10 phrases narcissists use to control their partner in a relationship

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If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, or someone you know is. 

If the former is the case, I want to start by saying: Just because the situation feels bleak right now, it doesn’t mean things won’t improve. 

The first step to overcoming narcissistic control and abuse is recognizing the signs. And the easiest way to do that is to look at the language being used. 

Once you know a narcissist’s tricks, you regain a little more power. From there, you can build the strength to take back control of your life. 

Here are 10 phrases narcissists use to control their partner in a relationship:

1) “You’re overreacting.”

This is a common line used by narcissists. Typically, they’ll do something to hurt you, and when you try to call them out on it, they’ll accuse you of overreacting

Forget the fact that if you did the same to them, they’d react 10x worse. 

This is a form of gaslighting

It’s used to make you question your reality and doubt your emotions. You may find yourself thinking, “Maybe I am overreacting.” And that’s exactly what the narcissist wants! 

This allows them to get away with their bad behavior. 

2) “You’re being too sensitive.”

Similar to the point above, when you’re upset and hit with this phrase, it’s the narcissist’s way of trying to control your emotions

By making you feel bad for having normal emotions, they aim to minimize your feelings. 

The ultimate goal though is for them to get away with their wrongdoings.  

My ex was a narcissist through and through. He’d often use this line. 

It took me a long time to accept my emotions and not internalize the feeling that I’m overreacting or being too sensitive. 

After all, we’re human. We’re meant to feel sad when someone hurts us. 

3) “I’m the best thing that ever happened to you.”

The first time I heard this I almost laughed. But it wasn’t a funny situation. 

You see, when a narcissist says this to you, it’s because they want to lower your self-esteem. They want you to feel like you’re not good enough for anyone else and they’re doing you a big favor by being with you. 

What this does under the surface though is cause a power imbalance

And this is another form of control because you might think twice about leaving, especially if you’ve had it drummed into you that you’ll never find someone better.  

4) “If you loved me, you’d do this.”

Ah, a nice little bit of emotional manipulation

In a healthy relationship, we don’t force people to do things in a bid to prove their love. We know they love us, and we accept their personal decisions and choices. 

But a narcissist can’t handle that. 

If things aren’t going their way, they’ll stoop low to guilt trip you into doing what they want. 

I know how much internal conflict this can cause, but always remember, you should never have to prove your love to someone in this way. 

5) “No one else would put up with you.”

Quite similar to point 3 above, narcissists love to make you feel like you’re a burden and they’re the only ones who’ll put up with you.

Which is simply not true. 

But how else would they keep you enduring so much crap? They’ve got to make you feel worthless in order to stop you from leaving them. 

It’s a heartbreaking and cruel tactic. 

But narcissists don’t care about that. They’re not thinking of how these phrases will ruin your self-esteem and confidence; they only think about themselves. 

6) “You don’t remember it correctly.”

Remember when I mentioned “gaslighting” earlier?

Well, this is another prime example of it.

Your narcissistic partner messed up. You’re upset. But when you recount the details and try to explain why you’re annoyed, they tell you you’re remembering it incorrectly. 

Essentially, they’re trying to rewrite your memory of the situation. They want you to doubt what you’re thinking. 

It’s just another way to manipulate and control the situation to suit their narrative. 

7) “I never said that / did that.”

You could have a recording and they’d still deny it. 

That’s the shamelessness of narcissists. They can keep a lie going until they’re blue in the face before they take responsibility for their actions. 

In other words, they use blind and absolute denial to get their way.

In their mind, the longer they keep denying and distorting the facts, the sooner you’ll give up and give in. 

8) “You’re just jealous/insecure.”

Now, just as narcissists use denial to avoid taking responsibility for their actions, they’ll also use blame.

By accusing you of being jealous or insecure, they’re putting the spotlight on your reaction rather than addressing whatever they did to cause you to feel that way. 

An example of this comes to mind:

When my ex started messaging another girl, I confronted him about it. 

But instead of recognizing how I was feeling (and how he’d feel if the situation was reversed), he instead sneered and mocked me for being jealous. 

He was trying to make me the problem in the situation. Not only did he use blame, but he also tried to shame me into feeling bad when I’d done nothing wrong in the first place. 

9) “You always / never…”

Using absolutes like “always” and “never” are designed to make you feel like you never get anything right. 

My ex used to say, “You always look at other guys.” This was completely untrue, but it was like he’d made his mind up and nothing I said would change it. 

You might also find that a narcissistic partner will use absolutes when criticizing you.

“You never make an effort.”

“You always get upset easily.” 

By making you feel like you’re always in the wrong, they maintain a sense of control and power over you. 

10) “Without me, you’re nothing.”

Except you’d probably thrive without this narcissist in your life! 

But again, just like saying, “No one else would put up with you” or “I’m the best thing that ever happened to you”, this is another attempt to make you feel worthless. 

And to reinforce the fact that you’re reliant and dependent on them. 

Think about it:

If you tell someone constantly that they’ll never find love again or that no one will ever find them attractive, eventually they’ll start to believe it.

And the more they believe it, the easier they are to control. 

So, if you’ve recognized some of these phrases, you could be dating a narcissist. And if that’s the case, my advice is to get out while you can! 

Narcissists won’t change. They’ll either drive you into the ground or ditch you when they move on to someone else. 

So, take back control of your life. 

Don’t ever believe these phrases

And know that you’re capable of finding true, genuine love one day (that you do deserve, despite what the narcissist might tell you!). 

Kiran Athar

Kiran is a freelance writer with a degree in multimedia journalism. She enjoys exploring spirituality, psychology, and love in her writing. As she continues blazing ahead on her journey of self-discovery, she hopes to help her readers do the same. She thrives on building a sense of community and bridging the gaps between people. You can reach out to Kiran on Twitter: @KiranAthar1

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