When a Narcissist Verbally Attacks You, Say These 5 Things…
Narcissists are difficult people to deal with. Changing the rules to suit their needs, fighting dirty, gaslighting and manipulating people are all tactics employed by those with narcissistic personalities making life quite difficult for those around them.
When toxic types can’t control how you perceive yourself, they’ll likely try to control how others see you. They may publicly make false allegations where they can play the martyr meanwhile you’re branded as a toxic person and outcast. A narcissist may go so far to try to launch a campaign to sabotage your reputation and slander your name so that you don’t have a support network to fall back on.
In order to mask their abusive behavior and tactics, the narcissist may use projection, blame shifting or gaslighting tactics and this may come in the form of a verbal attack- which is why you’re here.
Once you’ve let them know you’re not falling for their facade and you’ve identified their manipulation tactics- they may try to play the victim card. They’ll masquerade as the innocent party and shift the blame onto you perhaps even calling you crazy or toxic. You may end up apologizing for the things that you never said or did and they’ll play the bigger person who is in the position to forgive you.
When this happens to you you need to protect yourself against their verbal abuse. Read on for: When a Narcissist Verbally Attacks You, Say These 5 Things…
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Script 1 | The Passive Aggressive Response
If you go about life like everything is about you. You will be left with just you.
I’m sorry, I forgot I only exist when you want something.
Thank you for reminding me about what kind of person you are. I had almost forgotten.
Sorry my self-absorption got in the way of yours.
Your problem is not knowing you’re the problem.
Probably not the most tension diffusing of tactics, but it will certainly feel good saying it! Be prepared to cut ties with this person and be prepare for some backlash.
Script 2 | “I Understand Your Perspective”
Help me to understand your point of view? Ahh I see- so what you’re saying is…[Insert relevant scenario].
Forgive me I didn’t understand [Insert relevant scenario].
You must have been very hurt by what I’ve done- I’m really sorry- I didn’t mean to do that.
Whether you do or don’t isn’t relevant in this case, you’ll never win an argument with a narcissist who believes you’ve done something to hurt them. By saying “we” rather than “I” or “you,” you include yourself in the behaviour.
Resist the temptation to get defensive as it won’t help you in this case, you know who you are and your value so don’t bite the narcissist’s bait. There’s no chance of the narcissist admitting to any wrongdoing or apologising; so this script is best used in situations where you aren’t yet able to cut yourself off from them (perhaps they are a relative or someone you work with).
The narcissist will likely get angry at you because you’ve stood your ground so it’s better for everyone to end an unnecessary backwards and forwards. You can play their game a little bit and split the blame between the two of you.
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Script 3 | Distraction Tactics
So tell me about…
Wow, you must be an expert.
How do you know all of this?
Intriguing- tell me more?
Narcissists love talking about themselves, or expressing just how much more they know about something than everyone else. So, in order to end a conversation you’ll never win- distract them with another topic to keep the conversation away from conflict. This might not be that effective in a full blown argument, but if you do it after some time has passed, it will likely be effective.
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Script 4 | On the Opposite End of the Scale…
I think all of this is a tactic to try and do [X,Y,Z]
I think you’re a fraud/ not trustworthy/ a liar and I’m not going to engage with you any longer.
You could just call them out on everything- just be prepared for a battle and or cutting ties. This will likely end in the Narcissist discarding you- which is not necessarily a bad thing.
Narcissists feed heavily on the admiration of others. Without that admiration, they feel as though they are nothing. A feeling of total irrelevance and unimportance scares narcissists. Because of this, they will often try very hard to put themselves in important roles (imagined or otherwise) in society.
Admiration from others is the source of a narcissist’s power, and without it they are nothing.
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Script 5 | Thank You For Helping Me See Things Clearly
Thank you for bringing me some much needed perspective.
Whilst you think [X] about [Y] I am actually thankful about it.
Think about all the things [Insert Name] did for us/you to help you/us get to this stage. They may have done [X,Y,Z], but they really pulled through when we/you needed them the most.
Narcissists reject and fear gratitude as it is another emotion that is perceived as a sign of weakness and giving other people power over yourself. It’s the acceptance that you owe something to someone and that someone may actually be more knowledgeable about something than you.
To narcissistic people, they think of themselves as these all-powerful beings that rise far above others in superiority. The acceptance that someone else did something valuable for them brings them crashing back down to earth.
The idea that someone else gave them something they wanted/needed not only makes the narcissist the same as everyone else, it makes them feel as though they’re weaker, or lower down on the pecking order.
So there you have it. There’s no need to suffer verbal abuse from anyone, use these 5 scripts the next time a narcissist attacks you.
At Never the Right Word, our aim is to give you practical examples of how to handle life’s difficult conversations. If you have an awkward situation that you’d like example templates for, request a topic here.
Lastly, if you found this content helpful or want to share your own examples, let us know in the comments. We’d also be delighted if you shared this article and joined us on social media too!
Never the Right Word
Hi there! I’m Amy, and I’m the person behind Never the Right Word. I’m a designer-by-day who’s fascinated by human psychology; you’ll find me learning about what makes others tick through all types of media and good old-fashioned conversation.
In 2019 Never the Right Word was born to fill the gap of ‘how-to’ websites with copy and paste examples showing you EXACTLY what you need to say to steer difficult conversations into positive outcomes.
Relevant Books We Recommend...
Becoming the Narcissist's Nightmare: How to Devalue and Discard the Narcissist While Supplying Yourself by author Shahida Arabi offers practical tips and alternatives for recovering from the trauma of narcissistic abuse. Each chapter features links to relevant articles, podcasts, and social media resources. The book explores these resources and combines them into a comprehensive and revealing look at narcissistic abuse and its effects on those who have fallen victim to it. Since pathological narcissists are unlikely to seek treatment, it is difficult to pinpoint what exactly makes them tick and determine the manipulative tactics they use. You can get your copy of Becoming the Narcissist's Nightmare by CLICKING HERE.
In How To Kill A Narcissist: Debunking The Myth Of Narcissism And Recovering From Narcissistic Abuse, author JH Simon discusses how narcissism creates a set of thought processes, behaviors, and paradigms in its victim which must be changed from the inside. This is a book with two aims: to get clear on accurately identifying a narcissistic personality so it can be detected before something insidious takes place and (should you fall victim) present you with an inside-out strategy for healing, recovery, and freedom. This book is written to give control back the victims of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. CLICK HERE to get your copy.
Unfortunately, if you are living with a narcissistic parent you'll have a hard time developing your independence without backlash. In You're Not Crazy- It's Your Mother, the behavior of narcissists is explored in great detail. The book talks about how narcissists treat their children and the impact that this behavior has on those children's' lives. This book also offers helpful tools and resources to help those dealing with a narcissistic parent heal from the toxic and abusive relationship and to start living their lives for themselves. This is a great read for anyone who feels suffocated by the dynamics in their relationship with a parent. CLICK HERE to get your copy.
Packed with over 325 ready-to-use phrases to use when working with challenging personalities, Powerful Phrases for Dealing with Difficult People by Renée Evenson is an all-in-one guide for resolving conflict. Organized for easy reference, this book offers powerful tools for defusing potentially explosive situations, such as; 20 challenging coworker behaviors, with specific phrases and actions for dealing with each, 10 difficult boss personality types, with guidelines for working through problems with each, blunder recovering tips, and a five-step process for turning bad situations into positive ones. We highly recommend this book. You can get your copy of Powerful Phrases by CLICKING HERE.
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