There are certain words you should never say to a narcissist. Don’t you want to avoid triggering a temper tantrum, or something worse? I thought so.

If you are searching for peace, there are things you should never say to a narcissist. Because if you do say these words, peace is not what you’ll be getting. You may already be aware of the sticky tar that’s the narcissist’s mind.

I guess I sound mean, huh? Well, I’ve just been around a few of these individuals, and I know from experience that what you say can and will be used against you.

Never say THESE things to a narcissist

The narcissist has an over-inflated sense of self-worth put together with extremely low self-esteem. Yes, I know these contradict each other, but the truth is, high self-worth is just a cover for the truth of the narcissist’s low self-image.

Keep this in mind as we explore the words you should never say to a narcissist. It will help you understand. Here are a few examples of what NOT to say.

1. “You love attention”

While this statement is probably true, it’s just not smart to say it. Why? Well, because the narcissist will react either one or two ways.

  1. They may go into a narcissistic rage that causes great distress or uproar.
  2. They may deny this and seek even more attention from your “perceived insult”.

This means they will respond by telling others how rough you talk to them. Since most people outside the narcissist’s circle cannot see their manipulation and so forth, this garners even more sympathy/attention.

2. “You think you’re always right”

Never say this to a narcissist because they usually do think they are superior. But when you say this, the toxic person will see it for what it is, an affront to their intellect.

Usually, the narcissist will become defensive and lash out. You’ll get nowhere with this statement, so you might as well not even say it. It’s a waste of breath.

3. “You always play the victim, don’t you?”

Narcissists, in fact, do see themselves as a constant victim. It seems someone is always wronging them in one way or the other. “Oh, poor me” is what this toxic individual continually thinks, and so they will become defensive and hurt when you call them in their perpetual victimhood.

What’s even worse is that so many people see them as victims too. This is because others cannot see beyond the façade.

4. “You are so manipulative”

This is also something you should never say to a narcissist. It’s because their manipulation is so deeply ingrained in who they are that sometimes they cannot even see what they’re doing anymore. And if they do see it in themselves, they just call it intelligence.

They often pride themselves on getting everything they want. Sometimes, they may try gaslighting when you call them manipulative, so be careful.

5. “You’re lying”

shut down a know-it-all

Most of us know that narcissists lie, and they lie much of the time. But calling them on these lies isn’t productive. They may either say, “Whatever…” or get defensive. Sometimes narcissists will use manipulative tactics to deflect your statement back on you.

Whatever it takes, this toxic person will not admit they’re lying. It takes loads of effort to get a narcissist to admit to the lies or deception they’ve done. So, in a way, it’s pretty pointless to bring up. Remember, narcissists are like children.

6. “It’s not about you!”

This statement will never work. You see, to the narcissist, everything IS about them, or it should be. Every single thing that happens in or near the narcissist is another chance to focus on them and bring the spotlight back on their lives.

So, saying, “It’s not about you!” is just not true. It will always be about the narcissist, whether you like it or not.

7. “It’s not a competition”

To a narcissist, everything is always a competition. It’s about who grills the best burger, who makes the most money, or who has the most friends. To normal people, it’s about who cares!!

This is one of the most obvious words you should never say to a narcissist, as life will always be a competition. To them, if they aren’t first, they are last. There are no in-between, nor ties.

8. “You’re so fake”

This is the ultimate diss to the narcissist. Yes, it’s 100% true, but you shouldn’t say it. Any toxic person will not admit that they are wearing a mask, and it’s because the real person is practically empty.

If they aren’t completely empty, they’re badly broken and in need of professional help. So, to tell a narcissist that they’re inauthentic is like attacking the last shred of self-worth they have.

Saying these words won’t fix the narcissist

Honestly, while you may feel like saying these things, and they may be true, it’s best not to. These statements will not fix the narcissist. In fact, it may make them worse.

As they become defensive and angry as a result of your words, their façade will grow stronger. Instead of coming clean about who they really are, they’ll just continue to lie.

So, when talking to the narcissist, please keep these tips in mind. And most of all, take care of your mental health. If you’re dealing with a narcissistic friend or family member, and it’s damaging you, reinforce your boundaries and seek help.

I wish you all the best.


Copyright © 2012-2024 Learning Mind. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact us.

power of misfits book banner desktop

Like what you are reading? Subscribe to our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss new thought-provoking articles!

power of misfits book banner mobile

Like what you are reading? Subscribe to our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss new thought-provoking articles!

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Eddie

    wonderful post Sherrie! What bugs me is that we have to realize that there are different levels and stages of Abnormal Personalities and behavior.
    Starts with “Selfish” to “Narcissist” to “Sociopath” to “Psychopath”!
    This is of course way oversimplified!
    Once you realize you are dealing with a “Future Psychopat” or current “Silent” one, the real question is how to avoid this person and leave their circle of influence not what to say or not say to them! If this person is family or spouse, (God help you!) then be very careful about these 8 words hopping for a miracle; otherwise: RUN FOREST RUN!!

    1. Intimated Recluse

      I’ve learned not to point out to the narcissist that they are projecting when it occurs. Without a second thought or any consideration of what this might mean. they reactively & defensively accuse you of projecting.

      1. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

        Oh yes, they learn the psychological terms and use them to gaslight you. Yep, you are absolutely right. This is a good thing for us to remember. KNOW THYSELF. KNOW THY ENEMY,

    2. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

      I’ve been this close to multiple people who have toxic personalities. How do you think I have so much experience with talking about it and dealing with the behaviors? I’ve been pushed down so far that it took years just to get to this point. Husbands, cousins, friends, you name it. I remember going to therapists because I was told that I was crazy. Yes, I have mental illnesses, but this was different. Out of fear of losing someone I loved, I started taking medication for my craziness. So yeah…if you survive it, you will want to talk about it and you will learn deeper levels every time you meet someone like this. I still deal with it, and let me tell you, I am still surprised by the lengths they will go to. Now, I tend to laugh at some of the statements they use. Why do I laugh? Oh, I don’t know exactly why, but I feel as though I am in disbelief at what I’m hearing. It can be so preposterous. I actually think it’s funny because they think I’m stupid enough to believe the garbage. I guess I think that’s funny.

  2. Anon

    In the circular insanity that is dealing with these people, you have inadvertently pointed out the very things they say to their victims as a weapon against them, not because they think it is true. Ironically, these very things they say, though, are true about the Narcissist, themselves. It’s interesting to pay attention when someone misjudges you like that, because if you look closely, they are projecting themselves onto you. Is it not the Narcissist that “loves attention,” “thinks they’re always right,” “always plays the victim,” “is so manipulative,” “lies,” “everything is about them,” “competes,” and “is fake?” So, the reason you cannot say these things to them is because you are telling them the truth of themselves, and “they can’t handle the truth.” Telling them the truth is usually what leads to Narcissistic rage, and that is the reason to avoid the truth with them. Boundaries, strong and clear and distant, are far better than truth will ever be, if you want any peace in your life.

    1. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

      So true. I will add, however, that there are some rare individuals who can be helped and they can change. But, as you said, the biggest and most powerful weapon you have is boundaries laced with healthy self-esteem.

  3. Murray

    What not to say to a narcissist? Anything! Avoid them like the toxic plague they are.

    I wonder how many people read through that list and one specific person keeps popping into their mind. The #1 narcissist…

    1. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

      I think we all know one if we aren’t one. We are on the spectrum, but we must try to figure out where on the spectrum we are as soon as possible. When we can feel healthy about ourselves, we can understand what not to say to those who are on drastic ends of that spectrum, what we can say, and who should be left completely alone. Yes, we do have to avoid some of them for our own health.

  4. Rye Saavedra

    I really appreciate this article, very helpful. Thank you, Sherrie. I truly agree that using hurtful and demeaning language towards narcissistic individuals will not bring about positive change or growth. In fact, it may only reinforce their negative behaviors. Instead, focus on setting boundaries and communicating assertively respectfully and empathetically. Remember, you have the power to choose your words and actions, and create a more positive and empowered relationship dynamic.

    1. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

      This! This right here is a good strategy. It’s about balance for your soul. You do not have to be cruel to stand up for yourself. Good points.

  5. Rob S

    If someone uses these eight phrases on you, then you can be certain that ONE OF YOU is a narcissist. I have found that narcissists use these phrases as weapons, apparently because the words have had a particular sting when used against the narcissist.

Leave a Reply