15 Sneaky Ways Narcissists Get Away With Blame Shifting

Navigating relationships with narcissistic individuals can be a complex challenge due to their self-absorbed nature. These individuals often display a strong inclination towards themselves and have a hard time accepting responsibility for their actions. When they make mistakes or are at fault, they frequently deflect the blame onto others.

This tendency is primarily driven by two factors:

  • A) Narcissists have inflated egos that make it difficult for them to accept that they could be wrong. Recognizing their faults and mistakes threatens their self-perceived perfection and superiority, causing them discomfort and distress.
  • B) Even when narcissists are cognizant of their errors, they tend to sidestep acknowledging them. This avoidance is more than just an ego-preserving tactic; it’s a strategy to evade the truth, even if it means behaving unethically. They value their public image immensely and admitting a fault could potentially mar this carefully crafted persona.

Understanding and dealing with such personalities necessitates patience, empathy, and often, professional help. It’s crucial to remember that their behavior mirrors their internal conflicts and insecurities, and not your own worth or capabilities.

Here are 15 sneaky ways that narcissists shift blame to others around them:


This is a psychological manipulation technique where narcissists make others doubt their own perceptions and memories. They might deny that certain events occurred or insist that you’re remembering things incorrectly. Over time, this can lead to confusion and self-doubt, making it easier for the narcissist to control the narrative and avoid responsibility.

Playing the victim

Narcissists have a knack for portraying themselves as victims, irrespective of the actual circumstances. By doing so, they divert attention from their own wrongdoings and instead focus on how they’ve allegedly been wronged. This often elicits sympathy and support from others, further enabling them to evade accountability.


Whenever a conversation seems to be highlighting their faults, narcissists quickly change the subject. This tactic serves to distract from their errors and redirect the focus onto something or someone else.


This involves attributing their own negative traits, feelings, or behaviors to others. By projecting, narcissists deflect attention from their own flaws and instead highlight perceived faults in others, thus shifting the blame.


When faced with criticism, rather than reflecting on their actions, narcissists become overly defensive. They often respond with counter-accusations, effectively turning the tables on the person who dared to point out their mistake.


Narcissists tend to belittle their own mistakes while exaggerating those of others. By doing so, they maintain an image of perfection and superiority, while others appear flawed and inferior.


They are experts at coming up with excuses and justifications for their behavior. They often claim that others “made” them react a certain way, thereby placing the blame on someone else.

Playing dumb

Narcissists sometimes pretend ignorance about the impact of their actions. They act as though they don’t understand why their behavior is problematic, making others feel unreasonable or overly sensitive.

Silent treatment

They use silence as a form of emotional manipulation. By refusing to communicate, they make others feel guilty and anxious, diverting attention from their own shortcomings.


Narcissists often outright blame others for their own failures or mistakes. This tactic allows them to maintain their self-image of perfection and superiority.


Involving third parties to validate their perspective is another common tactic. By bringing in others, they hope to discredit the person they’re blaming and strengthen their own position.

Smear campaigns

They may spread false rumors or exaggerate truths about others to tarnish their reputation. This not only diverts attention from their own failings but also isolates the person they’re targeting, making it harder for them to defend themselves.

Withholding affection

Narcissists often manipulate others by withholding love and affection until they get what they want. This can make the other person feel responsible for the narcissist’s emotional state and divert blame onto themselves.


Narcissists may resort to threats or aggressive behavior to silence opposition. By creating fear, they can control others and avoid taking responsibility for their actions.

Moral Superiority

They often present themselves as morally superior to others. By doing so, they can justify their actions and blame others for not living up to their high moral standards.

Final Thoughts

In essence, narcissists use various tactics to safeguard their inflated egos and evade responsibility. Recognizing these manipulative behaviors is key when interacting with such individuals. It empowers you to set necessary boundaries, protecting your mental and emotional health. Always remember, it’s vital to prioritize your well-being over their need to maintain a false image of perfection.

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