Things a narcissist would say

25 Things Narcissists Say & What They Really Mean

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Published: March 15, 2022 Updated: August 24, 2022

Published: 03/15/2022 Updated: 08/24/2022

Written by:
Silvi Saxena

Written by:
Silvi Saxena

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.

You don’t have to navigate a relationship with a narcissist alone. BetterHelp has over 20,000 licensed therapists who provide convenient and affordable online therapy. BetterHelp starts at $60 per week. Complete a brief questionnaire and get matched with the right therapist for you.

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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.

Help For Narcissistic Abuse

Individual Therapy – Get personalized help with recovering from narcissistic abuse from a licensed therapist. BetterHelp offers online sessions by video or text. Try BetterHelp

Support Groups – You are not alone in dealing with a narcissist. Sesh offers over 100 different support groups per month, with at least once a week focused on narcissism. First Month Free

Books On Narcissism – See our handpicked selection of Narcissism Books List

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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.

Additional Resources

Education is just the first step on our path to improved mental health and emotional wellness. To help our readers take the next step in their journey, Choosing Therapy has partnered with leaders in mental health and wellness. Choosing Therapy may be compensated for referrals by the companies mentioned below.

BetterHelp (Online Therapy) – BetterHelp has over 20,000 licensed therapists who provide convenient and affordable online therapy. BetterHelp starts at $60 per week. Complete a brief questionnaire and get matched with the right therapist for you. Get Started – The standard plan includes a weekly 45 minute video session, unlimited text messaging between sessions, and self-guided activities like journaling. Recently, they added Yoga videos. Get Started

Headspace (Meditation App) – Headspace is the leading mindfulness and meditation app with over 70 million members. Headspace offers guidance and exercises for all skill levels, including beginners. Free Trial

Choosing Therapy’s Directory – Find an experienced therapist who is committed to your wellbeing. You can search for a therapist by specialty, availability, insurance, and affordability. Therapist profiles and introductory videos provide insight into the therapist’s personality so you find the right fit. Find a therapist today.

Choosing Therapy partners with leading mental health companies and is compensated for referrals by Circles, BetterHelp, Online-Therapy. com, and Headspace

For Further Reading

  • Narcissist Abuse Support
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline
  • Narcissistic Abuse Survivors
  • Victims Voice

Written by:
Silvi Saxena

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Phrases Narcissists Use

  • Narcissists all act in similar ways.
  • They tend to follow the same pattern in relationships — idealize, devalue, discard.
  • They also have a certain way of talking.
  • Here are some of the things narcissists are likely to say in relationships, and in what stages to expect them.
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It's possible to meet someone and feel like you've known them your whole life. Often, this just means you're comfortable in each other's company.

Sometimes, though, it can be a sign of something more sinister — particularly if someone you're dating is professing their undying love for you when you've only known them for five minutes.

Narcissists sometimes engage in "love bombing" — pretending to be everything you've ever wanted, only to turn it back on you further down the line. It's a manipulative tactic to reel in their targets. First, they shower them with affection and gifts. Then, they start gaslighting and abusing their victim, causing them to wonder what's real. It's all part of the plan to gain total control.

Although there's no global summit for all dark triad people to get together and discuss their tactics, they do seem to operate in a similar way.

"It's like they read from the same manual, even though nobody gives them that manual," psychologist Perpetua Neo, who works with victims of narcissistic abuse, said. "They're almost programmed in the same way."

There are certain phrases narcissists use, and ways they express things, that are eerily familiar to anyone who has ever dealt with one.

Here are some of the most common things they might say, and in what stages of a relationship to expect them.

1. The idealization stage

Relationships with narcissists move very quickly. Neo said some people simply do mesh really well, because they have similar interests and complement each other's differences.

"But anybody who tries to do it too quickly early on is basically accelerating intimacy, and that is bad news," she said. "Anybody who has to do that suggests they are doing something a bit creepy."

In the first few weeks narcissists will say things like:

"You're my soul mate."

"I've never met anyone like you before."

"You understand me so much better than anyone else."

"It's fate that we met."

"I've never felt this way about anyone before. "

"Am I your only friend? You're my only friend."

"We don't need anyone else."

"You're so kind, creative, smart, beautiful, and perfect."

"We'll be together forever."

They may 'love bomb' you. ShotPrime Studio / Shutterstock

2. The devaluation stage

Once a narcissist has hooked their victim, they start showing their true self. This is where the insults and put-downs start slipping into what they say. They suddenly criticize things about their partner that they once seemed to love — everything they say is part of their scheme to shatter their partner's confidence.

But all the nastiness is intertwined with some affection, because the narcissist knows they have to keep up the illusion that the relationship is worth saving. By pretending they can still be loving, the narcissist makes their victim believe the insults are their own fault.

During this phrase narcissists may utter some of these things:

"You're crazy."

"You're too sensitive."

"No wonder nobody else likes you."

"My friends hate you, but I always defend you and have your back."

"You're so insecure."

"What's wrong with you?"

"Aren't I more important to you than your friends?"

"Your tears won't work on me. Why are you crying?"

"You're being so manipulative."

They will also probably start explaining away their behavior if they are ever challenged on it, saying things like:

"I'm like this because my parents were so mean to me."

"My ex cheated on me."

"Love is just hard. We have to work on it."

"Everyone abandons me, so you have to help me."

"I'm acting this way because I'm scared to lose you."

"I don't do it on purpose; I have a problem. "

"Don't you remember how good things were at the start?"

"You need to stop being so selfish/careless/busy with other people."

"You can't blame me, you know I have a problem."

They'll also try to devalue everything their victim loves, such as their interest and hobbies — even their family. They'll insult everything they can, saying things such as:

"I don't like your friends — they're not good enough for you."

"You like that? It's terrible."

"I can't believe you enjoy doing this."

"Your family doesn't like me. You probably shouldn't see them as much."

"If you leave and see your friends, I'll be angry."

They'll make you feel like you can't live without them. Cultura Motion / Shutterstock

Narcissists also play to their advantages, especially if they are older than their victim or they did them a big favor, like bringing them over from a foreign country. Whatever they can play on for superiority they will leverage and use to subvert the other party.

They'll assert their authority by saying:

"I've been through more relationships, so this is why I'm saying this."

"You can't wear that, because I said so."

"That makes you look stupid."

"Your dress is too short."

"You know I'm smarter. You know I know more about this than you."

"I'm the local here, I know better."

If the victim dares to tell anyone about how they are being treated, the narcissist makes sure they are punished by making their life even more miserable. They say things like:

"Since somebody has found out, I'm going to get worse."

"Because you broke my trust, you have to earn my trust back."

3. The discard phase

When a narcissist has completely worn their victim down, they may tire of them. It might be because they've bled them dry of funds, or they've simply found someone new to abuse. Either way, at this stage their insults will reach the worst level, and they'll find more ways to tear their partner down, ensuring they leave the relationship as the "winner."

They'll hurl poison at their victim, such as:

"Everybody hates you."

"You're a bad person."

"Nobody else will ever love you."

"I'm the best you'll ever have."

"Have fun being alone for the rest of your life."

"You did this to yourself."

They'll make you blame yourself. golubovystock/Shutterstock

It will only get worse

The only way to escape a narcissist's insults and threats is to get away from them, and run fast and far, Neo said. They keep their victims in a constant state of stress, and they know exactly where to dig the knife in deeper.

"So you are just kept on your toes, and bending further backwards like a dancing monkey," Neo said. "And nothing will ever change — things will just get worse."

If you suspect you might be in an abusive relationship, or you know someone who is, there are services you can reach out to. The MyPlan App from One Love and the National Domestic Abuse Hotline are resources that can help.

Narcissists: who they are, signs of narcissism, rules of conduct

The article was checked and commented by clinical psychologist and scientific researcher Christina Andreyuk.

  1. Who is
  2. How to recognize
  3. Men and women
  4. Types
  5. Treatment
  6. How to communicate
  7. How to leave

Who is a narcissist?

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Narcissism is a feature of the psyche in which a person perceives himself as a unique individual, considers himself better than others, which is not always true. In fact, these traits are present in the character of many people. In a healthy personality, they result in ambition and a desire to please. But under a certain scenario, laid down in childhood, such behavior can turn into a pathology, which is often accompanied by other diagnoses, such as bipolar disorder and depression.

Contrary to popular belief, people with narcissistic personality disorder do not like themselves very much. Rather, they admire their grandiose projection, which allows them to close gaps in their own self-esteem. Such protection allows narcissists to avoid deep feelings and self-doubt. A person with this disorder does not tolerate minimal criticism, he perceives remarks as a personal insult and is able to throw a tantrum if someone refuses to admire him. You can check how narcissistic traits are characteristic of you or your partner using the NPI questionnaire [1]. The more positive answers a person gives to statements from the list compiled by American psychologists and researchers Robert Raskin and Howard Terry, the more narcissistic features appear in him. Meeting people with a true personality disorder is not easy. According to various sources, their number in society varies from 1 to 6%.

How to recognize a narcissist?

According to the American psychiatrists' handbook "Diagnostical and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" [2], there are nine signs of narcissistic personality disorder. If at least five of these are present, a doctor may suspect a disorder. Usually such a person:

  1. Has an inflated sense of self-importance. He often exaggerates his achievements and talents. Expects people to admire his actions, even if they were minor. If the narcissist organized the cleaning of the yard, then at least the district newspaper should write about it.
  2. Preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, beauty, or ideal love. To each new partner, the narcissist can say that he is the love of his life or wait for him to fulfill his fantasies. The beginning of such a relationship is a magical, but short period. In work, the narcissist, according to him, is a genius. If he has not been able to achieve great results, he is simply sure that success lies ahead of him, even if it is time for him to retire.
  3. Believes that he is not like others and has few equals. Therefore, the environment must match. The narcissist chooses “special” people as friends and partners, for example, with high social status or model appearance. Thus, he seems to reflect himself through them, because his problems are unique and can only be understood by special people. Narcissists like to be associated with big brands, whether it be in their work projects or clothing choices.
  4. Requires constant attention, recognition and admiration, even if you just took out the trash or cooked dinner.
  5. Absolutely sure that everyone owes him. Expectations for other people are usually very high. Close people are obliged to fulfill the requests of the narcissist at the first call.
  6. Uses other people to achieve his own goals. For him, it goes without saying. The narcissist is not used to sincerely thanking for services and does it only within the framework of the accepted ethical norm.
  7. It is difficult for him to experience empathy. Such people are not able to draw a parallel between their feelings and the feelings of others. Therefore, the narcissist does not even think about when he hurts someone. Very often, this behavior is mistaken for abuse by partners of narcissists. In fact, he may be concerned with how to hide the shame of his failure and not lose his greatness.
  8. Often jealous of others and believes that others envy him. In the latter case, it is by this circumstance that the narcissist explains the criticism of others in his address.
  9. Arrogant towards other people. Such a person absolutely sincerely believes that he is better than others, and other people's shortcomings are an excellent reason to assert himself.

To decide to end a relationship with a narcissist, write down the reasons for breaking up and keep the list with you

© Unsplash

Men and women are narcissists disorder in one form or another, men are more likely to be affected by this disorder than women.

The data were collected over a period of 30 years, and the percentage ratio between the sexes did not change much during this time [3].

In doing so, the researchers noted two important points. First, male narcissists were more likely than females to exploit others and believe they were entitled to certain privileges. Secondly, men were more likely to seek power. Scientists explain this by the fact that until recently, leadership qualities did not meet the criteria for femininity. According to one of the authors of the study, Emily Griyalva, girls are more often criticized for aggressiveness and authoritarianism. Thus, society unconsciously suppressed manifestations of narcissistic behavior [4].

As regards vanity and striving for a vivid self-presentation, in this respect there was no significant difference between men and women.

Types of narcissists and how they are formed

There are different approaches to the formation of narcissism, including studies that allow for genetic influence, but this is not a decisive factor in the formation of personality.

In 1914, Sigmund Freud stated that children somehow go through a stage of primary narcissism. He believed that this was an intermediate stage of growing up, but later he singled out other forms of narcissism, to a greater extent associated with mental disorders.

Neuro-Freudian Karen Horney argued that the development of such character traits may be due to the fact that parents in various ways pushed the child to create psychological protection. For example, they could delegate the embodiment of their ambitions or rejected the real manifestations of the child, instilling a sense of inferiority.

The contribution of parental figures to the formation of narcissistic disorder is also noted by psychotherapist and researcher Otto Kernberg. He compares narcissism with a false prop that a person erects in order to receive from others the admiration and confidence that he did not receive from his parents in childhood and cannot give himself in adulthood [5].

In the book of psychologist Elinor Greenberg "Borderline, Narcissistic, and Schizoid Adaptations: the pursuit of Love Admiration and Safety" [6], the author divides narcissists into three types:

  1. Open, or grandiose. Embodied stereotype. A bright character illustrating this feature of development and behavior. His whole being screams, "Look at me." This childish behavior indicates that a person is stuck at an age when adults pay a lot of attention to the child, praise him excessively, suggest that he is special, forgetting to teach him empathy.
  2. Hidden or depressive. Such people can grow up in families where one of the relatives, including mother or father, was a narcissist. At the same time, there was a high level of competition for love and attention. On the one hand, children copied the behavior model of narcissistic parents, on the other hand, such a child formed protective mechanisms, since an adult narcissist would certainly assert himself at his expense. Growing up, such people may not openly say that they are special. They would rather choose a person, a book, an object and exalt their virtues. Thus, the narcissist puts them on a par with himself. In personal relationships, such people do not like direct conflicts. Their weapon is passive aggression. A favorite technique is to promise and not deliver, and then blame the other person for everything. They tend to be insecure, and ambivalent behavior often leads them to depression.
  3. Perverse or toxic. Such people go even further. They love not only admiration, but also submission. Narcissists of this type love to wreak havoc around themselves, the same that reigned in their childhood in relationships with their parents. These narcissists often give their partners an emotional rollercoaster of humiliation and praise. They take pleasure in destroying other people's careers, destroying people morally and spiritually.

Mixed representatives of these types also exist.

Treatment for Narcissism

Most often, narcissists do not even suspect that something is wrong with them, because they do not tend to blame themselves for something. So if such people were seen by a specialist, then the reason for this could be related problems: depression, bipolar disorder, or excessive alcohol consumption. There is no cure for narcissism yet. Psychotherapy has a positive effect on such patients. Properly structured classes can help a person establish relationships with loved ones, learn to withstand criticism, stop despising themselves and others, set realistic goals and achieve them, and not dream of sky-high heights [7].

Although there is no cure for narcissism yet, psychotherapy has a positive effect

© Thiago Matos / Pexels

How to communicate with a narcissist?

Building an even relationship with a narcissist is not always easy. Some prefer to just cut them off. But what if this is not possible? Let's say that person is a family member or ex-husband/wife with whom you have children in common.

  • The first thing psychologists advise is to try to detach yourself emotionally. Ignore toxic statements and manipulations. It is useless to expect sudden changes in behavior from such people. According to research, narcissists do not tend to learn from their own mistakes simply because they are sure they did not make them [8].
  • Your personal boundaries are your guard against the actions of a narcissist. “This won’t happen to me anymore”, “I won’t fall for these manipulations” - phrases that will help to avoid an unpleasant conversation or intrusive requests of a narcissist. You can't wait for a response.
  • The shortest possible answers, conditionally “yes” and “no”, are your main allies in a dialogue with such a person if he began to resort to manipulation. By minimizing communication, you give him much less reason to hook on to some phrase and launch an attack.
  • Stick to the topic of conversation and don't get sidetracked. Perhaps your counterpart will try to knock you out of the saddle with accusations or get personal. In this case, the phrase “We are going off topic” will help bring the discussion back on track.
  • Compliments. If you really need to get something out of a narcissist, don't be stingy with praise. Most likely, he will even enjoy fulfilling your request. Yes, this is manipulation, but who said that only a narcissist can use this technique?

How to get away from a narcissist

The end of a relationship is never easy. With a narcissist, breaking up can be doubly difficult. For him, the fact that he was abandoned is an intolerable insult. That is why he will try by hook or by crook to bring the partner back. During this period, he will become sensitive and gentle, will swear eternal love and will do this until his victim loses his vigilance. Often, therefore, relationships with a narcissist develop into a cycle of breaks and reunions. Nevertheless, if you decide to put an end to your communication, psychologists recommend the following:

  • Write down the reasons why you want to leave. It's best to keep this list around in case the narcissist decides to drag you back into the relationship by talking about eternal love.
  • Give up illusions. It is difficult for such people to change, especially without the help of a specialist. Do you have time to wait until he finally learns to show empathy and respect?
  • Break all contacts. Ask a friend to pick up your belongings from the narcissist. Block this person in all phones and messengers. If you have children in common, at first ask someone close to you to be with you at general meetings.
  • Release your feelings. Breaking up, even with a toxic person, is always hard. Give yourself time to get over this situation. Just don't expect the narcissist to suffer in return. Most likely, during this period, he will try to restore his shattered ego and will choose not the most pleasant ways for this: either he will tell everyone what a bad person you are, or seek solace in the arms of someone else.

There are nine signs of narcissism, but five signs can already be suspected of it

© Martino Pietropoli / Unsplash

Kristina Andreyuk, clinical psychologist, researcher. Research interests: mentalization, manipulative behavior, personality disorders

In addition to family relationships, external factors can also enhance narcissistic traits. Media and social networks broadcast often unattainable ideals, and self-improvement services are imposed by advertising. All this can affect the psyche.

In "normal narcissism" people try to please others, to achieve success in work, which helps them to adapt in society. However, in the case of pathology, a person's ideas about themselves are distorted. In this case, the emphasis is on the grandiosity of his figure. He experiences difficulties in forming adequate ideas about other people, abuses manipulations, grossly violates the boundaries of the interlocutor and ignores his comfort. Narcissistic features can manifest themselves in pathological perfectionism, hypochondria, constant attempts to correct their "flaws", including, for example, transforming one's appearance as the most noticeable attribute of self-presentation for others.

On the surface, narcissists give the impression of being rather pleasant people. According to research, many socially active narcissists have charisma, know how to hold an audience, are not afraid to express themselves, appear self-confident, and have high claims regarding academic and professional achievements. These qualities often show up in job interviews and help narcissists get into leadership positions. However, such bosses may use too subjective criteria when evaluating employees, focusing not on their professional achievements, but on the degree of admiration, devotion, and the absence of doubts about the correctness of the leader's decisions.

Close relationships are difficult for narcissists. In partners and friends, they are primarily looking for confirmation of their exclusivity, superiority (which reinforces vulnerable self-esteem). Often, such people confuse the attachment that accompanies healthy partnerships and collaborations with the addiction that can shackle and inspire fear. The demands of constant adoration and recognition of their grandiosity, which the narcissist often implements in the form of excessive control over the thoughts and feelings of a partner, in most cases, sooner or later are not fully satisfied, which leads to conflicts and increased manipulative behavior.

If you have found any manifestations of narcissistic traits in yourself and want to change them, then it will be useful for you to develop the skills of self-reflection, mentalization (understanding mental states), work on the development of emotional intelligence, empathy (for example, discuss with friends the films you have watched, read books in terms of understanding the inner world of the characters, their motivation, etc.). It is very important to learn to analyze what is happening from different positions, without sliding into extreme points, such as, for example, idealization and depreciation - look for alternative explanations. Try to look at situations or actions from different angles, noting the possible positive aspects of seemingly negative events, including during conversations with loved ones.

If your loved one has narcissistic traits, you need to learn how to track the emotional states of both you and your interlocutor. It is necessary to soberly analyze situations of interpersonal communication. For example, learning to recognize imposed guilt requires being able to maintain your boundaries and autonomy of choice. Psychotherapeutic help will be useful in both cases.

Tags: psychology

Manipulate me if you can: how to recognize a narcissist

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They are smart, sweet and charming. You fall into the net of their charm after a few minutes of communicating with them. They always create only dependent relationships. Where are they from - narcissists? What do they need? How not to get hooked, how to figure them out in your environment and what to do so that you are not driven to suicide - Tatiana Skritskaya, a family psychologist at the Familia Center, answers these and other questions.

- Most of the serious research on narcissists and manipulators is translations of foreign scientists. The problem is becoming more and more urgent for Russian psychologists. In their practice, psychologists and psychotherapists are increasingly faced with victims of people with narcissistic personality disorder, returning many of them literally from the next world. And judging by the scale of the problem, there is no doubt that it will only get worse in the future.

- Foreign experts identify people with a certain type of character, with the characteristics of the so-called "dark triad". It includes narcissism, Machiavellianism and emotional coldness.

Narcissism is the need to be the center of attention and be admired. Such people maintain their grandiosity through the impression they make on others.

Machiavellianism is a lust for power, deceit and manipulation of other people. They are also distinguished by emotional coldness and are not able to experience warm feelings for others and even for close people.

People with high intelligence who have the qualities of the dark triad tend to be very successful. One example of such a person was Steve Jobs. He was unbearable for the environment, difficult to communicate with partners. At the same time, having a very difficult character, he was incredibly efficient and charismatic.

The modern world actively encourages the effectiveness, selfishness and financial solvency of a person. It is by these components that many people around us evaluate us. It is important to be more successful, earn more, get married earlier (more successfully) and so on ... The main thing is to have something to brag to your girlfriends.

Accordingly, in recent decades, there are more and more such tough, selfish and unscrupulous loners. And psychologists are increasingly turning to people who have received psychological trauma as a result of communicating with them.

In the photo: family psychologist Tatyana Skritskaya and psychologist Igor Dobryakov. Photo:

- Narcissist and manipulator - is it always an equal sign?

- Not. The degree of expression of these qualities may be different in different people. Narcissism can be healthy as an indicator of good self-esteem and an incentive for self-realization and development.

Malignant daffodils are different. They are very sweet, smart, charming, it's nice to be around them, we feel a surge of strength, interest in our person, but after parting, we are covered with emotional and physical exhaustion, fatigue. And sometimes there is a vague feeling that we were used.

Narcissists are sometimes referred to as "emotional vampires". Such people have no esoteric abilities. When communicating with ordinary people, we always get something from a partner: positive emotions, support, advice.

After communicating with a narcissist, many describe their state as devastation, exhaustion, a feeling that they have been used, that is, spending our time and energy, we do not receive anything in return.

The narcissist is not interested in people who understand his nature and who are able to resist being drawn into dependent relationships, because through such people he will not be able to receive confirmation of his grandiosity, they are almost impossible to use.

— Is this the conscious behavior of a person or is it still driven by some kind of his nature? Perhaps the reason for this behavior lies elsewhere?

- Differently. The pronounced manifestation of the characteristics of the “dark triad” in a person is considered to be an innate feature. Such people have a certain value system in which it is permissible to use others.

The world and people are perceived as objects to satisfy their own needs. They easily identify potential victims, who are used and easily changed to new ones if necessary.

We can say that the highly competitive modern world contributes to the emergence of people with such character traits. Some psychologists say that this is the next stage of human evolution.

Today it is not necessary for people to live in groups to survive. The environment does not imply that we need someone for physical survival. Therefore, families and traditional relationships between people are gradually being transformed.

Money can replace interaction with other people and maintain a high quality of life. A certain amount of money implies that we can live as we please, without relying on loved ones and without needing them.

Photo: Mikhail Perikov,

- If a person gets into a dependent relationship with a narcissist, can he get out of it without loss?

- Much that happens in relations with others, we can track later - retrospectively. In the process of communication, when we are emotionally involved, we cannot observe ourselves from the outside and do not recognize that this is manipulation, and we are interesting for a partner only from the point of view of satisfying his needs. But then comes the realization that something was wrong.

For example, for my part, I did the right things, but I did not get what I expected from the communication, although my contribution was sufficient. This is the reaction that our body gives out to the manipulation that was on the part of a person with a pathological character. Such people know that there is a conscience, but its criteria do not apply to themselves.

Sometimes there are very vivid examples of the relationship of a person with the characteristics of the "dark triad" and his victim. For example, one of my clients asked: “How can I understand when my husband says that we are different stages of evolution? He says you can be used, I know how to do it, and I do it.

He told her about it openly, because she was financially and emotionally dependent on him. And he understood that she could not just jump off and leave this relationship.

Photo: Maria Kozlova, nsknews. info

- She did it?

Yes, she succeeded.

- Victims who live with such people, they don't feel they are being taken advantage of?

“Most likely they don’t realize it, because the narcissist has enough strength and self-control to keep his victim on a short leash. Victims may feel powerless, exhausted and not understand what is happening, live in some very chaotic world organized by their partner.

Manipulators are very good with people. They can read relevant literature, easily absorb people management information, and go head over heels to achieve their desired career or level of financial well-being.

Those knowledge and skills that ordinary psychologists spend years mastering, people with a pathological character acquire easily and simply. Quite often, such a person is interested in the victim, who does a lot of good, to be viable and continue to perform his functions. She is praised and supported from time to time. In general, the smarter and more functional a person is, the more sophisticated he can be.

— It is unthinkably difficult to get out of such an addiction, and it is better not to fall into it. How to protect yourself? After all, they do not walk the streets with a sign on their chests "narcissus in an active search for a new victim." And they are really in constant search.

- The experience of sincere and trusting relationships will help not to fall into such dependence. It doesn't have to be a relationship with your parents. If the parents are “warm” and supportive, then the child from childhood receives the necessary experience of recognizing people who are capable of support. Of course, in addition to parents, the environment is also important for gaining such experience - brothers and sisters, friends, and other relatives.

In order not to fall into the network of a narcissist , it is worth remembering a few rules by which he communicates with his victims. The main thing is that narcissists do not tend to invest a lot and for a long time in a relationship. Therefore, the connection with them arises almost instantly.

If there is a feeling that a person replaces the rest of the world, then this is also a reason to stop and think. It is worth talking about a special emotional closeness with a person at least after two weeks of acquaintance.

If we feel like we're "bang!" and on the same wavelength, it’s worth slowing down the development of relationships and not laying out all the details of your life to a new acquaintance.

Photo: Mikhail Perikov,

- What should alert?

- As a rule, such people choose as a victim those who can give something - money, sex, career help, or even household issues. First, it should be alert when the feeling arises very quickly that no one understands you as well as this person. When relationships develop in an extremely short time.

Secondly, if there are no conflicts at all, and the partners are so united and understand each other well, as if that very mythical soul mate literally met, this is an occasion to stop and think about who is in front of me.

You can provoke a person a little. For example, to offer an unexpected situation in which an ordinary person will not react too joyfully. For example, suggest playing a sport that a person has not done before. An ordinary person may agree, but at the same time express his fears or displeasure. The manipulator will agree and say: come on, I have always dreamed about it, we are one with you.

Thirdly, hypertrophied support at the beginning of a relationship and an emphasis on unity, merging. “We are we together. I understand you very well, I can almost read your thoughts” — this is the erasing of the personal boundaries of the victim.

And finally, it should be alarming that such a person has a “retinue” of many admirers of different sexes who listen to his opinion.

— How to explain why a person who does not need money always owes someone a hundred or two? He is always in someone's debt. What for?

- As a rule, people with a narcissistic disorder make good money, and they need this mechanism in order to more strongly involve the other person in emotional dependence.

Again, when we lend to such a person, we raise our self-esteem. Next to him, we feel our uniqueness and exclusivity - he is so competent and charming, but he chose us, it's cool.

But this is about something else - about the fact that we provide for his needs, improve his life, increase his self-esteem at the expense of our resources, including emotional ones.

Photo: Maria Kozlova,

- Among psychologists, there are those who are of the opinion that the victim is "the fool herself" that she got into a dependent relationship. This raises a logical question - so who is to blame?

- It's nobody's fault. There have always been such people. But when the society was more traditional, then people around knew about people who were inclined to use others and not give anything in return. They said about such people that they were dishonest and tried to stay away from them.

Now we live in cities, and there is less emotional closeness between people. Therefore, it is much easier for such a person to find his retinue and his victims.

— Is there a danger that emotional coldness is contagious, that the victims will never be the same again?

- It is not always so. If the affected person retains a close circle - family, friends, past relationships where it was different, then such a person will be able to differentiate the environment into a safe one, where he will demonstrate his good human qualities, and everything else.

But to return to a close circle with such a traumatized person, other people will have to spend a lot of time and their mental strength.

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