How to Respond When a Narcissist Criticizes You

“You’re worthless.”

“Nobody else would want you.”

“I’m stuck with you.”

“You’re terrible at cooking.”

“You can’t drive for toffee.”

“I thought you claimed to be intelligent.”

I could write an entire book filled with just critical comments from a narcissist, and I’d need a sequel immediately!

When a narcissist criticizes you, it’s often easy to fall into their words and believe them. Self-esteem plummets and, well, they get what they want…

You feeling worthless, low and degraded.

How can you overcome this? Well, it’s certainly not impossible, that’s for sure! A huge level of pushing through is by responding, but you have to pick and choose how you do this for maximum effect!

I want to teach you how, right now!

Tolerating Criticism – How it Starts

You may know what this feels like, but I’m going to set the scene.

You meet, you fall – the narcissist is everything you want.

Before long, you start to feel an uncomfortable chipping of your character. This usually happens when the narcissist throws comments like this to you:

You’re stupid!

You can’t do that!

It’s your fault I’m like this.

You’re being too sensitive.

I can’t believe you can’t do that.

It’s so easy, why can’t you manage?

This food you cooked tastes awful!

Is this the person you knew when you first met?

Yes and no. They were always there, they were just waiting for the right time to strike. 

Before You Go Believing Them…

You have reached a crucial point! You are staring at the narcissist who is throwing all criticism comments your way. You’re listening to them rage. Scoff. Ridicule Laugh.

You feel confused that somebody who is supposed to love you is acting this way and intending to make you feel small. 

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This could go two ways now.

You could believe them. Maybe you are a horrible cook. Your food is awful, you didn’t even check for a recipe. What on earth were you thinking?

And yes, you really should give up painting. Your artwork looks like it was done by a child. Who would want to hang your designs on their wall?



Hold your horses!

Before you go believing the narcissist, shouldn’t you look at what they’re doing to you? They’re trying to make you feel as though nothing you do is good enough. They want you to stop believing in yourself and your abilities. 

Stand Strong in Your Self-Belief

When someone tries to steal your self-belief, it can feel like a challenge to keep a hold of it. You can believe you’re good at something, but if someone tells you so many times, you’ll likely start believing them. This is where strong boundaries around yourself will help!

Standing firm in your skills and beliefs will mean that nobody and nothing will change those.

Ways to Respond to Narcissistic Criticism

So here we are – at the point where you need to start responding to criticism as it hurdles your way at the speed of light. 

If you can imagine that the criticism from the narcissist is a baseball, you’re going to need to find yourself a strong bat right away. 

Here’s how you knock it out of the park, and give yourself a proverbial home-run.

The Most Important – Respond, Don’t React!

Note my use of words here, and really make sure you remember them when you want to retaliate. Narcissists aren’t going to enjoy your response as much as they would a reaction, and that’s why it’s so important you’re careful with your approach.

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Narcissists famously look for your reaction when they criticize. They want to see you angry. They want to see you snap so they can tell everybody how awful you are for snapping.

Responding is to give them attention that isn’t necessarily going to ignite a positive satisfaction within them.

They need to know that they didn’t get you. 

Get Out of The Usual Loop

If you’ve been used to one of you snapping, then the other snapping back – it’s got to stop. So many relationships get into the habit of rinsing and repeating conflict, but a relationship with a narcissist draws some people in unintentionally. They will use criticism for this!

If you have a loop that plays out, it’ll bring up all those feelings in you that aren’t healthy. That’s what the narcissist wants. 

Instead, take a moment and jump off the cycle. Not only will it throw the narcissist off, it’ll also make you feel better too.

Remain Calm

Usually, calmness is the best way to diffuse situations. People enjoy calm, don’t they?


…Unless you’re a narcissist. Narcissists get bored in calm – they want drama and excitement and satisfaction. 

They want all of those things from watching you squirm as your emotions become anything but calm.

Breathe. Keep yourself on a level with calm in a way that allows for your inner peace to thrive. Narcissists will take one look at you as they throw criticism your way and wonder what happened to you. 


Hey, if you’re doing something fun and they don’t like it, so what? The narcissist has come along like a dark cloud, enforcing their negativity onto you. 

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They see you happy, and they want to be the first to break it apart for you. The cruel and calculated words that leave their mouth will be flung in your direction, and there’s only one way to greet them:

With a great big laugh.

Laughter infuriates the narcissist. They see your visual pleasure at what they’re saying, and how it evidently means nothing to them.

And it will make them want to spit feathers. But hey – you’ve done nothing other than laugh, right? 

Keep Being You

The best revenge is success.

If you are struggling with yourself through the critical comments of a narcissist, this is something you need to remember. 

Narcissists were born to try and make others feel small. They serve no purpose in this world, other than to bring about pain and confusion to those they meet. The worst kind of people according to the narcissist are those who are:

  • Happy
  • Safe
  • Secure in their own skin
  • Strong of self-believe and esteem
  • Determined to succeed
  • Certain of their morals, values and beliefs

You’re going to tick those boxes if a narcissist is attracted to you, and you must hold onto them through it all. Sure, you’ll be told you’re this or that – don’t listen!

Understand the Deeper Issue

What’s really going on under the surface of any criticism is the deeply ingrained insecurities of the narcissist. Their self-esteem is so neglected that they cannot bear to even look in the mirror at themselves. 

They find it much easier to point at you and pull you down, than to do things to lift themselves up.

That’s always worth remembering. 

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