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16+ Signs God is Exposing a Narcissist in Your Life

I was raised in a household with a narcissistic mother.  And then was “saved” from her by my narcissistic husband, who I was married to for 31 years and in relationship with 35 years.  I had no clue until about year 31 that I was a victim of narcissism.  But once I knew, the signs God was exposing my narcissist in my life were unmistakable.  I just never knew what to look for.

16+ signs God is exposing a narcissist in your life would be like doing weird things that make absolutely no sense, then giving a lame reason for it, unexplainable anger out of the blue, different behavior behind closed doors, super supportive behavior only when around others, and many more.   

Let’s go ahead and take a closer look at all of the now 24 signs God is exposing a narcissist in your life (this list continues to grow!).   I also have a printable checklist so you can identify which ones fit your situation.  You can easily see the likelihood that you are dealing with a narcissist if you can check off a significant number of boxes in any particular relationship. 

But first, a warning:  understand that everybody does some of these things from time to time.  We are all imperfect.  God is exposing a narcissist in your life if they do a significant number of these things to you on a regular basis without owning up to them and improving upon you confronting them.

And with that, let’s take a look!

Table of Contents

1. God is exposing a narcissist in your life if he or she does odd things that make no sense and then give a lame reason for it later.

I remember this happening to me from the very beginning of our marriage.   Looking back now, I really wish I had recognized it as a sign God is exposing a narcissist in my life.  But the reason I didn’t think it was very significant was because it was always small issues.  For instance, we both had music collections in the form of cassette tapes (I know, I’m dating myself here.  We were married in 1990.).  

We both had similar tapes because we liked the same music at the time (his taste in music drastically changed as time went on).  We both had our similar collections, but in our own separate cassette tape storage boxes from before we were married.  He would use mine, which I didn’t mind.  But instead of putting them back in the correct case before returning them to the storage box, he would just put the one he took out of the boom box into the one he was now playing.  Then, he would randomly throw it into any available slot in the storage box, which I kept in order alphabetically. 

So, he would take out the Chicago tape, put it in the Petra case, then throw it somewhere in the M range in the cassette bin.  By the end of the week, nothing was in its place.  So, when I went to get the Chicago tape, I would have to go through every cassette case in the box and open it up to see what was in it.  

When I explained that I kept the tapes in the cases they were bought in and in alphabetical order, his answer was that he wasn’t going to do it.  I was so confused.  Plus, why wasn’t he using his own tapes that he also had?  His were thrown randomly in a pile in a box, without the cases they came in.  

Later, I asked him why he wouldn’t return the cassettes to the proper place, just like you return library books to the right place so the next person knows where to find it.  He got very upset with me and said there is no wrong way to put cassette tapes away.  I was speechless.  And that became his mantra every time he messed things up instead of keeping them organized.  It didn’t take long before the whole house needed an overhaul.

What makes this narcissistic is knowing that you are messing with things, but then claiming it is fine and the person who is trying to make things right is at fault.

2. God is exposing a narcissist in your life if he or she gets unexplicably angry out of the blue.

Another one of the signs God is exposing a narcissist in your life is when you call out a narcissist for something you don’t like, they immediately feel unbearable shame.  And for that reason, they must react instantly and decisively in order to remove the shame from them.  That usually means they are transferring it onto the person that brought them that shame to begin with.  And they need to destroy that person to prevent them from ever doing that again, even if the issue being brought to their attention is neither severe nor wrong.  

I have an example for this one too, albeit a much shorter one!  When my oldest son was around 5 years old, he complained that his dad never spent time with him.  I immediately apologized and told him that he should just talk to his dad and I was sure they would spend some time doing some fun dad/son activity.  

A couple days later, my son came back to me and told me his dad had yelled at him for bringing it up.   Once again giving my then husband the benefit of the doubt, I said he must have misunderstood and I would talk to him on my son’s behalf.  So that night, I brought it up.  And I got blasted.  

He said he is fine the way he is and he didn’t need to spend more time with his son.  Again, I was speechless and let it go because I was so taken aback by the response I had no ability to respond in turn.

And that is where you will begin to see the pattern of narcissism gain full speed.  My narcissist husband had found the perfect way to shut us all up–just blast us every time we even mentioned anything was the least little bit wrong.

Check out my article on 45 examples of narcissistic behavior.

3. God is exposing a narcissist in your life if he or she unfairly holds things against some people while excusing every wrong that others do.

Often, the signs God is exposing a narcissist in your life include things being unfairly held against you while other people can literally get away with anything and everything.

I never spoke to my ex about this in all the years we were together because I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.  It manifested most noticeably with my two oldest children.  My daughter, especially in her early years, couldn’t do anything wrong.  Except he would complain she spent too much time with me and I needed to limit that so she wouldn’t see me as an equal.  Weird.  But whatever.  We were always close and had no problem understanding the mother/daughter roles. 

Anyway, my son, who was 15 months younger than her, instead of being best buds with his dad, was more like his nemesis in my husband’s eyes.  It was so strange.  I couldn’t understand it.  But everything my son did well, my husband saw as competition or a strike against himself.  He wasn’t proud of his son’s accomplishments. 

If my son even looked at his dad a certain way, it was wrong.  He could never do anything right.  And up until he left the house, all my then husband could say was that when he was 18, he was out of there.  And he was, because he couldn’t stand another minute near his dad.

There were many more instances outside of our household.  It was mostly people who could do no wrong that he would use for narcissistic supply.  But they were almost always people who were not very kind or friendly to me.   I now realize that was his narcissistic need to stick it to me in any secretive way he could while at the same time pledging his undying love for me.  

4. God is exposing a narcissist in your life if he or she holds you to a higher standard than they hold themselves to.

You will know you are experiencing one of the signs God is exposing a narcissist in your life when you begin to realize that you are being held to a higher, incredibly difficult and even impossible standard than the narcissist holds himself to.

I was expected to be a real life version of June Cleaver.  Kids perfectly cleaned and dressed, dinner on the table when he got home, house in perfect order.  If it was a rough day and little got done, he would ask me what I did all day.  I would answer that I took care of sick or fussy kids.  And he would say I needed to to better.  

But yet, he didn’t really help with the kids or the house.  Those were my “job,”  just like he had his job outside the house.  And honestly, I agree with that.  I stayed home to be a mother and homemaker.  But that didn’t mean I had everything perfect 24/7.  And when it wasn’t, he would start telling me I needed to treat it more like a job than I was. 

He suggested I get up at 4 am to start my day and get ahead of the kids.  What he didn’t take into account was that my job was not done until late into the night, because when he was getting home from work, the house was in full swing with dinner, sports, homework, baths, and bedtime.  That didn’t matter to him.

Just to put things in perspective, I loved a clean house.  We had white carpets for most of our marriage, because I loved them and wanted them.  And I kept them and most of the house clean most of the time.  People would say my home looked like a magazine when they visited.  It didn’t always, but it was always my goal to be less than an hour from that beautiful house.  

On the flip side, his garage was so bad that most of the time you couldn’t walk through it.  He would do a home project and never put tools away.  Then, when we needed something, I couldn’t find it.  If he couldn’t find it, he would just go buy another one, whether we had the money or not.  And then it would get thrown into the chaos.  

His solution to cleaning the garage as the kids got older was to make them do it.  Without pay.  And brag about how kids were literally just free labor.  

A young boy sweeping the floor in a garage. This picture represents my description of my kids' narcissist father making them clean his messes in the garage, then bragging about how he had free child labor. It is part of the article, "16+ Signs God is Exposing a Narcissist in Your Life."

5. God is exposing a narcissist in your life if they constantly brag to everyone about their accomplishments and also tend to exaggerate them.

You know God is exposing a narcissist in your life when they constantly brag and exaggerate about everything they do.  This is a very frustrating way to have to relate to your narcissist.  Everything was always about how good he was about everything, even when he was actually very bad about it.  

He would invite people to dinner, usually from work.  And there was never anything in common so it was incredibly awkward already.  But then, he would start telling them about all the things he did all the time.  Which was so frustrating and embarrassing. 

The last time he invited people over, he started randomly talking about how he goes around on Thanksgiving feeding homeless people our leftovers after we package them up.  He would make the kids go with him to shady parts of town to deliver them.  

It wasn’t a bad thing to do.  It was just painfully embarrassing in the way he would brag about it to people unsolicited.  When he did it at the dinner party I mentioned, the couple just stared back at him, clueless about what to say.   Weird got even weirder.  

6.  God is exposing a narcissist in your life if they accuse you of things you never did or said and won’t take your word for it.

Yet another one of the prominent signs God is exposing a narcissist in your life is when they accuse you of things they very well know you didn’t do.  But no matter how hard you try to get them to see your side, they just won’t.  This is common in every narcissistic household.  It is a combination of gaslighting and projection.  It is gaslighting because the narcissist is trying to convince you that you said or did something you know you didn’t.  Except that over time you start to think that maybe he is right and you just forgot.  And then over a long period of time, you no longer trust your memory or judgment on anything.  

And the projection part of this is that generally what they are accusing you of is something they have done themselves but want to shift the focus off themselves and put it onto someone else, making themselves look better than everyone else.  

It is very hard to prove things like this over time.  But once you realize what is going on, it actually becomes very easy to solve.  If all of your communication is by written word or in front of other people, you can then prove what was said or done.  They will still lie about it.  But now you know you were right and so do your witnesses.  They can’t get away with it anymore.

Unfortunately, this usually doesn’t happen until the marriage, work relationship, or whatever other relationship is destroyed.

Check out my article on what healing from a narcissist looks like.

7. God is exposing a narcissist in your life if they twist the words you say and use them against you.

This example of one of the signs God is exposing a narcissist in your life is an extension of the last point.  And it will confuse you even more until you figure out what is going on.  The narcissist will take words you actually said and use them to attribute false motives.  Or they will change just a couple of words to make it sound like a totally different situation than what you said.  But you have a hard time expressing that because they used the majority of your words correctly.   

This happened most often in counseling.  While I was buried under the stress of having no idea what was wrong with me, our counselors completely saw what was going on.  That was when my counselor told me to start all communication through notes, emails, and texts, or in front of others.  Then my truth would remain my truth.  That one activity alone changed my whole world.  And it was the beginning of me learning to set healthy boundaries, something that angered my husband to no end.  

8.  God is exposing a narcissist in your life when they refuse to acknowledge the wrong they have done to you.

If you are indeed in relationship with a narcissist, you will feel like you can never measure up. This is one of the most insidious signs God is exposing a narcissist in your life because it preys upon previously existing insecurities.  Rather than encouraging you to see your true value, they use this tactic to tear you down even further.  You will never be good enough.  But that is not even close to the truth.  Your narcissist has slowly and methodically chipped away at you until you no longer felt you had the confidence or presence of mind to live well on your own.  And he (or she–adjust the pronouns to fit your situation) has gained full control of you.  

Once you realize what a narcissist has done to your psyche, confronting them about it will only make it worse.  But it will confirm that you are indeed dealing with a narcissist.  Instead of admitting the underhanded things they have done to you, they will say they were trying to help you.  They will be “hurt” that you would think they have ulterior motives.  And then they will get very angry with you for criticizing them.  In their mind, all of that should keep you quiet for quite a while.  And then they can continue in their ways unabated.

It is at this point that you need to figure out whether you want to continue to live in this way or find a healthier way to live.  There is an amazing book that will help you to figure out the condition of your relationship or marriage.  And then it will help you to make your own decision going forward to regain your emotional health and wellbeing.  This book comes in two forms:  The Emotionally Destructive Marriage and The Emotionally Destructive Relationship, both by Leslie Vernick. 

This book is amazing because it immediately puts you on the path to healing in such a non-stressful way.  You begin to feel like a different person immediately.  You start to feel healthy and whole again!  And Leslie gives you the perfect game plan to get you back on your feet, whether you decide to stay in your relationship/marriage or move on.  You can feel your strength return! 

You can look into them more here:

The Emotionally Destructive Marriage: How to Find Your Voice and Reclaim Your HopeThe Emotionally Destructive Marriage:  How to Find Your Voice and Reclaim Your Hope

The Emotionally Destructive Relationship: Seeing It, Stopping It, Surviving ItThe Emotionally Destructive Relationship: Seeing It, Stopping It, Surviving It

9.  God is exposing a narcissist in your life when they always have to be right and you can’t ever be right.

Most of us like to give our people the benefit of the doubt.  One of the cornerstones of a good relationship is trust.  So we extend grace and expect that the other person is on the level with us.  Unfortunately, one of the signs God is exposing a narcissist in your life uses this good character quality most of us have in order to get away with their narcissistic abuse.

When a narcissist needs to always be right at your expense, over time, you cannot keep extending grace to them at a loss to yourself.  Of course, there is no need to win every battle.  In all relationships, there is give and take.  And we should be secure enough in ourselves to be able to lose gracefully sometimes.

The problem arises when you realize you always have to concede and the other person always has to be right, even when they’re not.  If another person cannot ever concede, that is not a healthy situation for you to be in.  You cannot live a life where you always have to be in the wrong while the other person never has to be held accountable.

The reason why narcissists can’t ever be wrong is actually a sad one.  Narcissists are shamed so badly as children that they will do anything to avoid that shame once they are older.  That explains both their need to argue to the end, no matter how bad their argument is, and their need to have extreme control over everyone and everything.  The more they can keep the focus off their shame and onto their perceived greatness or other’s shame, the happier they will be.

Do you wonder if your narcissist can find healing or if you can help them?  Click to find out how to help a narcissist heal.

10.  God is exposing a narcissist in your life when they make up random stories that are easy to prove wrong.

Like the cassette tape story above, I was always so confused by this behavior.  I couldn’t understand why narcissists will tell the most outlandish stories and then defend them to the end, even though everybody, including the narcissist, knows it’s absolute crap.  And that is what makes this another one of the worst signs God is exposing a narcissist in your life.  I think they realize everyone knows the truth.  But if they deny it forever, nobody can actually get to the bottom of it.  It is easier to walk away from a narcissist’s ridiculous arguing than to force him to deal with it.

My example is one that my three youngest sons were involved in.  Things were not going well with their dad in the house.  It was about six or eight months before he was removed from our home by our counselors and church leaders.  And he was driving us to soccer in my car.  This was rare because he had been just driving his car straight from work and meeting us there.

Parking had been a point of contention with him for a few years.  I drove large cars (GMC Yukon XL, Lincoln Navigator, and at that point a Nissan Armada.  Because of the size of my car, I always parked in the back so we had plenty of room to get in and out without worrying about cars near us.  We didn’t hit anyone’s car getting out and my car didn’t get dinged by cars slamming their doors into mine.

This drove him crazy and he would complain about it constantly.  Then, one day in counseling, he tried to explain to the counselors that he was traumatized by my parking because he could never figure out where I was going to park and it was so confusing to him.  Funny thing about that is that I always park in the back of the parking lot and usually on the same side, no matter what parking lot or city we are in.

There are two advantages to that:  I never have to remember where I parked because it is always so close to the same, and my adult kids can literally find me instantly no matter where we meet up.  And yet, my then husband was fake crying about how much he couldn’t figure out my weird parking and was suffering because of it.  My counselor was trying not to laugh.  His counselor was rolling his eyes at me.

So, now, fast forward to the boys.  We got to the soccer location and he parked in a totally different parking lot in a really weird place.  I asked him what he was doing and he said, “I always park here.”  Instantly, all three boys said, “No you don’t!”  He replied, “Yes I do.  I do it for the shade (there was a 6-foot tall scrawny sapling in front of this particular parking spot).

I didn’t say anything.  Until it came up in the next counseling session.  The counselors asked him why he would lie about such an insignificant thing.  And he said he will never admit that is a lie for as long as he lives and we are no longer free to talk about it.  Even though he made it up.

The kids still joke about that to this day.  They tell me to park near the spots that have seedlings so we can “have shade.”  And sometimes, it’s just nice to smile about the craziness we lived through instead of being sad or angry.

11.  God is exposing a narcissist in your life when he or she accuses you of things they have done to make you look bad and exonerate themselves.

In technical narcissist jargon, this is called projection.  Projection is one of the biggest signs God is exposing a narcissist in your life because it is used by narcissists universally and becomes very obvious as soon as you realize what is going on.  Narcissists will use projection to take something they typically do and accuse others of it to take the spotlight off of themselves.  It is very effective for a long time before people start realizing what is going on.  And for that reason,  narcissists use it universally.

The act of a narcissist projecting is literally tattling on himself.  It is scary sometimes the things they will accuse others of.  Often those things leave the accused scratching their head in utter confusion.  They can’t figure out for the life of them how the narcissist came to the conclusion they did to make the accusation.  Until they realize that the narcissist is accusing them based on what is in their own head.

Why do narcissists think this way?  The answer is actually very simple.  The narcissist knows what is in their head:  their thoughts, secrets, dreams, motivation.  And when they have a negative experience in their head, in order to justify that they are normal, they have to believe that everyone else thinks the same things.  And before you know it, you are being accused of sleeping with your son’s friends.  Yep, I was actually accused of that in the most bizarre way.

A man in jeans, a white dress shirt, and tie, looking arrogant and sitting on a grey sofa in the background. His wife is in the foreground, wearing a grey tank top and crossing her arms over her shoulders while hanging her head in shame. This photo represents narcissistic men who belittle their wives. The title of the article is, "16+ Signs God is Exposing a Narcissist in Your Life."

12.  God is exposing a narcissist in your life when they praise you loudly in public while shaming you constantly behind closed doors.

As obvious as the last sign was, this is one of the most concealed of signs God is exposing a narcissist in your life.  Everybody thinks that your narcissist loves you so dearly.  And then his words of affection convince them even further.  Because they don’t see what is actually going on behind closed doors.

When we were married, my husband would only say the nicest of things about me to others.  Even now, in his new life, I doubt he says anything negative about me.  Because that would make him less nice.  And it would show others that he has negative thoughts.

To those who he currently associates with, including his new wife and family, his mantra is “I loved my wife and family dearly.  I have no idea why they are treating me the way they do.  I just wanted to stay and love them for the rest of their life.”

There is no mention about the abuse, the confrontations, the counselors, the church leaders, being removed from the home for the toxicity, the literally 100+ people who tried to speak truth into him.  And his response to all of them:  “Nobody is going to tell  me how to treat my family.  I am the head of the household and I will decide what to do with them.”

In spite of how wonderful he appeared in public with his family, behind closed doors, we couldn’t say the right thing, do the right thing or be right about anything.  We dealt with random bouts of rage that we had no idea how we were setting him off.  And we were never allowed to say that he was anything less than perfect.

The difference between how he treated his family in public and when he was alone with us could not have been any further apart.  And when our separation and divorce finally went public, there were many people who said they always thought we were the perfect couple/family.  But there were a whole lot of people who said they could see the signs under the kind words and gestures happening in public.

One lady in particular from my old church told me about recently (6 years post separation), that she always knew I was going through something very damaging just by my body language and posture.  And that she knew that from the time we met, nearly 20 years ago.

The emotionally mature will see it a mile away.  The rest will fall for the narcissist’s lines because most want to give him the benefit of the doubt and like to believe what people show them as sincere and good.  I’ll have more on this in another point.

13.  God is exposing a narcissist in your life when they turn people against you behind your back and you don’t find out for years.

Sometimes, the signs God is exposing a narcissist in your life are not obvious at first, but come out later.  In fact, often they will come out many years later.

I didn’t talk about my marital problems publicly for the majority of my marriage.  Everyone thought we were the “perfect” married couple, especially at our church, where we were a prominent family.  When I finally did start telling people (family, friends, neighbors, fellow church members, etc.), I was amazed at how many people knew that he was a different person in public than he was behind closed doors.  They had seen the narcissism up close.  The reason?  Because he was abusing them as much as me, just keeping us all isolated so nobody would know.

Both of my sisters, my best friend for twenty years, and many others came clean as soon as I told them I was separated.  They had told me instances where he had isolated and threatened them.  Usually it was in a way that appeared to be protecting me.  Except I never had a clue.

The menacing, under-his-breath threats that he doled out to those he chose not to be his flying monkeys caused many of my closest circle to quietly fade away from me.  They were still all there.  And none of them told me there were any issues.  I just figured we had all gotten busy and time had gotten away from us.

I later learned that all of them had felt threatened and unsafe to a degree around him and decided to keep their distance.  But they all also thought they were the only ones that had experienced that.  And that is exactly how narcissists succeed in controlling people for years or even decades.  They know how to isolate and control people.  And they know how to triangulate people while they have no clue what is going on.

14.  God is exposing a narcissist in your life when they need to be the center of attention, in both overt and roundabout ways.

Everybody knows about the overt narcissist that needs to be the center of attention.  They need every head to turn the moment they enter a room.  And they need to be seen as the best and brightest at everything.

But did you know that the covert narcissist also needs to be seen as the best and brightest?  Or that they need heads to turn as they enter into the room?  It’s true.  But it looks quite different than the overt narcissist.  Let me explain.

For my own religious covert narcissist ex husband, he had to be seen first as the best and most humble, servant Christian.  He was, after all, God’s right hand man.  He knew everything God was thinking and could (and would) tell everyone what God expected of them.  But in order to convince people of how close he was to God, he had to appear humble and contrite.  So that was the act he put on.  And he fooled many for years.  Including me for nearly 30 years.

Of course, it didn’t quite make sense to me.  Things didn’t line up right.  But I excused those things away.  Like how he was such a great servant to everyone else while he constantly threw his family (and certain members of his family more than others) under the bus.

A covert narcissist will always appear to be humble while taking in all the praise they can garner.

A man in a suit holding a wine glass at a party. He is laughing, appearing to be the center of attention at a party. This photo is part of the article named "16+ Signs God is Exposing a Narcissist in Your Life."

15.  God is exposing a narcissist in your life when they always expect you to give in to what they want at the expense of your own desires.

Narcissists want you to think you are making your own choices and decisions.  But they want to be the ones actually making them.  It causes victims of narcissism to remain in a constantly confused state of thinking they are independent while not quite sure why they seem so out of control.  Did I just confuse you?  Let me break it down for you.

Almost from the time I met my now ex, I was so easily willing to give him what he wanted.  I was happy to please him in this way.  Because I truly loved him and wanted to do everything I could for him.  I still do that with my kids and other people that I love in my life.

The difference is that those people that I still show that kind of love to don’t take advantage of me to get whatever they can out of me.  Until I have nothing left.  My ex did.  And then he would brag about how he could literally get me to give into anything he wanted because not only did I love him and want to please him in that way, but because I had to submit to his will as his wife.  That may be one of the biggest misuses of Scripture he foisted upon me to this day.  And the did a whole lot of that.

Some of the things I gave in on when I knew they weren’t the best decision:

  • Buying a home that would turn out to be a money pit with a terrible resell value
  • Going to a church that never even cared to learn our names and that mocked my husband as stupid constantly.  He kept thinking he was going to prove them wrong.
  • My husband accepting various positions in the Navy to further his career at the expense of his family.
  • My ex supporting other people over his children for the sake of looking like the most kind, serving, sacrificial person they knew.  Like not celebrating Christmas on Christmas day with the family for the first 10 years of our marriage because he wanted others to  be with their family.  Finally, after so many years, I asked him when we were going to get a turn.

There were so many other examples over the years.  But this gives you a good idea and I bet it will give you a good idea of many instances in your own life.

16.  God is exposing a narcissist in your life when they have to win every argument, even after you have proven them wrong.

Most of us don’t think about arguments in the same way as a narcissist.  We are trying to argue what we truly believe.  But they are trying to argue what they want you to believe.  And often, they know that what they are arguing is not even remotely true.

For the narcissist, the point isn’t about making things right.  It’s about taking control of everything, including the thoughts of other people.  For most of us, it won’t make sense.  The arguments are often ridiculous, like so bad that nobody would really believe what they are trying to argue.  But you feel for them.  So you try to meet in the middle.  Or accept them at face value.  Until you realize that you are giving in way too much and they are getting all the victories.

I always just assumed that both my ex and I were fighting to protect our marriage.  Until one day, in the middle of an argument, I realized that it was not for us at all, but entirely for him.  And that it had been that way for years.  I gasped in the middle of a point I was trying to make in a very heated argument.  Then I said, “You aren’t trying to argue for our marriage, this is only about you and what you want.”  He didn’t respond.  And his silence was deafening with the fact that everything was indeed all about him.

One of the last arguments we had was on the way to counseling.  As we were driving to our session (about 45 minutes from our house), I asked if he had seen the news about a homeless woman that had been senselessly beaten by a police officer.  He justified the officer’s actions, just for the sake of countering my observation that it was a terrible thing that happened.  He couldn’t allow me to be right about that.  So after I told him that he couldn’t make that out to be a positive thing, he finally told me I couldn’t say that because maybe the officer just did that because he was having a bad day and that was okay.

That was the very last time I tried to be right in any argument with him.  And the time that I learned I don’t have to be seen as right in all arguments.  I just have to be true to what I know is right and believable.

17.  God is exposing a narcissist in your life when you realize they have very few close friends over the years.

Narcissists really can’t have close friends.  Close friends share a bond that shows what is truly in their heart and mind.  And narcissists can’t let anybody get that close to them.  So they crave the companionship that they see in so many others.  But they know they can never truly have that for themselves.  If they let someone get too close to them, they may see the deep shame that the narcissist has worked so hard to keep secret.

Sometimes this can be hard to see in a new relationship.  So it may be one of the toughest signs that God is exposing a narcissist in your life.  You won’t see your new significant other with their other friends, family, and other aspects of life.  But you will know by how much or little they talk about what they are doing with the people in their life.  If they aren’t really talking much about others, you should wonder why they don’t talk about these things that should be regular conversation with most others.

There can be many different reasons for a person to not talk much about their past.  I don’t ever talk about my parents and haven’t had a relationship with them for  many years.  But it isn’t because I am a narcissist who has walked away from them.  I had to walk away from ongoing abuse that never stopped, even after I grew up and left.

In the same way, you will see the lack of close friends and can question your new significant other about it.  Maybe you will be pleasantly surprised that they do have friends and family surrounding them in a healthy way.  But if not,  you will be able to see the red flags and act accordingly!

A well dressed man sitting on a suitcase in an empty room. He looks lonely and forlorn, with his right elbow leaning on his right knee, leaning his head on his right hand. This photo represents the loneliness of a narcissist. The title of the article is "16+ Signs God is Exposing a Narcissist in Your Life."

18.  God is exposing a narcissist in your life when you aren’t able to see most of their past life, except what they tell you about it.

Many times, especially for an older narcissist, they will leave their entire life behind and start new.  When they find a new significant other, you would think that would be a huge red flag for the new person in their life.  Who starts a new family, job, church, neighborhood, literally everything?  Why is there no evidence of a past, or only negative evidence of their past?

Of course, the narcissist will try to hide all of this from you.  But if you look, you will still be able to see it clearly just by the void that the narcissist doesn’t want to you see.  And you will see that God isn’t just exposing a narcissist in your life by seeing that they have few if any close friends.

You will also see that God is exposing a narcissist in your life when you can’t see most of their past life.  If all you see is what they tell you and not what they can show you, you will know that they are hiding things from their past that they don’t want you to know in order to move on.

Does someone hiding their past mean they are a narcissist, though?  Not necessarily!  But it does mean it’s a huge red flag and to proceed with caution if you proceed at all.

19.  God is exposing a narcissist in your life when they need constant affirmations about everything while rarely giving you credit for anything.  (or giving you credit in exchange for getting credit)

The shame a narcissist feels runs so deep that they will do anything they can to hide it.  One of the signs God is exposing a narcissist in your life is when you see a narcissist vying for constant affirmation to avoid feeling that shame that also constantly rears its head in the narcissist’s world.

Sometimes a narcissist will outright beg for the affirmation they need.  In reality, that can look very normal, as humanly speaking, we all need affirmation and encouragement.  Here are some of the phrases they will use:

  • How does this ____ look?
  • What do you think of my _____?
  • How do I look?
  • Don’t you think this _____  that I _____ is really awesome?

As you can see from these examples, these are things we all say to gain affirmation and encouragement.  So what makes it one of the signs God is exposing a narcissist in your life if it is such common behavior?  The answer to this is that the narcissist needs constant affirmation.  To go without this kind of extreme encouragement for any length of time allows the proverbial voices in his head to convince him that he is that “worthless” child that was so devalued and destroyed so many years ago.  It is a constant struggle to keep that child at bay.  So they need affirmation coming at them constantly in order to fight that.

They ways a narcissist will garner affirmation in covert ways are harder to recognize and usually only come to light after many years of observing their behavior patterns.  Here are some of the ways they do this:

  • They leave evidence out that they have done something you should praise them for.
  • They get other people to goad you to praise them by convincing these other people of their “superhuman” qualities.
  • They will give you constant praise and affirmation in order to get it in return.  I will say that this behavior will be very confusing to you because it sounds and likely is genuine praise.  The narcissist just uses it to get his own praise in return rather than offering encouragement while expecting nothing in return.  You will recognize it as narcissistic behavior when over time the narcissist starts talking about all the nice things they have said to you but you have not returned the favor enough.

As with most other signs of narcissism, picking up behavioral patterns over time is critical.

20.  God is exposing a narcissist in your life when your relationship feels more like a business deal.

I touched on this a little bit in my last point, but let me go into more detail.  One of the signs God is exposing a narcissist in your life is when personal bonding is minimal and your relationship feels more like a business deal.

Interestingly, when we were in marital counseling, our counselor expressed concern that my ex was treating our marriage more like a series of business deals than a marriage.  Nearly everything was couched in terms of “if you do this, then I will do that.”  My then husband couldn’t for the life of him see what was wrong with handling things in this manner.  He considered it normal give and take.  And on a day-to-day basis, it kind of looked and felt like a regular give and take in any relationship.

What made it narcissistic behavior was that it was nearly all there was to the relationship.  If he did anything for me and I didn’t return the favor, I would hear about it.  It was considered failure on my part.  But it didn’t work both ways.  I was expected to do constant favors for him without any reciprocation.

It took 25 years for me to figure this out because I didn’t mind doing things for him and getting nothing in return.  I wasn’t doing things for him to get something.  I was doing things for him all the time because I loved him and wanted to take good care of him and our relationship.

To this day, I don’t mind doing things for him.  We rarely do anything together.  I am still triggered by the continued narcissistic treatment.  But in order to save my own sanity and humanity, I need to put doing right and treating him like a fellow human above treating him the way he actually deserves.

It took me a very long time to get to that point.  But it is a peaceful, satisfying place to be once we can get there!  It is very cathartic!  Just remember to also keep healthy boundaries in place.  You don’t want to end up back under the narcissist’s thumb.

21.  God is exposing a narcissist in your life when they lie more than they tell the truth.

There is a joke about lawyers that asks, “How do you know when a lawyer is lying?” and the answer is, “When he is moving his mouth.”  While we know all lawyers are not like that (maybe?), the truth is that this joke and punchline literally describes every single narcissist.  Lying is one of the biggest hallmarks of narcissism.  They have to lie, cheat, steal, and connive in order to get the control they so desperately need.

I don’t have much else to say regarding this specific narcissistic behavior.  It just is what it is.  And once you see it clearly, you suddenly fully understand what is really going on.  The narcissist can’t even think about truth.

Once I realized what was going on, I tried to dig down deeper to help my then husband work through what was going on.  One time, when I caught him in a lie and he gave in and admitted it (a very rare occurrence, even when they know they’ve been outed on their lie), I asked him why he lied.  I got what I think is the most honest answer he ever gave me.  He said that he said the things he did because it was what he wanted the situation to be.  So he called it that way and made it his truth.  My heart literally ached for him.

I tried for months after that to tell him that if he was willing to heal, I was willing to walk that very difficult road with him.  And I stayed until he finally decided he wanted his other woman more than me and filed for divorce.

On the flip side of the lying/getting caught coin, there were times he was caught in a lie and knew he couldn’t avoid it when we were in the counseling or church leaders’ offices.  And in those times, even though he knew he was caught, rather than admit it, he would go into a rage, stand up, demand that he would not be called a liar, and storm out of the room.  One time he almost knocked his counselor out of his chair that was near the door.

His counselor tried to explain that nobody had called him a liar.  They had just proven he told a lie.  But at the end of the day, my ex had internalized that we were calling him out for his lies as being a liar because that is what he knew he was.  He was for all intents and purposes calling himself out.

You may be interested in reading my article about when your church believes the narcissist’s lies.

22.  God is exposing a narcissist in your life when they seem to agree with you about literally everything when you first meet them.

An emotionally healthy person will see this narcissistic tactic as one of the signs God is exposing a narcissist in your life.  But for those of use who did not grow up to learn emotionally healthy concepts, it just seems like you have met your soul mate.

I thought that we were a match made in heaven.  I met my ex husband in high school.  And while the rest of our peers were spending more time on physical bonding and doing the things high schoolers do, we spent most of our time talking and developing our relationship through bonding.  Or so I thought.  What I didn’t realize was while I thought we were bonding, he was merely learning everything he could about me to make me his biggest source of narcissistic supply.  There were so many signs.  But I missed them all

When we were engaged to be married, several of my friends were as well.  Just about all of my girlfriends expressed at least a little bit of trepidation that they were making a huge lifelong commitment and could be making a bad decision.  But I never thought that for a second.

I had been lulled into thinking that I knew everything about my soon-to-be-husband because we had spent so much time talking and were so honest with each other.  Except that I was projecting my own honest intentions onto my fiancé.  I had no idea that he had been using that time all along to reel me in and that he was agreeing with everything just to get me under his control.

23.  God is exposing a narcissist in your life when they think they are equal to God and above everyone they spend time with.

I was attracted to my husband from the very beginning because of his close relationship to God.  I wanted to serve God with all my heart and imagined a life of joint ministry with my husband.  What I didn’t realize was that spiritual narcissism was one of the ways he convinced people that he was so close to God and a Christian that everyone would look up to as an example for their own spiritual lives.

As it turns out, his words didn’t match his behavior most of the time.  When in public he was the model citizen and Christian.  And he was a servant of all servants.  But when he wasn’t trying to prove to others what a great Christian he was, he could be angry, vengeful, and incredibly mean.  It didn’t make sense.  Until I realized that his Christianity was a mask he wore.

The aspect of this narcissistic behavior that unnerved me the most was that he would actually try to do things to convince God Himself that he was a Christian that made the cut to get into Heaven.  His behavior toward God can be directly connected to Jesus’ words to the Pharisees when he chastised them for their evil behavior while trying to present themselves as great men.  He called them “whitewashed tombs.”  You can find that Scripture in Matthew 23.

24.  God is exposing a narcissist in your life when they think they can and should control you.

Narcissists are very good at convincing you that they aren’t really controlling you but protecting you.  I was so content to know that I had my own personal protector.  Even now, I wish I had that complete feeling of protection.  The problem is, it wasn’t protection, but control that I was under.

This is how narcissists exercise control over you and isolate you from even people that will legitimately protect you.  It is kind of like the movies you watch where the hero or heroine has no idea who to trust.  And it usually ends up being the person that you didn’t think you could trust at the beginning.

Once you realize what the narcissist is doing to you, it becomes much easier to see who you can trust and who you can’t.  I was fortunate enough to have a counselor who was supportive in endorsing my instincts in who I could trust and who I couldn’t in the process of my healing, separation, and divorce.  And guess what?  The vast majority of my instincts were right on target.  Once I came out of the fog of narcissistic abuse, it was a pretty fast process getting my clarity and mental functionality back.

I have to admit that breaking free from the narcissist’s control was very difficult for me.  I had to learn how to set boundaries.  I had never done that before.  But once I understood how to do that well and implemented them, it was actually so much easier and truly freeing for me.  And the icing on the cake was that I learned boundaries for all of my relationships, not just my abusive marriage.  It was a total life changing experience for me.

I used a book that my counselor recommended for me to learn how to set boundaries.  I think it should be required reading for literally everybody.  The name of the book was Boundaries, When to Say Yes, How to Say No, to Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.  You can look into it more here (I can’t tell you how glad you will be that you did!):

25.  God is exposing a narcissist in your life when you realize that you have become quite isolated.

For me, this was one of the most confusing signs God is exposing a narcissist in my life.  I didn’t even realize I was isolated.  While that seems odd, there were some reasons that this happened so easily for me.  First, I am extremely introverted and shy.  I am not nearly as shy as I used to be.  But I am still very introverted.  And I am an extremely private person.  These parts of my personality made me the perfect candidate for the narcissist to control and isolate me without even so much as the slightest resistance from me.

Of course, I see that now.  But I never saw it for the majority of our courtship and marriage.  In fact, I thought I had total autonomy in our relationship.  But why?

My narcissist ex used to always remind me of how I had total freedom to hang out with my girlfriends whenever I wanted to.  This claim was two-pronged.  First, he knew I was totally loyal to him and would choose time over him and toward our marriage over most other activities.  And second, he knew that he had already secretly isolated most of those people away from me (refer back to point 13 above), so there weren’t that many people that I was really that free to spend time with.  But I always had the perception that I had that full liberty.


While this list began as just 16 different ways God is exposing a narcissist in your life, it quickly grew to 25 different ways!  I could keep on going.  But I would rather hear what your signs of narcissism were.  Feel free to share them in the comments below!

Hopefully you will be able to identify them and heal much quicker than so many of us who didn’t have a clue what was happening to us for years or even decades.  I am sure when you get to the point where you are quickly and easily recognizing these signs God is exposing a narcissist in your life, you will be amazed at the new and better person you become!  I have been getting comments for a few years now on a regular basis from all of the people that have known me for years and watched the transformation.  It is such an encouraging thing in my life right now.  And I know it will be for you too!

Do you have questions or thoughts regarding how you fit into all of this information?  Feel free to comment below or contact me here.  Or, if you feel like you need some significant guidance from where you are right now, you can sign up for a consultation here.

Blessings and hugs to you…you’ve got this!!!

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Hi! I am the founder of Navigating Religious Narcissism after being raised under a narcissistic mother and married to a narcissistic man for 31 years. It is my prayer that I can be as valuable on your journey to healing and peace as were so many who crossed my path of healing.

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