Recognize These 12 Things Narcissists Say to Manipulate You

things narcissists say

Navigating relationships can be challenging, especially when dealing with someone who exhibits narcissistic traits. Recognizing these traits early can help you protect yourself from manipulation and emotional harm. Narcissists often use specific phrases to control, belittle, and confuse those around them.

Understanding these common statements can empower you to identify and respond effectively. In this article, we will explore the things narcissists say to manipulate and control others.

Common Phrases and Statements Used by Narcissists

1. Inflated Self-Image and Boasting


Narcissists often boast about their abilities and achievements to appear superior and garner admiration. They frequently exaggerate their accomplishments and may even lie to enhance their image. For example, a narcissist might say, “I’m the best at everything,” to make others feel inadequate or unworthy. These statements reflect their inflated sense of self-importance and desire to dominate conversations.

By constantly asserting their superiority, they seek to undermine others’ confidence and establish themselves as the most important person in the room. This behavior can make those around them feel overshadowed and less competent, feeding the narcissist’s need for admiration and validation.

More Examples:

  • “No one can do it better than me.”
  • “People are jealous of my success.”
  • “I’m a genius and everyone knows it.”
  • “I always win because I’m simply the best.”
  • “Everyone admires me and looks up to me.”

2. Manipulation and Control

Narcissists use manipulative language to control and exploit others. For instance, a narcissist might say, “If you loved me, you would do this,” to coerce someone into acting against their will. They often play on emotions and create a sense of obligation or guilt to get what they want.

These statements are designed to make others feel indebted or dependent on the narcissist, reinforcing the narcissist’s power and control over them. This manipulation can lead to a cycle of compliance and submission, making it difficult for the victim to break free from the narcissist’s influence.

More Examples:

  • “You owe me.”
  • “You’re nothing without me.”
  • “I did so much for you, and this is how you repay me?”
  • “You can’t survive without me.”
  • “If you leave me, you’ll regret it.”

3. Lack of Empathy

Narcissists often dismiss or belittle others’ feelings and experiences, showing a profound lack of empathy. For example, a narcissist might say, “Stop being so sensitive,” to undermine someone’s emotional response. These statements are used to invalidate emotions and make the other person feel irrational or overly emotional.

By minimizing others’ feelings, narcissists maintain a sense of superiority and control, preventing meaningful emotional connections. This behavior can cause significant emotional distress and confusion for the victim, leading to self-doubt and a diminished sense of self-worth.

More Examples:

  • “You’re overreacting.”
  • “Why do you always make everything about you?”
  • “You’re too emotional.”
  • “Get over it; it’s not a big deal.”
  • “I don’t have time for your feelings.”

4. Blame-Shifting and Deflection

Narcissists rarely take responsibility for their actions and often shift blame onto others. For example, a narcissist might say, “It’s all your fault,” to make someone else feel guilty for a problem the narcissist caused. These statements are used to deflect accountability and make the victim feel responsible for the narcissist’s behavior.

By manipulating the situation and placing the blame elsewhere, narcissists avoid facing the consequences of their actions. This deflection creates confusion and guilt in the victim, making it harder for them to recognize the narcissist’s manipulative tactics.

More Examples:

  • “You made me do this.”
  • “If you hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have reacted this way.”
  • “You’re the reason this happened.”
  • “It’s because of you that everything is messed up.”
  • “I wouldn’t be this way if you weren’t so difficult.”

5. Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation where the narcissist causes someone to doubt their reality, memories, or perceptions. For instance, a narcissist might say, “That never happened,” to deny an event and make the victim doubt their memory. These statements are used to make the victim question their sanity and trust in their judgment.

Over time, this can lead to significant self-doubt and reliance on the narcissist for a sense of reality. Gaslighting is a powerful tool for control, as it undermines the victim’s confidence and autonomy, making them more dependent on the narcissist for validation and reassurance.

More Examples:

  • “You’re imagining things.”
  • “You’re crazy to think that.”
  • “You must be confused; that’s not what happened.”
  • “Everyone else agrees with me; you’re wrong.”
  • “You’re too sensitive; you misunderstood what I said.”

6. Entitlement

Narcissists often feel they deserve special treatment and privileges, reflecting their sense of entitlement. They believe that they are inherently superior and should receive preferential treatment without earning it. This sense of entitlement can lead to unreasonable demands and expectations from those around them, causing frustration and resentment.

For instance, a narcissist might say, “I deserve special treatment,” to justify why they should be prioritized over others. This attitude often results in the narcissist expecting others to accommodate their needs and desires without reciprocation. Their inability to understand why others deserve equal treatment can create a toxic environment, especially in personal and professional relationships.

More Examples:

  • “Rules don’t apply to me.”
  • “Why should I have to wait like everyone else?”
  • “I should get what I want because I deserve it.”
  • “People like me should be treated differently.”
  • “I’m too important to deal with this.”

7. Devaluation


Narcissists often undermine and belittle others to maintain a sense of superiority. These statements are designed to erode the victim’s confidence and self-esteem, making them more reliant on the narcissist for validation. For example, a narcissist might say, “You’re worthless,” to diminish someone’s self-worth and keep them feeling dependent and inferior.

Devaluation is a common tactic used by narcissists to assert dominance and control over others. By constantly criticizing and demeaning those around them, narcissists ensure that others remain insecure and doubtful of their own abilities. This tactic is commonly used to control and manipulate others by keeping them in a constant state of self-doubt.

More Examples:

  • “No one else would ever want you.”
  • “You’re a loser.”
  • “You’re not good enough for anything.”
  • “Everyone thinks you’re a joke.”
  • “You’ll never amount to anything.”

8. Triangulation

Narcissists often create divisions and manipulate opinions by involving third parties in their interactions. These statements are used to create conflict and competition among people, keeping the narcissist in control and central to the dynamics. For instance, a narcissist might say, “Even [someone else] agrees with me,” to validate their point and isolate the victim.

Triangulation can cause mistrust and insecurity, making it harder for the victim to seek support from others. By pitting people against each other, the narcissist ensures that they remain the primary source of validation and control. This tactic not only isolates the victim but also creates a toxic environment where trust and cooperation are eroded.

More Examples:

  • “I’ve heard others say the same about you.”
  • “Everyone thinks you’re wrong.”
  • “Your friends don’t really like you; they just tolerate you.”
  • “Even your family agrees with me.”
  • “I’m the only one who truly understands you.”

9. Exaggeration and Lying

Narcissists often distort reality and enhance their self-image through exaggeration and lying. These statements are used to create a false narrative that elevates the narcissist while diminishing others. For example, a narcissist might say, “I’ve done so much for you,” to inflate their contributions and guilt-trip the victim.

Exaggeration and lying help maintain the narcissist’s façade of superiority and control, making it difficult for others to see the truth. By constantly exaggerating their accomplishments and downplaying their mistakes, narcissists manipulate others’ perceptions and maintain their desired self-image.

This behavior can lead to a distorted reality where the narcissist’s version of events is accepted as the truth, further entrenching their control.

More Examples:

  • “Everyone knows I’m the best at this.”
  • “I never said that.”
  • “I always make the right decisions.”
  • “People constantly praise me for my work.”
  • “I single-handedly achieved everything without any help.”

10. Playing the Victim

Narcissists often portray themselves as victims to garner sympathy and avoid accountability. These statements are used to manipulate emotions and elicit pity, making it easier for the narcissist to escape responsibility and maintain control. For instance, a narcissist might say, “Why are you doing this to me?” to shift the focus away from their behavior and onto the perceived mistreatment they receive.

Playing the victim also helps them recruit others to their side, reinforcing their power dynamics. By constantly positioning themselves as the wronged party, narcissists can deflect criticism and avoid facing the consequences of their actions. This behavior not only manipulates the victim but also enlists others to support the narcissist’s version of events, further isolating and undermining the victim.

More Examples:

  • “Everyone is always against me.”
  • “I can’t believe you’re treating me this way after all I’ve done for you.”
  • “You’re making my life so difficult.”
  • “I’m always the one who gets hurt.”
  • “Nobody understands how hard my life is.”

11. Threats

Narcissists often use threats to instill fear and maintain control over others. These statements are used to exert power and create a sense of danger or consequence for disobedience. For example, a narcissist might say, “If you leave me, you’ll regret it,” to intimidate someone into staying in a relationship or complying with their demands.

Threats can range from subtle insinuations to overt declarations of harm, making the victim feel trapped and powerless. By using threats, narcissists ensure that their victims remain compliant and fearful of the potential repercussions of standing up to them. This behavior creates a climate of fear and uncertainty, making it difficult for the victim to assert their independence.

More Examples:

  • “I’ll ruin your life if you don’t do what I say.”
  • “You’ll be sorry if you cross me.”
  • “I’ll make sure everyone knows how terrible you are.”
  • “You’ll never see the kids again if you leave.”
  • “I’ll make you regret this decision.”

12. Isolation

Narcissists often try to isolate their victims from friends, family, and support systems to maintain control. These statements are used to cut off the victim’s access to external validation and assistance, making them more reliant on the narcissist. For instance, a narcissist might say, “You don’t need anyone else but me,” to create dependency and reduce outside influence.

Isolation can lead to increased vulnerability and difficulty escaping the narcissist’s control. By isolating the victim, narcissists ensure that they remain the primary source of validation and support, making it harder for the victim to seek help or recognize the toxicity of the relationship. This tactic not only weakens the victim’s support network but also reinforces the narcissist’s control over their life and decisions.

More Examples:

  • “Your friends are bad for you.”
  • “Family only causes trouble.”
  • “No one else understands you like I do.”
  • “You shouldn’t trust anyone else but me.”
  • “Other people just want to use you.”

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