15 Surefire Signs A Narcissist Is About To Throw You Under The Bus

Narcissists might shower you with love and praise, but it’s only a matter of time before they show their true, nasty colors. Luckily, there are some ways in which you can protect yourself from their abuse cycle. Here are 15 things to look out for that signal the narcissist in your life is about to punish, blame, or criticize you.

1. Their mood just flipped.

Maybe things were going great until you asked them a personal question or mentioned meeting up with a platonic friend for lunch. Then, suddenly, they started acting tense or got completely silent. You know what that means: A storm is brewing.

2. They’re picking at little flaws.

The narcissist in your life used to adore everything about you. It was, sadly, all an act because now that they’ve got you where they want you, they’re about to start a nitpicking campaign. They might criticize little things about you, in an attempt to push you down, and, over time, their attacks will only intensify.

3. They’re using sarcasm a lot.

When narcissists start making sarcastic comments, it’s a sign they’re upset about something. But, instead of dealing with it, they’ll resort to passive-aggressive tactics to confuse you and make you doubt yourself.

4. They’re becoming suspicious.

If you confront the narcissist about something they did to upset you, they’re not going to take that lying down. They’ll try to turn the blame onto you. So, be wary when they start projecting, like accusing you of cheating when they’re the guilty one.

5.  They make you doubt yourself.

Gaslighting is a common tactic used by narcissists to unsettle you and make you doubt yourself so they can control your reality. It can start in subtle ways, like if they tell you that you misunderstood them when you know you didn’t.

6. They shut down.


Everything seems to be going great when suddenly the narcissist doesn’t want to talk anymore. This silent treatment can continue for hours or days. Instead of telling you why they’re creating distance, they’d rather you sit and stew in the confusion. It’s basically like they’re punishing you, and it’s just the start of more punishments.

7. They’re more vulnerable than usual.

Pretending to be vulnerable to gain your sympathy is a go-to strategy for a narcissist who wants to manipulate you. So, when they say how much they need to see you because they’ve had a rough week and they’re almost close to tears, you might think, “Aww, that’s so sweet.” But it could be that a guilt trip’s about to land.

8. They don’t react to your sadness.

It’s eerie when you tell your narcissistic partner or friend that you’re feeling depressed and they give you a blank look or tell you about their bad day instead. What the heck? They do this because they don’t have any empathy. This could also be a starting point for further criticism and dismissal.

9. They engage in the “drama triangle.”

Narcissists want to hog the spotlight, which is why they usually go from playing the victim card to being abusive to others, before trying to be the hero. But, before being engaged in this “drama triangle” they use to dominate others, you might see them stirring up a bit of chaos, like by lying or spreading rumors. They’re setting the scene for more drama.

10. They play up their reactions.

It’s alarming to see the narcissist in your life blow up in such a dramatic way when you mention that you can’t see them or the grocery store didn’t have their favorite pickles. They’re quick to jump into a full-blown rage, which can also be a way for them to stir up drama.

11. They pretend to be perfect.

Narcissists don’t take any responsibility for what goes wrong. Ever. They want to be completely blameless about everything. Soon, they’ll turn this behavior onto you, like by blaming you for their bad mood or bad decisions. For example, they might say, “I flirted with that person because you didn’t give me enough affection.”

12. They love-bomb you.

This usually happens early on in a relationship, so it can be difficult to know if it’s heading towards criticism or abuse. But if it looks like love bombing, it’s a red flag you’re dealing with a narcissist who’s going to praise you for a while and then turn against you.

13. They’re making your mutual friends act weird.

If the narcissist in your life takes an ego blow, like if you’ve decided to leave them, they might start a smear campaign against you. This involves talking to others about you in a negative way so they can turn them against you. So, if mutual friends are acting awkward around you, this could be why.

14. They can’t handle good news.


You shouldn’t share your happy news with a narcissist. Why? They suffer from an inferiority complex. They’re always comparing themselves to you, trying to get the one-up. So, when you share that you got a promotion or won a competition, get ready for them to become moody or angry instead of cheering you on. When you see this for the first time, heed the warning!

15. They step over your boundaries.


Any boundaries you have in place are kryptonite to a narcissist who wants to control your life. When they test the waters by trying to cross a boundary, like by pressuring you to do something after you’ve said you don’t want to do it, it’s a red flag they’re about to escalate their efforts to dominate you.

Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.