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The Language of a Narcissist: Not Lost in Translation

There were many things that he said to me over the course of our relationship that I now recognize had very special meanings.  It was quite a revelation when I realized that almost any list of things narcissists commonly say includes many of these, and nearly word-for-word.*  It’s like they all take the same class on how to be a narcissist.

Below are some of the highlights.  This selection of things he said was particularly relevant in my relationship, either because he said them often or because I can see in retrospect how they were designed to elicit specific emotions or actions from me– and usually did.  Under them, I’ve included what he really meant when he said them.

During the Love-Bombing Phase

 

“Tell me what I can do to show you how much I love you.”

Tell me how I can make you fall in love with me so then you’ll do whatever I want you to do.

“We have a special connection.  No couple out there loves each other like we do.”

I want you to believe that you’ll never find anyone else who loves you like I do so you’ll never leave and I can keep getting what I want and need from you while not having to abide by the expectations of a normal relationship.

“I’ve never loved anyone like this before.  You’re the love of my life.”

Even though I’ve told this to multiple women in my life, and at least two other women while we were together, I have to make you believe I really mean it when I say it to you so I’m going to keep repeating it because I want you to think you’re special.   

 

“All my exes cheated on me.”

I need you to feel sorry for me and think I’ve been victimized in my past relationships so you’ll try really hard to prove you’re different, and you’ll be more understanding and forgiving when you start to find out about the bad things I’ve done to you.  

“Most girls today are just whores.”

I have sexist attitudes about women and think pretty much anything they do makes them whores, and saying this is a way I can control you later on so that you keep trying to demonstrate your faithfulness when I give you what will turn out to be unreasonable and inappropriate requests and expectations.

 

“My ex-girlfriend is obsessed with me.  She’s crazy.”

She was perfectly fine when we met, but I did the same thing to her that I’ll eventually do to you and then I’ll call you crazy too.  This is how I explain away inconsistencies in my interactions with women to the girl who is currently my #1.

After I Found Out About His Multiple Lives

“Let’s start a new relationship.”

I want you to immediately stop talking about all of the bad things I’ve done to you as if they never happened, but at the same time I want all of the trust back you used to give me without having to earn it back.  

 

“I just told her what she wants to hear.”

I just told her what she wants to hear… just as I do with you.  All of you.

 

“I don’t know why but I keep coming back to you.”

As long as you keep giving me attention, love, adoration, sex, affection, acceptance, and anything else I want and need, I’ll keep coming around and I’ll never let you move on.

 

“We’ll be together again someday.  I know God will make this happen.”

I want you to believe we will be together even though I married someone else so you will continue to see me and give me whatever I want or need.

 

“That’s not what happened.  [x] is lying.  Ask [y].”

I’m lying to you and that’s exactly what happened, but I know you won’t really ask about it and if you do, I’ll just call you crazy and paranoid for checking up on me and accuse you of not trusting me or giving me a chance.

“I’ve changed for you.  I did more for you than I ever did for any other girlfriend.” 

I went two weeks without talking to any other girls and  you still don’t trust me again yet?  I also brought you gifts and dinner.  I’ve never done that for any other girl and you’re so ungrateful.  It’s always all about you. You don’t do anything for me. What a waste– I should have just spent that two weeks talking to girls anyway since you don’t appreciate me.  In fact, I’m going to start right now.

 

“Nothing I do is ever good enough for you.  You never see the good I do for you.”

Ignore the fact that I’m still lying and cheating and just focus on the flowers and candy I brought you, will you? 

“Why do you always have to start an argument?”

I don’t really care about the fact that what I did hurt you and I certainly don’t want to talk about it. Therefore, when you bring it up, it’s you making everything unpleasant, not me for doing those things in the first place.  I need to make you think you’re being overdramatic for talking about how you feel so I can condition you to stop talking about these things.  

 

“Can’t you ever let the past go?” 

I know that the thing that I just did hurt you, but I don’t want you to point out that there’s a pattern in my behavior.  I want you to focus on one incident at a time because it makes it easier to say you’re exaggerating, and to make you and everyone else believe that I’m actually changing and that I’m not ‘like that’ anymore.


“You always think you’re right.  You know everything [sarcasm].”

You have me figured out and I’m starting to see I can’t fool you anymore.  I must quickly create more doubts because I have no intention of owning up to what I did or resolving any of this in a healthy manner so I’ll throw it back on you and pretend you don’t know what you’re talking about.

 

“I know what you’ve been doing.”

I’m doing something that you would think is highly inappropriate with other women, therefore, I’m going to project it onto you– you must be doing something inappropriate with other men. I also don’t want you to get suspicious so we must keep the focus on talking about you so you don’t have time to stop and think about what I might be doing.

“I didn’t cheat but I will now.”

You won’t stop talking about my cheating so now I’m going to punish you by doing it some more.

“You don’t care about me.  You’re selfish/crazy/abusive/jealous.”

You’re starting to figure out all of the bad things I did and you ask too many questions, check up on me, lose your temper when I provoke you, cry too much, etc.– all things that don’t make me feel adored by you anymore.  The relationship is falling apart because you won’t just be happy and let me do whatever I want to do.  

“It’s not all my fault.  You ruined this relationship too.”

If you hadn’t found out about everything I did or you could have just let it go and let me have a free pass, everything would be perfect.  But since you keep talking about your thoughts and feelings and getting upset when I stonewall you, I’m no more at fault than you are. 

“How does it feel to be used?”

So.  You found out what I did again.  Yes, I used you and I’m enjoying your pain right now.  You never learn, do you?


“You don’t love me anymore.”

You don’t take care of me like you used to.  You don’t let me take advantage of you like you used to.  The same old lines don’t work.  Also, I don’t think I love you anymore either. 


And a Few That Were Present Throughout, From Start to Finish


“I’m a bad person.”

I’m a bad person and you should listen to me when I tell you this.

“I love you.”

I’m not getting enough attention from you.  Tell me you love me.

“I’m the sexiest guy here.”

I’m the sexiest guy here.  

 

 

*See here and here and here for examples

 

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Kristen Milstead

Instagram: fairytaleshadows

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