Phrases That Shut Narcissists Down

Don’t you wish you knew some ways to shut the narcissist in your life down & make them behave?  Well, I can’t promise you some magical words that make narcissists behave, but there are some things you can say to shut them down temporarily…

  • Don’t let the narcissist change the subject.  When you need to discuss something important to you such as the narcissist’s bad behavior, you can count on her changing the subject in an attempt to avoid being called out.  As frustrating as it can be, keep changing the subject back to what you want to discuss.
  • Let the narcissist know she doesn’t scare you.  Narcissists love to intimidate their victims, but truthfully, most of their “intimidation” is nothing but smoke & mirrors.  In typical bully fashion, narcissists often make threats they won’t follow through on in an attempt to scare victims into doing their will.  What is the worst this person can do to you?  Chances are when you think about it, you’ll realize it’s not really a lot.
  • Use logic.  Ask logical questions.  “So you think I should do what you want even though I don’t want to do it.  Why?  How does doing that benefit me?  Seems to me it benefits you & hurts me.”  “You think I’m fat?  You know I weigh 110 pounds.  Unless a person is 2′ tall, that’s not fat, & I’m taller than that.”  “How is it my fault you lost your job?”  Doing this in a calm way calls the narcissist out in such a manner that she can’t get mad at you without looking foolish.  Often, they simply change the subject when a victim does this.  End of nasty comments!
  • Do not allow the narcissist to make decisions for you.  Any decisions that the narcissist makes for you gives her a bit of control over you, even if it’s something as simple as what you order for dinner.  If she tells you to try the soup, order a sandwich.  Simply say something like, “No thanks.. I want to do/try this instead.”  in a calm manner & follow through.
  • Do not take orders from the narcissist.  Narcissists do love to control others, don’t they?!  My mother used to bark out orders to me like I was the hired help.  I found a way to put a stop to it when I realized just how much she enjoyed doing this.  When she told me to do something, I would do it but add in a comment like, “Of course!  I’d be glad to do it since you asked so nicely.  You’re welcome!”  The first time I did that, the look of shock on her face was priceless.  But, it did change her behavior for a bit.  When she slid into her old habits, I said the same kind of comment & she behaved again for a while.  Or, if it was something I didn’t want to do, I’d nicely say, “Nope.  Not gonna happen.” & change the subject.  Usually a small narcissistic rage followed both of these, but it was very small usually consisting of a few snarky comments.
  • Say, “no” without any explanation.  This might just make the narcissist’s head explode.. lol  There isn’t one narcissist alive who is ok with being told no, but especially sans a good explanation.  You owe no one any explanation, especially a narcissist who will just twist your words around to make you look & feel bad, so don’t give them that opportunity.  Honestly, doing this can kinda be fun too.. if you’ve read this story of mine before, I apologize for the repeat but it’s such a good example!  Years ago, when my husband & I were at his parents’ house, my mother in-law said she wanted me to do something for her.  I didn’t want to, plus I had an appointment on the day in question.  Although I could’ve rearranged things, I opted not to because she was so hateful to me.  “Quality time” with her was not something I wanted.  When she told me I could do this thing, I said no, I couldn’t.  She said, “Oh.  Well it must be awful important if you won’t help me because of it.”  I gave a non committal “hmm mm.”  As the visit wore on, she kept bringing it up.  “You must be doing something for your parents that day.”  “Nope.”  I forget what all she asked me, but each time, I either said no or didn’t respond at all.  By the time we left her house, I was surprised her head didn’t explode!  She was dying to know my plans & couldn’t get mad at me for not sharing them without looking like a jerk to my father in-law & husband!  It was amazing!!!

Although nothing can stop narcissists completely, doing these simple things will help you to keep your sanity & make them behave better even if only temporarily.  I wish you the best in your situation!


Filed under Mental Health, Narcissism

29 responses to “Phrases That Shut Narcissists Down

  1. Great words of wisdom. And this part made me laugh:
    “Say, “no” without any explanation. This might just make the narcissist’s head explode..”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. If you cannot go No Contact, then certainly those tips are very helpful. The most imporatnt thing is not to respond to the baiting.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. By the way, do you remember that I left a comment awhile back on one of your posts about not knowing for sure who my biological father was? A couple of days ago, I learned, beyond any doubt, that my mother’s first husband was my biological father, despite my mother taking me to see her old boyfriend when I was a little girl and telling him that I was his daughter.

    Even though my dad was mentally ill and very abusive at times, it’s a relief to know the truth. Apparently he was wrong about his racial mix, which a lot of people are finding out, by having their DNA tested, that their word of mouth family history stories about the race of their ancestors isn’t necessarily so! My dad believed that he was 1/4 black, which meant that I should be 1/8 black. But my DNA says that I am only 1/100th black. Finding this out a few years ago, coupled with my memory of my mom’s old boyfriend, had me feeling like an orphan.

    But the man that I grew up calling “daddy” really was my father. It’s a relief to finally know. And I am very glad that mom’s old boyfriend, who sent us away so fast, wasn’t actually my father. My real dad was a monster at times. But there was a part of him that was a loving father. When the moon and the stars were aligned just so, lol.

    And anyway. I am still ME, regardless of who my biological parents were. Growing up in a narcissistic family system, especially as the scapegoat child, leaves you feeling like you don’t belong anywhere, to anyone. It’s like being the only human in a house full of aliens.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I learned too late that I didn’t have to explain or justify my choices to anyone. My CNM would always try to argue me out of the decisions I made by demanding that I explain why I made them, so simply refusing to give an explanation would have left her with nothing to use to manipulate me. But I much prefer NC because I’m not constantly having to think about these things. It’s much easier to have relationships with people who don’t try to control me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • My mother always made me feel like I was lying & the more I tried to explain myself, the more she acted like I was lying. Even as an adult. These narcissistic mothers do a real number, don’t they?

      No kidding.. no contact is so much easier. More peaceful too.It’s a shame not all victims are able to do it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My last encounter with her and the one that finally convinced me to go NC was when she falsely accused me, refused to believe me when I denied it, and then demanded I produce witnesses to verify that I was telling the truth. It was almost laughable, coming from such a consummate liar. And it came after I’d spent the last week before Christmas driving all over the place to take her shopping, doing her online shopping, and packing and mailing the gifts she was sending out of town when I needed that time to do my own preparations. That wasn’t the worst thing she’d ever done to me, but it was the proverbial straw that broke the camels back.


        • Your final straw moment, huh? It’s utterly ridiculous & I see why it was! Bad enough acting that way but after you did so much for her?! Adds insult to injury.

          Ever notice the final straws are usually not all that bad compared to other things that they’ve done? Seems so many people I’ve spoken with have said that. It was my experience too, with my parents & mother in-law.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Everything that goes before that final straw moment wears us down until we just can’t take any more abuse and finally understand that we no longer have anything left to lose. That is what went through my mind that day. I realized that nothing would change, that she’d hurt me until one of us was dead, and that I didn’t want to live that way any more.


            • That is so true. What you’re describing is just what went through my mind with my parents & mother in-law. With the mother in-law, she called one night after 8. Eric wasn’t home & when I told her that, she screamed at me because he was still at work. Well, they closed at 8, he had to count out the register & deposit money at the bank. He was lucky to get home by 8:45. Not my fault! After screaming, she said he looked tired & I said his allergy meds were bothering him. Again, more screaming. “I KNOW ALL ABOUT HIS ALLERGIES!!!!” I can’t even tell you what she said.. I just sat there thinking, “This is NOT someone I can get along with. Nothing is gonna change no matter what I do. I. Am. Done.” I knew it could end my marriage, going no contact, but I figured I’d survive somehow & with my self respect in tact.

              Liked by 2 people

  5. Another thing I wish that I’d learned earlier: Many times when I referred back to something my mother had said or done she’d say that she didn’t remember that, and I’d let it drop. Today I’d simply say, “That’s OK. I DO remember.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love reading your posts and comments! While my childhood faced some dysfunction, I didn’t know this type of abuse until my marriage number two. The narcissist doesn’t even know how to take “no”…😳 your other phrases are interesting too. I was able to go NC other than an occasional informative text about the kids. Haven’t spoken in over two years now. I appreciate the peace more than I could have ever imagined!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. “The most valuable reminder in your entry there is simply this, ‘Say, “NO” without an explanation. To most normal people, you can give an explanation as to the reason you don’t do something. However , to the n. b. , no explanation is necessary. If there is no explanation of your “no” , then there is nothing to combat, to change, or to convince you otherwise to do the thing that you have just said, “No” to. –

    quote from artfromperry .

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Great advice!! Thank u!


  9. Ha! My ex husband hates me saying ‘Noted’…he goes mental, which is funny!

    Liked by 1 person

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