Narcissists Can’t Stand it When You Do This

We’re constantly told…

Never get on the wrong side of a narcissist.


Because it means you have done something they cannot stand – and that means punishment is justified. 

How do we know what is going to light the fire of a narcissist, spiraling them into a rage and sending you away confused?

Believe it or not, you can be clued up on what a narcissist can’t stand, and there are certain things you may be doing to get them angrily hot under the collar.

So… why don’t we start right here? you can learn something new today about what you could be doing to make a narcissist tick.

Tonal Overreaction!

Narcissists are very good at picking up how you talk. 

Your tone is key for their emotional regulation, so if they deem it ‘wrong’ or ‘inappropriate,’ they won’t hesitate to let you know. Now – how they let you know, I’ll return to, but first… Let’s backtrack.


Yes, we really are dealing with glorified headteachers here. 

I did not appreciate your tone.

How dare you speak to me like that!

Do you want to rephrase that?

And the best one:

Who do you think you’re talking to?

The familiarity of being called out for your tone is somewhat ironic, right?

Given the narcissist can treat you however they want to, they call you out on the slightest thing. You aren’t allowed to have moods, or be snappy, or not see the funny side of something at some point.


Because your response to the narcissist needs to be exactly what they want to see or hear, otherwise their game playing efforts are to no avail.

Leading You to Water

The narcissist will often lure you to give them a response they’re waiting for. They want recognition, they want praise, they want adulation – they want it all. If you can’t give it to them, or they feel your tone of voice is off – man alive. They’re going to let you know how unhappy they are about it.

They can lead you to offering all your best, most worthy words, but they can’t force you to respond with emotional precision.

That’s when things can start to look a little sketchy for you.

The Narcissist’s Hypersensitivity 

Mean? Check.

Angry? Check.

Petulant? Check.

Enraged? Check.

Silent? Check. 

Sullen? Check.

At their very core, narcissists are the most insecure people on the planet. I mean this, because I know how hard it can be to believe when they come across as so overwhelmingly charming and sure of themselves.

You have to remember – it’s all an act. They don’t mean it. They’re disguising their true selves because they’re deeply ashamed of who they are. 

They don’t want you to know that, they just want to shame you instead – which is the very thing they do when they don’t hear what they want to hear from you.

This leads me to the hypersensitivity of the narcissist. If you don’t give them what they want or need, they will reveal all the narcissistic traits they  possess – and fire them your way. 

Not Just Words

Looking beyond the words you say to the tone you say them is where you often find the narcissist lying in wait for you. 

They see you coming. They know you are going to speak, and they are already hoping and waiting for you to give them exactly, exactly what they need. 

Words and beyond – the tone is how the narcissist will pick you apart – or rather try to.

How a Narcissist Lets You Know You’re ‘Not in Their Good Books’

Oh my. Knowing how a narcissist will let you know that you’ve done something they don’t like is going to help you with the challenge of their strops and rages. 

The narcissist is going to attack. The moment you let slip your disinterested, distand, non-bothered tone, they will zone in on you like bees to honey. 

You can almost feel the change in the air as they come crashing down around you, unable to get the response they were hoping for, and that’s where the conflict will start.

The question you have to ask yourself is, why should you even be put in a position where you are purposely feeding a neutral tone to the narcissist? Would that be right if you responded with a more animated, gestural tone?

And that’s the thing to remember with narcissists:

Nothing you ever say or do is going to be right. If it is, it won’t be tomorrow.

Narcissists are always moving the goalposts to keep you guessing, and to keep you on your toes. They do this to keep your world from being safe and predictable, which are all the ingredients to promote anxiety and uncertainty, and it’s up to you to spot this. 

Techniques to Free You

First off, when a narcissist lets you know they’re unhappy with you simply because of the way you spoke or responded to them:

Do not take it personally. 

You don’t need to take it personally. It’s not your problem to take and manage. I know that can seem a huge ask, but the problem isn’t you. 

They want to be appeased by you, and if you aren’t giving them what they are demanding, that isn’t your responsibility to shoulder.

Don’t engage.

The narcissist wants to let you know how unhappy they are, and will try to draw you into conflict with them.

Just don’t. 

Don’t engage. Don’t give them what they want. THey’re looking to feel better about themselves by taking their rage out on you. Let them know it won’t work by walking away.

Keep your expectations real.

The earlier you understand that the narcissist has unrealistic expectations, the more you can apply your own realism to yours. Don’t change to suit, because the narcissist will always find ways to not be happy. Don’t think that answering in the right tone is going to give them what they need because you will never be able to anticipate the ‘tone’ they are looking for.

Why even bother? 

It’s just not worth it.

Poised For a Fight

The narcissist is always ready for battle, so you have to ask yourself – do you really want the argument?

Your tone can be off, and the narcissist will be the first to fall down on you when they notice it. 

Not too bored.

Not too cynical.

Not too uninterested.

The narcissist is sensitive to anything they don’t like, so if you want peace, even just for a moment, this is something to really bear in mind. 

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