Have you ever sat back and relived conversations with a narcissist, or toxic person in your life, and thought, ‘I could’ve said ______ to them when I had the chance.’? If you have you aren’t alone, and while some comebacks will work against you when speaking with a narc, there are some comebacks that will shut them up, and possibly even leave them speechless.
As self-absorbed, empathy lacking, and attention seeking individuals, narcissists don’t often do much of anything for anyone but themselves, and even if they do, they are doing it because it benefits them somehow, some way down the line. They are master manipulators, and they will stop at nothing to get what they want.
Even worse, is they typically prey on those who are gullible, that love them, and others that have a hard time saying no. If you are dealing with one, you need to either establish healthy boundaries, remove them from your life, or prepare for the worst because you have few options. If you are interested in creating boundaries, keep reading.
1. Use their name.
Narcissists will try to dominate you by taking control of the conversation. Take back control by using their name, and repeating it throughout the conversation.
For readers looking to improve their assertiveness and communication skills in challenging interactions, “The Assertiveness Workbook: How to Express Your Ideas and Stand Up for Yourself at Work and in Relationships” by Randy J. Paterson provides practical advice and exercises.
2. Remind them to stay on topic.
Narcissists will turn things around by mentioning past events. Stop them in their tracks, and bring them back to the topic at hand.
3. ‘Don’t invalidate my emotions.’
When they call you sensitive, or emotional, remind them that you are reacting to the situation through emotions. And don’t allow them to push you over the edge. Stay calm.
4. ‘I am not talking to you until you stop attacking me.’
Narcissists will verbally berate you by tearing down your character, getting louder, and treating you like you are less than human. Stop them when they start and refuse to converse with them until they can treat you like a person.
5. Stop lying.
Narcissists will twist the truth, make things up, and outright lie at the drop of a dime if it means that they are going to get their way. Don’t let them lie to you, and if you know they are lying, tell them. Then, stop talking until you get the truth.
6. Call out their gaslighting.
When a narcissist tells you that your version of reality is made up or calls you crazy, call them out and be firm, but not aggressive. Correct them, but remain calm throughout.
To help readers understand and counteract gaslighting, “Gaslighting: Recognize Manipulative and Emotionally Abusive People – and Break Free” by Stephanie Moulton Sarkis offers insights into identifying and dealing with gaslighting behavior.
7. I will believe it when I see it.
Narcissists will promise to do this, or do that, always attempting to give hope that they will change. Stop believing them at face value, and wait for change to happen before giving in to broken promises.
8. The world doesn’t revolve around you.
It is constantly about what is best for the narcissist and never about what anyone else wants or needs. It may sound obvious, however, sometimes the narcissist needs to be reminded that they are not the only one alive.
For those dealing with self-centered individuals, “Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed” by Wendy T. Behary provides strategies for effectively interacting with narcissistic personalities.
9. Slow down!
When they are trying to get what they want, they may rush you or try to push you into things you aren’t ready for. Stop them in their tracks and ask them to slow down and think things through.
10. Learn the correct way to say no.
We often forget how easy it is to say no. And we may say it, but lack confidence and follow through. However, learning to say no, firmly and confidently can be a true gamechanger when dealing with a narc.
To empower readers in setting boundaries, “Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life” by Henry Cloud and John Townsend is a comprehensive guide on establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries in various relationships.