Surviving Narcissistic Arguments: Identifying Manipulative Phrases and Coping Strategies


Manipulative Phrases Narcissists Use in Arguments

Arguments with a narcissist can be incredibly frustrating and confusing. They can use manipulative tactics to control and dominate the conversation, leaving you feeling powerless and uncertain about what just happened.

In this article, we will explore some of the common manipulative phrases narcissists use during arguments, and how you can identify and respond to them.

Common Manipulative Phrases

One of the most common ways a narcissist will try to control an argument is by using manipulative phrases. They may use language that makes you feel guilty, confused, or insecure, in order to gain the upper hand in the conversation.

Examples of Manipulative Phrases:

  • “You’re just being oversensitive.”
  • “You’re trying to start a fight.”
  • “I can’t believe you don’t trust me.”
  • “You’re always blowing things out of proportion.”
  • “You’re just looking for things to be upset about.”

When a narcissist uses these phrases, they are trying to manipulate your emotions. They are trying to make you feel like you are the problem, or that your concerns are invalid.

It’s important to recognize these tactics, and to respond by setting boundaries and standing up for yourself.

Gaslighting Phrases

Gaslighting is a tactic used by narcissists to confuse and disorient their victims. They may use language that makes you question your sanity or memory, in order to undermine your confidence and make you easier to manipulate.

Examples of Gaslighting Phrases:

  • “I never said that.”
  • “You’re just making things up.”
  • “You must be remembering it wrong.”
  • “You’re being paranoid.”

If you hear these phrases, it’s important to take a step back and remind yourself of what actually happened. Don’t let the narcissist control your perceptions or memories.

You can also respond by calmly pointing out the evidence that supports your perspective, and by setting boundaries around what you are or aren’t willing to discuss.

Blame-Shifting Phrases

When a narcissist is caught doing something wrong, they will often try to deflect blame onto someone else. They may use language that makes you feel guilty or responsible for their behavior, even when you had nothing to do with it.

Examples of Blame-Shifting Phrases:

  • “You’re the one who made me do it.”
  • “If you hadn’t acted that way, I wouldn’t have had to do what I did.”
  • “You’re never satisfied, no matter what I do.”
  • “Why are you always trying to control me?”

Don’t fall for these manipulations. If the narcissist is behaving inappropriately or hurtfully, it’s not your fault.

You can respond by setting clear boundaries and holding them accountable for their actions. Don’t let them make you feel like you are to blame for their behavior.

De-Escalation Phrases

When things get heated during an argument with a narcissist, it’s important to have some de-escalation phrases ready to go. These are phrases that can help calm the situation down, set boundaries, and assert your needs.

Examples of De-Escalation Phrases:

  • “Let’s take a break and come back to this later.”
  • “I don’t want to argue anymore, let’s talk about something else.”
  • “I’m not comfortable talking about that right now.”
  • “That’s not a topic I’m willing to discuss.”

Using these phrases can help you regain control of the conversation and protect your boundaries. Don’t let the narcissist push you into a conversation or situation that you don’t want to be in.

Remember, your needs and feelings matter too.

Narcissistic Fighting Tactics

In addition to using manipulative phrases, narcissists may also use other tactics to control arguments. These can include things like blame shifting, the silent treatment, and emotional abuse.


Blame-shifting is a common tactic used by narcissists in order to avoid taking responsibility for their actions. They may try to make you feel guilty or responsible for their behavior, even if you had nothing to do with it.

Don’t let them manipulate you. Remember that you are not responsible for their behavior, and set clear boundaries around what you are willing to accept.

Silent Treatment

The silent treatment is a form of emotional abuse that narcissists may use to punish or control their victims. They may stop communicating with you altogether, and refuse to acknowledge your existence.

This can be incredibly hurtful and damaging to your mental health. If you are in a situation where you are experiencing the silent treatment, it’s important to reach out for support and comfort from friends, family, or a therapist.


Dealing with a narcissist during an argument can be incredibly challenging. They may use manipulative language and tactics to control the conversation, leaving you feeling powerless and helpless.

By recognizing these manipulations and setting clear boundaries around what you are willing to accept, you can protect yourself and regain control of the conversation. Remember, your needs and feelings matter too.

Impact of Narcissistic Behavior

Narcissistic behavior can have a profound impact on the people around them. Narcissistic individuals are often skilled at manipulation, gaslighting, emotional blackmailing, and ridiculing others.

These behaviors can have long-lasting effects on their victims, including damaged trust, lowered self-esteem, confusion, and emotional abuse.


Manipulation is one of the hallmarks of narcissistic behavior. Narcissists are skilled at using language and tactics that make the other person feel like they are in the wrong, or that their concerns are not valid.

This can lead to the victim feeling like they are not in control of the situation, and can ultimately damage their ability to trust others. Victims of narcissistic behavior may find themselves constantly second-guessing their own thoughts and feelings, leading to a lowered sense of self-esteem.


Gaslighting is another common behavior associated with narcissistic individuals. It involves manipulating the other person’s memories or perception of events.

This can be incredibly confusing and disorienting for the victim, who may start to question their own sanity or recall of the situation.

Gaslighting can lead to long-lasting confusion and emotional abuse for the victim.

Emotional Blackmailing

Emotional blackmailing is a tactic used by narcissists to control their victims. They may use language or other tactics that make the victim feel afraid, vulnerable, or guilty.

For example, they may use threats or guilt-tripping to get the victim to do what they want. Emotional blackmailing can lead to long-lasting feelings of fear and anxiety, and can be incredibly damaging to the victim’s emotional health.

Ridicule and Belittlement

Narcissistic individuals may also use ridicule and belittlement to control others. They may make fun of or criticize the victim in front of others, or use language that makes the victim feel small or insignificant.

This can lead to a lowered sense of self-esteem and feeling emotionally abused.

Dealing with a Narcissist

Dealing with a narcissist can be difficult, but there are some strategies that can help. Here are some ways to cope with narcissistic behavior:

Setting Boundaries

Setting boundaries is an important way to protect yourself from narcissistic behavior. This involves setting limits around what behaviors you are willing to tolerate, and communicating them clearly to the other person.

Setting boundaries shows that you respect yourself, and that you won’t tolerate behavior that is damaging to your emotional health.

De-Escalating Arguments

When arguments with a narcissist start to get heated, it’s important to have some de-escalation strategies in place. This can involve using calming language, taking a break from the conversation, or steering the conversation towards a different topic.

By de-escalating the situation, you can regain control of the conversation and protect yourself from further emotional abuse.

Keeping a Safe Distance

Sometimes the best way to cope with narcissistic behavior is to keep a safe distance from the person. This may involve taking a break from the relationship, or limiting your interactions with them.

This can be challenging, but ultimately it’s important to prioritize your own emotional health and well-being. In conclusion, narcissistic behavior can have a profound impact on the people around them.

It’s important to recognize the signs of narcissistic behavior, and to develop strategies for coping with it. Whether it’s setting boundaries, de-escalating arguments, or keeping a safe distance, there are ways to protect yourself from narcissistic behavior and maintain control of the situation.

Remember, your emotional health matters, and you deserve to be treated with respect. In conclusion, this article has explored the impact of narcissistic behavior and strategies for dealing with it.

Narcissistic individuals often use manipulative, gaslighting, and belittling behavior to control others, leading to damaged trust, confusion, and emotional abuse. Coping strategies include setting boundaries, de-escalating arguments, and keeping a safe distance.

By recognizing the signs of narcissistic behavior and developing strategies for dealing with it, individuals can protect their emotional health and well-being. It’s important to prioritize self-respect and to remember that no one deserves to be treated with emotional abuse or manipulation.

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