Narcissists are adept at using insults to hurt you and get their way. I’ve experienced more than my fair share of narcissistic insults in my time. Here are the 10 most common types of narcissistic insults that I have encountered, and what to do about them.
You Don’t Measure Up to Me
Narcissist absolutely love to insult people by comparing them — unfavorably — to themselves.
Some examples of this might be —
- “You did about as good as I did when I was starting” (when you are experienced)
- “You might be competition for me some day”
- “I can’t understand how people do as badly as you!”
The Backhanded Insult
The backhanded insult is a complement on its face, but really a cutting insult at its core.
Some examples of a backhanded insult are —
- “This is far better than your usual work”
- “I respect you for how hard you try to be decent at …”
- “That skirt actually makes you look thin!”
The “Better than I Expected” Insult
This form of insult implies that you don’t usually do very well, and that this time you is an anomaly.
Some examples of a better than I expected insult are —
- “I never expected you to make it this far”
- “Your doing better than I expected, for someone your age”
- “This is far better than what we are used to from you”
One way that a narcissist will insult you is by being comically bored or uninterested by what you have to offer them. They are more likely to use this when you are speaking, and they are not the center of attention as they wish they could be.
Some examples of a boredom based insult are —
- “Won’t you just be quiet already”
- “You are putting me to sleep”
- “How can you go on and on like that”
This form of insult may also be primarily or only body language based:
- Sleepy looks
- Leaning back and looking around
Narcissists will also signal their superiority by being fed up with just how dumb you are. This form of insult centers around them judging you indirectly by fixating on how you should be faster than you are.
Some examples of impatience based insults include —
- “Can’t you just get it right already?”
- “How many times do you have to go over this?”
- “Just hurry up why don’t you”
Physical signs of impatience might include —
- Rolling their eyes
- Tapping their foot
- Crossed arms
- Exasperated looks and movements
Ignoring or Giving the Cold Shoulder
One very common form of insult is when a narcissist gives you the cold shoulder. While shunning is not always a form of insult, when a narcissist uses it, it is almost always used as a form of dominance and public shaming.
A narcissist uses the silent treatment to show everyone just how 1) dominant they are 2) how worthless you are 3) as a warning not to mess with them.
I’ve written in depth about how narcissists employ the cold shoulder at work, and what to do about it here —
- When Your Narcissist Boss is Giving You the Silent Treatment
- Why You Narcissist Coworker Is Ignoring You & What To Do About It
The reflex for disgust is a powerful subconscious signal that narcissists use to insult and degrade you. True disgust almost always has a connection with lack of hygiene, propensity for disease, or food variety. However, at times disgust can be linked with race or cultural origin, piggybacking on the core subconscious issues.
Because disgust leverages a deeper psychological reflex than many other forms of insult, it can be very powerful.
Some examples of feigned disgust are —
- “Don’t you ever wash?”
- “I can hardly stand how dirty you are”
- “Try cleaning up once and a while”
- “How can you eat that”
- “Why do you people …”
Another powerful insult used by narcissists is the direct rejection. Direct rejection insults are where the narcissist states to your face that you just don’t meet their standards. That you aren’t good enough, and are embarrassing to be around.
Some examples of direct rejection include —
- “You just aren’t good enough for …”
- “No wonder no one loves you”
- “I wouldn’t want to be seen with you”
When a narcissist is being passive aggressive, and wants to insult you while trying to seem like you friend, they may pull out the over exaggerated praise.
This form of narcissistic insult makes you seem bad because they are giving you so much attention for something that isn’t really that special. Like you might praise a child or some with mental disabilities when they accomplish a very ordinary task.
Examples of exaggerated success include —
- “This is really amazing” (when it isn’t)
- “You are doing really well!”
- “This may be your greatest work”
A narcissist may also mock or make fun you as a way of getting under your skin. This may take the form of:
- Laughing or jeering at the way you look, walk, or talk
- Repeating what you say in a funny voice
- Making jokes about you
They will often try to pass their insults off a just harmless fun. Or make it seem like you are being up tight.
- “We are just messing around”
- “Lighten up”
- “Don’t you have a sense of humor”
How to Deal with Narcissistic Insults
The best way to deal with narcissistic insults is to not react. When they realize you are a boring target, and don’t provide the drama they crave, they will move on to other victims. Also, you need to develop appropriate boundaries and attempt to remove yourself from situations where a narcissist is likely to attack you.
For more information and one-on-one coaching to help you overcome narcissists in your life, see the following link: