1. Can we agree to be respectful in our conversation?
More of a rhetorical question, because when is a narcissist truly respectful? Establishing boundaries early is essential.
2. We can’t control how we feel about each other.
Setting Boundaries: Their emotions are their responsibility alone and their reaction won’t change your behavior. You only have control over yourself and your reactions. You are not responsible for the biochemistry of other people’s emotions.
3. Just because we are listening, doesn’t mean we have to agree.
Communication: Listening doesn’t equal agreement.
Allow the narcissist to feel heard, but set your boundaries. Using good manners and listening doesn’t require you to agree. Simply stating you hear what is being said can sometimes be enough in that moment.
4. We both have a right to our own opinions.
Everyone is entitled to feel however they choose, sometimes emotions are hard. Letting them feel heard is just as important as being heard yourself.
Power and control are a narcissist’s favorite tools, so make it clear that your opinions are to be respected as well as their own.
5. I can accept how you feel.
Arguing with a narcissist is pointless, so cut them off early by accepting that you are not responsible for their emotions.
6. I’m sorry you feel that way.
Make the narcissist responsible for their own emotions. You don’t control their thoughts or biochemistry, setting boundaries while still feeling sorry for someone else.
7. Your anger is not my responsibility.
Tensions can run high when dealing with a narcissist. Ground yourself and the conversation by setting a clear boundary of your responsibilities.
8. We can agree to disagree.
People are entitled to their opinions, however wrong you believe them to be. Don’t waste your energy trying to convince a narcissist that they are wrong.
9. I can see where you are coming from.
Understanding and agreement are not mutually exclusive. Take away a narcissist’s power by relaying that you’ve heard their perspective.
10. I want to share how I feel.
Avoid describing yourself as a victim and try your best to not assign blame for your feelings. Try to stick with describing your emotions towards the events in question as opposed to how the narcissist made you feel.
11. I don’t like how you’re speaking to me with anger so I will not engage.
Set this boundary and stick to it. Respect is a two way street, you are entitled to the same respect as anyone else.
12. I am not going to argue anymore.
You are never under any obligation to continue a conversation if you feel uncomfortable. Standing in your way as you exit is considered a form of physical violence in many areas. Let them know intimidation is not acceptable.