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Narcissist Word Salad: 12 Strategies & Examples

Narcissist Word Salad

In this post, you’re going to learn all about narcissist word salad.

What is Narcissist Word Salad?

“Narcissist word salad” is a term used to describe the confusing and nonsensical language or communication style of a narcissist.

Narcissists often use this type of communication to avoid taking responsibility for their actions or to manipulate and control others.

They may use complex and convoluted sentences, throw in irrelevant information, change the topic frequently, and use ambiguous words or phrases to create confusion.

This can make it difficult to have a clear and meaningful conversation with them.

Related: Top 10 Narcissistic Relationship Patterns

Narcissist Word Salad Example

A narcissist’s word salad can be difficult to decode because it often contains a mix of unrelated words, phrases, and ideas.

Here is an example:

“I am the best person for the job because I have a lot of experience and skills that no one else has. I am always improving myself and my abilities, and I am always striving for excellence. You know, I’ve been thinking about taking up painting lately. It’s such a beautiful and expressive art form, don’t you think? Anyway, back to the job at hand, I think I am the perfect candidate because I have a proven track record of success and I am constantly pushing myself to be better. Do you want to grab lunch sometime? I know this great new restaurant downtown. They have the most amazing lobster bisque.”

In this example, the narcissist is trying to make themselves sound impressive and qualified for the job by boasting about their skills and experience.

However, they also insert unrelated comments about their personal interests (painting) and try to shift the conversation to something else entirely (lunch).

This word salad is meant to confuse and distract the listener while the narcissist tries to maintain control of the conversation.

Related: Am I Being Gaslighted Quiz

What Triggers the Narcissistic Word Salad?

The Narcissistic word salad is triggered by a number of factors, including:

  • the need for attention and validation,
  • a sense of entitlement and superiority,
  • a deep-seated fear of vulnerability and shame, and
  • an inability to empathize with others.

Related: 21 Stages of a Narcissist Relationship (+FREE Breakup Recovery Worksheets)

Narcissistic Word Salad Strategies

1. Absolute lack of logic

The narcissist will use long and complex sentences that sound impressive but do not make sense when examined closely.

2. Tangents

The person will go off on tangents that seem irrelevant to the conversation, making it hard to follow or pin down their point.

3. Circular conversation

The Narcissistic Word Salad often uses circular reasoning, where the narcissist will repeat key phrases or ideas without adding any new information.

They repeat the same points in different ways without ever addressing the original question or concern.

Sometimes, they will also use irrelevant information to distract from the topic at hand.

Related: Narcissist Baiting – What it is, Why it Happens, and How to Stop it

4. Contradictions

They say one thing, then claim the opposite is true in the next sentence.

5. Name-dropping

They use impressive-sounding terms or references to give the impression of expertise or knowledge, but without actually saying anything meaningful.

6. Focusing on your own past mistakes while disregarding theirs

Narcissists are known for having an inflated sense of their own abilities and achievements, and tend to be very critical of others while dismissing or minimizing their own faults.

7. Patronizing and condescending tone

When a narcissist uses a patronizing and condescending tone, they are often using language that is intended to make the other person feel inferior or submissive.

This can be accomplished through a variety of different tactics, including speaking in a slow or exaggerated manner, using overly simplistic language, or belittling the other person’s ideas or opinions.

For example, a narcissist might say things like “that’s cute, but you clearly don’t understand the bigger picture,” or “I’m impressed that you’re trying, but let me explain it to you in a way that you can understand.”

In these interactions, the narcissist is attempting to establish their superiority over the other person and reinforce their own sense of self-importance.

Related: Top 5 Reasons Why Narcissists Target Empaths – & How to Starve The Narcissist of Supply

8. Overgeneralizations

Overgeneralizing involves making sweeping statements that apply to a wide range of situations and people.

For example, a narcissist may say things like “everyone knows that” or “no one would ever do that” when these statements are not true or accurate.

They may also make categorical statements about you or your behavior, such as “you always do that” or “you never do this.”

This can be confusing and disorienting, as you might not be able to remember every instance or situation to prove them wrong.

Overgeneralization can also be used to shut down discussion or debate.

By making a statement that seems to be universally true, the narcissist can make it seem like any argument against their perspective is invalid.

This can be a way to exert control and dominance in a conversation.

9. Projection

Projection is where a narcissist projects their own negative qualities, feelings or beliefs onto others.

For example, if the narcissist is a compulsive liar, they may accuse others of being dishonest or having a lack of integrity.

Shifting the blame is when a narcissist puts the responsibility or fault onto someone else in order to avoid accountability.

For example, if the narcissist fails to meet a deadline at work, they may blame their co-worker or even the company’s policies for their failure.

In conversations, a narcissist may use both projection and shifting the blame to confuse and control the other person.

They may accuse the other person of doing something wrong or being at fault for a situation, while simultaneously avoiding taking any responsibility for their own actions or mistakes.

This can leave the other person feeling guilty or responsible, even when they have done nothing wrong.

Related: 60 Things Narcissistic Mothers Say

10. Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic that a narcissist may use to confuse and control their victim.

It’s a form of psychological abuse that involves questioning the victim’s reality, memory or perception of events.

In a conversation, a narcissist may use gaslighting by denying something they previously said or did.

For example, if the victim confronts the narcissist about a hurtful comment they made, the narcissist may deny ever saying it, even though the victim remembers it clearly.

They may also make the victim doubt themselves by saying things like “That’s not what I meant” or “You’re remembering it wrong.”

The constant denial and confusion can make the victim feel like they are going crazy or losing touch with reality.

Furthermore, the narcissist may use gaslighting to make their victim feel like they are too sensitive or overreacting.

For instance, if the victim expresses hurt feelings about something the narcissist said or did, the narcissist may dismiss their feelings as being irrational or hypersensitive.

This can make the victim feel invalidated, ashamed, or guilty for feeling the way they do.

11. Narcissistic rage

Narcissistic rage is a common trait in individuals with narcissistic personality disorder.

It refers to an intense emotional response that a narcissist may have when their sense of self-worth or superiority is challenged or threatened.

In a conversation, a narcissist may use this tactic to confuse and intimidate you.

Related: Are You A Victim of Narcissistic Abuse Quiz

12. Playing the victim

Playing the victim is often a tactic used by narcissists to manipulate and control conversations.

They may use their victimhood to garner sympathy and gain leverage in a conversation.

For example, if you bring up an issue with a narcissist’s behavior, they may turn the conversation around and make it about how they are the victim.

They might say things like, “I can’t believe you would think I would do something like that,” or “You’re attacking me for no reason.”

By playing the victim, they seek to deflect criticism and shift the focus away from their own behavior.

Related: Do Narcissists Cry?

toxic relationships worksheets

How to Deal With Circular Conversations?

Dealing with circular conversations with a narcissist can be challenging, but there are a few strategies you can use to try to break the cycle:

1. Stay focused on the topic at hand

Narcissists often try to derail conversations by changing the subject or bringing up irrelevant details.

To avoid this, stay focused on the specific topic or issue you’re trying to address.

2. Avoid engaging in arguments

Narcissists thrive on conflict and confrontation. Arguing with them will only fuel their sense of power and control.

3. Keep your emotions in check

Narcissists thrive on emotional reactions, so try to remain calm and composed during the conversation.

This will help prevent the narcissist from escalating the situation.

4. Don’t try to reason with them

Narcissists often have an inflated sense of self-importance and are convinced that they are always right.

Trying to reason with them or explain your point of view will likely fall on deaf ears.

5. Set boundaries

Clearly establish what you will and won’t tolerate in a conversation.

For example, if the narcissist starts belittling you or attacking your character, calmly but firmly state that you won’t continue the conversation if they continue to behave in that way.

Related: How To Set Boundaries With A Narcissist?

6. Use “I” statements

Frame your communication in terms of your own thoughts and feelings, rather than putting blame on the narcissist.

This can help them feel less defensive and more open to finding a solution.

7. Don’t take their attacks personally

Narcissists often resort to attacks when they feel threatened or challenged. It’s important not to take these attacks personally and instead focus on the issue at hand.

8. Consider ending the conversation

If you find yourself caught in a circular conversation that isn’t productive or is causing you distress, it may be best to end the conversation and try again later.

Remember that it’s okay to disengage from conversations that are harmful or unproductive.

Related: Breaking Trauma Bond With A Narcissist

Gaslighting Recovery Worksheets


Narcissistic word salad can feel like a never-ending barrage of words and phrases that are difficult to follow or understand.

It may seem like the person is talking in circles or going off on tangents that have nothing to do with the conversation at hand.

The language used may be grandiose or exaggerated, and there may be a lack of coherence or logical flow to the dialogue.

It can leave the listener feeling confused, frustrated, and uncertain about what the narcissist is trying to communicate.

By Hadiah

Hadiah is a counselor who is passionate about supporting individuals on their journey towards mental well-being. Hadiah not only writes insightful articles on various mental health topics but also creates engaging and practical mental health worksheets.

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