If someone uses these 15 phrases, they’re probably a narcissist

Hey there, reader! Have you ever heard of the term “narcissist”?

It’s thrown around quite a bit these days, isn’t it?

But recognizing true narcissism goes beyond spotting someone who loves their reflection a little too much.

Narcissists have a unique language of their own, and understanding it can be the key to dealing with them effectively. 

o, let’s dive in and explore 15 telltale phrases that might just indicate you’re dealing with a narcissist.

Ready? Let’s go!

1) “I don’t want to make this about me, but…”

Sounds innocent enough, right? But in the narcissist’s playbook, it’s a crafty pivot.

The phrase begins with a hint of humility or concern for others, a clever disguise.

However, what follows invariably circles back to them, their experiences, or their opinions.

This is a subtle, yet effective, way for them to steer the conversation back to their favorite topic – themselves.

They appear considerate, but in the end, they’re center stage.

Ingenious, and a little unnerving, isn’t it?

2) “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

It’s dressed up to sound like an apology, but don’t be fooled.

This is a classic tactic used by narcissists to dodge responsibility for their actions.

It’s an apology that doesn’t acknowledge any wrongdoing on their part. Instead, it subtly shifts the blame onto your feelings or reactions.

In essence, they’re not really sorry for what they’ve done, they’re sorry that you’re upset about it. 

It’s a deflection rather than a genuine apology.

Makes you see it in a whole new light, especially when you’ve been hearing it a lot.

3) “Why are you doing this to me?”

At first glance, it may sound like a plea from a victim…but it’s a well-worn tool in the narcissist’s kit.

Narcissists are experts at twisting situations to make themselves appear as the wronged party. 

By doing so, they deflect blame, avoid accountability, and manipulate the sentiments of those around them.

This phrase is often their go-to when they need to divert attention away from their own misdeeds.

An unsettling skill, wouldn’t you agree?

4) “You’re too sensitive.”

It’s a phrase that can really make you second-guess yourself.

Narcissists often use it to dismiss your feelings, undermine your experiences, and manipulate your perceptions.

It’s a classic form of gaslighting, where they make you doubt your own reactions and emotions. 

They present your completely valid feelings as overreactions, thereby avoiding any responsibility for their actions that may have caused distress.

It’s important to remember that your feelings are valid, regardless of such dismissive comments.

5) “I never said that.”

This one’s all about control. Narcissists say this phrase to rewrite history, manipulating the narrative to suit their version of events.

They’ll deny saying something, even if it just happened moments ago.

This is another form of gaslighting, where they sow seeds of doubt about your memory and perception.

It’s a cunning way to maintain the upper hand in any situation, and it can be incredibly frustrating to deal with.

6) “That’s just who I am.”

deal breakers in relationships If someone uses these 15 phrases, they’re probably a narcissist

This is a classic defense mechanism employed by narcissists.

They use it as an excuse for their inappropriate behavior, essentially saying they can’t, or won’t, change.

It’s a dismissive phrase that undermines the validity of your concerns, effectively shutting down any conversation about their behavior.

It also demonstrates their lack of empathy and unwillingness to consider how their actions might affect others.

Quite a display of rigid thinking, isn’t it?

7) “It’s not fair.”

This one might remind you of a petulant child, and in many ways, that’s what it is.

When narcissists feel they’re not getting their way or the attention they believe they deserve, they pull out this phrase.

It’s a means of shifting blame, playing the victim, and trying to manipulate the situation to their advantage.

They use it to invoke sympathy or guilt, and it’s yet another way for them to avoid taking responsibility for their actions.

It’s quite an emotional play, and it keeps you sympathizing for them.

8) “We don’t need anyone else.”

This phrase often comes up in the context of a romantic relationship with a narcissist.

But it can also be used in other situations.

It’s a sign of the narcissist’s need for control and dominance.

They use it to isolate you from friends, family, or anyone who might offer you support or a differing perspective.

It’s a way to maintain their influence over your thoughts and feelings by limiting your interactions with others.

It’s a maneuver that relinquishes control from you, and cages you in their own little bubble.

9) “No wonder nobody else likes you.”

This statement is outright harmful.

It is often used by narcissists to belittle and demean you. It’s designed to erode your self-esteem and make you feel unwanted, thus making you more dependent on their validation.

By attacking your relationships with others, they strengthen their hold over you and position themselves as the only one who truly understands or appreciates you.

They make you question yourself before you question their actions.

It’s a mean-spirited tactic and a classic sign of emotional abuse.

10) “You’re being so manipulative.”

Ironically, this is a manipulative phrase in itself!

Narcissists often use this phrase to project their own manipulative behavior onto you.

It’s another gaslighting technique, where they accuse you of the very thing they’re guilty of.

They use it to deflect attention from their actions and paint themselves as the victim.

It’s a perfect example of the narcissist’s ability to twist reality to suit their narrative.

11) “You did this to yourself.”

This is a classic blame-shifting phrase used by narcissists.

Instead of taking responsibility for any harm they may have caused, they pin the blame squarely on you.

It’s their way of absolving themselves of any guilt or accountability.

By using this phrase, they not only dodge responsibility, but they also make you feel at fault.

It’s a double whammy of manipulation. The worst part? They get away with their abuse and neglect!

12) “What’s wrong with you?”


This phrase is a direct attack on your character or your actions.

It’s designed to make you feel flawed or inferior.

Narcissists use it to assert their dominance or superiority, and to make you question your self-worth.

It’s a brutal tactic that can severely erode your confidence over time. Not very pleasant, is it?

13) “I don’t do it on purpose; I have a problem.”

This phrase is a perfect example of how narcissists avoid taking responsibility for their actions. 

They deflect blame onto a vague “problem” without acknowledging the impact of their actions on others.

It’s a way for them to gain sympathy and avoid accountability.

Usually, this is paired by their use of a mental health card. They use something like depression or anxiety to make you feel bad about calling them out.

All the while, they are not trying to do anything to resolve their problems.

14) “You need to stop being so selfish/careless/busy with other people.”

This phrase is a manipulative way to control your behavior.

Narcissists use it to guilt you into prioritizing their needs over yours or others’.

It’s another way they isolate you from friends or loved ones and make you feel guilty for having a life outside of your relationship with them.

Narcissists use this to cage you in and make you feel bad for having a life outside of your relationship.

This does not only apply to romantic relationships. Even parents can use this, too!

15) “You like that? It’s terrible.”

This phrase reveals a narcissist’s need to belittle your preferences and assert their superiority. 

By dismissing something you enjoy or value, they attempt to undermine your confidence and establish their dominance.

It’s a subtle, yet hurtful way to make you feel inferior and to make themselves feel more important.

They make you second-guess your own choices so that, eventually, they’ll be the ones to make the decisions for you.

How can you protect yourself from being preyed on by a narcissist?

Protecting yourself from a narcissist begins with this: Understanding and recognizing the signs of narcissistic behavior, which can often be manipulative and emotionally abusive.

Here are some things you can do to protect yourself from manipulation:

  • Educate yourself about these behaviors.

This is why it is important to first recognize signs of narcissism, such as what we’re doing in this article.

  • Establish strong boundaries.

Narcissists often try to push or blur boundaries to manipulate and control others.

Be firm about your limits, and don’t allow anyone to violate them.

This includes how much personal information you share, how much time you spend together, and how they treat you.

  • Avoid getting drawn into their games.

Narcissists are skilled manipulators who can twist conversations and situations to their advantage.

If you feel that you’re being gaslighted or manipulated, it’s okay to walk away from the conversation.

  • Nurture your own self-esteem and self-worth.

Narcissists often prey on people who lack self-confidence because they are easier to control. Cultivating a strong sense of self can help protect you from their manipulations.

  • Seek support from trusted friends, family, or a mental health professional. 

Dealing with a narcissist can be draining and confusing. Having a strong support network can help you navigate this challenging situation.

Remember, you have the right to be treated with respect and kindness. Don’t settle for anything less.

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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.

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