9 warning signs you’re dealing with a person who has cruel intentions

Socializing is no easy task.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to know who has your best interests at heart and who might be harboring cruel intentions because the signs are often subtle.

You might not know it, but someone close to you might be trying to manipulate you for their own gain, hiding their true motives behind a veneer of friendliness.

That’s why being on guard for these warning signs is crucial—not everyone is as they seem.

Luckily, there are certain hints that can clue you in about a person’s true intentions, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

In this article, we’re going to uncover the warning signs that show you’re dealing with someone who might not have the kindest of intentions.

So, if you want to guard your heart, read more below.

1) They’re always right

In every relationship, there’s always a place for humility and understanding.

So, what happens when you encounter someone who always insists that they’re right?

Well, that’s one of the reddest of red flags there are.

People with cruel intentions often have a lack of empathy or understanding towards others. They’re usually convinced of their own superiority and are unwilling to consider other perspectives.

That’s why they always aggressively defend their own opinions, completely disregarding the feelings or thoughts of others.

They’ll never entertain a healthy debate or try to reach a mutual understanding because their goal is always to assert dominance and control—not to understand you or reach a resolution with you.

2) A lack of respect for boundaries

Boundaries are the invisible lines that define our personal space, both physically and emotionally.

And when someone consistently ignores or tramples over these boundaries, it’s a clear sign that they may have cruel intentions.

Personally, I can relate to this one.

I remember a time when I had a colleague who would constantly invade my personal space. They would use my computer without asking, go through my desk drawers, or even eavesdrop on my conversations.

At first, I thought they were just overly friendly.

But as time passed, I realized this was a blatant disregard for my personal boundaries. It was as if they felt entitled to my personal space and privacy.

And when I confronted them about it, they dismissed it as a trivial issue.

This constant invasion of personal boundaries was a clear indicator that they lacked respect for me as a person. More than invading my personal space, it showed me that my feelings and comfort didn’t matter to them at all.

3) They take pleasure in others’ misfortunes

Did you know that there’s a term for finding joy in others’ misfortune?

It’s called schadenfreude, a German word that roughly translates to ‘harm-joy’.

If you’re dealing with someone who often seems to relish in the failures or hardships of others, it’s a clear sign that they might have cruel intentions.

This is especially true if they’re not just passively observing but actively contributing to these misfortunes.

Gloating over others’ failures or difficulties is always indicative of a lack of empathy and compassion. This behavior often reveals a person’s true character and intentions.

True empathy involves understanding and sharing another person’s feelings. If someone lacks this basic human trait, their intentions are clearly cruel.

4) They frequently play the victim

Playing the victim is a glaring sign that you’re dealing with someone who has cruel intentions.


Because they perceive victimhood as a way to deflect blame, avoid responsibility, or gain sympathy and attention.

These people are skilled at twisting situations. They make it seem like they are the ones being wronged, even when it’s clear they are the perpetrators. They use this tactic as a smokescreen to hide their true intentions and actions.

Their narratives are typically filled with tales of being wronged, mistreated, or misunderstood. They rarely acknowledge their own role in conflicts or take responsibility for their actions.

Instead, they paint themselves as the innocent party, constantly under attack from others.

But remember, healthy relationships are built on mutual respect and accountability—not on perpetual victimhood. Don’t apologize, because by doing so, you’re only enforcing their victimhood.

5) They guilt-trip you

Guilt-tripping is a form of psychological manipulation where someone makes you feel guilty for not conforming to their wishes or expectations.

You might hear phrases like:

“After all I’ve done for you, this is how you repay me?”

or “I can’t believe you would do this to me.”

These are attempts to make you feel bad about your decisions, all with the aim of manipulating your actions to suit their needs.

They use guilt as a weapon, triggering your empathy and compassion to gain control over your actions. It’s a form of emotional blackmail that can leave you feeling trapped and obligated to meet their demands.

6) They’re dismissive of your feelingscruel ways a narcissist will play with your emotions 9 warning signs you're dealing with a person who has cruel intentions

Feelings are the essence of our human experience. They give color to our lives, guide our actions, shape our relationships, and provide insight into our inner world.

When you express how you feel and they respond, “You’re overreacting,” or “You’re just too sensitive,” it’s a blatant sign of disrespect.

Your feelings are real and valid, and anyone who tells you otherwise lacks empathy and understanding.

So when someone consistently dismisses or invalidates your feelings, it’s like being denied a fundamental part of your humanity. It’s a clear sign that you might be dealing with someone who has cruel intentions.

7) They’re always shifting the blame

Accountability is a key trait of an emotionally mature person. It means owning up to your mistakes and taking responsibility for your actions.

Dealing with someone who consistently shifts the blame onto others is a different story altogether.

I once knew someone who could never admit when they were wrong.

Every time they made a mistake, it was somehow always someone else’s fault. It could be the weather, their upbringing, their bad day, or even my fault—but never theirs.

It was exhausting to constantly be on the receiving end of their blame. It felt like treading on eggshells, knowing any mistake could be twisted and turned back onto me.

This constant avoidance of responsibility is a clear sign of someone with potentially cruel intentions. It’s a clear sign that they might not be willing to take responsibility for their actions or the impact they have on others.

8) They’re overly critical

There’s no question that we should all be open to constructive criticism—it helps us improve and grow.

So when someone is constantly critical without being constructive, it could be a sign of cruel intentions.

These people find fault in everything you do or say. They belittle your achievements, dismiss your ideas, and constantly nitpick your actions.

Nothing you do is ever good enough for them, and they’re always ready to point out your flaws.

This constant criticism can leave you feeling inadequate and chip away at your self-esteem. It’s a form of emotional abuse that’s often used by people who aim to control or manipulate others.

9) They’re consistently unkind

At the core of any healthy relationship is kindness. It’s the foundation upon which trust, understanding, and respect are built.

But when someone consistently displays unkindness, it’s a clear sign they may have cruel intentions.

Think about it.

Unkindness isn’t just about overtly mean actions or words. It can also be indifference, neglect, or disregard for your wellbeing.

If someone consistently shows little to no empathy or compassion towards you or others, it’s a red flag.

Remember, everyone deserves kindness and respect. If someone in your life is consistently unkind, it might be time to reassess the relationship.

Because at the end of the day, how people treat others is a direct reflection of their character and intentions.

Final thoughts: It’s about self-empowerment

Our relationships with others can be challenging, but they’re a necessary part of our lives.

Recognizing and understanding the signs of someone having cruel intentions is a crucial step towards having better relationships and, in turn, a healthy well-being.

Everyone deserves respect, kindness, and empathy in their relationships. If you’re dealing with someone who consistently shows the opposite, it’s not a reflection of your worth but a clear indication of their character.

As the American author Maya Angelou once said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

Picture of Isabella Chase

Isabella Chase

Isabella Chase, a New York City native, writes about the complexities of modern life and relationships. Her articles draw from her experiences navigating the vibrant and diverse social landscape of the city. Isabella’s insights are about finding harmony in the chaos and building strong, authentic connections in a fast-paced world.

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