surrenders to you being your own Authority, claiming what’s rightfully yours.

Your Sacral Center is here to claim what’s rightfully yours – your Authority. I wait for awake 59s to change the way in which we bond, so that we can bond with clarity, so that we can bond with those that are correct for us to bond with.” – Ra Uru Hu