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Things Narcissists Say: The Language of a Narcissist

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Some of the things narcissists say can raise eyebrows, and they might come in packages of grand verbal speeches or in bite-sized pieces that seem out of place. Either way, you might recognize that something seems off, but not always know why. 

Often what they say has another meaning because they have ulterior motives or they’re attempting to manipulate behind the scenes. 

My ex-boyfriend loved to “monologue.”

We had our designated spots where this often took place–him standing next to the bed and me sitting on it, leaning against the headboard. I listened to him at length, watching him wave his arms excitedly as he got into his stories about his life as a child–the sporting events he’d dominated, the trouble he’d gotten into (and gotten out of), and all of the current family drama in his life–falling more deeply in love with him as he talked. 

I’d talk for a few minutes about things that were going on in my life, or I’d even sometimes get on a kick where I’d want to share something from my past. After a few minutes, he’d often interrupt with a laugh, “You are so talkative today.”

Sometimes he’d start fidgeting. “You ready to watch a movie?” 

These statements in and of themselves meant, “I’m tired of listening to you.” Yet even at the time, I hadn’t really noticed the imbalance in the amount of time I’d spent talking at the time. 

Looking at other content in his words, there were many other phrases and sentences that had special meanings as well.

 

How Narcissists Use Language to Control Their Partners

Below are some of the highlights of the things that my ex-boyfriend said.  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.

 

Things Narcissists Say 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 as much as 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. I’ll need you to jump through hoops for me and be understanding when I invade your privacy. I’ll also need you to forgive me when you find out all of the horrible things I’ve done to you because I tell you how much I don’t trust anyone. You’ll give more and more as I give less and less. 

 

“Most girls today are just whores.”

I have sexist attitudes about women and think pretty much anything they do makes them whores. You’ll let me get away with it because I already told you how hurt I am over all my exes cheating on me and you’ll “show me” it doesn’t have to be that way. 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, down to what I think you should wear and who I think you should be friends with (What is Coercive Control?).

 

“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–and how I get her to feel sorry for me.

 

When Narcissists Use Intermittent Reinforcement and Alternate Between Mean and Sweet

After I had discovered the multiple lives that the narcissist I was with was living, he began alternating between two types of responses: love-bombing me and trying to make me forget about it as if the things I had discovered had never happened and devaluing me for finding out, having natural emotions of sadness and anger about it, and for losing trust in him.

Finally, the relationship mercifully ended. Even at the end, there were puzzling comments with meanings that made no sense in the context of what had taken place.

 

“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.” [her = one of many women revealed to also be in his life]

I just told her what she wants to hear… just as I do with you.  That’s what I do with whichever one of you I am interacting with at the moment to get what it is I want. 

 

“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. And who knows–I do what I want, so I’m not above marrying two people at once, which I’ve made clear by proposing after my marriage to my current wife. You say no way, but I know for a fact you’ll do whatever I want, so give it time.

 

“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. If you do, I’ll create a huge distraction by blowing up, calling you crazy and paranoid for checking up on me and accusing you of not trusting me or giving me a chance.   [x] will back me up since you bothered him/her for asking about me and we’ll gang up on you.  If you persist on discussing it, I’ll break up with you or give you a silent treatment, and by the time I come back, you’ll be desperate to sweep my lie (and what I lied about) under the rug. Don’t forget–you have no voice and no rights in this relationship. I do what I want.

 

“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.

 

“I will always love you and be here for you no matter what.”

Anytime you want to call me up and let me come back in and rip your heart out again, let me know–if it’s convenient. I’ll get narcissistic supply out of your contact for sure. I’ll give you some crumbs for your trouble but just know, however, that I’ll never, ever, give up my ways and give you an equal partnership–or even tell you the truth.

 

“I know how to make you cry.”

I know everything about you, remember? You told me all your secrets at the beginning of the relationship back when I was hammering you with the greatest love you’ve ever had. So now you’ve unmasked me. You’ve found out all my secrets. Watch what happens now! I’m going to crush you and you’re going to feel pain worse than your worst enemy could ever do to you. In fact, I am your worst enemy. Surprise!

 

“You were never there for me.”

Right now, I’m feeling stung by something you said to me. You won’t leave me alone about something I did to you or how you know I’m lying to you, and I just feel you’re to blame for all of this because of that.  I’m the one who can’t trust you since you won’t stop talking about the past.  I know you were there for me, but if I tell you this, you’ll try even harder and give even more and maybe just shut up about what I did and what I’m still going to do until I know you’re going to adore me like you once did.

 

“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.

 

“I knew you were just like all the others.”

You were destined to fall off the pedestal no matter what you did because normal human behavior is not allowed. I can’t let you be equal in this relationship because then you might leave me and I had to cheat on you first. Your expectations for me are too high. How dare you criticize and challenge me!  You don’t realize how special I truly am, or how much I give you. You don’t appreciate me. Oh well, there will always be someone else to come along, so on to the next one to try again.

 

“Please give me one more chance. I’ll treat you like a queen.”

Please let me come back to get more of your attention and love. I couldn’t find anyone who gave it to me as well as you in the time I was gone and I really need it. As long as you don’t talk about anything I did, we can go back to the way things used to be where you worshipped me. 

 

“You always think you’re right.  You know everything.” [said with 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 because your gut feeling is right and I’m gaslighting you. So now I feel justified and I’m going to punish you by doing it some more, but I’m going to make you think it’s your fault for pestering me about it.

 

“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.  Why do you keep trying to unmask me?  You just won’t leave well enough alone, so, you want to know the truth?  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. 

 

“I never lied to you about my love for you.”

I really did love the way you made me feel about myself and that love you for that part of you it brought out in me. You made me feel like I was special.  When you found out about all of the horrible things I did to you though, you made me feel ashamed about myself and I hate you for that.   I could do those bad things to you though because it wasn’t really you that I loved so I hope you understand that. I’m sorry, but I’m just not capable of loving people for themselves.  So I wasn’t lying, it just wasn’t what you thought.

 

Language Narcissists Use Throughout the Relationship

“I’m a bad person.”

I’m a bad person and you should listen to me when I tell you this because when I do bad things to you, you can’t say I didn’t warn you.

 

“I’m the sexiest guy here.”

I’m the sexiest guy here, and everyone else here is inferior to me. At the same time, I need to reassure myself of that by saying it out loud and getting people to agree with me.

 

“I love you.”

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

 

 

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Kristen Milstead

Kristen Milstead is a narcissistic abuse survivor who has become a strong advocate for finding your unique voice and using it to help others find theirs.

9 Comments

  1. So true, all of it. Mine also used to say “you always over-react to everything, just ask your mum. She agrees with me”

  2. He did say all of these things, literally each word not even less. Now I understand the meaning and it makes sense. I feel sad cause I love him too much and he will never understand, he lives in his own world.

    1. Kristen Milstead

      I am so sorry and can completely empathize. It hurts to love someone who treats you as if your love doesn’t matter.

  3. He did say all of these things, literally each word not even less. Now I understand the meaning and it makes sense. I feel sad cause I love him too much and he will never understand, he lives in his own world.

    1. Kristen Milstead

      I am so sorry and can completely empathize. It hurts to love someone who treats you as if your love doesn’t matter.

  4. I have a narcissist mother. A narcissist brother who is my biz partner until he gaslighted me and financially manipulated me into craziness and mental breakdown and pushed me out of biz because I’m “crazy”. And my first husband was a narcissist, too. My mother has been trying to “help” me but I’ve only just realized that she is a narcissist too. She had a boyfriend who lives with us from the time I was 11 to 19. I’m 52 now. Upon first meeting him he told me he has always dreamed of a mother daughter threesome. I was 11. At 13 he told me he would seduce me but he was afraid I would tell my mother. I eventually told her what he said (i didn’t even know the meaning of seduce but I know it was bad because why else would he be afriaid id tell my mom?) she then confronted him about the seduce comment (in front of me) and he denied it and screamed that I was a fucking liar. My mom tried to placate him but did not defend me at all. We were just starting a vacation to see my bro grad high schoo and so he drove to the nearest airport and flew home leaving me and mom to go on our way. When we got home the following week, he was still there and they stayed together as if nothing ever happened. Of course I was always uncomfortable around him. He always walked around in his tightywhitey underwear, which are fairly see thru btw, and he always made passes at me. I’m fact, he held me down “playing” and gave me my first hickey right in front of my mother! She thought it was funny. I was horrified! He also have me my first Negligé as an Xmas present at age 15. Again she thought it was ok. I can’t begin to tell you how many times he was inappropriate, but she says he was harmless because he never actually raped me and she dismisses my claims that her choosing him over my safety as hogwash. I was terrified of that man! I even came home from college in the middle of the night one time with the police meeting me at the door of her apt because she didn’t answer the phone all night and we had a scheduled call. She never went out and it wasn’t like her not to answer when she knew we had a scheduled call! I thought he had killed her because he was abusive and hit her and threw Things at her and hey, he was a pedophile, so he could have killed her. It was conceivable. When she answered the door, all bleary eyed in her pj’s and she realized why the police and I were there, she totally dismissed my fears as ridiculous and scoffed at me. Totally dismissed my fears and didn’t even recognize that i had been freaking out for hours out of fear for her life and drive home from college 2.5 hrs away just to check on her!
    Now 40 years later, after 11 years of abuse at the hands Of my first husband, then starting a biz with my brother who totally and completely destroyed me and any self-worth that was left, I had a nervous breakdown, and then open heart surgery. I’ve been struggling with mental illness ever since. The heart surgery brought on every bad thing that ever happened to me like A ton of bricks. Seeing a therapist is helping me deal but the extent of my abuse is coming out, I guess I blocked a lot of it. And I’ve been talking to my mom about her old boyfriend. She shows no remorse and actually is condescending and makes light of it and talks to me with disgust and contempt and disdain. She knows I’ve been extremely depressed and even suicidal but she rather turn the tables on me than show any remorse for her choosing to live with and subject me to a pedophile from age 11 on. She even started criticizing me for having so many Ken in my kids life since I divorced their father. I’ve had 2 men. One for 4 years and one I married for the last 6, who spent the first 3 years verbally abusing me while drunk. Now he’s asked for a divorce because I haven’t gotten over my mental illness fast enough. And it’s not like he offers any support. I literally beg him for affection, and he will put me off and then forget. But doesn’t matter, he’s gone now. But I’m dealing with a lifetime of abuse. I always felt like I was never good enough. I have made so many bad decisions that err good for others and bad for me. I sacrificed myself to make others happy. Over and over again. I allowed my kids to treat me bad because I didn’t know how to stand up for myself. Oh let’s not forget I had an injury early into my biz with my brother and ended Jon with 7 herniated Discs that went undiagnosed for 4 years and one was cutting into my spinal cord, so I was in constant pain while my second husband was drinking and my brother was using and abusing me. And publicly humiliated me numerous times.

    I now have no one to and am in utter despair.

    1. Hello Christine: When I read about what you have been through, my heart really goes out to you. I am so sorry you have had to go through all this. Please know there are many of us out here who understand, and please don’t blame yourself. If you can, I would recommend that you try to find a trauma therapist in your area. I found a really good one and it has been helping. Thank you for sharing your story. Don’t give up hope. You are not alone. -Kristen

  5. Hi Christine,
    Yes, please know you are NOT alone! Half the battle is won when you KNOW it’s narcissism and know what to expect so now you know what response NOT to give! You just need to keep implementing the ‘correct’ responses and make a way to get away from the narcissist!
    I, personally, have spent 13 years with my guy. I was on Pinterest and happened across a pin about narcissists…and, I kept reading and reading! It was like I had “a V8!” The light bulb went on! I now realized what he was! And, NOW I knew how NOT to respond! But, before I learned all about the “narcissist”, I was pretty much catching on. I, too, have gone thru SO much and now that I know how to deal with him, I don’t want to waste anymore time! I’ve never dealt with a person like this before, but trust me, it’s been a roller coaster! And, even though I ‘care’ about him, I know I MUST get away to keep my sanity! I’ve also been dealing with breast cancer since Feb 2nd of this year! So, you KNOW my stress level has been off the charts.

    But, now that I know, it seems like he KNOWS I know! But, please stay strong! You can do this! And, so can I! And so can the others going thru this! When you’ve made it thru this, you will feel SO much better

  6. I believe he’s a narcs. All of these things are said and done. He also constantly finds things My children do and complains of little things so much that they don’t even want to be around him. I don’t even know what to do at this point. Any and everything positive thing he’s ever done for me is thrown in my face constant but to him that’s him proving that he does care and he’s just reminding me of the things he done for our family.

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