We all know that narcissists behave in ways that defy all the unwritten rules of common decency.  They lie.  They demean and degrade.  They use and abuse.  They behave without morality and without remorse.  Yet, in the mind of a narcissist, they never do anything wrong.

We all make mistakes in life and the vast majority of us can own up to those mistakes and admit when we are wrong. Not so with the narcissist.  It will always be someone else’s fault.  They will never hold themselves accountable for any wrong doing.  They are masters of deception and manipulation who will blame anyone around them for anything untoward.

Narcissists have not developed a solid sense of self with their emotional maturity appearing to be stuck somewhere in their childhood.  When confronted with their bad behaviour they will behave like a five year old throwing childlike temper tantrums, otherwise known as narcissistic rage.  Holding themselves accountable is very difficult for someone with fragile self esteem.  A narcissist is not capable of empathy and can’t imagine walking in someone else’s shoes to see how their actions may affect others.  They only see things from their perspective, how it affects them. Nothing else matters.

The harder you try to get this person to take responsibility for their actions, the more toxic the interaction will become.

They will use every trick in the book such gaslighting and projection to make sure they do not have to admit to being at fault.

Remember that this person does not have remorse and no matter how hard you try they are not capable of admitting they are wrong.

They may…
  • Deny
  • Say they can’t remember
  • Shut down and ignore you
  • Blame someone else
  • Say how terrible a person you are for accusing them
  • Threaten to punish or abandon you if you carry on
  • Blame you for making them behave in the way that they did
  • Turn the conversation away from their behaviour by criticising yours
People who never hold themselves accountable for their actions will never learn from their mistakes and are destined to repeat them.

Written by Anne McCrea

Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse, Shattering the Illusion, now available on Amazon

Amazon UK

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29 thoughts on “Accountability

  1. This is my son. He has done everything on the list.
    I am done. Don’t want anything to do with him.
    Door is firmly closed

  2. From first-hand experience with my deteriorating covert narc I experienced ALL the listed behaviors and found that ANY attempt at an honest conversation was met with blocking. He simply could not deal, found an “emotional confidante” in another woman and totally abandoned me while still living together. I truly believe this poor soul lives in delusion and fantasy, and any time he has to “land” to deal with things (i.e., pending divorce) he regresses to lies, manipulations and rage. It goes without saying, deep healing work must be done with focus on WHY WE WERE WITH THESE POOR CREATURES IN THE FIRST PLACE in order to get past the situation and regain footing in life.

      1. Yes Charissa, I do. His sister literally went to every meeting and hearing in his first divorce hand holding for poor devastated Bob. I came along and all my codependent buttons were pushed for this guy and his four divided, lost kids. I chose to ignore the red flags. When I got diagnosed with a chronic illness he had nothing for me – no empathy, he was no longer my center of attention, I was. As I got stronger and started asking for MY needs to be met he started sourcing on the side, devalued and then discarded me.

  3. Lie, cheat, manipulate, guilt trip, along with all of the above. It sucks when there are financial burdens that prevent the narcs victim from escaping the emotional abuse. All of these things result in the abused emotionally withdrawing from the relationship which creates a toxic and damaging self concept.

    1. That’s where I’m at in my relationship. We’ve only been married for less than 2 months, and it’s like a light switch flipped and BAM he’s nothing like what I thought he was. I’m scared because I’m pregnant, and have 3 other children. I won’t be able to afford to be on my own, but I’ll sure as hell try my best. I’ve already been in one toxic relationship in the past, and I’m not about to even attempt another one for any period of time. I wish I had known before I married him. He’s every single thing in this article, and it scares me.

      1. You have to get out no matter what the financial situation! I stayed for 20 years because of the kids. I was miserable and worked nonstop for over a year after leaving, with 3 kids at home. But, once through that, I met the most wonderful man who has shown me how it feels to be loved and respected for who I am. My kids love him to death. If you cant do it for yourself, do it for your child. No one should have to live with this.

      2. Get out as fast as u can. I was in a marriage like this and will never be any better. Anything is better than living with a person like this.

      3. What you mentioned about the switch is called love bombing! The narc finds out who you are n what you want and expect in a relationship and they become all those things and once they have you they switch back to who they normally are. That leaves the victim trying to find the person they fell in love with and thinking that person is still in there somewhere, but they are not, it was all a ficade. Narcs are the best actors and actresses and they can adapt to anyone to accomplish their agenda.

    2. Agree with you,K.H. That is what happening with me .I am on SSI ,hardly can survive, 63 years old, first generation refugee from at that time communist Hungary. He know all these, and he take advantage of the citu.He is evil, and tight now he did some triible thing again, and i can not kick him out, because that tiny little what he contribute to the bills, keep me so-so be able to survive.My city is dangerous so can not even kick him out and get a roommate it is dangerous.:((

  4. I find this interesting because when my 16 year old daughter broke it off with her ex who is 19, she wasn’t ready for a serious relationship and their relationship became unhealthy. Whenever I had a conversation with him the week after, because he was really heartbroken….NOT, I would say you knew that this relationship was become unhealthy and his response was, “I’ve got to go, ttyl”. I knew that my daughter made the bravest and courageous decision ever! Talk about not admitting there was even a problem. I know he is young and I do hope and pray that one day he will realize that it was he who had the problem and that he lost something so special. so worthy and he will never ever get her back. He did enough harm to her the last few weeks of their relationship, by making her doubt herself and withholding from her any love that she would reciprocate to him. My only wish was that my daughter had come to me sooner. WE saw his control, she knew of his control, but there was more than meet the eye and it almost killed her. She is strong and she will survive. My advice would be to not let teens date at all, just hang out with friends and encourage them to be just friends and nothing more.

    1. If they don’t date, they don’t gain the experience and wisdom they need to avoid people like this. They become unwitting victims by just hanging out. You might want to rethink that.

  5. They are also smart enough to use the terms such as gas lighting and blame shifting toward the person they are abusing. It’s part of their manipulation. Just like the other person said, it’s a sad thing when the person receiving the abuse has no financial means of escape.

    1. I think my XN read up on NPD and learned all of the terms to use against me..said I used and abused him. I projected onto him, etc…He started that once I told him I believed that he had NPD.

  6. This is like a description of my mum! Sadly my mother chose me as the one she would hate and my brother is the golden child.. As a result I know have no mum, no dad and no brother she has turned them both against me. Being the victim of a narcissist is something I battle daily even though I cut her out 6 months ago. Thank GOD for my children that I cherish them all equally and didn’t inherit her traits!

    1. All the traits my Husband has, plus he plays the victim. Everything he does and says (slander) to me, he blames me for doing to him. He tells these to anyone who will listen and even fabricated stories to get extra sympathy and attention. Because I’m now aware of is Narcisism, he has alienated the children from me and uses them to inflict pain and abuse on me, then sits there with that Smirk, that he has them also under control and hurting me bad. I do not know how to reach out to my children to make them see his illness or the truth. They also now live in a state of delusion and denial.

    2. This happened to me as well. I was my mothers chosen target over my brother who is 53 years old, never left home, can’t maintain a relationship with a woman & is currently unemployed. I went no contact with them and those they dragged into it (my in laws). The emotional pain is lessening as I learn the lesson that I was not a consideration to then. This site and all of its useful information along with others who have shared their experiences and my husband have helped me maintain my strength in this situation. Good luck to you and everyone experiencing these issues.

  7. Going through this now. On my last legs. I will lose my kids and my house to her but I have some support. She constantly plays the victim. Twists, manipulates and controls and shes never afraid to go for low blows. Everything I have told her she does to me, she is convinced I do it to her. I spoke to her mother and sister about it and they sided with me. Guess what happened next?
    She alienated them, refused her mother to see our kids, She’s spread lies to everyone including our counselor who now thinks I am a domestic violent person and thinks she is unsafe with me at home. She’s never apologised for one of the hundreds of nasty things she’s done to me but bullies me into one when I haven’t done anything wrong. She has no conscience.
    She’s hostile and aggressive. She’s hit me twice before and the other day she got in my face over an argument and I lost my cool. I pushed her hard away from me and walked away. She came at me again and I pushed her away once again. Ive never hit a woman in my life.
    I know full well Im a victim of emotional abuse but shes playing that role far better than me to outsiders.
    Im trying to leave. Ringing legal aid on Monday and Ive been told by others to protect myself at all times in terms of the law.
    I just want my kids to be safe.

  8. I have lived this all my life. First with my father and then my ex husband. It takes forever to heal from this abuse. And the aniexty it cause is crazy. But I have a wonderful man in my life now. And my 9 yr old sees her Dad for who he is. My ex doesn’t think she is smart enough to figure stuff out. Kids are smarter then parents give them credit for. But the courts here don’t see it as abuse. So I have to bite my tongue and pray for a better tomorrow.

  9. Everything i read here i have lived for the past 8 years, free now, not going back although i still have to face court on the1st of August for a dvo put on me by her mother ( almost convinced she is 1 as well) for mental abuse and neglect on my narc. Bullshit been plyed up on, locked out, not allowed upstairs (had to live in the garage), no allowed to shower, not allowed to use the toilet, not allowed to go to sleep, not allowed to get up before she did, not allowed to eat (she controlled the kitchen)not allowed to go into rooms of the house other than my”perch” so to speak. I have a broken ankle atm for the last 15 mths and cant heal because i dont take care of myself and my health first. After my second surgery i had a plate on my fibula and snapped it diong the daily erands. She is self destructive too. Doesent eat for days/ weeks at a time. I can make her food and its not good enough or not what she wants or if someone else eats whatever shes eating she wont eat it again.
    Her parents did me a favour not letting me back into my house after a follow up visit at the hospital after my 3rd surgery and i even had to call the police to get some, not all of my stuff. She messaged me, i didnt reply she said something about needing to talk. She told a good friend(whom she tried to get in trouble once before saying she had had sex with him) whom i trust more than her, that she wanted me back.after she had a dvo put on me. More messages and i will not reply.even said she will tell the 2 kids that i dont love them cause i wont reply. DVO means i cant reply or go near them or i break the order. Is she trying to set me up? I think so. I not going back Ever!!!

  10. This is my mother to a t. When she fell and broke her hip, she screamed obscenities at my BIL and his young son (they found her as my husband and I were out doing a grocery run), most of them aimed at my husband. She blamed him for not being there, when it was her own carelessness that caused the fall, and us being home wouldn’t have prevented it anyway. Of course, as soon as we showed up she was sweet as pie, and has never acknowledged or apologized for what she said. Of course, she’s never admitted to or apologized for any of the other nasty tricks or manipulations either, and after recognizing her for what she is (covert narcissist) I know she never will.

  11. I have a neighbor that does all of this and more. We were friends, and now do to a confrontation and the end of the friendship he does not speak to me anymore. So stupid. He is one messed up man. I am a good kind woman to have as a friend, his loss.

  12. Sorry it’s a bit long.

    Well, I’m still going through it because I’m stuck financially. He manipulated me into the relationship (climbed on top of me one night, had sex with me even though I was resisting but I gave in. Then later in he said I’d be a whore if I jumped from one man’s bed to the other and promised to take care of me and marry me. And I thought he was the one sent from above. He tricked me into giving up my financial sources and alienated me from my family and friends. He had me leave my apartment to go live with me and cut off all my financial sources tactfully. He lied about his educational achievements and later manipulated me into thinking he was the only one that could love me. That there are “worse” people on this earth than him. That I would regret ever leaving him. Each time I tried to leave he would kneel down and beg me and even shed tears. Call me crazy but a part of me thinks I have actually met the “real him ” before because how could the same person I met just change so much? I lived without knowing he’s a narcissist. All this time! He had a very abusive father who kicked him out into the streets at a young age. Long story. Now when I ask him why he has changed so much, he says it’s my fault that he has changed. Never admits he’s wrong. He criticizes me all the time and hates that I excel better than him in many ways. He calls me “proud ” whenever I resist his demands and says things like “You think you know God better than everyone else. You think you’re better and more intelligent than all of us.” Etc
    Worse off, he has the church members hooked. He preaches from other people’s sermons and is constantly watching YouTube Church services just to “copy and paste”. I hid his Bible months ago because I wanted to see whether he really preaches from the Word of God or just copies other people’s sermons. He has never asked me where his Bible is. It’s still hidden and right now he is leading the church full time. I doubt very much that he reads the Bible from his phone either. Because he sometimes just stands at the pulpit to preach “against me”. If we previously had a fight then that will be the focus of the sermon. And he preaches it while looking at me to make things obvious. The members have no idea who he is because he has managed to make everyone think he is a saint!!! He has several times testified about his “difficult past and how God saved him” and everyone just believes he is a force to reckon with. But he also behaves very bossy in the church. He takes over things and wants things done his way. A lot of times no one tells him otherwise because he comes back at you with “It’s God’s desire”. Or “are you trying to stop me from serving God” I’m a staunch Christian. My mother is a pastor so it’s hard for me to fight him (till now because I know it’s of no use). I simply cannot advise him not to do that to people at church. He throws terrible tantrums and dumps me knowing very well I have no where to go.

    Often when he prays, he asks God to make him a star. That he wants to “some like the sun”. And that when he stands to preach, everybody should be in awe. When I ask him to pray with me at home he just never does. He would rather go and lay hands on the sick and feed the poor. (Public displays) He tells everyone I’m his fiancé but at home he never prays with me. I tried holding hands and praying with him once at home but that was it. He wasn’t interested. The church members are his flock.
    And he moves from one relationship to another (even when he was still very committed to me). He is so afraid of me abandoning him that he threatens me when I even talk to some of my guy friends. He accuses me of looking at my guy friends in a certain way. He “dumps” me all the time his ego gets bruised. He is super jealous and possessive and even though he has already dumped me, he still says I shouldn’t make him do things that he doesn’t want to each time I’m on the phone, regardless of who it is. He always suspects I’m cheating. And whenever he thinks it’s a guy on the line, he immediately makes a call to one of his love interests just to get back at me. He knows I could never cheat but still “revenges”. He used to refuse to take me to the park for a romantic walk. And whenever I decided to just take a walk anyway, he would call me out and say God will punish me for cheating. And ask me why I am hurting him like this? I used to have to show him my Snapchat story just so he can see I was all alone. That was before I knew he was sick in the head!!

    I don’t know whether to feel sorry for him because he will never experience real life. He’s trapped and will forever be a slave to this false person he thinks he is. He’s addicted to being seen as this great guy and looks for women to flatter all the time.
    I’m still processing things so I can’t help but go through different emotions.
    I’m trying to leave by all means necessary so right now I still have to see him every single day. He really is sick. As I type this, he’s stepped out of the house. It’s past 9pm, almost 10pm. He doesn’t want the burden of lying to me so he never says where he’s going. Just sneaks out and usually comes back when I’m asleep.
    Do they know that they’re “sick”. Is there a cure?

  13. I have been dealing with a severe Malignant Narcissistic very abusive son n law, he even pitches severe Narcissistic Rages often, to bully me and my grandsons to keep us from telling on him and turning him into the Sheriff for multiple counts of severe child cruelty for nearly 16 years.


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