What You Say versus What a Narcissist Hears
Communicating with a narcissist can be frustrating and confusing. Have you ever tried to speak to someone who spoke a different language than you? It feels like that.
Maybe you’re really patient at first but the more you realize that it’s not helping, the more frustrated you get.
You likely start talking s-l-o-w-e-r. Maybe you even start yelling, as if a higher decibel is going to change the fact that they can’t understand you.
The same is true for a narcissist who doesn’t interpret things the same way you do. Yes, they may speak the language. But what you say and what they hear are two completely different things.
The truth is, no amount of repeating, yelling, or rehashing that is going to change what they hear. I know you want to treat others with love, patience, and kindness. But something just feels off—like they’re not getting it.
That’s because they don’t. They have a language all their own and if what you say doesn’t match what they want to hear, you’re going to get frustrated and confused because they don’t really say what they mean or mean what they say. That means what you say is up for interpretation too.
So join me as we dive into 14 things you’ll say versus what the narcissist will hear.
Here’s what it’s like communicating with a narcissist:
You: You really hurt me when you said we would save money but then you took it out of our account without talking to me. Why did you do that?
Narcissist: You’re trying to control me. Why are you doing this to me?
This is their way of playing the victim
You: But you said that you wouldn’t touch the money without talking to me first.
Narcissist: Are you calling me a liar? Are you calling me a liar? Great, you’re calling me a liar.
This is their way of deflecting the issue at hand, and playing the victim.
You: I don’t want to argue with you.
Narcissist: Of course you don’t. That’s because you know you’ll lose.
Narcissists love to intimidate you.
You: Are you going to put the money back so we can stay on track to get out of debt?
Narcissist: After all the times you spent money and I didn’t say anything, I can’t believe you’re giving me a hard time about this. Maybe I shouldn’t forgive you.
The narcissist is always looking to take the focus off of their wrongdoing and turn it back on you.
You: But I only spent money on necessary things for the house and kids. You took $10,000.
Narcissist: If you weren’t so tight with the purse strings, I wouldn’t have had to go behind your back to take the money. It’s your fault.
Blame is the narcissist’s favorite game. Nothing is ever their fault.
You: I would like to try and resolve this. It’s not just about the money. I’m having trouble trusting you.
Narcissist: No you’re not. You’re just complicating things. Why can’t you just leave well enough alone?
Narcissists will always deny your reality. This is called gaslighting.
You: Let’s try to move past this. I forgive you.
Narcissist: It’s about time. Enough of this nonsense. Now we can get back to the way things were.
They love to exploit your good nature.
You: I’m still upset about this and would like to talk about it.
Narcissist: Since you’re upset with me, I’m going to give you the silent treatment to make you feel so uncomfortable that you come graveling back to me.
This is their way of manipulating people.
You: I’ll love you no matter what but I really would like to work on this.
Narcissist: Great, I’ll just take advantage of your love.
The narcissist will always exploit if given the opportunity.
You: Why didn’t you come to me and tell me about the money?
Narcissist: Oh, I just didn’t want to bother you with it. You did say you had a lot on your plate.
When backed into a corner, the narcissist will grab at any and all excuses—even if they’re lies.
You: I’m still having trouble trusting you.
Narcissist: I thought you said you forgave me?
They will take your words and twist them to their advantage.
You: I don’t want to move forward like this. We need to get counseling if we’re going to stay together.
Narcissist: You don’t really love me for who I am. I believed you when you said I was important to you.
When things don’t go their way, expect more manipulation.
You: I don’t know how much more of this I can take.
Narcissist: You must not love me so I will have to destroy you because you are shattering my image.
Don’t conform to their toxic ways and revenge is right around the corner.
You: Let’s just agree to disagree.
Narcissist: If you disagree with me, you must hate me, so I’m going to tell your friends what an unforgiving person you really are.
Narcissists will do all they can to make you look bad.
You: I’m very upset about how things are going between us. I think we need help.
Narcissist: My ex would have never treated me like this. She thought I was amazing. Maybe I should call her.
If you are not supplying the narcissist with constant admiration, they will seek it elsewhere.
Communicating with a narcissist to resolve a conflict can make you feel like you’re losing your mind. No matter what you say or how you say it, they only see how you’re hurting them. And they will do whatever necessary to protect their fragile ego.
Want to know how the narcissist interprets your forgiveness? Check out this episode here