9 phrases only narcissists use, according to psychology

Being in a relationship or having a narcissist in your life can make you question reality. 

Narcissists are master manipulators, and their general behavior is toxic and draining. 

With the word trending, it’s also hard to distinguish between actual narcissistic behavior and false personality traits attributed to it. 

But the thing is, narcissists, however clever they may be, often use specific phrases that reveal their manipulative and controlling nature.

Understanding these phrases can help you recognize when you’re truly dealing with a narcissist so you can plan your next move…

Whether you want to subtly manipulate the narcissist or get out, here are phrases that signal you’re in the company of one:  

1) “I don’t know why you think you can manage without me.”

Narcissistic people love being in control. And they know if you don’t need them, they won’t.

This phrase is classic narcissist talk. 

They usually say something like this to make you doubt yourself and feel like you need them for everything. They want you to think they’re super important and that you can’t get by without their help. 

By making you feel unsure and dependent, they feel more powerful and needed.

It’s all about making themselves seem bigger and better by making you feel smaller and less capable.

2) “You wouldn’t survive a day without me.”

This is another line narcissists use to make you feel like you’re completely reliant on them for your survival, whether it’s emotional support, physical help, or just general guidance. 

Narcissists use this phrase to instill fear and doubt in you. 

They want you to believe that you’re incapable of managing on your own and that you need them to survive. 

Again, this kind of statement is all about control. 

A narcissist can’t have power over you if you aren’t close and dependent on them. 

In reality, though, you are capable of surviving and thriving without them. 

This phrase is just a manipulation tactic to make you feel otherwise.

3) “I know you better than you know yourself.”

When a narcissist wants to dominate your self-awareness and decision-making, they’ll use a phrase like this. 

According to psychology, when someone else claims they have more knowledge about you, you could start to doubt your own feelings, thoughts, and experiences. 

Narcissists use this phrase to manipulate and gaslight you. 

They know what hearing this can do. And if they manage to undermine your confidence and autonomy, they can control you. 

But the truth is, no one knows you better than you know yourself. Don’t let a narcissist convince you differently.

4) “No one else understands you like I do.”

If a narcissist can’t manage to isolate you from yourself, they usually try to make you believe that they are the only ones who truly get you. 

It’s another way for them to control you, this time only by focusing on your relationships with others. 

You see, a narcissist wants to be the center of your world. By convincing you that no one else can understand you as they do, they’re trying to make you feel like you need them and only them.

If you only turn to them for support and understanding, you’ll soon enough also be dependent on them for validation. 

5) “You’re lucky to have me – no one else would put up with you.”

Narcissistic people love to guilt-trip others, and this statement is one way they do it. It’s meant to make you feel like you owe them something because they’re “putting up” with you when no one else would.

Narcissists use this phrase to manipulate you into feeling grateful for their presence in your life, even if they’re treating you poorly.

And if you fall for it, they get to stay in control. 

If you really think about it, though, there’s a pretty good chance the narcissist is the one causing problems in your relationship, and you’re not that lucky to have them in your life. 

You deserve to be treated with respect and kindness. And you shouldn’t have to “put up” with someone just because they claim no one else will. 

Healthy relationships are built on love and a desire to be there for one another, not manipulation and guilt-tripping.

6) “I’m only trying to help you. Why are you so ungrateful?”

phrases only highly narcissistic people use 9 phrases only narcissists use, according to psychology

According to psychology, narcissists often like to mask their bad behavior by claiming that they’re only trying to help.

This is a common manipulation tactic used to deflect responsibility and guilt-trip you into feeling bad about yourself. 

By framing their actions as helpful and your response as ungrateful, the narcissist tries to make you doubt your own feelings and perceptions.

Narcissists use this because they want you to believe that they have your best interests at heart, even when their actions are self-serving or harmful to you.

But the thing is, true help is given without strings attached and with respect for your feelings and autonomy. 

If someone is using your need for help as a way to manipulate you, it’s not genuine help at all.

7) “If you loved me, you would…”

This phrase is another popular one narcissists use to control your behavior. 

They may say this to you to make you feel guilty for not meeting their expectations or doing what they want.

Narcissists use this phrase to make you question your love and commitment to them.

And when you believe love is conditional on meeting their demands, you might do whatever they want to prove it to them. 

Reality check: love should not be used as a bargaining chip. 

It should be given freely, without expectation of anything in return.

If someone is trying to make you feel guilty for not doing what they want, it’s a sign of an unhealthy and controlling relationship. Get out!

8) “I don’t remember saying that. You must be imagining things.”

Narcissistic people and gaslighting go hand in hand, and this phrase is proof…

They love using it to make you doubt your own memory and sanity.

By denying that they said something you clearly remember, a narcissist tries to make you question your perception of reality. 

They also use this phrase to shift the blame onto you and make you feel like you’re the one who’s mistaken or confused because they avoid taking responsibility for their own words and actions at all costs. 

Memory can be flawed, don’t get me wrong. 

But if you’re always wrong or remembering what they said or did differently, then they might be abusing you emotionally. 

And if this happens, it may be a sign of a toxic and manipulative relationship. 

9) “You’re just trying to make me look bad.”

This is another defensive response used by narcissists when they’re trying to gaslight you. It’s a way for them to deflect blame and avoid taking responsibility.

Once again, narcissists use a phrase like this to manipulate the situation and make you doubt your own perceptions. 

They want to paint themselves as victims and make you feel guilty for questioning them, especially when their behavior is worth challenging. 

In reality, though, constructive criticism is a normal part of any relationship. 

If someone is consistently accusing you of trying to make them look bad, they might just be an insecure narcissist

Staying in a relationship with them will be incredibly hard. 

Their manipulative behavior and lack of empathy will drain you. 

And while every situation is different, it’s important to prioritize your own well-being and safety.

If you feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells, being manipulated, or losing your sense of self-worth, you should consider leaving the relationship. 

It might feel impossible, but reach out to friends, family, or even a therapist for support. 

Remember, you deserve to be in a relationship where you are valued, respected, and treated with kindness.

Picture of Natasha Combrink

Natasha Combrink

Nats is a writer who loves creating content for purposeful brands. She enjoys spending time outdoors, crafting, and diving down rabbit holes. After rediscovering life, she wants to help others live to their full potential. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

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