7 phrases a narcissist will use to belittle you and make you feel small

When someone says “I’m sorry you feel that way,” they might just be a narcissist. When someone tells you “you’re overreacting,” they might be trying to belittle you.

Welcome to the complicated world of communication.

Navigating these waters can be tricky, especially when dealing with narcissists who have mastered the art of subtle put-downs.

You see, there are 7 phrases they love to use. And I’m here to help you recognize them.

Because understanding is the first step towards empowerment.

1) “You’re too sensitive”

Words can be as sharp as a knife.

Especially when they come from a narcissist. When they tell you, “You’re too sensitive,” it’s like a jab to your confidence.

But wait, there’s more to it.

You see, this phrase is a classic manipulation tactic. They’re making you question your feelings, your reactions. They’re making you feel like you’re the one in the wrong for reacting to their hurtful behavior.

It’s not you. It’s them.

Remember, your feelings are valid. You’re not “too sensitive.” You’re just responding naturally to an unnatural amount of disrespect.

Pretty twisted, right?

2) “I was just joking”

Ever had a friend who constantly made fun of you and then brushed it off as a joke? I have.

Once, I had this friend, Jack. Jack was always the life of the party. Everyone loved him, including me. But Jack had this habit. He would say something really hurtful and then follow it up with “I was just joking.”

For instance, one day he said, “You’re not exactly the brightest bulb in the box, are you?” and then laughed it off as if it was the funniest thing ever.

At first, I laughed along. But as time passed, the ‘jokes’ stung more and more. And every time I confronted him about how his words hurt me, he’d just reply with “I was just joking.”

This phrase is another tool in a narcissist’s kit. They use it to belittle you, then hide behind the veil of humor when confronted.

It’s not a joke if it hurts you. It’s disrespect cloaked in laughter. And you don’t have to put up with it.

3) “You’re not remembering correctly”

There’s something incredibly unsettling about having your memory questioned.

Unfortunately, this is a common tactic used by narcissists through a method known as gaslighting. When they say, “You’re not remembering correctly,” it’s their way of rewriting history to suit their narrative.

They do this to make you question your sanity, to make you feel like you can’t trust your own mind. And once they’ve accomplished that, they have more control over you.

But remember this, trusting your memory is key. Don’t let anyone alter your perception of past events to suit their narrative. You know what happened and how it made you feel. Stick to your truth.

4) “I never said that”

“I never said that.” These four words can make you question your own sanity.

I’ve been there. I’ve had conversations where I distinctly remember someone saying something hurtful, only for them to later deny it completely. It made me doubt myself, my memory, and my perception of reality.

But here’s the thing. This is a classic move by a narcissist. It’s gaslighting at its finest. They deny ever saying something hurtful or controversial just to make you question your own memory.

If you find yourself in such a situation, trust yourself. You aren’t misremembering or making things up. It’s their manipulation tactic, not your faulty memory.

5) “You owe me”

“Remember that favor I did for you? Now, you owe me.”

Sounds familiar? It’s a phrase that narcissists often use to maintain control over you. They keep a tally of every good deed, every favor, every sacrifice they’ve made for you, ready to use it as leverage when needed.

But here’s the twist. True kindness doesn’t come with a debt. When someone does something nice for you, it shouldn’t be a transaction where you’re perpetually indebted to them.

6) “You’re just like everyone else”

Being compared to others in a derogatory way is never pleasant, especially when it comes from someone close to you.

“You’re just like everyone else,” is a phrase that narcissists often use to make you feel ordinary, unimportant – like you’re not special. They want to deflate your self-esteem and make you feel small.

Always keep in mind: you are unique! You have your own strengths, weaknesses, quirks, and characteristics that make you who you are. No one has the right to demean your individuality or compare you to others in a negative way.

So the next time someone says, “You’re just like everyone else,” remember your worth and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

7) “It’s all your fault”

This is perhaps the most damaging of all phrases a narcissist will use. “It’s all your fault.” It’s their way of placing all the blame on you, making you feel guilty for things that aren’t your fault.

But here’s the truth. It’s not your fault. Narcissists are experts at shifting blame and avoiding responsibility. They’ll make you feel like everything is your fault, but it’s not.

The moment someone tries to place all the blame on you, recognize it for what it is – a manipulation tactic. Stand your ground and refuse to accept blame for things you didn’t do. Because you’re not at fault – they are.

Understanding the narcissist’s game

If you’ve made it to the end of this article, chances are you’ve started to see the patterns in a narcissist’s behavior.

These phrases aren’t just words, they’re calculated tactics used to manipulate and undermine others. Recognizing them for what they are is the first step towards reclaiming your power.

Remember, communication should never be a tool for manipulation. It’s meant to build bridges, not walls.

Every time a narcissist tries to belittle you with these phrases, remind yourself – it’s not about you. It’s about their insecurities and their need for control.

You are not what they say you are. You’re stronger than their hurtful words and calculated tactics.

In the face of such manipulation, stand tall and remember your worth. Because no one has the right to make you feel small – not even a narcissist.

Isabella Chase

Isabella Chase, a New York City native, writes about the complexities of modern life and relationships. Her articles draw from her experiences navigating the vibrant and diverse social landscape of the city. Isabella’s insights are about finding harmony in the chaos and building strong, authentic connections in a fast-paced world.

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