A clinical psychologist has exposed the most common phrases that narcissists use in order to manipulate others – particularly when it comes to their relationships.
Perpetua Neo, from Singapore, claims that all narcissists operate with similar methods, so the tactics they use to reel in their targets are often identical.
‘It’s like they read from the same manual, even though nobody gives them that manual,’ she told Insider. ‘They’re almost programmed in the same way.’
All people have narcissistic traits to some degree, but it is estimated that around one in 200 people in the United States has narcissistic personality disorder.
Perpetua Neo, from Singapore, has revealed the tactics narcissists use to reel in their targets
Perpetua, who works with victims of narcissistic abuse, has set out the phrases that should raise alarm bells throughout the three main phases of an emotionally abusive relationship
It is also important to note that there are significant gender differences when it comes to the prevalence of the condition.
Studies suggest that about 75 percent of diagnoses are among men, according to recent figures.
Perpetua, who works with victims of narcissistic abuse, has set out the phrases that should ring alarm bells throughout the three main phases of an emotionally abusive relationship – the idealization stage, devaluation stage and discard stage.
1. The idealization stage: Beware of ‘love-bombing’ during the early phases
Love-bombing is when someone showers their new partner with romantic gestures, artfully painting a picture of the beautiful future they intend to share, often when they have only known each other weeks or even days.
Perpetua said: ‘Anybody who tries to do it too quickly early on is basically accelerating intimacy, and that is bad news.
‘Anybody who has to do that suggests they are doing something a bit creepy.’
She said that relationships with narcissists will move very quickly.
Perpetua shared that these are the phrases that should set alarm bells ringing if they are said in the first few weeks of a new relationship:
- ‘You’re my soul mate.’
- ‘I’ve never met anyone like you before.’
- ‘You understand me so much better than anyone else.’
- ‘It’s fate that we met.’
- ‘I’ve never felt this way about anyone before.’
- ‘Am I your only friend? You’re my only friend.’
- ‘We don’t need anyone else.’
- ‘You’re so kind, creative, smart, beautiful, and perfect.’
- ‘We’ll be together forever.’
2. The devaluation stage: The narcissist’s true self will start to emerge once their victim is hooked
Those in relationships with narcissists should be prepared for the honeymoon period to be short-lived.
Insults and criticism will soon be introduced but will get weaved seamlessly among the compliments to make their victim believe the relationship is still worth having.
The offending party still wants to keep their partner on side but will make moves to undermine them and, in doing so, reduce their confidence and self-worth.
The offending party still wants to keep their partner onside but will make moves to undermine them during the devaluation stage (stock image)
As a result, this will eventually make their significant other think that any wrongdoing is their own fault.
The perpetrator will play to their advantage and seize any opportunity to leverage their supposed superiority and subvert the other person, keeping them in a constant state of stress.
Red flag phrases during this time include, but are not limited to:
- ‘You’re crazy.’
- ‘You’re too sensitive.’
- ‘No wonder nobody else likes you.’
- ‘My friends hate you, but I always defend you and have your back.’
- ‘You’re so insecure.’
- ‘What’s wrong with you?’
- ‘Aren’t I more important to you than your friends?’
- ‘Your tears won’t work on me. Why are you crying?’
- ‘You’re being so manipulative.’
Another key sign will be that narcissists will attempt to devalue everything their victim likes including their hobbies, interests and even their friends.
But, if called out during this phase, they will usually explain away their behavior by deflecting and instead turning a third party into their scapegoat.
In these moments, they will often default to painting themselves out to be the victim, claiming that any untoward behavior is as a result of how they were treated in the past by their parents or exes.
3. The discard stage: The offending party will likely tire of wearing their victim down
It is during this final phase that insults from a narcissist will be at their worst.
If they are preparing to end the relationship, it is likely that they will make a last-minute play to emerge from the emotional wreckage as the winner.
Some of the most shocking phrases in this instance will be:
- ‘Everybody hates you.’
- ‘You’re a bad person.’
- ‘Nobody else will ever love you.’
- ‘I’m the best you’ll ever have.’
- ‘Have fun being alone for the rest of your life.’
- ‘You did this to yourself.’
Reflecting on this, Perpetua said that the only way to truly free yourself from a narcissist is to leave for good.
Otherwise, ‘you are just kept on your toes, and bending further backwards like a dancing monkey,’ she said.
‘And nothing will ever change – things will just get worse.’