8 Things That Narcissists Hear When You Talk to Them

From the moment you start to speak, the narcissist isn’t really hearing you.

Sure, there’s sound and words – but they don’t come together to form logic for the narcissist.

Instead, they prefer to translate what you are saying so that what they actually hear is what they want to hear.

What do they hear, though? When you are trying to say something important or deep or connect with them somehow, what is going on with them?

I know you’ll all be screaming at me right now:

They don’t listen!

That’s just the tip of the iceberg…

#1 Sound vs. Content

You might wonder:

Why aren’t they listening? 

Well, in short, they don’t care.

Narcissistic personalities enjoy the highlights, like say with your favorite sports team. They don’t want to watch the whole game – it’s boring. 

All they want is what they feel they need from the conversation; what’s in it for them.

To the narcissist, sound is nothing but noise. Your talking will likely bore them, but they rarely tell you to stop because they want to see what they can pick out from the things you’re saying. 

They’re waiting for that sweet content, so they can start probing you for more information.

#2 Selective Words or Phrases of Interest

You could be chatting away, telling them about your day and what happened, and they’re waiting for those things you say that draw them right back in.

Maybe it’s the gossip.

Maybe it’s your lunch with friends.

Maybe you mentioned a new co-worker that they’ve never met before. 

Perhaps they become triggered by you making plans without them.

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Whatever it is – specific content of what you say is far outweighed by the sound of you talking. 

Your phrases of interest can sometimes reel them in so they can find ways to create conflict with you, which can happen often in narcissistic relationships. 

#3 Validating Comments

Narcissists look for validation wherever they go, including you and what you have to say or do for them.

When it comes to talking to a narcissist, you can say anything to them, and they will find it very difficult to show authenticity in return. 

Even if you were to say, “Oh my goodness. My friend at work is going through so much. Her husband is sick, and she must work two jobs to pay her bills. I wish there was something I could do to help her.”

Narcissists will typically reply with something like:

Huh? What did you say?

Sounds terrible (and then makes it about them).

Well I hope if I were ever sick, you’d look after me…

These patterned phrases are laced with the overwhelming need for validation, even if you’re not discussing them.

#4 Gossip!

Oh boy.

Narcissists love to gossip. 

They want to know everything about other people’s lives; the grittier, the better.

The power the narcissist gets from gossip is the idea that they can hold a vital piece of information over somebody’s head, and remind them of how imperfect their lives are. They are also brilliant at relishing in other people’s pain, because it makes them feel better about their miserable lives.

Narcissists pass on gossip like it’s a rare diamond worth millions. 

You didn’t hear it from me but…

Did you hear about so and so? Well, they’re really struggling…

Gossip hooks people in. Some narcissists even gossip through ‘pseudo-concern’ – pretending it’s all because they care.

Let me tell you – they don’t. 

#5 Threats to Their Character / Desires

Sometimes, narcissists hear what you say as a threat.

You’ll never guess what!? I finally got my work promotion! It means more money, fewer hours, and more travel, which will be so exciting!

Your good news is out there, and you spoke the words. The narcissist can take your words and change them to sound like this:

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Hey! I just wanted you to know that I am officially earning double your salary, which makes me better and you, well, a bit of a loser.

How the heck did they get that from what I said??

Because they are insecure, entitled people who think your good news is a way of reminding them of their own failures and weaknesses!

#6 Envy-invoking News

Did you hear about Rose and Tom? They’ve just bought a summer house by the lake! I’m so happy for them!

The narcissist won’t be so thrilled.

Well, of course they have. 

They get everything they want. He only works in an office – how are they affording it? 

It’s alright for some!

Well… ‘good for them!’

If you worked more hours and were qualified in something maybe we could be living the life they are. Instead we’re here in this dump.

Yes – news you have to share that invokes envy within the narcissist won’t be about what somebody else has – it’ll be what the narcissist doesn’t have.

Everything, and I mean everything always comes back to them, no matter how much you try to discuss different topics. If the narcissist feels hard done by (as most do), they won’t hesitate to release the green-eyed monster.

#7 The “Don’t Care” Filter

Narcissists try really hard to stay elevated above the characters and images of literally everybody else they know by pretending not to care.

You can have the biggest news of your life, but the narcissist is very good at responding with a shrug and a simple, “So?” or even a, “Uh huh, okay.”

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They are drawn in by what you’ve said, but they hear something that has made them feel all the envy and all the rage, but if they declare these emotions, they will look bitter.

This is commonly a tactic used in public, so people don’t see what they’re really thinking or feeling. It’s only when you get home you’ll hear their honest thoughts. 

Those are never positive either.

#8 Missed Plans or Gaslighting

Narcissists are so focused on remaining their egotistical selves that what you do say can sometimes be purposely forgotten or denied. This can be in cases of plans that were in place the narcissist forgot about.

When the day in question rolls around, then narcissist can throw their hands up and say:

You never told me we were doing this today!

You didn’t tell me about any plans today – you’re going crazy!

Heartbreakingly yes, some people believe the narcissist. That’s why it’s always a good idea to have plans written down and handed to them, maybe in a text or email, so they can’t forget or blame you at a later date. 

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