Narcissists seem to share their own sneaky, secret language when it comes to avoiding blame and mistreating others.
They say one thing, but mean something completely different…
If you are on the receiving end of these verbal attacks, it could mean you are dealing with a true narcissist.
Their witty way of speaking and all the underlying meanings hidden beneath their seemingly innocent speech can often leave you feeling bewildered, frustrated, or even guilty for something that is not your fault.
Because the unfortunate truth is that narcissists have a very unique and cunning way of twisting words and situations to their advantage.
And what better way to guard against their cryptic communication methods than to learn what they say and why they say it?
So without further ado, let’s reveal the top 10 phrases that narcissists often use to deny responsibility for their own failures.
1) “I wouldn’t have done it if you hadn’t…”
This turns the tables for you quite quickly. By implying that they took a certain action or took a certain route only because of you, it becomes all your fault…
(At least, that’s how they want it to appear.)
Narcissists are known for being exceptionally adept at shifting the blame onto others. They have a way of making you believe that their actions – no matter how insensitive or hurtful – are a direct result of something you did or didn’t do.
So pay attention to this sentence. It’s a classic example of them passing off responsibility for their own failures and instead blaming the closest person (most likely you).
Forget admitting their mistakes; they will attribute their actions to your behavior and portray you as the bad guy.
So the next time someone uses this phrase to justify their missteps, remember that it’s not your fault.
They just use manipulative tactics to avoid taking responsibility for their own actions, when in reality you are not responsible for anyone else’s choices at all – they are.
2) “You’re just overreacting.”
Can’t you just be cool?
Take it easy?
Learn how to relax, for God’s sake…
(Said in the chilling words of a narcissist, no doubt.)
If you’ve ever been told that you’re exaggerating when you express concerns or discomfort, chances are you:
- Dealing with an insensitive and emotionally unintelligent person,
- Dealing with a narcissist
- (Maybe overreacting, but just a little bit).
And if it’s C, that’s okay too. You may feel hurt and unsettled when you hear things that upset you.
However, truly empathetic and caring individuals will take your sensitivities into account and avoid upsetting you (at least intentionally).
A narcissist, on the other hand, will try to invalidate your feelings, especially if they upset you. Instead of apologizing or learning to avoid sensitive topics, they will just make fun of you for being upset.
So remember: it is not an exaggeration to expect respect and attention from others. Your feelings are valid and no one should make you feel different.
3) “I only did that because you made me angry first.”
A continuation of the blame game, this sentence once again makes you the perpetrator of all the narcissist’s misdeeds.
They wouldn’t have acted, abused or hurt you, if you hadn’t done something to justify it first…
Like a dog being beaten for begging for leftovers, you’re suddenly the bad guy again.
This sentence is another classic
narcissistic rejection of guilt they use it to justify their actions by basing their reactions on your perceived provocation.
The idea behind this is to make you feel guilty and responsible for their actions, even if the actions are clearly hurtful and nasty.
Instead of admitting their inappropriate behavior or response, they blame you, making you the cause and them the victim.
A funny way to avoid debt, right?
So if you encounter someone who uses this phrase to justify their actions, remember that it is not in the least because of you or your actions.
It’s a distraction tactic, one often used by narcissists to avoid taking responsibility for their own actions.
4) “I’m not perfect.”
Nobody is perfect! Hopefully you know this by now.
That’s why this sentence seems innocent enough…
However, when you are in the employ of a narcissist, it is also a very smart way to deflect blame.
Narcissists often use this phrase as a way to gloss over their mistakes or failures.
By claiming that they are not perfect, that everyone is human and makes mistakes, they are essentially saying that they cannot be held accountable for their actions.
And should you even attempt to stand up for yourself, you will by default come across as inflexible and unsympathetic to what they portray as an unintentional mistake.
But there’s a catch here: in psychology this technique is known as minimization.
Minimization is a form of deception in which the perpetrator downplays their own actions and makes enough excuses to never make it seem as bad as it actually is.
So if someone uses this phrase to dismiss their failures or harmful behavior, remember that this is not an admission of guilt, but another way to avoid responsibility.
5) “You’re too sensitive.”
This can sting.
Especially when it comes from someone you care about.
Narcissists often use it to belittle your feelings and shift the blame on you for being too soft, gentle, and snowflake-like.
Let’s be clear: being sensitive is not a mistake at all. It means that you are empathetic, intuitive and capable of deep connections.
However, narcissists twist something good into something negative to invalidate your reactions and emotions and, once again, make it all your fault.
So when they say, “You’re too sensitive,” they’re really saying, “Stop making me responsible for my actions.”
They avoid acknowledging how they probably hurt you and instead make you feel guilty for feeling hurt.
But realize that empathy and sensitivity are strengths.
Don’t let anyone use them against you and protect what is probably a good and golden heart within you.
6) “I was just kidding.”
Accompanied by an eye roll.
Narcissists often use humor as a shield for their hurtful comments or actions.
When called out for their insensitive comments, they resort to saying something like, “I was just kidding,” which makes it seem like you’re the one who can’t take a joke.
You’re the one with a wicked sense of humor.
You’re too tense.
You’re so boring.
This hateful tactic is used to belittle you and make you doubt your interpretation of the situation. It’s a way for them to escape responsibility for their offensive actions or words by making it seem like you’re overreacting or otherwise unpleasant.
But jokes are meant to be funny and bring people joy – not to hurt feelings.
If someone consistently hides behind humor to justify their hurtful behavior (usually attacking or belittling you), remember that it is not your lack of understanding, but their unwillingness to take responsibility for their actions.
7) “You’re just jealous.”
If they cannot escape through distraction or blame, narcissists will begin to express that you are jealous of them in some way. Of their lives. From their friends. The list continues…
They use this expression to deflect blame and belittle your intentions, because they can humiliate you and your concerns by claiming that you are jealous.
So if you bring up an issue, instead of addressing it, they may try to dismiss it by attributing it to your perceived jealousy.
Don’t let this perceived accusation of jealousy stop you from expressing your feelings and standing up for yourself.
Remind yourself: You have every right to express your concerns without being labeled jealous.
8) “No one else has a problem with it.”
Narcissists often use this expression as a way to gaslight you by thinking that you are the only one in the entire world who has a problem with their behavior or actions.
They try to isolate your concerns as an anomaly, suggesting that since no one else has raised an issue, the problem must be yours. Just like you have no sense of humor, exaggerate, are too sensitive, etc.
But know that just because others (as far as you know) haven’t raised concerns doesn’t mean they don’t share them.
Trust your instincts, stick to your guns and don’t let this manipulative phrase make you doubt your judgment.
9) “You always take things the wrong way.”
Again, a way to shift the blame and make you the bad guy who can’t communicate or understand things properly…
This statement is a classic narcissistic tactic to shift blame and discredit your feelings.
By suggesting that you misinterpret their actions or words, they avoid responsibility and place the blame on you. They are then spotless and have no share in the problems that arise.
But trust that your feelings and perceptions are valid. You don’t always take things the wrong way, and you’re allowed to feel things the way you do.
And especially when it comes to interactions with a narcissist, sometimes things go terribly wrong.
10) “It’s your fault.”
Summing up, we can safely conclude that narcissists are experts who at least try to avoid making a mistake. Always. At any price.
Therefore, they use this hurtful expression to blame others for their own failures. It is a direct and extremely cruel attempt to shift all responsibility onto you while they escape unmolested.
The reality is that we are all responsible for our own actions, decisions and failures.
The sooner we learn to accept our role in things and take responsibility, the better.
No one else can be blamed for the choices we make, nor should we take the blame for other people.
Catching a narcissist red-handed
Hats off if these sentences sound familiar.
(Hopefully not in your own vocabulary.)
But if you recognize someone around you who uses similar expressions, keep an eye out and be on the lookout.
Narcissists make difficult friends and partners, and will often act sweet and sappy until it comes down to accepting blame or using others to their advantage.
But hopefully you can gain a little more knowledge about the devious ways narcissists manipulate others and play mind games.
With knowledge of the above phrases, you will also be much better equipped to spot a narcissist in their tracks and maneuver yourself out from under them.
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