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What is Narcissistic Word Salad? 14 Word Salad Strategies

* I generally write using the pronouns he/him when referring to narcissists, but females are just as likely to be narcissists or exhibit narcissistic traits. So please don't think just because article uses the word him or he that it could not be a woman in that same role.

Have you ever wondered what goes through a narcissist’s mind when you’re attempting to talk things out? Is it possible that logic, rationality, and relevance to the topic are all missing entirely? You’re probably getting a serving of narcissistic word salad.

Without a doubt, this gaslighting tactic is insane!

On the other hand, it’s an opportunity to witness lunacy in all its glory.

A few warning signs of word salad include the following:

  • a) the conversation is going nowhere,
  • b) the relationship isn’t going anywhere (it can’t if working through problems together is impossible), and
  • c) your conversational partner is pathologically egotistical.

Learn how to spot the main ingredients described in this article to recognize the narcissistic word salad. Refrain from biting from now on, and you’ll be one step closer to ending the cycle of abuse.

Warning signs of Trauma Bonding: What Is trauma bonding and How to Cope

narcissistic word salad

Psychologists often refer to someone diagnosed with schizophrenia as having “schizophasia” when they use a confused or unintelligible mixture of seemingly random words and phrases.

A person suffering from logorrhea speaks incessantly and obsessively without making any sense.

Stroke sufferers frequently experience receptive aphasia.

Receptive aphasia is a type of aphasia in which the individual looks to understand what they’re saying and usually speaks. Still, they don’t know what they’re saying.

What Is The Narcissistic Word Salad Definition?

The narcissistic word salad is a verbal assassination.

The term “word salad” refers to a circular language tactic used by one individual to ensure that talks never end positively for the other. It is a technique for exerting influence over another person’s views or ideas, emotional response, or access to information.

Blameshifting, projection, gaslighting, stonewalling, sympathy ploys or playing the victim, equivocating, changing the subject, and putting the partner on the defensive, among other techniques, may be utilized.

The objective of narcissistic word salad is to use our own conversations against us.

Through these manipulative conversational strategies, narcissists convince us and others that we are the issue and deny us a voice.

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They accomplish this by denying us the right to express an opinion, emotion, or idea in response to anything they do.

Each contact is meant to divert, punish, or belittle us until we give up and accept their version of reality.

Over the course of their relationships, narcissists’ partners learn to walk a line that language divides.

Conversations serve as a focal point for resolving conflicts.

We may either accept a pathological worldview in which we are blamed for generating issues by “talking,” while the narcissist is not held accountable for wrongdoing– or we can continue to speak up and risk greater humiliation, threat, and abuse.

Read more about Gaslighting here.

narcissistic word salad

What triggers the Narcissistic word salad?

When healthy people attempt to resolve the disagreement, the goal is to reach a middle ground that benefits all sides. This approach is accompanied by awareness, politeness, and open communication.

Compromises are gradually worked out through a process of reciprocal listening and sharing.

The incentive to obtain mutually beneficial outcomes works because there is genuine concern for the other person and investment in seeking answers, despite the fact that it is often difficult.

That is not the case with the aggressive narcissist. The NPD mindset lacks the qualities and incentives necessary for collaborative and empathetic participation.

Attempts to handle any issues that may give you problems, regardless of how you go about it, are extremely dangerous to the narcissist.

This is because the narcissist’s entire existence focuses around supporting the false-self belief system they created.

Anything that questions the narcissist’s authority, dominance, superiority, or entitlement is prohibited and triggers defense mechanisms.

As a result, any attempt to hold the narcissist accountable, or any refusal of a given demand, results in a serving of the word salad (amongst other abusive reactions).

The machinations buried in the word salad are designed to keep the narcissist from addressing a reality in which they may be problematic.

To maintain their false views, they assign whole ownership of any problem to you.

This is how it works, by any means required…

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50+ Crazy Gaslighting Phrases Narcissists Say – Direct from Survivors

Narcissistic Word Salad Strategies

Jackson MacKenzie is a famous author on the subject of narcissistic abuse. In his book Psychopath Free, he states that narcissists use discussions as a key means of eroding their partners’ identities.

He may have been the first to introduce the term “word salad” to refer to these circular dialogues while discussing narcissistic abuse. He outlines the nine warning signals that you are now engaged in one of these talks.

1-Absolute lack of logic:

The gibberish that emerges will drive you insane. It is the very definition of verbal mayhem, epic thoughts, dreams, and fantasies, sweeping opinions based on falsehoods and driven by whims. (They are not romantic, as you may believe; they are merely delusory asses.)

2. Circular Discussions

You may feel as though you’ve addressed an issue during the conversation. Still, a few minutes later, you’re discussing it again as if the narcissist didn’t hear any of your points. They defend their views repeatedly as if they’re in their realm, where they can’t listen to you or don’t register your remarks.

3. Emphasizing Your Past Wrongdoings While Ignoring Theirs

Bring up any of their inappropriate behavior. They will bring up anything you did to divert your attention and put you on the defensive. It may or may not be significant at all. This is a sort of conversational diversion.

4. Patronizing and condescending tone

They will maintain their composure during the conversation. However, you will become increasingly perplexed and befuddled as the circular conversation descends into an irrational area. They act as if they are not hearing you or acknowledging what you are saying.

When you react angrily, they respond as though you’re being unreasonable and use your reaction against you, alleging you’re out of control or escalating the situation.

4. Overgeneralizations.

Rash convictions, a lack of introspection, shallowness, and superficial knowledge about anything that may be construed as omnipotence are the pinnacle of narcissism.

5. Accusing You of Performing Acts That They Perform.

As the talk progresses, the narcissist will begin projecting their negative conduct onto you. Once you’ve spent time defending yourself, the focus shifts away from what they’ve done.

Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder

6. Numerous Personas

The narcissist will employ a variety of strategies and demonstrate a variety of personalities. You may detect hostility and insults, as well as tenderness, or they may attempt to play the victim card.

Regardless matter whether the narcissist is friendly, neutral, or hostile toward you, all of these strategies support the narcissist’s objectives.

Even though the narcissist appears conciliatory, this is because the narcissist believes this is the best course of action at the time and may change their conduct at any point.

7. Projection and blaming

When confronted with a narcissist, they are the most amusing people you will ever meet; nevertheless, you must have a good memory and analytical ability. Confront them with direct questions and facts, then wait for them to respond ( they will bounce everything back on you without a shred of logic or evidence)

8. Denial & gaslighting

This falls under the same category as the previous one (number 7), narcissists are traumatized by the truth, guilt, and shame, and exposure causes them CPTS. Dees; the only way for them to recover is through offence, attack, lies, fact twisting, self deception, hatred, and falsehoods. It is their preferred domain.

9. Winning and losing

it’s all about that. While you’re attempting to reason with them rationally, the narcissistic mentality is preoccupied with winning, appearing superior, better, stronger, more righteous, and omnipotent.

10. Narcissistic rage:

It can be extremely frightening.

It is the fury that is ignited by being uncovered that constitutes true narcissistic rage. Being discovered. Of realizing that someone else sees them for who they truly are… Furthermore, it is their own flash of understanding that, behind their denial, they are the polar opposite of superior, always right, omnipotent, and in complete control of their way and desires being met.

11. The Eternal Sufferer

The narcissist frequently justifies their actions by relating it to something negative that has happened to them.

12. You Begin Defining Fundamental Human Emotions

You may find yourself needing to explain how and why they did the things they did, as well as the essential principles of a relationship, such as respect and honesty. You believe that if you communicate these things, they will cease.

13. Justifications

Almost always, the narcissist blames others for their actions or makes various reasons. They may place the blame on drink, their youth, others’ unjust or discriminatory treatment, or even on you.

Nonetheless, they will not and cannot simply own their wrongdoing, exhibit true remorse, and right course.

14. “How in the world did that happen?”

You leave the conversations feeling depleted and as if nothing was accomplished, as if you accepted a subpar response, or as if you are being lessened over time due to your inability to resolve anything.

Shannon Thomas, a trauma therapist who specializes in treating survivors of narcissistic abuse, writes in her book Healing from Hidden Abuse:

“When a victim attempts to speak with a psychological abuser about their harmful habits, one of toxic people’s preferred strategies is to just not respond… When a survivor inquires as to why the toxic person did not respond, the toxic person will spin the matter and say something along the lines of, “I am not going to argue with you.” Are you aware of what just occurred? The survivor was blamed for creating drama or an argument, and the toxic individual never addressed the survivor’s behavior.”

You gradually develop a fear of asking about anything because you know it may trigger one of these confrontations in which you may be attacked–or even that the relationship may terminate abruptly.

What makes dealing with these strategies so tough is that the narcissist will not simply choose one and stick with it. He or she will fluidly switch between them as you ask different queries.

This only adds to the conversation’s perplexity and irrationality.

This is why you eventually quit up – you are physically and mentally drained.

In a Rut, Spinning the Wheels:

When both parties have opposite viewpoints on an issue, they dig in and repeat the merits of their arguments endlessly, resulting in a circular conversation. It doesn’t conclude with a resolution; instead, one or both parties give up due to tiredness.

A circular conversation can pass hours, days, weeks, months, years, and even a lifetime. When you think about it, the only reason someone would do something like that is in the hopes that the other person will eventually change their perspective, understand their point of view, learn something, see their error, and realize they were wrong all along. Most individuals, logic would imply, would quit up after two or three trips around the loop, but many of us don’t. We go over it again and again.

When the topic we’re arguing feels like a “bottom line issue” or is a deal-breaker, word salad arguments are a constant threat. Frequently, the quarrel starts over something insignificant and escalates to the real issues.

It could be about who should turn out the light or say “I’m sorry,” for example. If the disagreement becomes a proxy for an underlying emotion, such as “I feel insulted,” “I feel hurt,” or “I feel terrified,” the argument might become circular. When this happens, the debate can become fixated on minor points while the real feelings remain unaddressed.

The narcissist’s word salad used in circular conversations is a favorite maneuver of toxic people.

It feels like this:

When we argue, we are frequently attempting to communicate our emotions. However, we often feel too exposed to express our feelings when there is tension in the air, and we believe the other person is not confirming our perspective. Instead, we tend to abstract or depict our feelings as a viewpoint, an issue, or an event, such as “You lied to me,” “You’re being inconsiderate,” or even “I despise you.” In the end, we won’t be pleased unless we believe the underlying emotion underpinning our statements has been resolved, handled, or recognized.

When a person with a Personality Disorder joins the equation, you could wind up in a never-ending circle of discussion. This is because someone with a Personality Disorder does not always view the same world as you do. Some people with Personality Disorders create their reality that the facts are dictated by how they feel. This is referred to as “Feelings Creating Facts.” So, if they feel betrayed, you are a betrayer to them. You love it if they feel cherished. You are dangerous if they are terrified of you. It’s fantastic if their feelings mirror your reality. You will be utterly validated, utterly appreciated, and profoundly and truly cherished. However, it will be a long night if their feelings do not coincide with yours.

Personality disordered people experience all of the average human emotions. They want to be validated and accepted. The problem is that, while their interpretation of reality is accurate for them, it is not always real for others. They may begin to communicate with you in a way that you do not accept, endorse, or agree with. It may be impossible for you to reach a conclusion. It won’t alter until they experience something different, which could take a few minutes or several years.

Circular Conversations: How to Deal With Them

What to Avoid:

  • Don’t say anything that has already been spoken.
  • If you’ve already answered a question, don’t explain or respond to it.
  • Do not act irrationally, such as slamming doors or storming out.
  • Don’t attempt to be the last one to speak.
  • Don’t wait for someone to confirm your feelings.
  • Don’t try to persuade the other person to change their views. Their feelings, opinions, and beliefs are all their own.
  • Don’t try to manipulate the feelings of the other person. Not attempt to make them feel guilty, remorseful, or sympathetic.
  • Focus on discussing your own wants and feelings rather than describing the other person’s behavior, sentiments, or actions.
  • To conclude the conversation, don’t wait for agreement or consensus. It’s natural and suitable for two people to come to different findings, interpretations, and conclusions about the same experiences.

What You Should Do:

  • Recognize the recurring pattern. Recognize that you’re having a conversation that’s just going around in circles.
  • Accept that feelings aren’t intrinsically good or evil; they are simply what they are. Circumstances, emotions, brain chemistry, and various other factors all contribute to feelings. You can’t control how you feel. Neither can the person with a personality disorder; it’s just a normal reaction to what you’ve been through.
  • Change your tone from facts to feelings. Describe your sentiments rather than the surfaces of the other person. “I think you’re lying,” don’t say. That isn’t a feeling at all. That is merely a viewpoint. Say something like “I’m terrified” or “I’m hurt.” You don’t have to explain yourself; say it. The nice thing about expressing your feelings is that no one can disagree with you, no matter how hard they try. Except for you, no one knows or owns your sentiments.
  • End the conversation in a calm and dignified manner. You can end it by saying, “I need a break” or “Let’s address this tomorrow.”

Emergency Numbers

Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) is the nation’s largest organization fighting sexual violence: (800) 656-HOPE / (800) 810-7440 (TTY)

988 Mental Health Emergency Hotline: Calling 988 will connect you to a crisis counselor regardless of where you are in the United States.

911 Emergency

The National Runaway Safeline: 800-RUNAWAY (800-786-2929)

Self Abuse Finally Ends (S.A.F.E)

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Trauma & Child Abuse Resource Center

Domestic Violence Shelters & Resources

Futures Without Violence

National Center for Victims of Crime

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

National Network to End Domestic Violence

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

Prevent Child Abuse America

Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center (SPARC)

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine: 1-800-950-NAMI, or text “HELPLINE” to 62640. Both services are available between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET, Monday–Friday

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255); www.suicidepreventionlifeline.orgOr, just dial 988

Suicide Prevention, Awareness, and Support: www.suicide.org

Crisis Text Line: Text REASON to 741741 (free, confidential and 24/7). In English and Spanish

Self-Harm Hotline: 1-800-DONT CUT (1-800-366-8288)

Family Violence Helpline: 1-800-996-6228

American Association of Poison Control Centers: 1-800-222-1222

National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependency: 1-800-622-2255

LGBTQ Hotline: 1-888-843-4564

National Maternal Mental Health Hotline: 1-833-TLC-MAMA (1-833-852-6262)

The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 678678. Standard text messaging rates apply. Available 24/7/365. (Provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning—LGBTQ—young people under 25.)

The SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline connects LGBT older people and caretakers with friendly responders. 1-877-360-LGBT (5428)

The Trans Lifeline is staffed by transgender people for transgender people:
1-877-565-8860 (United States)
1-877-330-6366 (Canada)

Veterans Crisis Line: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net

International Suicide Prevention Directory: findahelpline.com

The StrongHearts Native Helpline is a confidential and anonymous culturally appropriate domestic violence and dating violence helpline for Native Americans, available every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT. Call 1-844-762-8483.

‘Find a Therapist’ Online Directories


UK & Republic of Ireland

  • Emergency: 112 or 999
  • Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90 (UK – local rate)
  • Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 91 92 (UK minicom)
  • Hotline: 1850 60 90 90 (ROI – local rate)
  • Hotline: 1850 60 90 91 (ROI minicom)
  • YourLifeCounts.org: https://yourlifecounts.org/find-help/

6 thoughts on “What is Narcissistic Word Salad? 14 Word Salad Strategies”

  1. You left out a word under the title, towards the end of the * disclaimer “that it could not (be) a woman”

  2. “I think you’re lying,” don’t say. That isn’t a feeling at all. That is merely a viewpoint. Say something like “I’m terrified” or “I’m hurt.” You don’t have to explain yourself; say it. The nice thing about expressing your feelings is that no one can disagree with you, no matter how hard they try. Except for you, no one knows or owns your sentiments.”

    – This recommendation is unrealistic. Played the nice game for longer than I wanted to with my narcissistic SO. Found out she was leading a double life based on facts, which by the way lead you to the truth. I responded to this discovery by saying ‘I’m not angry but I am scared that you don’t love me” – guess what I got as a response? Radio silence. Went downstairs to cry, guess who didn’t come down to talk it out? They are parasites that have been abused as kids.

  3. The ‘word salad’ I encountered most often was stonewalling, redirecting type. Example I might innocently bring up a memory of a place Ive been, I went to place X, it was nice. the narcissist will respond “you mean place xy, by the z. I thought you said you hated that place.” The narcissist has shut down the conversation. if you repeat, they escalate become angry because they dont want you to have any voice or thought.

  4. I guess it depends on the level of narcissistic tendencies of a SO. I’ve had success with these tactics with one person, however, nothing but continued abuse with another that I stayed with way too long. Both were badly abused as kids. Neither worked out in the end. I’m just not convinced that it’s worth going around and around with a person like this in a romantic relationship.

    That said, these tactics/skills for dealing with narcissistic abusers are beyond valuable in workplace settings. Even more valuable if you happen to be a therapist working with a patient who is the narcissistic abuser. If there is any hope for these people (a select few do learn better ways of behaving) this IS a way to have more productive interactions and avoid conflict with the narcissist or pushing the narcissist out of your office.

    If you are in a relationship with one… seek help and/or get out! There are lots of resources available and it’s often terrifying because the abusers usually push us into positions where the only alternative is homelessness. But, for me, homelessness was the first step towards freedom and recovering my confidence as an intelligent valuable human being! My daughter and I still see her narcissistic father a few times a year and I keep him informed how she is doing and I utilize the techniques described above frequently with mixed results. But everyone seems content and he DID eventually get a therapist and start working on himself. He is in no way cured of NPD but… everyone feels safe and validated and it’s been three and a half years like this. I’ve made it very clear that he has zero chance of ever living with us but that he isn’t losing us and that seems to work in this instance. I can’t stress enough how valuable getting DV counseling and educating myself about abuse has been! Always be ready to go no contact if you have to. Self preservation is first priority. If you read this far and are dealing with a narcissist, you’re on the right track. Don’t give up on yourself. NOBODY deserves to be treated like that.

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