We all want to be heard, understood, connected to, and supported in our conversations. But that’s not always the case when you’re talking with someone with narcissistic tendencies. When engaging in conversation, you expect to be talking with someone. Unfortunately, if you’re talking to a true narcissist, two-way dialogue is highly unlikely. If you have a superficial friend, co-worker, boss, spouse, or partner who is a narcissist, it can be difficult to talk or keep the conversation going. Narcissists will usually only want to speak if it meets their ends.
Talking to a narcissist about their behavior can feel intimidating, especially when it’s someone you have to see often like a coworker or family member—is there any good way to address their actions and avoid an argument? Narcissists are often deeply insecure, which is why they feel the need to brag about themselves, bring others down, and lash out when they’re confronted. When you understand the motivation for their behavior, navigating a chat or de-escalating a quarrel with them is actually pretty straightforward. If you’re ready to improve communication with a narcissist in your life, you’re in the right place! Read on for a thorough list of ways to talk to a narcissist.
What Is A Narcissistic Personality?
Is actually a disorder in which a person has an inflated sense of importance. Or excessive interest in oneself and not caring about others.
How To Talk To Narcissist
Narcissists abhor not getting preferential treatment. So, if you want to pursue a discussion, it’s important to be attentive and clearly indicate you’re listening
#1. What should I say?
It’s important to be aware of wording so the narcissist doesn’t feel slighted, upstaged, or criticized, even constructively, when you engage in conversation. That being said, most of what you say might not be recognized as it would in an actual conversation. Instead, narcissist expects what they say to be acknowledged, appreciated, praised, and confirmed.
Begin any discussion with a compliment, flattery, or praise in order to get the narcissist’s attention. To keep their attention, listen endlessly. This might be hard when narcissists repeat themselves, which they will hardly be aware of.
#2. Listen and act interested
Make it obvious you’re paying attention by occasionally paraphrasing what they said. A neutral half-smile and some nodding along to what they’re saying goes a long way toward keeping them calm and focused. Maintain eye contact while they talk to you. It shows you’re listening but also makes you appear confident and strong.
Try not to cut them off while they’re talking. If it’s necessary to interject, look for an opening to speak and wait for them to meet you halfway
#3. Use impersonal speech
Avoid bringing past personal experiences or feelings into the conversation. A narcissist will only twist them to justify their actions and turn the blame on you. In assertive but emotionally neutral language, say things like:
- You seem to communicate aggressively.”
- “There is no reason to be upset now.”
- Separate the person from their behavior with a phrase like “You’re acting like a narcissist.”
- Simple “yes” or “no” answers to their questions are effective.
- Try not to agree or disagree with them with phrases like “I can see that point of view” or “I’ll have to think about that.”
How to Talk to a Narcissist Without Going Insane
How do you talk to a narcissist without going insane? The easy answer would be NOT to talk to them. But sometimes we can’t go with No or Modified Contact. Maybe you work with this narcissist. Or perhaps they are a family member, who you need to see at functions. Or possibly you are still hooked in, trying to work through things and you are not quite ready to call it a day.
So, with that in mind, I want to help you understand in this piece WHY chatting to a narcissist may make you feel insane, and how to navigate things so that you don’t. The agenda of the narcissist is disorganized. It is to get control of you; evade accountability; manipulate, dump anguish and rage, affect, provoke, and gain an ego feed by emotionally hurting someone. In other words, speaking with a narcissist involves more than just a conversation. It is a transaction with an unhealthy, false self-agenda connected to it.
Unfortunately, when the narcissist is in the love-bombing stage, our false self, our ego, is attached and running with it. Meaning, our unhealed, unresolved portions, which don’t instinctively believe we are worthy, lovable, or worthy of validation or care, gulp up the deceitful compliments and promises like any famished man or woman.
But something inside knows this is unhealthy. Something doesn’t feel quite right, but we ignore it. We want to believe that this person is our source of love, security, or survival, and in our defense, we may have had no idea that people like this existed and, as a result, what we were truly stepping into.
How to Talk to a Narcissist Ex
There will be times you need to communicate with your ex, especially if you must co-parent. But because he is a narcissist, the simple act of communicating seems close to impossible. He may not respond to you at all or play games with you via text or email, making you want to pull your hair out. Or the simple request of having him take your child to a sports function ends up in a full-blown argument.
#1. Do not engage
While you may have to discuss logistics about joint assets or your children, it doesn’t mean you must engage in every comment he makes. Should he insult you, or jab at your self-esteem, do NOT engage. This means do not defend yourself, insult him back, or threaten to take away the said assets or children. Stick with the goal at hand. Repeat the question and wait for your answer. If the behavior continues, walk away, hang up, or do not reply if it’s via text or email. By engaging him, he has won another round of supply, no matter how negative. It makes you look like the crazy person, and he the victim. Mission accomplished.
#2. Reply with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers:
Unfortunately, with narcissists, they can never write an email or text without passive aggressively knocking your ability to function as an adult. The true secret to communicating is, ironically, little to no response. Reply with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers, or merely factual replies like, “yes, I am picking kids up at 5 pm today.” Ignore all other stabs or attempts of getting a heated reaction from you.
#3. Ignore his “love bombs”:
Perhaps for years, you hoped for just an ounce of empathy from him or anything that shows he truly loves you, but to no avail. But now that you are divorced, he may send you “love bombs,” which are texts or emails that say, “Whatever happened to us?” or “If only you knew how much I truly loved you.” They can come out of the blue when you least expect them, and if you have any hope of reconciliation, these love bombs are dangerous. Don’t fall for them!
A narcissist will never, ever change, so don’t think he has somehow had a divine intervention. He is likely low on supply, and because you have always been that one consistent supplier, he comes chasing after you. Ignore them and do not respond. If you do, you’ll be sucked right into his vortex.
#4. Manipulate the manipulator:
What do narcissists want more than anything? Approval and adulation from others. So if you really need something from him, you may have to compliment him. Think of this as a communication strategy, as if he is your potential customer. If you want your customer to buy, you must use persuasive language and make it about them. The same goes for your narcissist. Should you want him to drive Sally to soccer practice because you are stuck at work, simply asking him may not cut it.
Rather, try this approach: “Sally asked me if you could take her to soccer because she loves spending time with you. I know how good you are with her and thought that extra time would make her feel so special. Would you mind taking her today?” Yes, this may feel nauseating, but it really does work. As I said, you have to manipulate the manipulator.
How To Talk To A Narcissist About Their Behavior
I have been expecting this part; I know you have been, too. Let’s go
#1. Feed them a compliment-criticism-compliment sandwich.
Narcissists are more open to feedback when they feel noticed, so begin and end your conversation with a pat on the back. The validation they feel from your praise will hold them over while you slip your critique somewhere in between. Tell them about something they can improve on or point out bad behavior with gentle language.
For instance “Thanks so much for cleaning the kitchen earlier. It looks great! Sometimes it seems like you’re not honest when you say you’ve cleaned something. You’re so thorough when you do.” “Your quarterly report is so detailed, nice job! Next time, it would be fantastic if you could get it in by the deadline. Thanks for all your hard work!”
Sometimes, you’ll need proof to justify your criticism or call out one of their lies. With a coworker, for example, you can point to an empty spreadsheet and say “See, this isn’t done.”
#2. A narcissist won’t agree to change if they won’t benefit from it.
They can’t fully understand how you feel or why you would want them to do something for you, so don’t waste time trying to explain yourself. Instead, tell them how it’ll reward them or make them look good. If you can convince them that the outcome you want is their idea, that’s even better. Try things like:
- “Mom and dad will be really impressed if you stop yelling all the time.”
- “I hear the boss really likes it when team members work smoothly together.”
- “You’ll be the best speech giver ever if you can brag a little bit less.”
There are one thousand and one ways to relate with the most difficult individual ever. Even Adolf Hitler had people who followed him and were never affected by his brutal nature—it all comes down to psychology in the end. On the part of a narcissist, all it takes to be on the safe side is gentle communication. Know this, and k ow peace.
- RECOVERING FROM NARCISSISTIC ABUSE: Best Effective Tips
- HOW TO BE IN A RELATIONSHIP: Tips for Both Narcissistic and Schizophrenic Relationships
- IS HE A NARCISSIST: Subtle Signs You Are Dealing With a Narcissist & How to Deal
What should you not say to a narcissist
- “It’s not about you.” …
- “You’re not listening.” …
- “Do you think it might be your fault?” …
- “You’re being a bully.” …
- “Stop playing the victim
- “He didn’t get the workout tips from you”
What upsets a narcissist the most?
When they don’t get their way, even if their demands are ridiculous. They believe they have been criticized, even if the criticism is helpful or gentle. Furthermore, they get upset when they are not the focus of attention or are caught breaching rules or failing to respect limits.
What weird things do narcissist do?
They pass judgment on others based on their own actions. For example, they will gossip in order to feel superior to others, and then judge others who gossip in order to feel superior once more. Or they’ll condemn those who brag then do the same when given the opportunity. The goal of demonstrating supremacy remains unchanged.