Narcissists may seem charming at first, but they will likely suck you into a cycle of narcissistic manipulation that causes you to question yourself over time. They use covert narcissistic tactics like love bombing and gaslighting to manipulate you into continuing your relationship. In doing so, they tend to say a lot of common narcissistic phrases.
What Is a Narcissist?
A narcissist views themself as better, more special, and more deserving than others. They tend to have a diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), which is marked by grandiose thinking, an inflated ego, lack of empathy, and a need to be admired by all. Typically, these narcissistic traits cover deep rooted insecurities and fears.
There is no grand list of specific phrases narcissists use, but there are common phrases to look out for like, “My exes are all crazy,” and, “You’re too sensitive,” as well as a host of manipulation tactics to try to control you.
Here are 25 things narcissists say and do, and what they mean:
1. You’re so jealous and insecure.
They say this because they feel threatened by your confrontation. They’re not open to hearing your thoughts because it reminds them of the ugly parts of themselves they don’t want to face. They make it about something wrong with you to avoid taking responsibility for their emotions and past
2. My exes are all crazy.
They say this to try to make you feel special by not calling you crazy, but it’s meant to manipulate you into believing that they were always wronged and that maybe you will be different. Because we want to be seen, we may believe that we won’t also be called crazy down the line. They say this because they want to keep you as a narcissist supplier.
3. You’re overreacting.
They are emotionally manipulating you by devaluing you and saying that your emotions are not valid. They want to say whatever they want without consequences, so when you react, they will call it an overreaction and diminish your experience as a type of narcissist abuse.
4. I love you more than anything.
They do this to manipulate you by love bombing after a period of turmoil. They may hope that your soft side will take over and you will forget the negativity. This is said to keep you in a narcissist abuse cycle. This could also be one of the things narcissists say in hopes you come back to them after you left.
5. You have trust issues.
They say this because they don’t want to validate how you feel or consider how their actions contributed to any feelings of insecurity. This is a way of gaslighting you, wearing you down, making you dependent on them, and causing you to feel like you’re alone.
6. You need to toughen up.
They say this because they think that showing compassion is weak and that you should be able to handle what they say. Sometimes narcissistic parents say this to their children instead of giving the emotional support children need.
7. It’s not my fault, you made me do it.
This is a way to skirt any real responsibility for a situation or outcome and can be done by a partner or a parent. They really mean that they are incapable of taking ownership and will make you responsible for anything negative but would take credit for anything positive.
8. We’re perfect together.
This is a way to love bomb you and gaslight you into thinking that everything is alright, even if it doesn’t feel that way. They could also be trying to get you to reciprocate. Plus, if they are not always kind, saying this is a way to keep you on the hook.
9. No wonder no one likes you.
This is a direct message to make you feel worthless. They say this because they consider you to be less than them and that you should be grateful they are with you. It’s demeaning and disrespectful, and shows the true colors of a narcissist and just a tip of their rage.
10. You’re too sensitive.
This can come from both narcissistic parents or partners. They say this because they don’t want to acknowledge that their words hurt you, so they make it your fault. It’s a ploy to manipulate you and your feelings and gaslight you into thinking that maybe you are too sensitive.
11. Let’s just focus on the good.
This is a gaslighting phrase, often from a partner to convince you to ignore all the red flags and maltreatment. They say this because they want to control your perception of things.
12. You’re so selfish.
When you stand up for yourself, they may say this to make you feel badly about having self-respect. They are experiencing a narcissistic injury and are trying to devalue you in order to get you in line with their expectations.
13. You’ll never find anyone as good as me.
They also say this because of narcissistic injury. They are hurt and angry that you are not giving them a supply of love and adoration, so they become depressed, then vicious and express rage.
14. You did this to yourself.
They say this after you try to confront them or stand up for yourself. They’re trying to tap into your empathy so you wonder whether you really are at fault.
15. You need to stop spending so much time with other people.
They say this to control you and try to change who you are. Ultimately, this comes from their low self-esteem and from deep insecurities that you may leave them.
16. You look stupid doing that.
They may say this in a public place, making them more of a communal narcissist. By saying this, they try to tear you down to make themselves feel better.
17. You can’t go there.
They say this to control what you do, who you see, and where you go. They are afraid that you will leave them because deep down, narcissists all have a fear of abandonment that they will project on to you.
18. I’m smarter than you so you should listen to me.
They talk down to you because they think they are better than you. This is a classic phrase from a narcissist, even in the workplace with superiors or bosses.
19. You’re a bad person.
They say this because they are projecting. They probably did something bad and you confronted them about it. Instead of taking responsibility, they blame you.
20. You always take it the wrong way.
They say this when they are refusing to take into consideration that they are not being clear or that their words and actions are not aligned. Their intent is to gain sympathy and patience while still disrespecting you.
21. Why can’t you just let it go.
They say this to make it clear that they expect you to roll with their punches, and to convince you that what you feel is not significant. Long term, phrases like this can leave you feeling like your feelings don’t matter.
22. That never happened.
A classic gaslighting phrase; they say this to confuse you and make you question your own sanity. Their hope is that you will believe them and eventually rely on them. When you are dependent, they will suck you into a cycle of narcissistic abuse.
23. Why can’t you be more like him/her.
They say this because they have an idea of who they want you to be and are trying to change you. They want to change you to meet their own needs without trying to get to know you. They do this because their only goal is to use you for their own gain, whatever that is.
24. You’re being irrational.
They say this because they don’t want to take accountability for their part in a disagreement. This could be from a parent, boss, or a partner.
25. If you do that I will not like you anymore.
They say this because they are trying to control you and manipulate you into doing what they want you to do. They are using your emotions to control you.
Final Thoughts On Things Narcissists Say
If you’re dealing with a narcissist, finding a therapist who specializes in this area can make a big difference in how you feel. Narcissists will often try to manipulate you, but knowing their real intentions can help you protect yourself. Together, you and your therapist will develop a plan to help you through this situation and establish a safety plan if you feel like you’re in danger.