Dealing with a narcissist can be challenging and emotionally draining. They have a tendency to manipulate, control, and put down those around them. However, setting boundaries with a narcissist is crucial, as it can help you protect your emotional well-being and prevent them from taking advantage of you.
What is the definition of a narcissist?
Narcissistic people exist everywhere, but it’s important to understand that many people have narcissistic traits, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they have personality disorders that would classify them as a narcissist. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Narcissistic Personality Disorder can be defined according to the DSM-5 as, “a pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5).”
Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental illness that needs to be taken seriously.
It is characterized by self-centeredness, grand ideas that lack reality, trying to control other people, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, and the need to control others. They usually only care about themselves, and create unhealthy dynamics and toxic relationships. The best option in dealing with a narcissist is to learn ways to interact that won’t escalate emotions and create more unhealthy dynamics.
The best way to set boundaries with a narcissist is by using specific phrases that clearly communicate your needs and expectations.
These phrases can help you stay grounded and assertive in your interactions with a narcissist, without getting drawn into their manipulative tactics. Narcissistic individuals don’t usually care too much about your feelings, and what is best for you, so the best thing you can do is to figure out how to draw firm boundaries with these toxic people, and avoid succumbing to their manipulation tactics. You can do this by coming up with some good comebacks to always have on hand that will help diffuse the situation.
Narcissists thrive on conflict
It’s important to remember that clear boundaries are the only way to break their patterns of behavior. If all else fails, walking away my be the only option. When you’re an empathic person in a toxic relationship with a narcissist, you’re in danger of losing your sense of self. Victims of narcissistic abuse have low self-esteem and struggle to get out of the narcissistic relationship because they don’t feel strong enough to do so.
However, you are stronger than you think, and despite their narcissistic tendencies, narcissists can and should be shut down with common phrases that take the control away from them and gives it back to you. But, even if you’re not dealing with a narcissist, and just need some everyday language to deal with difficult people in your life, these phrases can help you best set healthy boundaries and start the healing process of finding your way back to your true self that deserves to be in a good relationship.
So, what are the best boundary-setting phrases to say to a narcissist? Here are eight phrases to consider:
“I’m not comfortable with that.”
This simple phrase can be used in a variety of situations. If a narcissist is trying to push you to do something you’re not comfortable with, or if they are invading your personal space, saying “I’m not comfortable with that” can help you communicate your boundaries clearly and assertively.
“I need some space right now.”
If a narcissist is overwhelming you with their demands, or if you simply need a break from their constant negativity, saying “I need some space right now” can be an effective way to set boundaries. This phrase communicates that you’re not willing to tolerate their behavior at the moment, and that you need some time to yourself.
“I’m not interested in discussing this any further.”
Narcissists can be incredibly persistent when they want something, and they often try to wear down their targets with endless arguments and debates. If you find yourself getting drawn into a never-ending discussion with a narcissist, saying “I’m not interested in discussing this any further” can help you cut off the conversation and assert your boundaries.
“I can’t do that right now.”
Narcissists often try to push their targets into doing things for them, whether it’s running errands, doing favors, or taking on extra responsibilities. Or maybe it’s just simply taking advantage of your kindness. Saying “I can’t do that right now” can help you communicate that you’re not willing to be their servant, or the person they dump on, and that you have your own priorities and responsibilities to attend to.
“I don’t appreciate the way you’re talking to me.”
Narcissists often use verbal abuse as a way to control and manipulate those around them. If you’re on the receiving end of their insults, put-downs, or condescending remarks, saying “I don’t appreciate the way you’re talking to me” can help you assert your boundaries and communicate that their behavior is not acceptable.
“That’s not okay with me.”
If a narcissist is trying to guilt-trip you, manipulate you, or cross a boundary that you’re not comfortable with, saying “That’s not okay with me” can help you stand up for yourself and communicate your needs clearly. This phrase asserts that you have a right to your own feelings and boundaries, and that the narcissist’s behavior is not acceptable.
“I need you to stop doing that.”
Narcissists often try to control and manipulate those around them by using passive-aggressive tactics, such as giving you the silent treatment or withholding affection. If you’re on the receiving end of these tactics, saying “I need you to stop doing that” can help you assert your boundaries and communicate that their behavior is not acceptable.
“I’m going to hang up/leave now.”
If a narcissist is pushing your buttons or trying to draw you into an argument, saying “I’m going to hang up/leave now” can be an effective way to cut off the conversation and protect your emotional well-being. This phrase communicates that you’re not willing to engage with their manipulative tactics any further.
Narcissists thrive on conflict and what they really want is for your to continue to engage with them in order to fuel the fire. An exit strategy out of a conversation that is going in circle is a great way to take away what they really want – all the attention and control.
“I’m sorry you feel that way.”
While this may seem like letting the narcissist win, it’s actually a great way to end a conversation with a narcissist that is giving you a hard time, or making the situation all about them without considering your feelings. But, if you can shut it down, while making the narcissist feel like you’ve heard them, you have a better chance of getting our of an emotional roller coaster with one of these master manipulators.
Setting boundaries with a narcissist is essential for your emotional well-being.
Using specific phrases to say to a narcissist can help you communicate your needs and expectations clearly and assertively. These phrases can help you stay grounded and protect yourself from the manipulation and control of a narcissist.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that setting boundaries with a narcissist is often easier said than done. Narcissists are skilled at pushing people’s buttons, and they often react negatively when their targets try to assert their boundaries. They may try to guilt-trip you, manipulate you, or use other tactics to get their way.
Narcissists may even get others to help them in reaching their goals. So watch out for their flying monkeys. To be honest, even the best phrases to say to a narcissist go unheard by them.
It’s important to be prepared for the possibility of a negative reaction from the narcissist when you set your boundaries.
You may need to restate your boundaries several times, and you may need to be firm and assertive in order to get your point across. And, the most important thing is that you have to stick to your boundaries every single time you are dealing with the family member or friend that might be the narcissist.
Setting boundaries with a narcissist is not a one-time event though, so it’s good to have a bunch of phrases to say to a narcissist when they push those boundaries.
You will likely need to continue asserting your boundaries on an ongoing basis, as narcissists have a tendency to test and push their targets’ limits.
Finally, it’s important to take care of yourself emotionally when dealing with a narcissist.
Setting boundaries can be emotionally draining, and it’s important to have a support system in place to help you through the process. This may include friends, family, or a therapist who can provide you with emotional support and help you stay grounded in the face of the narcissist’s manipulation.
Setting boundaries with a narcissist and having these phrases to say to a narcissist on hand when they are actively trying to manipulate and control you is an essential step in protecting your emotional well-being.
So, next time your narcissistic parents, family, or friends tries to trap you with a manipulative tactic, or abusive conversation, just know that you can take your power back by simply disengaging, holding strong to your own personal boundaries, and using these phrases to get you out of that abusive relationship.