6 Honest Ways to Make a Narcissist Tell the Truth

Last Updated on February 16, 2022 by Alexander Burgemeester

If you know a narcissist, you know exactly what it feels to catch them in a lie. At times, their lies may seem so obvious that you can’t fathom why they don’t just fess up.

That said, narcissism and lying go hand-in-hand. So how to make a narcissist tell the truth? Can you convince them to tell you the truth? Is there an effective strategy you can use for them to acknowledge their lying? And what should you do if you keep getting caught in their vicious cycle of lies? Let’s get to it.

Do Narcissists Know They Are Lying?

The answer depends, but it’s important to understand the nature of narcissism to understand how they identify with the truth. 

The Skewed Narcissistic Worldview

It isn’t a surprise that narcissists have a much different worldview from other people. If you spend just a few moments with a narcissist, you will notice this disparity quickly. 

They have overinflated egos and often perceive things in absolute and rigid extremes. They believe they are morally superior to everyone else. Moreover, when they feel their power or control is under threat, they often react intensely and impulsively. At that point, self-preservation is the top priority. They will do whatever they can to protect it. 

When Lies Feel Like Truths 

Because narcissists see the world differently, they also see their truth differently. They often perceive their feelings as facts. If they think something is wrong, they don’t just classify this as a thought. To them, it’s their truth. And because they believe that truth 100%, they don’t recognize that it may be distorted. 

Reading Suggestion: How to Make a Narcissist Come Crawling Back?

Narcissists also tend to justify their lying automatically. For this reason, they don’t necessarily classify lying as a problematic issue. Instead, they see it as a means to an end. Sometimes, they disregard it so quickly that they don’t even register it as a lie. 

Additionally, many narcissists genuinely believe their lies. This often happens when they make empty promises. In doing so, they may assume they’re going to follow through with what they say. They might even make a genuine attempt to change. However, once things resume to their normal homeostasis, the narcissist usually disregards their promise or forgets about it altogether.

Most of the time, narcissists can’t distinguish their truth from the objective truth. Just take a look at any narcissistic leader or politician to witness this behavior. They believe in their beliefs and they dismiss anyone who thinks otherwise

When Narcissists Intentionally Lie

In other cases, narcissists lie deliberately because they have a specific motive. For example, if you ask a narcissist if they stole money from you, they will probably deny the behavior. This isn’t surprising. Very few people will actually admit to something so egregious. 

Instead, they might try to convince you that you’re crazy or that you just overlooked something. Narcissists aren’t dumb. In their mind, they know they’re lying. However, they’ve already justified the behavior, so it makes valid sense to them. There’s no reason for them to think about the repercussions associated with the lie. 

How to Make a Narcissist Tell the Truth_

Can You Just Ask A Narcissist To Tell You The Truth?

You can, but it doesn’t mean you will get a straightforward answer. Narcissists play by their own rules. They decide how and when they engage with people. Subsequently, they also determine what is and isn’t appropriate for them to share. 

Narcissists don’t follow regular communication protocols. They use communication to get their needs met. It’s not about connecting, validating, or assuring other people. Therefore, even if you demand to know the truth, it doesn’t mean they will give it to you.

To a narcissist, self-preservation supersedes building meaningful and fulfilling relationships.

6 Ways to Make a Narcissist tell the truth!

First, it’s important to remember you can’t control anybody but yourself. This especially applies to your interactions with a narcissist. There is no way to fully guarantee their honesty, even if they promise they are truthful. 

Most of the time, narcissists don’t respond with direct truths. The truth may emerge, but you often need to parse it out from the numerous manipulation tactics they employ. This requires that you understand the following signs. 

How to make a Narcissist tell the truth?

  • They tell the truth when they need something from you
  • They have Raging Confessions
  • They tell the truth by telling you Half Truths
  • They Project onto You
  • They tell the truth followed by a fake apology
  • They tell someone else the truth

1. They Need Something From You

Narcissists don’t always lie. Many times, they will be sincere when they benefit from their truth. Let’s see how this plays out.

I love this dinner! You should make it more often. It’s delicious.

The narcissist wants you to keep pleasing them. They’re using praise and flattery to encourage you to keep them happy. However, don’t be surprised if they seemingly change their narrative the next time you make this meal! 

Narcissists can change their minds frequently. Additionally, if they feel upset with you, they may gaslight you to make you question your reality. 

I’m not all that great at writing project proposals. Would you be willing to help me? I know you’re good at these kinds of things. 

Narcissists are willing to admit weakness when they want to get out of something. This can happen if they think a task is below them or when they don’t want to do it at all. Again, they often resort to flattery to convince you to help them.

I’m running late. Go ahead and start without me.

This means that they don’t care about the meeting. They’re hoping that they miss it!

If a narcissist needs something, they often have no shame in asking for it outright. Interestingly, most of the time, people tend to comply with their requests. Everyone likes to feel flattered, and a simple compliment might motivate someone to do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do. 

In other cases, people don’t want to deal with the fallout associated with the disappointing narcissist. They would rather comply than cause a conflict. 

2. Raging Confessions

If you keep acting this way, I am going to end this deal.

Stop being so irrational. it’s making me want to stop trusting you. 

You’re crazy! Anyone else would leave if they were in my position. 

Have you ever been around an angry narcissist? Think about how their communication sounds. It’s usually erratic, loud, and sometimes utterly outlandish. That said, if you pay attention to the rage and try to distinguish their words from their actions, you may hear their exact intentions.

However, most people usually dismiss the narcissist’s anger as just anger. They denounce their words as just being emotionally-charged.  

Don’t make this mistake. Narcissists tend to feel very comfortable sitting in their anger. If anything, it’s where they are most honest about their needs, feelings, and plans.

3. Half-Truths

Half-truths are exactly what they sound like. They occur when the narcissist is partially honest. But with this strategy, they only tend to be honest about the minuscule details rather than the important ones.

For example, if you suspect they may be cheating on you, they may claim that they are just working late at the office. But if they are having an affair with their coworker, this is a great example of a half-truth!

Or, if you suspect their hiding money issues from you, they may claim they “lost a lot of money in the stock market.” While this may be true, they may choose to avoid telling you that they’ve also been compulsively gambling.

Half-truths are designed to throw you off course. The narcissist knows that the best lies contain some grains of honesty. They hope that you will cling to their truths without probing into the rest of the information. 

The half-truth can also protect them if you catch them lying. They can focus on the truth part of their claim and insist that they weren’t lying. 

4. They Project Onto You

It’s only a matter of time before you’re going to leave.

I bet you tell all your friends how awful I am.

You waste so much time caring about what other people think. 

Projection happens when someone blames you for doing something they’re doing. If a narcissist starts blaming you for something out of nowhere, it could reveal some truth about what they’re doing behind your back.

Projection tends to happen unconsciously. It’s usually a way to reconcile your own feelings or experiences. Narcissists project onto other people all the time. However, it can be challenging to discern their usual manipulation tactics from the genuine truth. 

5. They Inundate You With False Apologies 

Yes I did that, but it was only because I wanted to protect you!

Even if it’s true, it’s not a big deal. Nobody else would care.

I’m sorry that it affected you so much. 

Sometimes, the truth may emerge during a false apology. This typically happens when they feel backed into a corner and have no other choice but to own up to their behavior. 

But the apology isn’t authentic. It also t doesn’t really assume personal accountability for the lie. Instead, they tend to awkwardly wrap their truth with justifications, manipulation and gaslighting. 

6. They Tell Someone Else The Truth

I don’t want to tell her what’s going on, but let me tell you what’s up.

I know you can handle the truth, but please keep it between us.

Narcissists sometimes like to make other people feel special by sharing their truth with them. They tend to make it well-known that this is a special privilege. Then, they often pressure the other person into keeping their secret.

Is It Worth Confronting a Narcissist About Their Lies?

Because narcissists are so skilled in manipulating, typical confrontation strategies don’t usually work. Instead, if you confront a narcissist about their lie, they tend to react in extreme ways. 

1. Denying The Behavior

I never said that!

You’re seeing this completely wrong.

It didn’t happen that way. 

For a narcissist, denial tends to be the easiest and most straightforward solution. They just refuse to acknowledge they did anything wrong.  They may then turn it against you by claiming that you’re imagining things or blowing the situation out of proportion. 

2. Justifying The Behavior

I had no other choice!

Anyone would do this if they were in my shoes.

You don’t understand what it’s like to me.

To circumvent acknowledging the lie, the narcissist may dogpile you with all the reasons as to why that lie was warranted. This is a distraction technique, but it can be effective in convincing you that their lie was warranted.

3. Smearing You To Other People

To punish you for trying to expose their truth, the narcissist may try to smear your reputation to gain other people’s approval. This can happen instantaneously, or it can happen gradually- it all depends on the narcissist’s intentions. 

4. Deflection And Dismissal

We just need to move on from this!

This doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of life.

Just forget it happened. 

Narcissists will often downplay or disregard their lies by trying to divert your attention elsewhere. This technique is designed to make you feel like you’re overreacting. 

5. Physical Violence

In extreme cases, narcissists may resort to violence when they feel threatened. Violence ranges in severity, and it can include everything from hitting or slapping you to severe physical or sexual assault. 

If you’re concerned about your safety, make sure that you develop a safety plan. Reach out for support with a trusted family member or friend. 

Can A Narcissist Be Honest? How To Trick a Narcissist Into Telling The Truth?

For a narcissist to be completely honest, it means they need to recognise their behavior. Most of the time, they can’t do this.

The answer doesn’t lie in tricking the narcissist. The answer lies in you knowing your truth.

If you suspect the narcissist is lying to you, pay attention to your intuition. Trust your feelings. they are probably telling you something.

Keep in mind that most narcissists don’t change their behavior. In many ways, they become more crafted in their storytelling. They also tend to find more people who will enable their behavior.

Remember that your goal isn’t about pulling the truth out of the narcissist. Instead, it should be about honoring your boundaries, well-being, and personal integrity. 

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Alexander Burgemeester

Alexander Burgemeester has a Master in Neuropsychology. He studied at the University of Amsterdam and has a bachelor's in Clinical Psychology. Want to know more?

21 thoughts on “6 Honest Ways to Make a Narcissist Tell the Truth”

  1. Thank you so much for your excellent description of a narcissist! Been with a guy for 15 months. Just discovered he has live in girlfriend when I rang him unexpectedly! Told me and the other girl so much lies! I was in Ore of him but I realise he has real insecurities! Interesting to note his mother hated him and he hated his mum! Thanks so much x

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  2. Thank you so much for this article it has re affirmed to me that I have definitely been in a relationship with a true narcissist. I have been feeling as if I have been going mad. I have been questioning myself.

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    • It feels terrible after reading so many articles about narcissists, I can’t believe this whole 8 years I let him manipulate me gaslight me and deny every problem that has arised in our relationship

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  3. I was with a girlfriend for four years and was making plans to propose to her. Then one day, she said she wanted to take a break to figure things out. That was about four years ago. She got married about two years after her “break” to a coworker who I later found out through the help of hackgoodnesstech on insta, gram a pro tech guy that she had been cheating on me with the whole time we were together. I was devastated at the time, but now I think it was all for the best. Also, it’s a small world, because her husband is cheating on her with someone I know. Thanks karma!

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  4. My issue is that I had my little granddaughter with me for 4 years and then my narcissistic daughter kicked me out of the house and out of my grandbaby’s life. My granddaughter and I were very close. I was her second parent essentially.

    So I’m trying to figure out how to make my narcissistic daughter want me around – even if I have to fake everything. She lies to everyone about me and she knows I know she lies a lot.

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  5. I think my husband maybe a narcissist or have some narcissistic tendencies. I know he lies quite easily to others without a thought, even when telling the truth wouldn’t have changed the outcome. So I know this may seem silly but I buy us our own cases of energy drinks.

    I only like one particular flavor, so that’s what I get, he has to have variety, so I buy him variety packs. So I notice I have some missing and I haven’t been drinking them as much because I’m trying to decrease my caffeine. I haven’t told him this though. So, I asked him why he was taking mine. He blew up and started yelling that he didn’t take them and he’s tired of being accused of taking my things. He got in my face yelling that he didn’t take (something from an incident a month ago) and he didn’t take my drinks!

    The problem is there hasn’t been anyone else who could have taken them! Is this narcissistic type lying or just normal lying? I feel my marriage is coming to an end and I’m just trying to make sense of the type of person I’m with because I’m tired of feeling confused, crazy, and exhausted. I’m tired of apologizing when I’ve done nothing wrong, because he rarely apologizes. I’m tired of pretending I haven’t caught him in a lie just because I don’t want to argue. He says he’ll get help and work on things, but he never does.

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  6. Dara, yes, in my opinion that is most definitely a narcissistic behavior and I can totally relate too .And yes it completely sucks an I can’t believe that my world has become this. I never in a million years saw this one coming

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  7. Getting the truth out of a Narcissist is like performing an exorcism. You wonder “Why am I trying this?” Then comes the half truths, the mind games, focusing on your weaknesses. If you should get the upper hand and get the Narcissist cornered then it’s blaaaaa, the vomit comes flying at you. It’s a no win situation.

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  8. I’ve been a Rollercoaster with my supposed to be ex narc bf for over 2 yrs. And just in that time I’ve had broken fingers, toes, almost broke my arm, and the worst gave me a concussion and 6 stitches both eyes swollen shut with bloodshot red eyes. How the fk am I just realizing he is narc! He just kicked my door in for me not opening it tried busting my bedroom window out. I just moved away a month ago he will not leave me alone nor take breaking up. God please help. Oh and we work together

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  9. I’m dating a narcissist now. He’s my first boyfriend in 13 years. The tenant down stairs told me he had another woman sleeping over on Saturday nights. He completely denies it and I think he stopped it. It devastated me. I cried for 25 days. I knew her as his friend. Then I found her in a reflection in a picture he sent me, denies that to. I finally as least got him to admit she was a x girlfriend and not a 70 year old friend of his family. He lives 260 miles away from me . So to spy on him isn’t an option. But I lost my trust and my deep love for him. He was my first true love. And my first narcissist. I’m still seeing him, but I am texting a new man. So I’m going to be alright. This tore me apart. The lies.

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  10. True narcissist example:
    2 people are alone in a room…the narcissist breaks wind denying it to the grave knowing the other person HAS to know because it’s only the 2 of them there.

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  11. I have a Narc girlfriend for 9 months, I realised she had NPD after she gave me a half truth about her friend that was a narcissist, it wasn’t a friend, she was talking about herself, after weeks of research through websites and books I now understand what she has put me through and why she does it. I think anyone here that has or is still going through the abuse needs to first understand the personality disorder that these people have, yes they understand what they are doing and yes they have one intention to suck the life from their victims but once we can understand them we can gain some control of OUR lives, depersonalise yourself from their actions.
    Us as victims are only objects to the narc, we are their supply and just like any addict if we keep giving supply we will feed the narc until WE destroy OURSELVES. Some steps I have taken to gain back my life is to:
    1. Learn as much as you can about NPD and the tactics they use such as love bombing.
    2. Understand the narc in your life you don’t have to accept but understand what they are.
    3.Take back control, either leave if you can or manipulate the situation to suit your needs.
    4. Everything they tell you is a lie so believe nothing they say.
    5.Look at yourself, heal yourself, focus on what you want in this life and the next, learn where this obsession to help and fix people comes from, remember we cannot fix anyone but our own true self.
    I am still with my GF because she is pregnant and I am unsure if the baby is mine, I can only get a paternity test when the baby is born, and until that day I will play the game she has played with me. I do wish there was a cure for NPD as the pain these people put the ones that LOVE THEM through is horrific, a cure for NPD is a cure for all of us.
    Alexander, I looked into brain training that has cured PTSD and ADHD, Do you know if there is any research or possibility that this could cure NPD??

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    • There is no real cure for NPD as in general you can not cure personality disorders. It is connected to their personality. The only treatment for NPD is giving people insights in their own behavior so they know what their behavior is doing to them and other people and learn them to alter this.

      The main difference is that PTSD and ADHD are no personality disorders and thus their treatment is very different.

      Reply
    • Currently watching someone go thru a break up with a narcissist after baby was 1 year old—he was in same situation as you…waiting to see if baby was his…you better read up on narcissism. Start documenting it now. And do NOT allow your name on the birth certificate until you are POSITIVE baby is yours.
      It is utter hell for him now thru child custody. They will lie, give false reports to police, file Domestic violence orders repeatedly against you. Play victim all the way. The family courts eat it up with a spoon and strips dads of all rights. It is absolutely insane and family courts are an absolute joke. Lies are allowed with no evidence to support them and dads are left constantly defending the lies.

      Reply
  12. What about when your being constantly accused of lying or doing something you’re not lying about or doing to the point it’s hard to control you anger. Reading about narcissism I feel I have tendency, but lying definitely isn’t one of them. I am blatantly honest about things , I know my significant other will get upset about, but tell the truth anyhow because it’s how it should be. I am constantly being accused of knowing and talking to someone I don’t know or talk to ever. In actuality I believe we both have narcissistic tendencies. She lies quite often telling me it’s because she doesn’t trust me ? She constantly watches this womens Facebook page and tries to relate what the woman says on there to me and our situation. I keep asking her to not concern herself with others and there actions and to concentrate on us and to be honest, because her being dishonest will never help us. Confused on how to reconcile this situation.

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  13. I have a wife, we spent 4 years together with 5 years boy, 3 years back, we planned to live in France, she left with no problem in the family. But recently I came to know that she gave birth she has a kid of more than a year, I asked her If it is true. Of course she denied. She can’t tell the truth cos she is a the most narcissist I have ever seen. Now she can’t let me talk to my son, the excuse being that she is working so hard that she has no time; which is wrong. I don’t know how to make her accept that she moved on so that we can have a concessus on how I can talk to my son and move o

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  14. Thanks Misty, there is nothing I can document, problem is I work abroad and just get back every 2nd weekend, I really don’t care what she’s doing to herself with seeing and texting other men, I only care about knowing if the baby is mine, I have 15 weeks left for the baby to be born, If the baby is not mine I will run for the hills, I Still don’t know what to do if the baby is mine. She has a 13 year old daughter and she never see’s her father, she has turned her daughter completely against him. I can just take it step by step.

    Reply

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