What do narcissists want? Attention! When do they need it? Now! Of course, there’s nothing wrong with attention and praise, but narcissists force you to focus on them. Narcissists use every manipulative tool in their weaponry to get your attention.
One way they do this is to engage you in arguments you can’t possibly win. Narcissists never back down or apologise. So what can you do if you get into an argument with a narcissist? Here are 25 phrases to shut down a narcissist in an argument.
25 phrases to shut down a narcissist
If they are blaming you
Narcissists blame their nearest and dearest, strangers, and even society when things go wrong. Nothing will ever be their fault. There’s a psychological term known as ‘locus of control’ which sums up narcissists perfectly.
Whilst you’ll never get them to accept responsibility, there’s no reason why you should take the blame for something they are not happy about. Here’s how to shut down a narcissist using the blame game.
If they are criticising you
Narcissists are mean-spirited and lack empathy. They use words as weapons and zone in on your weaknesses like a nuclear missile. They know what to say to hurt you, taking pleasure in doing so.
Narcissists want to see the damage they have inflicted, so don’t give them the satisfaction of showing your emotions. Keep your answers unemotional, and factual, and don’t ask why you are being criticised. This gives the narcissist more fuel for their fire.
Here is what to say to a narcissist to shut them down if they criticize you:
When they want attention
Narcissists have low self-esteem and need attention from those around them. The trouble is that if you give them too much attention, you inflate their egos.
However, narcissists want any attention, whether it is positive or negative. If they are not getting enough positive attention, they will provoke an argument to get the focus back onto them.
They make up ridiculous things, talking quickly, swapping one subject for another to deliberately throw you off-balance. They will be dramatically emotional and, in some cases, make no sense whatsoever.
In situations like these, you need to shut down the narcissist quickly, or it can quickly escalate into narcissistic rage.
Lies, lies and more lies
Narcissists are pathological liars, but they use lies as a gaslighting technique. They lie about what they have done, what they perceive you to have done, and everything else in-between. Narcissists twist reality to confuse and eventually control you.
They may deliberately lie in advance to catch you out. For example, they ask you to meet them at a certain time and they get there an hour earlier. You begin to doubt yourself. This is where the narcissist wants you.
My friend’s girlfriend was a narcissist and once called out my friend complaining that he mentioned my name every two minutes. That is impossible. He would have had to say my name 30 times in an hour.
If you want to shut down a narcissist that constantly lies, pay attention to their exact words and then call them out.
If they are escalating into a narcissistic rage
There are phases of narcissistic abuse. In certain circumstances the narcissist will give you the silent treatment or the narcissistic stare to intimidate you into compliance.
Narcissists want to you react, so if they are not getting the reaction they want they’ll say the most hysterical and dramatic things to force a response. The more frustrated they get, the more likely they are to fly into a narcissistic rage; and this can be dangerous.
One way of diffusing an escalating argument is to agree with them. Although this may seem counterintuitive or wrong, you have to realise that narcissists live in a fantasy world.
Nothing you say will make any difference in their behaviour long-term. Moreover, this is one way to shut down a narcissist if the situation is heading towards narcissistic rage.
Sometimes the best way to deal with a narcissist is to cut them out of your life. However, there are situations where we can’t do that, but you can be ready for them.
Having a few phrases to shut down a narcissist will help de-escalate an argument and give you back control.
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