If there’s someone toxic in your life, it can be almost unbearable. Learning how to talk to a narcissist can be one of the most difficult tasks you will ever experience.

My entire life has been engulfed in a narcissistic fog. My parents, my friends, and my romantic partners have all exhibited narcissistic behavior around me. Now, I even see some of those traits in myself. I would surmise that some of my own traits came from a traumatic childhood, while some of them developed over time as a defensive measure. One of the most difficult things I am trying to learn is how to talk to a narcissist. Because let’s face it, there’s just too many of them and total escape is impossible.

Learning how to talk to a narcissist

When talking to a narcissist, there are things you should do and things you should avoid. If you don’t learn how to talk to a narcissist in the correct manner, you will compromise your mental health and self-image.

One of the most important things to remember is to not let the lies of the narcissist decide who you are. Let’s look at a few ways to deal with and talk to a narcissist to avoid losing yourself. Forgetting who you really are is the last thing you need to do.

1. Call them out

Okay, before you do this, I need you to remember that calling a narcissist out will make them angry, act confused or quickly deny your statement. So, depending on what sort of narcissistic relationship you have, this will determine if this step is right for you.

Please read this whole post before using this subtitle and jumping in a narcissist’s face about a lie or issues. Yes, they lie, and no, they probably will not admit it either. But if the mood seems peaceful, then calmly tell them that you know they are lying, and then say no more.

The narcissist might ask you something like, “What are you talking about?” or something of this nature, but it’s quite alright to say nothing more. The important part of this step is to let them know that you know.

Remember that a narcissist’s intention is to make you believe every bit of toxic syrup that flows from their mouths. Your job is to let them know that it doesn’t work…that’s all.

2. Get to know the truth

One way to effectively know how to talk to a narcissist is to get to their root. As many people know, narcissists act the way they do because they secretly have a poor image of themselves or they have a deep well of emptiness within them. To those who don’t see and understand this, the narcissist will appear to have elevated self-esteem, but this is a well-practiced cover-up.

Pay attention to the neediness and the desire for attention that is always at the forefront of the narcissist’s mind. These needs are designed to fill a space that can never be filled in this manner, hence the intensity of their actions.

Even though understanding them will help you converse with them, you should never use their problems as a reason to let them abuse you. Knowing these things about them just helps you remember your own worth is not based on how they act.

3. Set boundaries

This is important to remember when talking to a narcissist. No matter what’s going on between you and this toxic person, keep your boundaries in mind. You must uphold solid boundaries when talking to them so you can be kind to yourself.

Now, here’s the most difficult part: When you understand your boundaries, you must also understand what you absolutely will not do in a relationship with a narcissist.

When you discover what those things are, then under no circumstances should you compromise those boundaries. That’s because these boundaries were made to remind you of your worth, and also remind narcissists that you cannot be controlled.

While boundaries might not make them happy, they will see their manipulation is not working.

4. Use extra caution

When learning how to talk to a narcissist, you must be especially careful during the conversation. A narcissist will seem as though they are having a normal conversation, and then suddenly, say something ridiculous. Sometimes they do this to gauge your reaction and see how much they can get away with. They are actually testing those boundaries you set from above.

Once they have breached your boundaries, they will do it over and over again. This is why you must carefully think before you speak to them, and never let them take advantage of you when you converse.

If you have set strong boundaries or if you have standards you wish to uphold, DO NOT let them undermine or discredit you because of what you believe. They may also criticize you and make you angry. Try not to fall for the trap and hold your reserves.

5. Stop oversharing

I think one of the worst things we do with narcissists is telling them everything about ourselves. Now, don’t beat yourself up if you’ve done this because narcissists have a way of sweet-talking others into being more open. They want walls down and defenses gone. This is so they can learn secrets to use against you.

The best thing to do is stop sharing too much about yourself. Learn to control what you tell other people like this. If you stop over-sharing, the narcissist will learn that they are not in control after all. Yes, eventually they may grow tired and leave the relationship, but you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life anyway.

6. Be strong

The most important thing to remember when learning how to talk to a narcissist is to be strong. A narcissist will try to bring you down in order to lift themselves up. It’s just how they function, honestly.

Just keep in mind that you are beautiful, strong, loving, generous and filled with so much life. Do not let a toxic person like this tell you lies about who you are.

Watch out for brazen insults, transferred blame, silent treatment, and other covert actions. Do not believe the things they say about you until you understand any of these things to be true.

When you are insulted by the narcissist, just let the insults fade from your mind. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE! Learn to recognize when the narcissist is attempting to put you down and remember that it’s because they cannot lift themselves up without doing this.

When all else fails…

Unfortunately, times come when getting away from the narcissist completely is the only way to have a normal and healthy life. I wish that this trait could be easily changed, but it’s not that simple.

It’s rare that a narcissist will completely change their ways, and so you have to learn how to deal with it without compromising yourself, or you just have to cut all ties.

I hope this has helped you understand the narcissist, and I wish you the best in dealing with these individuals in your life. Be happy and be well!

References:

  1. https://blogs.psychcentral.com
  2. https://liveboldandbloom.com
Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

Copyright © 2012-2020 Learning Mind. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact us.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Elaine

    Thanks for your article, I am married to a narcissis(7 years). The article is spot on and makes soo much sense. It has been difficult at times to not loose myself and many times I have come close to leaving. I have already learned that he will use anything I share about myself against me, he is a master at twisting the truth to suit him, & gets very mad when I see through his lies & call him out.

    1. Sherrie
      Sherrie

      Yes, ma’am. I left my narcissistic husband and now I watch for the red flags. Not everyone leaves, however, but you must find a way to stay sane if you stay with him. I wish you well and I send my love and thoughts to you and your family as you deal with this. It never hurts to speak to him in a kind manner in such a way that he understands that you know what he’s doing. Fighting, although, will only make him put the negative spotlight on you. Be careful.

  2. Avatar
    SS

    Everything in the above article is very accurate. Unfortunately every article on this personlity disorder on various forums like Learning mind and Quora refer to either a boy friend husband , friend, wives, girlfriends who have NPD, but never have I come across where an older parent discusses her child who has this disorder & BPD! who turns the whole family miserable, when they feel strongly about an outsider like a siblings choice of a partner and start dictating to the mother how that person should not be a part of the family how their sibling is stupid and cannot see the real true nature of the partner is and continue to impose on the mother what she should do and not do and even threaten and promise how the realtionship will be ended between mother and her child if she shows any nieness or gives the partner any gifts even ordiany gifts it would be as if her child was dead to her(the mother)

    So those of you are well aquainted with such scenarious what do you suggest?Its very painful for a mother to rationalize with such a strong critical personality who just does not seem to take into considertion that her sibling has a right to choose a partner of their choice.
    what’s the advice your posters and readers have in such a case scenario?

    1. Sherrie
      Sherrie

      SS,

      Hi, Unfortunately, I had a narcissistic father, but I didn’t realize this until he was gone. I welcome anyone who reads your post to help you with this situation. As I spent more time with a narcissistic mate. Although it cannot possibly be easy to set boundaries with your child, you have to sometimes. One thing is for sure, and this works with all sorts of narcissists, you must confront them about their behavior so they will pause in their dealings with you. They will continue as long as they think you don’t know what they are doing. I hope someone else can offer advice as well.

      1. Avatar
        SS

        Thanks Sherri for your response.I also hope I get others who can be of some help.When I mention child I meant a grown up adult extremely intelligent very enterprising, very intutive but overly suspicious of all, overly critical judgemental. These qualities over the years have worsened. Each tie I allowed it to be swept under the carpet so there was peace.Off late its got worse.Hoping that it resolves itself somehow-Thanks

  3. Avatar
    LB

    Thanks for this article.
    It has convinced me in what I believe is the right thing for me to do in my relationship with this narcissistic person. I’m cutting ties, even if it means that I might lose other people’s love because they are under that person’s spell or not willing to recognize the symptoms or to do something about it themselves. I realize now that I can’t keep wanting to prove myself to this person because it means only more ammunition for them to go off the handle. Trying to have a normal discussion seems to be triggering it.
    It’s the second time I’ve known someone with this kind of disorder and it seems they can function perfectly well in life, so well that most people won’t even notice anything wrong. Which means that it’s hard to confide in people, because they’ll think you’re a harsh person, too eagerly condemning this seemingly nice person. It has taken me almost 30 years since I first got just slightly suspicious to now finally draw the line. With that first person, it was easier, because there was no one else involved. Now unfortunately, there is.
    Last year I got a warning that life can be short. So I decided that from now on I have to come first. This article really was a big help in reminding me of that promise to myself.

    Good luck to you and thanks again.

  4. Avatar
    David Frasier

    I am barely holding on, shaking like the last leaf on a splintered tree. Alone on a scorched landscape of what used to be a mind full of happiness, hope and promise. This is not how I feel. It is who I am after investing the best of myself into the black hole of a truly insane Narcissist. If you are involved with one of these Vampires then run. Please run away for your life is not only in danger. It will be sucked out of you and then flushed out through a jet stream of the most vile kind of way while you are made to watch. Can I be more graphic in order to convince you? Run.

    1. Avatar
      B Parkar

      Very true, when one has one like such people in our midsts it’s not easy. They kind of make you feel as if it’s you who is at fault.If it’s a boyfriend or even husband or father-mother brother sister friend but what if it’s your own child? whom you have nurtured from childhood, and have been their support at every step of the way? even as an adult always there for them far or near, hearing their problems giving them support in every way possible.? When because of this mental condition + BPD, they had some therapy but then stopped maybe the therapist told them the truth or they did not really tell the therapist the truth, that it was their wrong perception that the parent did not agree with and so they turned the tables around and blamed the parent, for the therapist to tell them to break of main connection? I feel this is what happened.
      I know that my child is hurting too for things not being the way they were, as much as I am feeling, but Ego is playing a major part. It’s a sad situation as I am in the evening of my life

  5. Avatar
    Caroline

    Dear Sherrie, Thank you for writing your articles about narcissists and their abuse. I am trying to understand what has happened to me after 25 years of marriage to the most controlling angry wicked man in the world. I want to escape and I am desperate and frightened of him. Your writing has given me a glimmer of hope. Thank you, Caroline

  6. Avatar
    Sheryl Malark

    Dear Caroline,

    You can escape. I did after 30 years. There is hope, and you can find yourself again. There are tools/behaviors you can learn to better protect yourself. If possible, getting counseling can profoundly help you on your journey out.

    Remember, it’s not about you. It isn’t personal, though it feels so deeply in your bones because he’s the one you chose. He cannot see. He is lost. You are good enough just as you are.

    Start with one thing first: disengage. You don’t have to defend yourself. You can stop the conversation.

    Take care Caroline. There is hope.

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