8 Things Narcissists Say When They Lie To You

Narcissists have no qualms about lying, especially if a bit of dishonesty gets them something they want. They won’t feel particularly guilty about lying, either. Narcissists lack empathy for your experience, so they don’t feel your pain.

Their egos also won’t let them take accountability for hurting you with their dishonesty. In their minds, if they have to lie, you drove them to that point.

The bottom line is that when a narcissist lies, they aren’t likely to give a genuine apology. They also won’t admit to being wrong, at least not without serving you up a little slice of the blame.

Instead, they’ll probably use one of the lines below. 

#1 A Statement That Minimizes the Severity 

When you catch a narcissist in a lie, they might admit that they were untruthful. However, they will never take accountability for the severity of what they’ve done.

If you catch them withdrawing money from your bank account without permission, they might say, “Yeah, I lied about it, but I didn’t think it was a big deal. It was just $100, so it didn’t seem like a major deal.” 

They might also minimize the situation by saying, “We all lie from time to time.” The narcissist’s goal is to make it seem like whatever they lied about wasn’t really that bad. They want you to let them off the hook and stop talking about it! 

#2 Denying the Accusation

Sometimes, the narcissist will admit they were untruthful, but other times, they will completely deny that they’ve been dishonest. You might have caught them red-handed, with plenty of evidence to support the lie, but they’ll still deny it.

Denial can present a couple of ways. First, they might tell you that you’re remembering things incorrectly. For instance, maybe they told you they got a promotion at work, and you later realize they are still working the same job.

When you mention that they lied about the promotion, they will deny ever saying they got it. They might tell you you’re remembering incorrectly or that you misunderstood what they said. 

#3 Accusations That You’re Losing Your Mind

Gaslighting is one of the narcissist’s favorite tools. This manipulative tactic allows them to avoid accountability by convincing you that you’ve lost your mind.

Rather than admit to lying, the narcissist will try to get you to believe that you’re crazy. They may say, “You must be imagining things, because I never said that!”

If a narcissist does this enough times, you’ll begin to question your sanity. You may convince yourself that you’ve truly lost your ability to remember things. This allows the narcissist to maintain control over you, because you’ll question your thinking. 

Gaslighting gives the narcissist the upper hand. When you’re finally convinced you’re crazy, you’ll fall for all of the narcissist’s lies, because you will no longer trust your judgment. 

#4 Playing the Victim

If the narcissist is willing to admit you caught them lying, they’re likely to play the victim role. They may begin to whine or cry, as they say something along the lines of, “I’m just under so much stress!”

There are several different things the narcissist might say as they take on the victim role. All of these things will involve some excuse in which the narcissist paints themselves as a hopeless victim who had no choice but to lie. 

They could also say something like, “You know how badly I’m struggling right now; I can’t always be perfect!”

Regardless of their exact words, narcissist takes responsibility for themselves. They hope that before long, you’ll feel guilty for calling them out, because you’ll feel so sorry for them. 

#5 Shifting the Blame

“I wouldn’t have had to lie had you not driven me to this point!” This is a classic line from a narcissist who has just been caught being dishonest. 

A narcissist caught in a lie is likely to do anything they can to avoid accountability. Shifting the blame onto you is a perfect way for them to protect their egos from the shame of lying.

Rather than taking full responsibility and apologizing, the narcissist will try a variety of different tricks to make you feel like you’re to blame. They might accuse you of being too harsh on them, leaving them no choice but to lie and protect themselves from your criticism.

They may also accuse you of being too clingy or overbearing, driving them to lie just to get some semblance of freedom! 

#6 Saying Nothing at All 

The silent treatment is another one of the narcissist’s classic moves. When you call them out for lying, it wounds their ego. Similarly, if they know you know that they lied, their ego will take a hit.

Too ashamed to face the truth, the narcissist will withdraw completely. They’ll give you the silent treatment for as long as they need to recover from their shame. 

Going silent not only allows the narcissist to distance themselves from the truth; it also allows them to punish you. See, the problem isn’t that they lied. The true problem, according to them, is that you dared to be upset by their lie.

Once they stonewall you long enough for their satisfaction, they will come back into your life as if nothing ever happened. Don’t you dare mention their dishonesty; they’ve moved on, and you must do the same. 

#7 Some Form of Flattery 

“Darling, I was only trying to protect you!” Sound familiar? If so, you probably heard it from a narcissist who was lying right to your face. 

Rather than taking responsibility for the lie or admitting they were wrong, the narcissist will try to flatter you. They’ll make it seem like the lie is aimed at protecting your feelings rather than bold-faced manipulation.

They may even toss in a smidge of blame-shifting, telling you you’re so sensitive that you cannot handle the truth. This gives them no choice but to protect your fragile feelings! 

#8 Pure Projection

Narcissists cannot face any of their flaws. Their self-esteem is built upon their false self, which they present as confident, superior, and self-assured. 

Underlying this false self is the narcissist’s true self, which feels inferior and grapples with intense insecurities. To avoid triggering their underlying insecurities, narcissists must present themselves as perfect.

To maintain their facade, narcissists cannot help but project their shortcomings onto you. If they’ve lied, they may accuse you of lying instead.

They might say, “You’re always lying; can’t you see what a problem you are?”

The Bottom Line

Remember, a narcissist relies on patterns of exploitation, control, and deceit to maintain power over others. Lying is one key tactic they use to manipulate you and maintain control of the relationship.

Since narcissists cannot take accountability, they will use a variety of manipulative tactics when they’re lying. This can include strategies like shifting the blame onto you, minimizing the lie, or insisting they had no choice but to lie to you.

Regardless of the exact tactic, you can be sure that narcissists will not be entirely upfront. Their entire life revolves around using deceit to get their way and take advantage of you. Their ego would allow nothing less. 

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