20 Things Narcissists Say (And What They Really Mean)

Narcissists have a way with words that can be very manipulative. What they say doesn’t always reflect what they mean and is often just a tactic to shift the blame and lure you in. Watch out for the following traps.

“What You Don’t Understand Is…”

understand
Photo Credit: Vera Arsic / Pexels
Photo Credit: Vera Arsic / Pexels

Basically, they’re assuming they’re always right and you’re wrong, to the point that you can’t even begin to understand how wrong you are because they are clearly wiser than you.

Don’t even try to correct them, even if you’re an expert on the matter, unless you want to deal with their rage or the silent treatment.

“It’s All About You”

couple
Photo Credit: Ba Tik / Pexels
Photo Credit: Ba Tik / Pexels

All you’re asking is for your needs to be met, but what they’re saying is your needs don’t matter as much as theirs. In their world, their problems are much bigger and they matter much more.

You should be so happy that someone like them is even in your life, that you shouldn’t need anything else.

“You’re Very Sensitive, Aren’t You?”

sad
Photo Credit: Anthony Tran / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Anthony Tran / Unsplash

They might even be saying it with a smile to mask the fact that what they’re actually saying is that it’s all in your head, and if you think they’re being mean, it’s you who needs to fix your way of thinking and be less sensitive.

This is a way for them to exert control over you.

“We Have Such A Special Connection”

love
Photo Credit: Allef Vinicius / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Allef Vinicius / Unsplash

This might seem romantic at first, but be careful of the over-charmer, especially early on, because what they’re really saying is that they want to make you believe what you share can’t be replicated and that you’ll never be able to find anyone else who loves you like them. This builds dependence so you don’t leave, even when you should.

“You Are The Only One Who Understands Me”

lover
Photo Credit: Neonbrand / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Neonbrand / Unsplash

This guilt trip trick is their way of making you feel special and needed. Especially if you’re an empath (which is the most common type of people narcissist attract), you might get to the point of staying with them just because you feel bad for them and don’t want them to be all alone.

“I Love You”

love you
Photo Credit: Anastasiya Lobanovskaya / Pexels
Photo Credit: Anastasiya Lobanovskaya / Pexels

The question isn’t whether they love you, because someone can love you and still mistreat you. But that’s not what they’re going to let you think. By love bombing you, they are telling you that they own you, and using love to control you.

Sweet-talking you is a way to pull you in, so they have the power to discard you whenever.

“Why Are You Always Attacking Me?”

pointing
Photo Credit: Rodolpho Zanardo / Pexels
Photo Credit: Rodolpho Zanardo / Pexels

This is their way of getting you to stop holding them accountable for their actions, because they’re likely never going to admit when they’re wrong and apologize properly unless it’s to benefit themselves.

Plus, this is a way of shifting the focus back to you so that you feel bad for upsetting them.

“I Don’t Understand What You’re Talking About”

confused
Photo Credit: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels
Photo Credit: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

If they don’t understand, then they can’t respond and apologize, right? By pretending not to understand you, they don’t have to respond in a logical manner. Instead, you’ll be left feeling crazy and wondering if you’re even making any sense.

“That’s Not What Happened”

Confused
Photo Credit: Polina Zimmerman / Pexels
Photo Credit: Polina Zimmerman / Pexels

This way of gaslighting is a narcissist’s way of rewriting a series of events, even one you were fully present for, in a way that will make you completely doubt your own memories.

It’s designed to make you feel crazy, and for them to live in denial.

“Here We Go Again…”

again
Photo Credit: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels
Photo Credit: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

This way of invalidating you, your feelings, and what you’re saying is usually accompanied by an eye roll. They’re saying you’re being crazy without using those specific words.

Not only does it demean and belittle you, but over time, it affects your self-esteem and makes you feel like you maybe you shouldn’t even try to speak up anymore.

“I Was Just Kidding”

laughing
Photo Credit: Adrienne Andersen / Pexels
Photo Credit: Adrienne Andersen / Pexels

This is how narcissists often get away with insults and harsh criticism. They brush it off as a joke you should have definitely laughed at, when, in fact, you’re hurt to the point of tears.

Their intentions are usually malicious even though they claim that they didn’t really mean them. They know what they’re doing and are trying to cover it up.

“My Ex Is Obsessed With Me”

texting
Photo Credit: Thom Holmes / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Thom Holmes / Unsplash

Since they will never admit they were at fault, they will always deflect the blame and make it so it was always their exes who wronged them because they were crazy. And if they are still talking to their ex, it’s definitely because their ex is still obsessed with them and not because she’s being manipulated.

In reality, they probably either turned their ex a little crazy from their behavior, or they’ll be calling you that too if and when you break up with them.

“I Can’t Put Up With This Anymore”

putting up
Photo Credit: Milan Popovic / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Milan Popovic / Unsplash

This empty threat is to make you afraid of them leaving you or the relationship ending so that you start to act exactly the way they want you to.

It’s a way to manipulate you into investing yourself more in the relationship instead of focusing on what’s bothering you about it. Or even to have you end up begging them to stay to feed their ego.

“I Am Sorry You Feel That Way”

thinking
Photo Credit: Nik Shuliahin / Unplash
Photo Credit: Nik Shuliahin / Unplash

This half-hearted apology is basically their version of “sorry not sorry.” They’re not apologizing for what they did, but rather the fact that you chose to be upset.

This takes away from the feelings you’re entitled to by making the problem about you not getting over it, or being too sensitive.

“I Don’t Like Talking About My Past”

enough
Photo Credit: Toa Heftiba / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Toa Heftiba / Unsplash

You might hear this when all you want is for them to open up to you and be on the same level of vulnerability that you’ve given them.

However, they’ve crafted such a specific image of themselves to you that they don’t want to risk ruining it, exposing themselves, admitting to mistakes, or worse…telling you something that gives you power you can use against them.

“Why Can’t You Make Decisions For Yourself?”

lost
Photo Credit: Ben White / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Ben White / Unsplash

Friends and family will often be able to see the toxic way a narcissist treats you before you do due to the way they manipulate you into normalizing it.

For that reason, they will try anything to isolate you from everyone so that you have no choice but to listen to and rely on them, and then make it seem like that was your decision.

“You Drive Me To Act This Way”

blaming
Photo Credit: Craig Adderley / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Craig Adderley / Unsplash

While they’re the only ones in control of their reactions, manipulative and often abusive behavior, and temper, they will somehow find a way to put the blame on you. It’s like they’re saying it’s not their fault they’re so mean and angry, it’s because you drove them to that point.

“Nothing I Do Is Ever Good Enough For You”

gifts
Photo Credit: Vjapratama / Pexels
Photo Credit: Vjapratama / Pexels

A narcissist will do everything in their power to lower and lower your expectations of them. They will do the absolute bare minimum then make you feel like you’re asking for too much and should just be grateful.

That’s until they start to feel you slipping away. Then you can count on some big gesture to lure you back in and start the cycle back up.

“I Promise I’ll Make It Up To You”

making up
Photo Credit: Cotton Bro / Pexels
Photo Credit: Cotton Bro / Pexels

These empty promises give you false hope. It’s a way for them to buy time by momentarily making up with you and making you feel like things will start changing for the better.

Yet even if things do change, it’ll be a front that won’t last.

“Can We Still Try To Be Friends?”

friends
Photo Credit: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels
Photo Credit: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

Even when you do get out of a relationship with a narcissist, they’re going to want to keep a hold on you. They need the satisfaction that they can still have you whenever they want.

Even if you agree to be just friends, they will attempt to show you they’ve changed until you fall back in their trap. Once you’re out, it’s best to stay away.