Have you ever talked to somebody who constantly brings the topic back around to themselves?
No matter what’s being discussed, it somehow ties into them.
Here are some of the red alert phrases that conversational narcissists use all the time.
1) “You’re overreacting”
Conversational narcissists love to say this because it makes the other person feel crazy.
Telling somebody they’re overreacting is a classic gaslighting technique as it throws them into doubt.
By getting somebody to doubt themselves the narcissist can throw others off balance and turn the focus of the conversation back to what they care about:
Themselves and being validated, pitied and sympathized with by others in the conversation.
2) “I’m the real victim here”
The narcissist is living in a childish reality in which he or she is always correct, innocent and justified.
In this reality, there is no space to admit fault.
The narcissist is the victim no matter the reality of the situation because, inside their own imagination, the entire world is always against them.
They are always the victim and will refuse to acknowledge bad actions on their part or admit to wrongdoing.
3) “This isn’t about you”
In the narcissist’s mind, this phrase is 100% true.
Even if their partner just got fired and is breaking down in tears, the narcissist insists that the real issue here is them.
Maybe they’re now worried about making ends meet due to their partner losing their job, for example, and thus insist “this isn’t about you” to their desolate significant other.
This can definitely cause some serious rifts because the narcissist’s habit of making absolutely everything about them is completely tone-deaf.
4) “You would say that…”
The narcissist relies on shaming and bullying techniques in many cases.
Using the phrase above is a way to make a person feel strange or wrong in a very personal sense.
The person who is being told this now feels worried if something about them makes them more likely to have said something objectionable.
“What’s wrong with me?” is what the narcissist wants others to think.
If a person has any insecurities or doubts about self-worth these kinds of phrases hit right at any weak points…
5) “Do you even hear yourself?”
This point is along the same lines as the previous point…
It makes the narcissist feel superior and is often delivered in a mocking and sardonic tone.
The point is to make whoever they’re talking to feel ashamed and embarrassed and then doubt themselves.
The narcissist is trying to break the other person’s frame, or interior reality, and impose their own self-obsessed, delusional reality on top of it.
6) “You people are all the same”
This is definitely up there in the vocabulary of every conversational narcissist.
“You people” can be whatever group that the narcissist wants to insult and call out.
Maybe “you people” is men, or Hindus or the rich, or the poor.
Whatever “you people” refers to, it’s the narcissist’s way of being sure they’re more important and worthy than whoever they’re talking to.
This phrase also reduces people, making them feel they are being compared to the worst aspects of a stereotype rather than being treated as an individual worthy of respect.
7) “You don’t know what you’re talking about”
The narcissist considers themselves an expert on everything in the world.
Even those subjects they don’t know about they tend to feel sure they know more about than others.
Whether it’s the Wagner Group’s recent apparent coup of Russia or the migration trends of sparrows, they know it all…
If anybody tries to educate them on a subject and it hurts their ego a bit, the narcissist will lash out by saying things like the above phrase.
8) “Your problems aren’t my problem”
When people say this kind of thing they are generally upset or angry.
It can often be said by a narcissist as an unusually honest reaction.
They don’t care about somebody else’s problems and the filter often comes off to lead to statements like this.
It’s sad to say, but at least it’s somewhat honest…
The narcissist is just saying what he or she really believes since the idea of having empathy or compassion for others is not in their playbook.
9) “You really kind of owe me this one”
The narcissist loves to manipulate.
Making people feel obligated to give something is a cornerstone of the narcissistic recipe book.
By making somebody feel they have no choice, the narcissist backs them in a corner and forces the other people in a conversation to concede to their desires.
This is an awful place to be put in, but narcissists will go there if they feel they’re not getting what they want.
10) “Do you even care about me at all?”
This is on a related note and is used by the narcissist to bully or pressure somebody to do something for them.
It creates a strict binary:
Either you care about them and do what they say or you don’t care about them and are a horrible person for not falling in line.
11) “No good person would believe that kind of sh*t”
This is a common shaming phrase used by narcissists to establish their moral superiority.
It’s the verbal equivalent of a dog going pee to mark territory.
The narcissist wants whoever they’re talking to to understand what beliefs are off limits and surprise, surprise it’s the narcissist who decides!
12) “I’m not taking on this amount of emotional labor right now”
This is the type of very psychological-sounding statement that certain narcissists will make now and then.
By phrasing giving a damn as “emotional labor” they can evade doing anything for friends or other people.
It sounds fancy, but what they mean is that they don’t have time for other people.
13) “My quest for spiritual truth is a bit complicated to explain to you”
Sleazy spiritual elitists are a dime a dozen and are almost always narcissists.
When they’re not talking to folks about their transformational journey or how they finally understood the key to bliss, they’re putting other people down with statements like this one here.
It’s just a way of saying “I’m too advanced for you to follow my spiritual journey, peasant.”
14) “Your vibrations are seriously low, man”
Another way of saying that they’re superior and spiritually above people is to talk about vibrations.
This word has entered a lot of the New Age discourse, and while it’s true that people definitely have a feeling or energy about them, the specific term “vibrations” can sometimes be a little pretentious.
Narcissists who drop this kind of term are usually also throwing some serious shade along with it.
15) “You don’t appreciate me nearly enough”
The narcissist expects pure appreciation and kudos all the time.
They will often accuse others of not sufficiently valuing them.
There’s a catch, however:
No amount of attention and appreciation anybody gives a narcissist will ever satisfy them! They’ll always want and expect more.
16) “Try to see this from my point of view”
There are times when it can be helpful to encourage somebody to switch around their point of view.
But for the most part, this type of statement is a sign of incipient narcissism.
It indicates disapproval and judgment as if you are being unfair or not agreeable enough in not seeing this person’s point of view.
17) “You’re clearly jealous of me”
When the narcissist doesn’t get the support or feedback they are hoping for they resort to insults.
Accusing somebody they’re speaking with of jealousy is a common tactic.
They just can’t imagine being disagreed with or not given the attention or validation they want except from some malign reaction to their own greatness.
18) “But yeah, anyway, about what I was saying before…”
This is the stock phrase of a conversational narcissist.
It’s a pause button on wherever a conversation was going and setting it back to the topic that the narcissist wants to talk about.
Ninety-nine times out of a hundred you guessed it: the topic is the narcissist him or herself!
I want to talk about me!
When you come across a conversational narcissist you may be confused about what to do.
It’s all too easy to get into a conflict or a clash with this kind of person before you even realize it.
If possible, extricate yourself from the interaction.
If you can’t get out of the situation and it’s at work, for example, or in a required family function, for example, try to softly guide the topic beyond only the interests of the other person speaking.
If they insist on continuing their selfish focus and obsession then take it as an opportunity to practice mindfulness and feel anger while trying not to react to it.