Hypocrisy: A Tell-Tale Sign of Narcissism


There is no such thing as a non-hypocritical narcissist. You are more likely to cross paths with a Chupacabra, or Big Foot than you are to find a narcissist who isn’t a hypocrite. Narcissists are hypocrisy personified. It’s their Modus Operandi.


There is an old idiom that states, “Empty cans make the most noise.” Have you noticed that narcissists are the biggest empty cans of all?  They make a whole lot of commotion and noise, in the form of persistently shifting the blame and focus on others, while they live their lives donning their phony halos and angel wings, all the while betraying, lying, deceiving, using, and abusing people.

It’s just another one of their manipulation tactics, to steer you off the scent, of their trail of falsehood and deceit. You frantically become so preoccupied with defending your own morals and conduct (over the most minor transgressions), while the narcissist sits back, and disguises his/her dishonesty, and utter lack of morality under a lot of meaningless noise.

Hypocrisy is the exact opposite of integrity. Yet, narcissists will be the first to declare they are the most virtuous, and principled people on the planet, by regularly highlighting other people’s real, or alleged faults, and minor wrong-doings. The more they shine the spotlight on the faults in others, the more moral they appear by comparison.




Narcissists set a lot of rules for others to live by. They have very high standards and expectations of others, but they never hold themselves to the same high standards and expectations. There are always two sets of rules. Rules for them to live by, and rules everyone else should follow.

For example: If you forget to buy dog food on your way home from work, you’ll be subjected to the utmost cruelty, and character assignation, and essentially accused of homicidal desires toward the beloved family pets. However, if they forget to pick up dog food (true story by the way, who could make this stuff up!) on their way home, and you dare confront them, they will tell you something like, “It’s healthy for dogs to fast once in a while.”

Their hypocrisy is remarkably shameless, and they will deny that the blatant double standards that they created in their relationships even exist.

They will conveniently discount the fact that last month when you forgot to buy dog food they practically accused you of animal abuse. But when they commit the same crime, they are a canine health guru.


Relationships with narcissists are riddled with two sets of rules. They’re allowed to talk to their exes, but you are forbidden to speak to yours. They’re allowed to speak negatively about your family, but they will scold you for saying anything negative about theirs. They’re allowed to use your belongings, but you have to ask to borrow theirs. They’re allowed to spend money, as they wish, but your purchases are frivolous and unnecessary, and the list goes on and on.


Narcissists will tell you who they are, but you will rarely if ever, see them back up their words with actions after the idealization stage. You will hear a lot of statements like I’m a nice guy/gal, I have never cheated on any of my exes, I wear my heart on my sleeve, I’m so romantic, I never lie, or I would do anything for you. It’s just more insincere, meaningless noise. They will claim desirable qualities, beliefs, or values that they don’t possess a single ounce of, to further their self-serving agendas –mainly manipulating YOU!

In their minds, if they say something and can get you to believe it, it’s true. It’s their way of spending the least amount of effort, gaining your trust, without their ever having to do anything to earn it.


Sirens and warning bells should be going off in your mind when you hear someone always say or claim something about themselves. It’s a big red flag that what they’re saying, most likely isn’t true. Honest people never feel compelled to convince you of who they are, or how they feel because they’re confident that their actions will do a better job of showing you.


Narcissists love to play the victim card and illicit sympathy, especially when caught doing something wrong. Nothing is ever their fault, and if it is their fault, then it’s because they have had a hard life, or they don’t have it as easy as you do. They shift the blame by appealing to your compassion and empathy, by portraying themselves as the poor innocent victim. Their wrong-doings are always caused by someone or something else.

For example, They will often instigate arguments, then claim that they hate drama. They will openly criticize people who post their dirty laundry on social media, but will guilelessly post vague, victimish, sympathy soliciting posts when they are upset with someone. Of course, when they do it, they always have a good reason or an excuse that justifies their behavior.

They, even, will avoid taking blame for the most minor of human errors. If a glass of water is left on the table, and the narcissist accidentally knocks it over, rather than blaming themselves for spilling the water, they will place the blame on the person who shouldn’t have left the glass of water on the table.


Conversations with narcissists will reveal a consistent pattern of never accepting responsibility or blame for ANYTHING. They will always have very moving stories about why their current negative circumstances are not their fault. It’s always a sob story about their miserable childhood, their horrible family, their inept boss, or their malicious, crazy ex.

Narcissists will never accept accountability for a mishap, mistake, or human error. They lie, so convincingly, always incorporating a grain of truth; so that their stories often sound believable. Even if their stories don’t add up, they tell them with such confidence, that you end up filling the holes in their stories, with the benefit of the doubt.


When narcissists are caught doing something wrong, or something that they regularly nail others to the wall for, they will lie, deny, and then rage. You’ll be schooled to never again expose their hypocrisy, and punished for any attempts to do so.

They may criticize and accuse you of being selfish, and uncaring for eating the last bit of something, and will expect a perfectly delivered apology, and prompt replacement of the consumed food item, but when they finish off the last of the something, don’t dare point it out, unless you are willing to spend hours going to war over a banana, or a can of Red Bull or ________(insert blank).


Narcissists’ reactions will be completely disproportionate to the situation. This tactic is intended to wear the target down and cause them to doubt themselves. Where normal people would just apologize, admit fault, and move on, narcissists would rather ruin an entire weekend in Tahiti, defending their make-believe morality. They only want to be perceived in the best possible light and will brow-beat you with their toolbox of manipulation tactics, until you wearily wave your white flag and concede.

If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, expect hypocrisy. Expect double standards. Expect lies. Expect that they will never be at fault. Expect to be punished for pointing out their hypocrisy.

Copyright © 2015 Bree Bonchay.  All Rights Reserved.



Bree Bonchay, LCSW, is a psychotherapist with over 18 years of experience working in the field of mental health and trauma recovery. She specializes in helping people recover from toxic relationships and shares her insights about Narcissistic Personality Disorder and psychopathy in her blog FreeFromToxic. Her articles have been featured in major online magazines and she has appeared on radio as a guest expert. She is also a dedicated advocate, educator, and facilitates survivor support groups and workshops.


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28 thoughts on “Hypocrisy: A Tell-Tale Sign of Narcissism

  1. Every one of these posts about narcissistic behavior that I read, little scenes flash in my head, different textbook examples of whichever topic I may be reading about that day.I have always been interested in human behaviors, and often find myself watching someone and wondering what they were thinking or why they made a particular choice. (Usually somebody I have known long enough to be able apply context to the overall situation ) and after the initial shock and confusion of the devaluation stage, I began to notice the patterns of behaviors my particular narcissist (her contact name in my phone for her number is simply Asshole ) was displaying. During the moments of calm between storms, I would just scratch my head and try to sort through the wreckage of the latest blowout, wondering “what the f**k was that all about ” I knew instinctively there was some sort of organized behavior here with a desired end result but couldn’t for the life of me figure out what that was. I tried leaving her , thinking at the time, that she was trying to make me miserable enough to break up with her. It seemed like the obvious thing to do right? WRONG!!! She was on me like a fly on shit. First the victim, then the misunderstood, head over heals in love, lost little girl, then the wounded but determined to prove she had changed single mother, hear me roar. It was tough keeping up with all the changes in direction. But through it all I knew in my gut it was not random, there was a pattern, there was an end result, I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Well now things are starting to make sense to me, I now have answers instead of just questions. I don’t bite on her baits anymore, I call her on her behavior, I go about my business without worrying weather or not it’s going to cause an argument. And guess what, she announced I was too controlling, and not affectionate enough, and that she needed some time for herself, to work on herself. 2 days later she posted a picture of her and her toddler son and her new best friend, Mr. Wonderful, with a vague reference to finally finding the happiness she has been waiting for all her life. I darn near spit up the gulp of coffee I was drinking when this Facebook post popped up on my laptop screen . But not in the way you might think. After turning my head just in time to spit the coffee on the floor instead of all over my laptop, I began to laugh, a deep belly laugh, one of those laughs that leave your stomach muscles sore and your eyes watery. My shoulders relaxed, the tension in my neck that had been there for who knows how long was suddenly gone. I felt free. I wish I could say that’s the end of my story, but 2 weeks later Asshole shows up at my front door, highly upset because I haven’t even called to see if she was still even alive, i guess because our breakup made her suicidal? I asked nervously how her and her best friend were doing, to my relief he was still in the picture, but I don’t feel comfortable with the way she keeps showing up at places I’m at, telling me how he is not so wonderful after all. I feel my stomach tighten up anytime my phone rings or someone knocks at my front door. More will be revealed I guess.

    1. Freddie, seems like her FB appearance with her new “friend” didn’t get the reaction she hoped- which was to teach you a lesson for asserting yourself and not putting up with her drama. What’s stopping you from blocking her number and not answering your door? Narcopaths are quite boring really despite the drama and chaos they constantly create. They have two motives in life. 1) Control 2) Supply, in whatever form they desire at the time.
      Change her name from A-hole to Do Not Answer. 🙂 ~ Bree

  2. Hi I’m in a very difficult.confusing relationship. I’m tryin to figure out if he’s a full blown narcissist or part.If that makes sense. I’ve been reading a lot on narcissisim. And I see some characteristics and traits in him. I’m very confused and really need to understand what’s goin on with our relationship. Also is it nornal to argue early on in a relationship. Especially about stupid stuff. And I feel like I’m to blame. Cuz he says I need medication I’ve always apologized for our arguments and really never heard him say he was to blame as well. Is this normal or what. Thank you Feeling Confused.

    1. Paula, I don’t know if he is a full blown narcissist. It sure sounds like he could be. But from what you describe, the relationship is toxic and it will only get worse the longer you stay. In time you may realize he is not a narcissist but a sociopath. Why stick around to find out? Love should never make you feel like you are always to blame. That is reason enough to leave. Maybe you need medication because he is making you depressed and gaslighting you and making you feel crazy. When toxicity leaves your life, so does hopelessness, depression and anxiety. Wish you peace & happiness! ~ Bree

      1. ‘When toxicity leaves your life, so does hopelessness, depression and anxiety.’ Bree Bonchay
        Waw, yes! That’s it! You put it in words so precisely so clearly. That’s the best and simplest and most straightforward quote, I’ve heard. Just awesome Bree!
        Thank you so much for the articles and this site. Sharing.

  3. The worst is when one is being emotionally and verbally abused and does not REALIZE it and then wakes up ! My sister is a vile abusive person. One day I asked her if she knew I had a miscarriage many years ago. She laughed and said :”I THOUGHT YOU HAD AN ABORTION”
    Another day she looked at me and said ” YOU LOOK LIKE YOU HAVE CANCER”
    WHEN I WAS LITTLE SHE CONSTANTLY CALLED ME A STUPID IDIOT. Now if I were to tell that to someone, they would say so what? However, I ACTUALLY BELIEVED HER -THAT I WAS STUPID! I WAS ONLY 8,9 10 11 YEARS OLD.

    1. That was my brother. My parents were not personality disordered, but still very neglectful. But my brother was vicious. When I was 16, my first love ended up being a psychopath. I had therapy and worked on myself, but ended up marrying a high functioning- narcissist. I have found myself wondering how I ended up with such awful partners and I knew my brother had something to do with it, but your comment has opened me up to look again at exactly what my brother did and said and what I may still be so wrongly believing. A vague knowing isn’t enough, so your comment helped me find the right place to look. Thanks!!

  4. Aaauuuggghhh. Please help. I have worked with and taken DV101 program, willingly, with Domestic Abuse Advocates over the past 10 years plus, and divorced 8 years ago to get out. Nothing but a nightmare since. Everything got worse for my boys and me and no authority is doing anything to hold ex ACCOUNTABLE or put him in jail for all the violence, not complying with orders, etc.

    1. I’ve been in the same situation…..having split almost 10 years ago …..in court since 2007….he continues to get away with giving the legal system the finger…..even has criminal harassment charges against MY lawyer…no contact orders with our 12 yr old daughter ….yet he still gets “heard” in court for every nonsense complaint…costing me thousands of dollars (he represents himself as he’s already exhausted 8 lawyers and no one wants to represent him!!). He has even told people his goal is to wear me down financially and emotionally…..

  5. This put into words what I’ve been trying to explain to those closest to me. It’s just something you don’t even have the words to explain and even if you do somehow find them as in this post. It’s hard for others to fully comprehend unless they have lived it! Great way to put a picture of the narcopath in words. But reading about it and living it are two different things. Those of us who have lived it, get it.

    1. It comes it time, they do such a good job of “painting themselves” the victim, or perfect one, your the actual crazy one, the list is never ending….that in the end, that’s why they have cut ties with so many people at some point in their lives, or constantly change jobs, they may just run out of people that it EVENTUALLY starts to become a red flag to those around them….it’s been a long LONELY ride (my sister took everyone from me she could, including my dying mother as we speak) I could never understand how I could be the exact opposite of her, (kind, empath, confident, help w/o exp. return, etc) how someone like her who isnt capable of loving even herself let alone her parents, me, her husband, even her own children…how NO ONE but me and My Husband could see WHAT AND WHO SHE TRUELY IS, how she has such power and manipulation to the fullest extent over someone such aa my own mother, who its becoming apparent now also has had Narc traits my entire life as well….the ability someone can posess for their benefit and could turn off/on like a switch…PORTRAYS she is ANGELIC, an RN, but its SLOW AND slower going LONELY ROAD, HOWEVER there is light at the end of all this….. as with everything on life, things can only run their course so long…they will eventually run our of people they have tortured, or have become privy to their games, or people die off as on the case with my Mom who just got diagnosed with small cell lung cancer (stage 4 which I think her and my sister knew but my sister convinced her to keep it from everyone but her! Especially because Queen Bee is an educated RN by trade!) So theyre true colors or intent will eventually be shown….sadly they don’t care they just alter their methods…these are people who have no intention of ever admitting that the problem exists with them!? They lack love, empathy, and the ability to change PERIOD. Pathetic souless walking shells……

  6. I feel the same thing has happened with my partner. When ever you confront her in a nice way that what they did was bad and hurtful to me, I have to go through a long period of fighting to finally get a ” ok im sorry then geez” . Theres always a million excuses to why it happened and I only recently found out almost non e of the apologies were real and sincere. She said none of her behavior was wrong. Im just not on her wavelength to understand her and always make a huge deal over small things. Me saying sorry should be more then enough for you but to me I did nothing bad nor wrong. If I admit i was wrong it makes me a bad person for doing that in the first place which I am not. I know I am kind and compassionate and everyone else thinks so besides you. I constantly get confused and upset about this because she doesn’t get it. I have no issues saying sorry and admitting a mistake if I did something to upset her. Everytime I try communicating with her to tell her that behaviour was uncalled for and wasn’t nice she always says: ” why do you always have to be right and try to win?” Also theres double standards for keeping small promises as well.

    1. Hi James, She doesn’t care if she hurts you, in fact she does it on purpose.. You are trying to understand why she would treat you badly, when you would never treat her this way. This quote says it all…….If you expect the world to be fair with you because you are fair,you are fooling yourself. That is like expecting the lion not to eat you because you didn’t eat him.

    2. My wife is so happy to call me out on this “all being a game for me”. I’m trying to “control” her. By asking her to unfollow/remove her affair partner from her social media accounts. Just yesterday she told me I was trying to take back control. Haha. I was like “YES! Exactly! Because you’ve always had it!”

      Get out now. I am.

  7. In response to your point about “POOR ME! IT’S NOT MY FAULT”.

    Many years ago my then girlfriend (eventually my wife), knocked over a plate my mother-in-law had displayed on the wall and shattered it. Her first instinct instead of apologizing was “why would anyone put a plate there?” It’s turned into a running joke since then, but I think is all too telling now that I’ve finally caught on to the narcissistic behavior patterns she displays.

  8. I think I had always known there was something wrong. My gut was always firing away when he’d give an excuse about pretty much everything. He claimed he had all this interest in me, but his actions proved otherwise. He was always bailing on plans, and then getting mad at me for being dissappointed. His rage was like none other. The name calling, the insults were awful. God forbid I’d ever tell him he was being a jerk, I’d be ripped a new one. I’d follow his rules for a little while just to keep the peace, until one day I woke up and couldn’t be nice to him anymore. I turned cold and unemotional. And then he blamed me for being so mean, when in reality I just couldn’t take the verbal abuse. It’s amazing how hypocritical they are.

  9. Oh yes, it really is a tell-tale sign. The Narc I know said one thing an then did another behind my back. He has no selfcontrol whatsoever. Then he got very mad at me because as a consequence I did not trust him anymore and once he even shouted at me in anger because I asked him “who are you?”. Then he said “you just have to trust and believe me!”. Yeah, sure…can’t believe any person on this planet could really trust a person who did things like this.
    Did anyone ever hear that from a Narc:
    He firmly believes all his awful behavious where my fault because I was not always there for him and did not give him what he wanted (?).
    Even though I preached an teached him nothing but love and respect (towards humans and animals)…but it is my fault, all right.

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