If you’ve ever dealt with a narcissist, you’ll know their actions and words can have you doubting yourself and wondering if you’re just going crazy.
Chances are, you’re not going crazy.
Narcissists are expert manipulators and belittle their partners to give themselves a sense of self-importance. They intentionally distort our reality through their words so that they have the upper hand in all situations.
Here are five common phrases narcissists use and what they actually mean:
1. You’re too sensitive/ You’re overreacting
Translation: “I’m gaslighting you. I’m invalidating your feelings and at the same time shaming you for feeling the way you do. Even though you’ve had an entirely reasonable response to my crappy words and actions, I’m going to make you second guess yourself. You’re starting to catch on to my abusive behavior, and I really don’t like that.”
2. I’m sorry you feel that way
Translation: “I’m not sorry at all. But I’m going to pretend that I care so that you can forgive me, and I can make the same mistakes all over again. I also refuse to take the blame for anything.”
This type of apology is truly disrespectful. It’s a smug and patronizing way of making us feel that we are in the wrong, not them. We might start to feel bad for the way we acted or overreacted. That’s exactly what the narcissist wants—don’t fall for it.
3. You make me this way/ It’s your fault
Translation: “I’m not going to take ownership of my words or actions. That would wreck my sense of superiority and my (fragile) self-esteem. In my eyes, I’m perfect. Therefore, I’m going to put the blame on you and make you feel bad about yourself. The weaker I make you feel, the more I can take advantage of you. I’m always the victim.”
4. I never said that
Translation: “That’s exactly what I just said (and exactly what I meant), but I’m going to deny it and make you feel like you’re going crazy. The more I manage to make you doubt your perception of things, the more I can manipulate you in the future. I can twist and turn your sense of reality as much as I want. I’m the one in control here. What I say goes.”
5. It was just a joke
Translation: “It wasn’t a joke. I meant exactly what I said, and I said it because I knew it would hurt you. I’m gaslighting you again, and I want to see if you fall for it so that I know how far I can push your boundaries next time. I know all your weak points and am not afraid to insult you. And if you confront me about it, I can say ‘I’m only joking’ to excuse myself. After all, it’s you who can’t take a joke.”
Once we realize that a narcissist targeted us, the best thing is to leave the relationship and go no contact. It may be one of the hardest things we have to do, but it’s necessary.
Most narcissists don’t recognize their behavior as a problem and refuse to get any sort of help.
There’s limited hope of them changing. You can’t do it for them. Narcissists are essentially energy vampires and leave their victims emotionally and mentally shattered.
The quicker we leave, the quicker we can start the healing process.