Home > Uncategorized > How Narcissists Use and Twist Words

How Narcissists Use and Twist Words

how narcisissists borderlines use and twist wordsCommunicating with narcissists . . . why do we bother? I’m exhausted just thinking about it. Between their penchant for tossing word salad, pathological lying, broken promises, deliberate provocations, pretzel twisting words, putting words in your mouth that were never there — it’s both pointless and exhausting. Unless, of course, the narcissist or borderline is making your divorce/custody case arguments by kindly documenting their crazy for you, in which case there’s some value in communicating. But only if you’ve got your emotions in check and know how to practice BIFF communication (brief, informative, firm, friendly business civil). And only if you’ve broken your JADE habit (justifying, arguing, defending, explaining).

It’s important to be deliberate and precise with the words we use. Words have meaning. It’s how we facilitate comprehension and avoid misunderstandings. It’s how we negotiate getting our wants and needs met. It’s how we share ideas, teach and counsel others. One of my instant credibility breakers is when someone, say a visitor to the Shrink4Men Facebook page, posts a false or just plain wrong statement about me and my work and, when challenged, becomes indignant and accuses me of splitting hairs over their use of words. How many people reading this have had a narcissistic or borderline partner, ex or parent snap at you, “I know what I said, but it’s not what I meant!” when you call them on their BS?

Everyone uses words to communicate, including narcissists, psychopaths and borderlines. However, narcissists et al frequently use words differently than normal people (i.e., non-disordered) do. Not all narcissists, psychopaths and borderlines do the following things all of the time. But enough of them do often enough, which is why we write books and articles about these topics using generalizations. In my personal and clinical observations, there are five primary differences in how narcissists and other immature and unstable personalities communicate.


 Dr Tara J Palmatier_Shrink4Men_02Counseling with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of abusive relationships, coping with the stress of abusive relationships or healing from abusive relationships. Coaching individuals through high-conflict divorce and custody cases is also an area of expertise. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for more information.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Bras
    May 16, 2018 at 2:06 am

    Hi Tara,
    I know exactly what you are saying and thank you for that. Just the other night my wife was cooking beans in the fry pan with a little oil added. She was just about to add some other vegetables which contained a little water and I said no don’t do that it will splatter everywhere. But went ahead anyway. Of course it started to spit oil everywhere and she shouted with ” get something to cover it, quickly. Come on hurry up”. I found a splatter cover within 5 seconds but somehow it was all my fault. She said “You knew it was going to splatter but you still didn’t get something to cover it, I didn’t think you were that doughy”. Yet even after I said to her not to add the vegies yet, she went ahead and did it anyway and blamed me. SIGGHHHH!!

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