Handling even the most superficial conversation with a narcissist often feels like an uphill battle. They are usually opinionated and quick to play the victim if the conversation goes wrong. What’s more, they are always ready to turn the tables on you and use anything you might have said against you.
That’s precisely why you need to be prepared every time you engage with a person who has narcissistic traits. If you’ve struggled in the past or have been conversationally steamrolled before, these ten phrases to disarm a narcissist will come in handy.
Remember, NO is a full sentence. You don’t have to add anything to it because the more you say, the more ammunition you give to the narcissist. If they are making you uncomfortable or insisting that they are right and you are wrong, you can just refuse to engage.
Sometimes arguing with a narcissist is actually the worst thing you can do to yourself (and your emotional wellbeing). It’s pointless to try to persuade them that they are wrong. It’s even more pointless trying to get them to see that they did something wrong. So, disengage.
2. “I don’t agree with your opinion, but you have every right to it, just like I have the right to mine.”
Saying “no” sometimes isn’t enough. That’s why you might have to use other phrases to disarm a narcissist. The vital thing to remember is that you mustn’t agree with them. You can’t validate their opinion.
However, you also shouldn’t argue. So the best thing to do is use neutral statements. Telling them how they are entitled to their opinion is an excellent way to get them to stop bugging you.
3. “I understand that your point of view seems right to you, and I understand that you fully believe what you’re saying.”
Because people with narcissistic traits want to react to what you’re saying, every word that leaves your mouth is potentially damaging to you. In other words, everything you say will make them act defensive. They’ll defend their opinions or behavior even more aggressively.
So, use this type of phrase to disarm a narcissist because it isn’t easy to react to. They will have nothing to latch onto.
4. “Let’s just agree to disagree.”
Firmly setting a boundary is vital. If you show a narcissist that you don’t want to engage with them while also refusing to validate their opinion, sooner or later, they’ll have to give up.
Just make sure you stick to the phrase above and not say anything else.
5. “I hear you.”
More than anything else, a narcissist wants to feel validated. However, since you can’t really validate their opinion or behavior, you have to validate them instead. That’s one of the ways to get them to back off.
Telling a person with narcissistic traits that you hear them and understand what they are saying (even if you disagree with it) will feed their egomania. And, as a nice bonus, it won’t put too much strain on you.
6. “Everything is OK.”
When narcissists think they are losing an argument, they’ll try to fight dirty. That means they’ll use their words specifically to hurt you to get you to back off. In their minds, that’s a win.
By telling them that everything is OK, you’re actually saying that you see they’ve lost control. You’re essentially cutting them off and stopping them from spiraling even further.
7. “I’m very sorry you feel that way, but that’s not within my control.”
One of the best phrases to disarm a narcissist is the one that makes them take responsibility. Narcissists are notoriously big on avoiding blame. Because they see themselves as “always right” and practically infallible, taking responsibility never even occurs to them.
Well, that just means you have to make it occur to them. By telling a narcissist that their feelings are not within your control, you’re telling them that you’re not the one responsible for them. They are accountable, so it’s also their responsibility to manage them.
8. “Thank you for letting me know what you think. I’ll definitely consider it.”
If a narcissist thinks they’ve managed to achieve something, they’ll let you go out of the clutches of an insufferable argument. But, as we mentioned, you don’t want to agree with them, right?
Instead, tell them the phrase above. It essentially means that you’ll consider their opinion (thus indicating that it’s valid and worthy of your time). However, you aren’t actually saying that their opinion has any merit. Saying you’ll consider it is just as dismissive as all of the other phrases to disarm a narcissist we went over.
9. “I understand that you’re upset, and I’m here to listen.”
Narcissists have a difficult time processing emotions. Because they lack object constancy, they can only process their feelings one at a time. That’s why their emotional outbursts are so powerful and often aggressive.
So, a narcissist can’t really handle both positive and negative feelings simultaneously. Instead, they’ll focus on just one. In the scenario where you’re arguing with them, they’ll probably focus on the negative ones.
To avoid a complete eruption of negativity from them, soothe them by saying that you understand why they are getting emotional.
That is effective because it makes the narcissist lose a bit of control. What’s more, it also tells them that you’re fully aware of that.
Of course, it also validates them, which can be helpful to calm down the situation.
10. “I trust that we can resolve this.”
Showing a narcissist that the argument you’re having won’t make or break your relationship might slow them down. A narcissist doesn’t really care about anything other than being right. So, they might not see the problem at all.
Telling them that you have faith that you’ll resolve the issue together might put some reins on the situation. If you’re lucky, you might get them to work on the problem with you instead of trying to verbally beat you into submission.