Out of the Mouths of Narcissists – Common Phrases

Along the way in my relationship with my ex, I came to terms with the relationship having been abusive.  I also came to realize that my ex likely has narcissistic personality disorder, borderline, some antisocial traits and perhaps bipolar as well.  When I read the book “The Wizard of Oz”, I remember being shocked in the common traits of those with narcissistic personality disorder.  I was even further amazed to find that oftentimes, there are phrases common to almost every narcissist.  Spooky, right?

One important thing to remember is that many of these phrases are simply projections.  For example … when you’re ex says “You’re a control freak!” or “You have serious issues!”.  Simply take a deep breath and remember two things – one is that “they are reflecting on themselves”, and two is how statistically speaking it’s quite likely that someone else in the world is hearing the exact same phrase as you from another narcissist.   I wish the latter wasn’t true, but it is what it is.  Third, (did I say three things or two? 😉 ) consider these as red flags for the next relationship.

There are several bloggers/authors who have listed out the common phrases already:





Now, I will share my own list of phrases I’ve heard often and have also read in books where I found myself shocked to read the same phrase and realized that my ex just wasn’t as unique as I thought.  My thoughts/comments are in parenthesis:

  • “You’re a control freak” (he’s projecting his own issues and needs for control)
  • “It’s really exhausting being around someone who thinks they know it all” (projection: my ex could take one point of reference and pretend to be an expert in the topic)
  • “I can’t trust you” (yep … projection)
  • “Deliver the children” (they are possesions, not people… “the” children)
  • “What’s wrong with you?” (maybe some part projecting his own issues and some part devaluing me)
  • “I’m only trying to help” (I don’t have an interpretation on this one.  I think he just says it to throw me off guard and seem like the good guy)
  • Accusations of being uncooperative, or of grilling the children (again, more projections)
  • “We don’t need any of your shit” (dear God, if this isn’t my ex projecting his issues on me, I don’t know what is!)
  • “It didn’t mean anything to me, I don’t understand why it matters to you”  (reflective of the fact that he has a shallow sense of self, and the words he screams out there really don’t mean anything – they are just there for the moment to get what he wants)
  • “I’m just trying to tell you want you want to hear” (the first day I heard this, my internal jaw dropped.  We were having a discussion on instilling morals and character in our children and I realized he was only mimicking back or relaying back whatever I would say because he really couldn’t understand any truly people oriented topic)
  • “I’m a great catch, anyone would want to have me.” (desperation)
  • “You’re too <fill in the blank> fat, protective, overbearing, controlling, redneck-y, ignorant, etc. (simply meant to lower my self-esteem while making himself feel better)
  • “Your not the expert” / “Do you know how exhausting it is to be around someone who always thinks they know everything?” (has to be some amount of projection here, but these comments are usually related to times when I am asking to follow some recommendation)

The one I hear most often these days as a result of our co-parenting (ha!) relationship:  “I do not consent”.   Oh, and the one I hear relayed most from my ex’s attorney?  “he just wants something in return.”  Whatever….

Nonetheless, recognizing these as they are being said can provide for a fun way to remove yourself from reacting to the statement and help to look at it objectively for what it really is.  It can also make for a really good chuckle, which is really the best part of life anyway, right?  Laughter 🙂

p.s. I really have run like hell from a guy I met online who told me he was a good catch!  I already felt a bit uneasy in our conversations, so that was a scorching red flag to me…

6 Responses to “Out of the Mouths of Narcissists – Common Phrases”

  1. Ava says:

    Mine just got right down to it, not only to me, but to my mother, friends, neighbors and anyone who would listen, very frequently his co-workers. His most common mantra is: “you are mentally ill and you need to be put on medication.” It continues, with “you are angry, bitter, borderline personality disorder.” “You are religious” This was later followed in court by “she never even goes to church.” The worst is that he now tells all of this to our son. He claims, on the court record, that he is the single person that is looking out for the best interests of his son. He says that his son will come home and complain because his brothers don’t even talk. Oh, and “She is an obstacle to my son having a normal life.”

    • That goes right back to the narcissistic personality who works to alienate the child against the normal parent. It’s so obvious to so many that work on these types of cases, but yet the court and many others get fooled. I have heard those same words – that I am bipolar, have issues, causing all the issues in our children (and uses the argument that they are with me 80% of the time, so it must be me doing it).

  2. Grace says:

    Yes, yes, YES.

    The most common phrase (both during our marriage and even now, divorced, is “you EVOKED that from me”. If my feelings were hurt, if he was abusive, if he crossed the line in any way, it was MY fault for evoking that reaction.

    I was also too sensitive, too happy, too unaware, and ignorant. I apparently have bad skin, bad fashion sense, and bad business sense.

    I’m boring, bad in bed, and no one likes me.

    I am now regularly accused of creating conflict (by enforcing our decree?), and told I am a narcissist (though HE has a diagnosis.

    On the flip side, through the years he told me I was smart, beautiful, talented, desirable, and commended me on getting along well with people.

    I don’t hear that anymore ;). It’s worth the trade off though

    • oooohhh ! Good ones! Yes – I remember “you’re too sensitive” as a big ah-ha for me personally. It was usually used because I was upset that he was a complete jerk to me, and he was trying to make me feel like an idiot for being upset by it and execting to be treated with respect.

  3. Tired of N's ridiculous statements says:

    Have had a few similar phrases from my ex N especially when it comes to physical appearances. Will never forget how he was “trying” to make me feel good about me when it was a complete put down. Upon a conversation about going to the gym (to make a long story short), he asked if i was going for the evening. I said no because I had friends from out of the country visiting. He replies, “UGH! how are you gonna stay hot like me?”…. Now, he’s never exercised and was slightly overweight during the entire relationship between me and him over 10 years. Another good one just recently, he commented that someday I will have a boyfriend who looks as good as him…. Do you know how much it took me to hold my tongue and not say to him, “yes, I hope I don’t have another nutjob like you.” He would often call himself the machine….

    Lo and behold, I got the “you have mental issues”, just recently…. it’s all I can do is chuckle. As hard as it is sometimes to not take it personally, I just have to remember he is trying to find anything and everything wrong with me to relieve his guilt and defecting pain onto me. He is trying to make himself feel better by convincing himself that everything he says about me is true. Now who has mental issues?

    • AMEN! You are right – it is hard not to take it personally sometimes. However, the person who will question themselves and consider whether a statement made about them is true or not is normal. So, give yourself credit and then move on to remembering it’s projection 🙂 Amen on the mental issues!!

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