Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Short Dictionary of Narcissese

I seem to be among the rare people who truly believe that, provided that your narcissist isn't abusive and you're secure in your independence from them, it is possible to remain in touch.

Sure, a real relationship with a narcissist is impossible. And you shouldn't expect one once you know a narcissist's limitations. You can, say, have a wonderful emotional connection with your dog, and not expect to have a meaningful conversation with it. Those are a dog's limitations. With a narcissist, you can't expect either. A narcissist is more like a kitchen appliance. You can't connect with it in any way, but it will work properly if you know which buttons (not) to push.

The most important thing to realize is that narcissists don't inhabit the same world the rest of us do and they don't speak the same language. It sounds similar, which is why we get so confused and hurt and outraged at times. But it's a separate language you must learn if you come into regular contact with a narcissist.

Here are translations of a few commonly used phrases:

"I love you"     =     The narcissistic supply I'm getting from you or through you is satisfactory at the moment. Stay on your toes, because this is subject to change.

Silence     =     You currently don't deserve my love, the most valuable asset in the Universe and the source of all life. You must understand what you did to offend me and then grovel, so I'll deign to love you again. (For "love", see above)

"Why didn't you call / reply to my email (which is just forwarded spam) / reply to my sms (which is a laundry list of my chores and contains no questions) / tell me you're going away for the weekend?"     =     I'm offended that you don't seem to appreciate being my mirror / extension / property as much as you should. 

"But I worry about you"     =     My favorite word. It serves three purposes: it makes YOU feel guilty and responsible for MY emotions; it is "evidence" that I "love" you and you belong to me, even if you think you're independent now; it controls you.

"You may be an adult, but I'll always see you as my child"     =     I'm only interested in a relationship where you are my subordinate / property / extension.

"I just wanted to help"     =     Why won't you submit to my control?

"I'm hurt"     =     I'm offended.

"I'm sensitive"     =     I'm easily offended.

"I'm emotional. An artistic soul. Unlike some callous people."     =     I have a great capacity for being offended.

Feel free to add your own entries.   :)


  1. "You are selfish and cruel" = I don't like when you stand up for yourself.

    Great post!

  2. "You are mean and disrespectful, daughter." = You aren't treating me the way you are supposed to treat me... like the Queen, remember?"

  3. "Don't you know I miss you?" = When you are on the other side of the world, I feel like I cannot control you and get my narcissistic fix.

    "I don't see you because of your poor choices" = If I can't control you, I can at least try to make you feel guilty about it.

  4. Thank you for the input!

    Another of my personal favorites is "I don't mean to criticize, but..." = It's actually true. Criticism can be well-meaning and constructive and focuses on the issue at hand, not the person. What I mean to do is demean you as a person and show you you are nothing without me.

  5. "You misunderstood me." = I will lie if I have to so that I'm right and you're wrong.

  6. "That sounds like a threat" - this is shorthand for "That sounds like a threat to my sole reign over the totality of your being; your mind, body, and soul!

    My father said this after I manically tried to express that I would not be able to keep my life going if I were to continue to try and live up to his standards and expectations.

  7. I am just kidding- I have said something very hurtful and you have caught it. Now I will say I am just kidding to make you feel like you are to sensitive and unable to take a joke

    I just want you to be happy- Which means I only want you to be "happy" as long as it is something that makes me happy.

  8. You're all so right!!!



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