Psychologist Reveals Three Red Flag Phrases That Narcissists Say In A Relationship

By maks in Relationships On 21st February 2024

The difficulty often lies in separating your emotional connection from the objective evaluation of their behavior, which is crucial for acknowledging their potentially harmful traits.

It's often challenging to see beyond the emotions and affection you hold for them to notice their toxic behaviors, yet it's crucial to be aware of the signs.

In the heat of arguments, it's common for people to say things they might not mean.

However, psychologists point out that there are specific phrases that, if used frequently, may reveal underlying narcissistic tendencies.

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Narcissism is characterized by an inflated self-view, a deep need for admiration, a belief in one's superiority over others, and a lack of empathy towards others' feelings.

Research indicates that individuals in a relationship with a narcissistic partner are at a heightened risk of experiencing mental health issues due to the potentially emotionally abusive dynamics of the relationship.

There are three phrases to look out for in your potentially narcissistic partner. Credit: Getty Stock Photo

Erin Leonard, a psychologist based in Indiana, has identified a few 'seemingly innocent' phrases that could be red flags, suggesting it might be time to reconsider the relationship.


In her article for Psychology Today, she discusses how challenging it can be to bring up issues with a narcissistic partner, stating:

"Bringing a problem to a narcissistic partner can be painful. It seems to ignite an ugly battle that is rarely fruitful."

She then introduces the three 'extremely manipulative' phrases that should alert you to potential narcissism.

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"I'm sorry you feel that way"

This phrase can come off as dismissive, as Leonard clarifies:

"Instead of the partner putting themselves in your shoes to attempt to understand how you feel, they immediately reject your feeling and label it 'yours'."

She categorizes it as an 'anti-empathetic statement', emphasizing that it shows a lack of willingness to 'understand how you feel or where you are coming from'.

Leonard suggests better ways to communicate misunderstanding, like:

A narcissist will never acknowledge their partner's feelings. Credit: Getty Stock Photo

"I'm not sure why you're upset but I want to understand," or any other expression that validates the partner's emotions.


"You have anger issues"

Narcissists may often become confrontational, even when they are at fault, making their partner feel unjustly treated.

Leonard notes: "Being unfairly attacked when you are not the one who made the mistake can be maddening."

"It is natural to get upset in this situation. Yet often the narcissist takes advantage of this and accuses you of being 'out of control'."

She concludes that in reality, it is the narcissist who is filled with rage and unable to control their emotions.

"You ruined it"

The psychologist mentions that this behavior is an 'attempt to inflict guilt'.

They might also resort to giving the silent treatment or act as if they are 'mortally wounded', exaggerating the seriousness of the situation.


"Either way, they are communicating to you that you are not allowed to confront them or express a feeling in the relationship that they do not like," she explains.

Leonard further advises that discussing issues openly is vital for the health of a relationship.

"If you are punished for attempting to address a problem, it may be your partner who is unable to work out conflict," she points out.