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How To Communicate With A Narcissist

* 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.

Everyone wants to feel connected, heard, understood, and supported during conversations. But, if you’re communicating with a person who displays narcissistic behaviors, that may not always be the case.

How To Communicate With A Narcissist

Knowing what to say and what not to say can help you communicate more effectively, regardless of whether this person has a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) or has narcissistic tendencies.

In this guide, we’ll teach you some techniques to help you navigate conversations with a narcissist.

What Is A Narcissist?

Extreme self-involvement to the point where it causes a person to disregard the needs of those around them is narcissism.

Everyone has the potential to act narcissistically once in a while, but true narcissists routinely neglect other people and their emotions. Also, they are unaware of how their actions affect other individuals.

While narcissism is a trait, it can also be a component of a more serious personality disorder, so it’s important to keep that in mind. As narcissism is a spectrum, not all narcissists suffer from NPD.

Those who fall on the higher end of the range are those who are diagnosed with NPD, but others who still exhibit narcissistic traits may be on the lower end.

When communicating with a narcissist, you might notice a few signs that point to their condition or tendencies.

For example, they might refuse to take ownership of their actions and not accept consequences, blame other people for their own mistakes, or have the belief that the people close to them are too sensitive.

Conversations with a narcissistic person are also usually one-sided, invalidating, judgemental, and/or manipulative.

The Best Ways To Communicate With A Narcissist Effectively

There are constructive approaches to communicating with someone you suspect of exhibiting narcissistic traits that can benefit you both.

Healthy communication techniques are beneficial for everyone, but keep in mind that not every person with narcissistic tendencies will react the same way.

Stay Calm

You should speak respectfully and calmly to someone who has a narcissistic personality disorder. Do not insult them, talk down to them, or attempt to make them feel the same way you have been made to feel.

Behaving in a way that puts you on their level is not beneficial.

Avoid attempting to contradict, correct, or humiliate them. These strategies could backfire and result in conflicts or additional pushback. Instead, maintain your composure and continue to show them a level of respect. 


How To Communicate With A Narcissist

Learning how to defend oneself from such attacks is essential because narcissists thrive on pushing buttons and exploiting “insider knowledge” to get a foothold in manipulating others.

Developing a strong emotional defense can eventually lessen the impact of any hurtful comments a narcissist uses to upset you.

Analyze your inner thoughts, concentrating on and overcoming your doubts and concerns. Self-exploration is a safe space to delve into your triggers and gain a thorough understanding of them. 

Making yourself more aware of your possible vulnerability will lessen the impact of any attacks that do occur.

Enforce Boundaries

Regardless of how you decide to proceed, the initial stages of any relationship should include clearly defined boundaries and restrictions that you establish in order to keep yourself safe.

A courteous tone and the preservation of your boundaries can keep the conversation constructive and healthy.

You might say something like, “I won’t let you talk to me that way” or “I won’t let us continue having this conversation if you act like that.”

No matter how you choose to set your boundaries, keep yourself calm and avoid insults or outbursts of anger.

Learn Their Triggers

To feel satisfied and in charge, narcissists need a response. You can give yourself precious serenity by knowing which situations call for a response and which can be safely disregarded.

If you’re speaking with someone who has narcissistic tendencies, your language choices matter. Certain words or phrases could instantly turn them off and prevent them from listening.

Think twice before using the phrases “you never…” and “you always…” Those with narcissistic qualities could feel defensive or combative in response to these statements.

In order to study and comprehend the situations that will settle without your direct involvement, this strategy involves some trial and error.

Try not responding in various circumstances, closely observe the results, and keep a list of the circumstances that can be managed by waiting.

Get A Second Opinion

Because narcissistic abuse often involves intimate relationships, you should always get a second opinion before responding to a narcissist.

In an effort to knock you off balance and increase the likelihood that you’ll give them the impulsive answer they want, narcissists may pressure you to respond right away.

You’ll nearly always get better results if you can learn to pause and consider your options and how they might play out with a trusted friend or family member.

This will also help you avoid making snap decisions that will simply lead to disagreement and conflict.

Don’t Assume That You Can Change Them

Real narcissism is a persistent disorder that has the power to sabotage relationships.

Many people will feel compelled to positively influence and transform their abuser in an effort to preserve the relationship since it develops in the framework of relationships.

Unfortunately, narcissism is usually incurable, and attempts to correct it are frequently futile.

It is liberating to let go of the idea that narcissistic tendencies and manipulation are treatable; doing so will also enable you to reclaim some of the control that has been exerted over you.

Final Thoughts

Narcissism is a long-term problem, and if you are exposed to it repeatedly, you could sustain serious damage.

Making a few little changes and learning how to handle manipulative situations without giving in to a narcissist’s manipulation techniques, however, can help to lessen the impact of the abuse.

Continue Reading About Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Helpful Resources

Recommended Reading

What Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

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)

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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

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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.

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UK & Republic of Ireland

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