7 clever phrases to put a narcissist back in their place

We sometimes include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate disclosure.

Ever heard the saying, “Actions speak louder than words?”

Well, sometimes, that’s not exactly the case.

Especially when dealing with a narcissist.

Picture this. You’re in an argument with a self-absorbed individual who just can’t seem to see beyond their own inflated ego. Frustrating, isn’t it? Now, imagine having the perfect phrase at your disposal to put them back in their place. Sounds empowering, right?

That’s what we’re focusing on today.

You see, dealing with narcissists is a bit of an art form. It’s not about stooping to their level or becoming a verbal gladiator. Instead, it’s about cleverly crafting your words to disarm their arrogance and self-centeredness.

So if you’ve been wondering, “What can I say to halt a narcissist in their tracks?” then stick around. You’re in the right place.

Remember, this isn’t about winning a battle of wits. It’s about reclaiming control and setting healthy boundaries.

So let’s dive into some clever phrases that can tip the scales back in your favor during a confrontation with any narcissist that crosses your path.

1) “I respect your perspective.”

Ever notice how narcissists love to dominate the conversation?

Here’s an interesting fact.

Narcissists crave validation and control. They want to believe they’re always right, and they want others to believe it, too.

But here’s the kicker.

You don’t have to agree with them to make them feel validated. Instead, you can acknowledge their viewpoint without endorsing it.

Try saying, “I respect your perspective.” This phrase communicates that you’ve heard them, without agreeing or fueling their narcissism.

It’s simple, yet effective.

The goal here isn’t to prove them wrong or make them see things your way. It’s about maintaining your peace and setting boundaries.

Going this route can save you a lot of unnecessary stress and conflict. Plus, it keeps the conversation respectful and balanced – something that’s often missing when dealing with a narcissist.

So next time you’re in a tussle with a narcissist, try this phrase out for size. You might be surprised by its effectiveness.

2) “That’s one way to look at it.”

Here’s a little story to illustrate this point.

A while back, I found myself catching up with an old friend. He was successful, charismatic, and intelligent – classic narcissist traits, which I hadn’t recognized at the time.

As the evening progressed, he began to monopolize the conversation, sharing his grandiose achievements and views on various topics. His opinions were presented as facts, leaving no room for a differing perspective.

I felt cornered and increasingly frustrated.

Then I remembered a phrase I’d read about: “That’s one way to look at it.”

It was like a light bulb moment.

I started using this phrase during our conversation. Every time he presented an opinion as an undisputed fact, I’d respond with, “That’s one way to look at it.”

The effect was almost immediate. It deflated his need for dominance in the conversation by acknowledging his viewpoint but also subtly suggesting other perspectives existed.

Best part? It kept the conversation from escalating into an argument.

3) “I see things differently.”

Sometimes, the best way to deal with a narcissist is to be straightforward with your thoughts.

Here’s how it works.

When a narcissist is bent on imposing their view, you might feel compelled to stay silent or agree just to keep the peace. But let me tell you – it’s okay to express your differing viewpoint.

Try saying, “I see things differently.”

It’s a simple phrase but one that communicates your stance clearly without being confrontational. It shows that you have your own thoughts and opinions, and you’re not afraid to voice them.

I’ve used this phrase, and I can tell you it’s a game-changer. It shifts the dynamic of the conversation, making it clear that you’re not just a passive listener but an active participant with valid views.

So, don’t shy away from using this phrase when dealing with a narcissist. It might feel a little uncomfortable initially, but it sends a powerful message. It says, “I value my perspective, and I won’t be bullied into silence.”

4) “Let’s agree to disagree.”

This is another phrase that’s worth adding to your arsenal when dealing with narcissists.

Picture this.

You’re in the middle of a heated discussion with a narcissist. You’ve shared your viewpoint, but they’re not budging. Instead, they’re becoming increasingly adamant about their stance.

So what do you do?

You could argue back, trying to prove your point. But let’s be honest, that’s unlikely to lead anywhere productive.

Enter the phrase, “Let’s agree to disagree.”

This phrase is a diplomatic way of closing a contentious conversation without letting it spiral out of control. It communicates that while you acknowledge their viewpoint, you’re not going to be swayed from your perspective either.

And guess what?

It works incredibly well.

By using this phrase, you’re essentially diffusing a potentially explosive situation and maintaining your personal boundaries.

Dealing with a narcissist isn’t about winning arguments. It’s about maintaining your sanity and keeping the peace. And sometimes, agreeing to disagree is the best way to do just that.

5) “I value your opinion, but I need to think about it.”

Did you know that narcissists often employ a tactic known as ‘gaslighting’? This involves manipulating someone into questioning their own reality or perceptions.

It’s a tricky situation to be in, especially when you’re on the receiving end. You might find yourself second-guessing your thoughts or doubting your understanding of things.

But this phrase can help. 

This statement serves two purposes.

Firstly, it acknowledges the narcissist’s viewpoint, which usually soothes their ego. Secondly, it buys you some time and space to process what they’ve said and form your own opinion without feeling pressured.

So the next time you find yourself in a conversation with a narcissist and start feeling like you’re being manipulated or rushed into accepting their viewpoint, remember this phrase.

Use it as your shield. It’s a polite way of saying, “I’m not going to let you dictate my thoughts or perceptions.”

6) “I understand that you feel strongly about this.”

Dealing with a narcissist can often feel like walking on eggshells. Their strong desire to dominate and control can make even the simplest conversations challenging.

But here’s something to remember.

Beneath their seemingly tough exterior, narcissists are often dealing with deep-rooted insecurities. That’s why they feel the need to always be right and control the narrative.

A little empathy can go a long way in such situations.

Try saying, “I understand that you feel strongly about this.” It’s a phrase that acknowledges their feelings without agreeing or feeding into their narrative.

Think of it as a gentle nudge rather than a hard pushback. It allows you to express your understanding without being dismissive.

In my experience, this phrase often helps in calming the situation and maintaining a respectful interaction. After all, everyone wants to feel heard and understood, even narcissists.

So, don’t be afraid to show some empathy. It doesn’t mean you’re giving in; it simply means you’re choosing to approach the situation with understanding and grace.

7) “We seem to be going in circles. Let’s revisit this discussion later.”

At the end of the day, it’s crucial to remember that you have the right to disengage from a conversation that’s going nowhere.

Repeated arguments with a narcissist can be draining. They often refuse to see any viewpoint other than their own, leading to circular conversations that achieve little.

In such cases, this phrase can be your lifeline. This statement allows you to exit the conversation without feeling like you’ve lost or given in. It puts you back in control of the situation and gives you the space to breathe.

It’s a powerful reminder that while you cannot control how a narcissist behaves, you can control how you choose to respond.

So use this phrase when you need it. Remember, walking away from an unproductive conversation is not a sign of weakness; it’s an act of self-care and strength.

Wrapping it up

If you’ve been nodding along while reading this, chances are you’ve had your fair share of encounters with narcissists.

And that’s okay.

Remember, dealing with narcissists isn’t about winning verbal duels or trying to change them. It’s about maintaining your peace, setting boundaries, and preserving your sense of self.

The phrases we’ve covered are not magic spells to reform a narcissist. They’re tools for your communication toolbox – ways to express yourself clearly, assertively, and respectfully in challenging conversations.

So next time you find yourself facing a narcissistic individual, try using these phrases. Notice how they shift the dynamic of the conversation and empower you to maintain control.

It’s not an overnight process. It takes practice and patience. But each time you stand your ground, you reinforce your self-worth and resilience.

Never forget, you can’t control how others behave, but you can control how you respond. And that’s where your true power lies.

So as you venture forward, remember these phrases. Use them wisely. And most importantly, be kind and patient with yourself on this journey.

After all, every step you take in asserting yourself is a step towards a more authentic and empowered you.

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley, a London-based writer, is passionate about helping others discover the power of self-improvement. Her approach combines everyday wisdom with practical strategies, shaped by her own journey overcoming personal challenges. Eliza's articles resonate with those seeking to navigate life's complexities with grace and strength.

Men who always manage to make the best of bad situations usually display these 7 behaviors

12 personality traits that show you’re an elegant and classy person