9 phrases narcissists use to undermine your happiness

Ever had a chat that made you feel down or just plain exhausted? It happens, right?

But sometimes, it’s not about someone having an off day. Sometimes, it’s because you’re dealing with a narcissist.

Narcissists, they think they’re the bee’s knees and crave constant attention. They’ve got a knack for using words to control folks and boost their own egos.

And they’re pros at bringing down your happiness a notch without you even noticing!

Let’s look at 9 sneaky phrases narcissists often use to mess with your happiness – on purpose.

1. “You’re too sensitive.”

One of the go-to phrases in a narcissist’s handbook is telling you that you’re too sensitive. This is a classic move used to invalidate your feelings and thoughts.

Think about it, when someone tells you that you’re too sensitive, it makes you question your reaction to a situation. You start wondering if maybe they’re right.

Maybe you are overreacting? 

Narcissists use this phrase to deflect attention from their own behavior and make you the ‘problem’. It’s their subtle way of saying, “Hey, it’s not me. It’s you.”

So next time someone tells you that you’re too sensitive, take a step back and think: is this a fair comment or just a clever move to make you doubt yourself?

2. “I was just joking.”

Now, here’s another phrase narcissists love to use: “I was just joking.” Sounds innocent enough, right? But it’s not always as simple as it seems.

Imagine someone makes a mean comment about you and then, when they see you’re hurt, they quickly say, “I was just joking.”

This is a tactic narcissists use to disguise their hurtful words as humor. It’s like they’ve found a loophole to say whatever they want, and if you react negatively, it’s because you can’t take a joke.

The problem is, jokes are supposed to be funny. If you’re feeling hurt, belittled, or upset, that’s not a joke – that’s an insult.

Don’t let them off the hook so easily.

If someone hurts your feelings and then brushes it off as a joke, remember that it’s okay to call them out on it. 

3. “No one else has a problem with it.”

Personally, I come across far too often: “No one else has a problem with it.” 

I remember this one time when a friend constantly showed up late for our plans. I finally gathered the courage to tell them how it made me feel disrespected and undervalued.

Their response? “No one else has a problem with it.”

This phrase is a favorite among narcissists because it serves two purposes.

First, it dismisses your feelings as unimportant and second, it isolates you by implying that you’re alone in your thinking.

The truth is, if something bothers you, you have every right to voice it. Don’t let anyone make you believe otherwise!

4. “You’re just jealous.”

Narcissists love to assume that you’re just jealous when you voice any kind of disagreement or criticism. It’s their way of deflecting blame and turning the tables on you.

In fact, a study found that narcissists are more likely to accuse others of the traits they themselves possess.

So, when a narcissist accuses you of being “jealous,” it might just be because they’re projecting their own feelings onto you!

This phrase is not only dismissive, but it also distracts from the real issue at hand. 

5. “You’ll never find someone like me.”

This phrase can be one of the hardest to hear, especially if it comes from someone you care about.

Narcissists often use this line to make you feel like they’re the best you could ever do, making the thought of leaving them seem scary and uncertain.

But here’s the truth: everyone deserves to be in a relationship where they feel valued, respected, and loved. If someone is constantly undermining your happiness, making you feel small or guilty, then maybe finding ‘someone like them’ isn’t what you need.

Don’t let anyone convince you that they’re your only option. 

6. “I don’t remember that.”

This is one phrase that used to drive me up the wall: “I don’t remember that.”

It’s a classic move narcissists use when they want to avoid taking responsibility for their actions.

I recall a time when a former coworker promised to complete a part of our shared project but ended up not doing it. When I confronted them about it, they simply shrugged and said, “I don’t remember that.” It was frustrating because their forgetfulness cost me extra hours of work.

Narcissists use this phrase as a get-out-of-jail-free card. By claiming they don’t remember, they dodge accountability for their actions or words.

It’s a manipulative tactic, plain and simple.

7. “You’re overreacting.”

Here’s a phrase that can really sting: “You’re overreacting.”

It’s like a slap in the face when you’re trying to express your feelings, and the person you’re speaking to just brushes you off like you’re making a mountain out of a molehill.

Let’s be real here. This isn’t about you being dramatic or blowing things out of proportion. This is about them trying to minimize your feelings to avoid taking responsibility for their actions.

When someone tells you that you’re overreacting, it’s a way for them to undermine your feelings and make you question your own judgment.

8. “You’re not remembering correctly.”

This phrase is another classic narcissist trick, and it’s part of a manipulative tactic known as gaslighting.

When they tell you that you’re not remembering things correctly, they’re making you question your own perception and memory.

Did you know term ‘gaslighting’ comes from a 1938 play called ‘Gas Light’, in which a husband manipulates his wife into believing she’s losing her sanity?

And that’s exactly what narcissists are doing when they tell you that your memory is wrong – they’re trying to control your sense of reality.

9. “If you loved me, you’d do this.”

This phrase is personal for me. It hits home because it’s a manipulative tactic that a narcissist close to me used all too often: “If you loved me, you’d do this.”

The first time I heard it, I was taken aback. I found myself bending over backward to prove my love, only to realize that no matter what I did, it was never enough. It felt like my love was being measured by how much I was willing to sacrifice for them.

Narcissists use this phrase to guilt-trip you into doing what they want. It’s a manipulative way of saying, “Your feelings are less important than mine.”

But I went on to learn that love is not about giving up your happiness for someone else. It’s not about constantly proving your worth.

So if someone uses your love as a bargaining chip, remember that it’s not a reflection of your love for them, but their lack of respect for you.

Did you like my article? Like me on Facebook to see more articles like this in your feed.

Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.