4 Shocking Ways Narcissists Manipulate You With Words

Written by Angela Atkinson

4 Narcissist Manipulation Tactics Using Words and Phrases – Things narcissists say to manipulate you. Toxic people love using techniques like gaslighting and devaluing their targets. In this video, I’ll explain four different types of phrasing that narcissists use to manipulate you in any situation. Knowing the narcissist manipulation tactics and understanding them is the first step to overcoming them.

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One of the first ways we can identify narcissists in our life is through their own words, regardless of the type of relationship you have with a narcissist. If you’re looking for ways to identify people in your life who could be potentially toxic, this is for you.

Today I’m going to share with you a few verbal cues that you might hear from a narcissist or another type of toxic person in your life that would allow you to recognize early on, that this person might be toxic and maybe reduce contact with them or eliminate them from your life.

How To Recognize A Narcissist Or A Toxic Person Through Just The Words They use.

If you’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist of any sort, whether it’s a work thing or a spouse thing boyfriend-girlfriend thing, a parent thing, there are certain common things you see. You notice they might act like they’re always a little better than you or they might always be insulting. They might be demeaning. They might need more attention than you can stand to give them.

Maybe they won’t give you any attention – or at the very least, they don’t reciprocate any of your efforts. Maybe they cheat on you or they regularly lose interest in you and they require you to change yourself to be part of their life (if you’re in a romantic relationship).

But even if you’re in a friend relationship or a work/coworker type of relationship, similar things can happen. In many cases, narcissists humiliate you in public (usually to make themselves look better).

They might be all about impressing other people, making false promises or even taking credit for things you’ve done or other people have done. Narcissists are pretty identifiable once you get your finger on the pulse of what they’re all about.

But what about the words they use?

Here are four red flag words or phrases that narcissists will use in order to manipulate you and make you do what they want when they want.

1. Seduction. Not just the word seduction but the act of seduction through words. This happens during the love-bombing phase a lot and the narcissist will say things like, “oh my gosh, you’re the most amazing person I ever met” or “I have never met someone as wonderful as you.”

  • “I just love you.” (too early in the relationship)
  • “You are so much better than my ex.”
  • “You’re the center of my world.”
  • “I will give you everything and more.”
  • “I would give you the shirt off my back if you needed it.”
  • “I will treat you better than anyone has ever treated you before.”
  • “No one can love you like I love you.”
  • “Your ex is a serious loser. I’m the better choice, obviously”
  • “I’m gonna be really really rich someday, I’m gonna be really famous someday.”
  • “I’ve got these amazing ideas and I’m gonna tell you my secret plan for success or for taking over the world.”

You might notice a lot of these phrases are all about comparing you (or themselves) with someone else.  The red flag here is that you will be compared in the future by the narcissist or a toxic person.

2. Words like “loser” and phrases like not good enough. The negative words and phrases, such as:

  • “Let me tell you about this loser I went to school with”
  • “That person right there is a big nerd, let me tell you all about them.”
  • “These people I work with are so stupid.”
  • “I am getting screwed over at work.”
  • “My boss is being unfair.”
  • “I’m pretty sure the whole world’s against me.”
  • “My boss is just mad at me because I’m so much smarter than he is or she is.”
  • “I can’t wait to see that person go through the humiliation they deserve.”

A couple of red flags here:

  • The narcissist shows feelings of superiority.
  • They are excited when they think about someone else’s humiliation and pain.

3. Words and phrases that show a lack of empathy.

You tell the narcissist a story – maybe one about the worst thing that ever happened to you in your life. Let’s say you got run over a car 16 times and both your legs were broken – something terrible. Their response?

“Oh, yeah? Well, you think that’s bad, let me tell you what happened to me.”

Not only do they gloss over that horrible thing that you went through, but they also turn the subject right back around to themselves. This shows the lack empathy and the whole “look-at-me” factor –  and as we all know narcissists tend to lose interest in everything we say, think, do, feel or are, once they know they’ve got their claws deeply in our souls.

4. Victim words, victim phrasing. Some people who are always having a crisis. Everything’s wrong. These people are always playing the “poor me game.” You might text the narcissist to ask how they’re feeling, and you’ll get some kind of drama back. Something like, “oh it’s terrible, the whole world’s against me. My whole life is over.”

Ever know anyone like that?

These are the people who live in perpetual Narcissistic Injury State. The people who are always focused on everything that’s going wrong. You see them on Facebook, always talking about things that are messed up in their lives or other people’s lives. Maybe somebody else got the job they always wanted, or they become obsessed with taking on other people’s tragedies, if they don’t have enough of their own drama. If someone has done something to injure them on a narcissistic level, they will want revenge. They will want to prove that person wrong.

They will want everyone to feel bad for them and not like that other person. They might feel like they’re being punished for something they did, or if they don’t feel like they get the recognition they deserve for something.

This is a red flag because anyone who lives in a perpetual state of Narcissistic Injury has no desire to have a better life. They want that pain, they want to get attention and sympathy for that pain. It’s so difficult for the people around them to consistently listen to the negativity.

I’m not talking about someone who’s actually in a toxic relationship or actually dealing with tragedy. These are attention-seeking behaviors. But more than anything, what really counts here is this person’s effect on you.

How do they make you feel? If they make you feel great every time you’re around them, well, then you probably don’t have a problem. If they make you feel stupid, inadequate, not good enough, miserable – generally negative – then that person isn’t for you. They don’t deserve your time and your attention.
Don’t let them be part of your inner circle.

One more note: If you sometimes feel like that person is too good to be true and like you’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop, watch closely, that can also be a red flag. They might be love-bombing you, especially if it’s a new person in your life.

You might feel like you can’t breathe around them. You might feel constantly overwhelmed by them, like you can’t function normally when they’re around.

Maybe even the idea of them even kind of takes your breath away. If you feel like they’re sucking all the air out of a room or you feel like they’re sucking all the energy out of your body, or you feel constantly tired, it’s a HUGE red flag. Be aware.

Questions of the day:
Do you recognize any of the phrasing that I explained earlier in this video? And does any of it apply to what you’ve gone through with your narcissist? On the flip side of that, do you recognize the kinds of the emotions mentioned? Did any of those ring true for you when it came to your narcissist, whether you’re still with them or not? Did you feel overwhelmed, upset, angry? Did you feel like it was too good to be true?

What did you experience with your narcissist in relation to the words they spoke and the emotions that they evoked in you? Share your thoughts in the comments section, right here, and let’s discuss.


  • Angela Atkinson

    Angela Atkinson is a certified trauma counselor and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery, and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships since 2006, she has a popular narcissistic abuse recovery YouTube channel. Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own. Atkinson offers trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coaching and has certifications in trauma counseling, life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation, and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves. Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse here at QueenBeeing.com and at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.

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