What to Say to a Narcissist to Shut Them Down Permanently

Dealing with a narcissist can be like navigating a maze of ego and manipulation. However, it’s crucial to understand that you have the power to shut them down. This article aims to equip you with practical and straightforward strategies to handle conversations with narcissists effectively. From initiating the conversation to maintaining the right mindset, we’ll explore 10 simple yet powerful things to say that can shut down a narcissist permanently. Remember, you’re not doing anything wrong – it’s about setting healthy boundaries.

How to Begin a Conversation with Them

Start with a Positive Tone

Begin your conversation on a positive note. Narcissists often respond better when they feel acknowledged and praised. Use phrases like “I appreciate your input” or “I value your perspective” to set a cooperative tone.

Express Empathy

Show empathy by acknowledging their feelings. You can say, “I understand this is important to you,” or “I see that you’re passionate about this.” This helps in establishing a connection before addressing any issues.

Mindset When Dealing with Them

Maintain Calmness

Narcissists thrive on emotional reactions, so it’s crucial to stay calm. Take deep breaths if needed, and avoid reacting impulsively. Responding with a level-headed approach will keep you in control of the conversation.

Establish Boundaries

Understand that setting boundaries is not only okay but necessary. Recognize your limits and communicate them clearly. Say, “I need some space to think about this” or “Let’s discuss this later when we’re both calm.”

10 Things to Say to Shut Them Down

Dealing with a narcissist can be a tricky task, but having the right words at your disposal can help you take control of the conversation. Here are 10 things to say to shut them down, explained in detail:

1. Use “I” Statements

Instead of accusing the narcissist directly, express your feelings using “I” statements. This approach helps prevent them from becoming defensive. For example, say, “I feel unheard when you interrupt me,” rather than “You always interrupt me.”

2. Set Consequences

Clearly communicate the potential outcomes if their behavior persists. This helps establish boundaries and lets them know there are consequences for their actions. For instance, say, “If the disrespect continues, I will need to limit our interactions.”

3. Ask for Clarification

Narcissists often prefer to keep the upper hand in a conversation. Asking for clarification puts the focus back on them and can make them reconsider their stance. Say, “Can you help me understand your perspective better?” or “I’m not sure I follow – can you explain that again?”

4. Limit Emotional Engagement

Narcissists thrive on emotional reactions. By keeping your responses factual and objective, you avoid falling into their emotional traps. Say, “Let’s stick to the facts” or “I want to find a solution, not get caught up in drama.”

5. Highlight Mutual Goals

Emphasize shared objectives to redirect the conversation toward a positive outcome. Remind them of common goals, saying, “We both want this project to succeed – how can we work together effectively?” This can shift the focus from conflict to collaboration.

6. Use Silence Strategically

Silence can be a powerful tool. Pausing before responding disrupts the narcissist’s usual patterns and may make them uncomfortable. It also provides you with a moment to gather your thoughts and respond thoughtfully.

7. Express Empathy

Show understanding of their feelings, even if you don’t agree with their perspective. This can diffuse tension and create a more cooperative atmosphere. Say, “I can see that this is important to you,” or “I understand that you feel strongly about this.”

8. Establish Boundaries

Clearly define your limits and communicate them assertively. For instance, say, “I need some space to think about this” or “I won’t tolerate disrespectful behavior. If it continues, I will need to distance myself.”

9. Reframe Negative Statements

Reframe negative comments in a more positive light. This helps steer the conversation away from a confrontational tone. For example, if they say, “You never listen,” you can respond with, “I want to make sure I understand your perspective better – can you elaborate?”

10. Validate Their Perspective (Without Conceding)

Acknowledge their viewpoint without compromising your own stance. This shows respect for their opinion while maintaining your position. For instance, say, “I appreciate your perspective, and I want to find a solution that works for both of us.”

Remember, using these phrases is about setting boundaries and maintaining a healthy dialogue. By incorporating these strategies, you can navigate conversations with narcissists more effectively and assertively.

You Are Not Doing Anything Wrong – Don’t Feel Guilty

Embrace Self-Validation

Understand that setting boundaries and standing up for yourself is not wrong. You have the right to prioritize your well-being. Remind yourself, “It’s okay to assert myself” or “I am not responsible for their reactions.”

Seek Support

Share your experiences with trusted friends or family members. Having a support system helps validate your feelings and provides valuable perspectives. You can say, “I’m dealing with a challenging situation, and I need someone to talk to” or “Can we discuss this together?”


In conclusion, dealing with a narcissist requires a strategic and assertive approach. By starting the conversation positively, maintaining the right mindset, and using the suggested phrases, you can effectively shut down a narcissist while safeguarding your own well-being. Remember, you are not doing anything wrong by setting boundaries – it’s a crucial step towards maintaining healthy relationships and protecting your mental health.

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