12 Things Narcissists Say & What They Really Mean

Narcs can make you feel like you’re going crazy, but they all tend to say the same crap to keep you on your toes and try and confuse you. Here’s how to decode what the narcissist in your life is really saying so you can regain control (and hopefully move on for good).

  1. He calls you “crazy.” Don’t buy it—he’s gaslighting you in order to get away with his bad behavior and to control you. If you’re crazy, it’s only because he’s making you that way.
  2. He boasts about his popularity. He might “randomly” mention that he’s still in touch with his ex during conversation—you know, the one who was so beautiful? By boasting about the number of female friends he has or lovers he’s had, he’s really telling you that he has options. It’s a way to keep you on your toes and undermine you.
  3. He says he loves you. This tends to happen soon after meeting you. It’s like he wants you to believe that you’re his number one and he’s devoted to you, but really he’s using this to get you where he wants you. He assumes that you’ll be so overcome with emotion by his declaration that your common sense will go out the window.
  4. He tells you that you’re overreacting. When you confront him about something he did to hurt you, the narcissist is quick to turn the tables. He’s never the one with the problem, you always are. It’s impossible to ever be right in this relationship!
  5. He says it’s destiny that you met. Don’t be surprised if the narc tells you that you’re soulmates pretty much immediately after meeting you. These people love laying the sappy, charming lines on thicker than peanut butter. It’s all part of their plan to make you think that you’re meant to be together. He’s love-bombing you to manipulate you later.
  6. He says his family or friends don’t like you but he doesn’t care. It can be hurtful to hear him say that his loved ones don’t like you, but he might be lying just to make you feel insecure. The narcissist wants to control your movements, feelings, and thoughts. He doesn’t want you to feel safe, and by adding that he doesn’t care if his loved ones like you or not because he adores you, he’s really saying, “You can depend on me. We’re all we need.” It’s a sneaky way to start getting you to isolate yourself and only care about what he thinks about you.
  7. He insists on being more important to you than your friends. He might get upset when you see your friends instead of spending time with him. He might even act like a toddler who throws a tantrum when he doesn’t get his way. The idea is that he expects you to make him your number one priority every day and he’ll act wounded when you don’t. But don’t fall for his “poor me” act, thinking that he’s acting out of love. He really feels he’s losing control of you. That’s what matters to him.
  8. He says he’s damaged because of what others did to him. Narcs love playing the victim card. They want to get your sympathy, so when they always have a sob story about their lives, it’s actually a red flag. Instead of being sympathetic, understand that they’re trying to manipulate you.
  9. He says you’re the only one who understands him. When he first gets to know you, the narc will enter what’s known as the Idealization Phase. In this phase, he puts you on a pedestal. You’re not only the most important person to him, but you’re also the only person in the world who understands him. He can sneakily use this later, like when you’re “the only one” who can help him pay his rent this month or help him out of his depression by quitting your job and staying with him.
  10. He claims that he’s afraid of abandonment. Everyone hurts him. Everyone leaves him. Ugh, whatever. He uses a so-called fear of abandonment to make you feel guilty at times. For example, if you storm off during a fight, he’ll then say how hurt he was by your behavior, laying it on thick to make you feel you have to make it up to him because he’s the one with trust issues. Meanwhile, he totally ignores what he did to make you storm off!
  11. He calls you selfish. Narcs love to project. If he’s having an affair, he’ll likely ask you if you are so that you’re the bad one and he’s always faultless. But when he tells you that you’re selfish, he’s also really showing you how much he wants to be the center of attention all the time. Everything has to be about him. He can’t handle it if you’re taking some attention for yourself now and then.
  12. He insists that all his exes were crazy. He might use other terms to describe them, like saying they all were addicts or cheats or had mental issues. Don’t fall for it. As Narcissist Abuse Support points out, there’s a good chance many of his exes weren’t crazy or any of those things he calls them. Rather, they were people who left him because they discovered what he was really like.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.