What do narcissists do to avoid answering your questions?

You probably know this scenario all-to-well: you ask a narcissist a question, and you don’t get a direct answer. They seem to find a way to dodge the question, confusing you. 

Maybe you ask a second time and still don’t get an answer. Now you’re confused, upset, and even defeated. 

Sometimes, you might be unsure if they’re even dodging your question. It seems like they are, but you worry that maybe you’re losing your mind. 

Why do they do this?

Don’t worry; you aren’t losing your mind. If the narcissist doesn’t answer your questions, you haven’t done anything wrong. This is pretty typical narcissistic behavior.

The narcissist has something to gain from refusing to answer you directly. Either they’re avoiding accountability for something they’ve done or want to maintain power over you.

Narcissists cannot accept responsibility for their own mistakes. It’s too painful for their fragile egos.

They can also uplift their egos by staying in control of your emotions. Failing to answer your question is one way to do this.

If you think the narcissist is dodging your questions, trust your instincts. You’re probably right about this one. 

So, what strategies will they use to avoid giving you answers? We’ll explore them below. 

The narcissist’s top strategies for dodging your questions 

Narcissists aren’t very original. They tend to recycle the same few manipulative strategies, because these methods work for them.

When you feel they aren’t answering your questions, look out for one or more of the following tactics. 


Remember, the narcissist’s ego won’t allow them to take accountability for their own flaws or mistakes. If you’re asking a question related to something they did wrong, be prepared for them to deflect. 

They’ll quickly change the topic to avoid answering the question, or they will hyperfixate on small details to distract you from what you asked.

For example, if you ask when they got home the night before, they might reply, “Do you mean what time I got back in town?” Then, they’ll criticize you for not being specific enough in your inquiry. 

Or, they’ll totally change the subject. You asked when they got home, and they’ll respond, “Speaking of last night, did you swing by the store like I asked?” 

These methods prevent them from admitting they got home way later than promised. 


Gaslighting is one of the narcissist’s key manipulative strategies. Through gaslighting, the narcissist convinces their victims that they are insane or simply imagining things.

Perhaps you find that the narcissist has taken money from your bank account without permission.  When you question them, they might avoid accountability through gaslighting.

Their response will look like, “Are you imagining money is missing from your account again?” Then they’ll criticize you for being too paranoid.

Now, you’ve become the problem. They’ve managed to avoid accountability, because they’ve convinced you that you’re imagining things. 

Before you know it, you’re defending yourself and trying to convince them you’re not crazy. In the meantime, your question goes unanswered. 

Arguing semantics 

Narcissists are masters at using manipulation to achieve their goals. If they’re trying to avoid a question, they will manipulate you by sparring over your word choices.

Let’s say you catch them lying about where they were over the weekend. You might ask, “Why did you tell me you were at the baseball game with friends when you were really at the club?” 

They may fire back, “Who uses the term club anymore? Normal people call it the bar!”

They aim to make you feel ridiculous for even asking such a question. In their minds, since they were at a bar and not a club, your question isn’t even valid.

This allows them, once again, to get away without giving you a direct answer. 

Avoiding the conversation 

Didn’t you know, the narcissist gets to decide what you discuss? If they’re not on board with your question, they can simply refuse to answer it! 

When you bring up a question they’d rather not address, they may avoid it entirely. They might tell you they’re not discussing with you now. Pay attention, because they actually mean they’re never discussing with you. 

If you try to press them again later, they will accuse you of nagging, continuing the cycle of avoidance.

Completely stonewalling you

Sometimes, a narcissist will go a step beyond avoiding. They won’t just refuse to answer; they will flat out ignore your question.

Once you make your inquiry, they might sigh and roll their eyes or get up and leave the room.

They will continue stonewalling you for the rest of the day, giving you the silent treatment. They’re not only avoiding your question but also punishing you for even asking. 

Their message is clear: don’t ask such a question, or they won’t even give you the time of day. 

Shifting the blame 

Blame-shifting is one of the narcissist’s strongest weapons against taking accountability. Consider this scenario: you’ve caught them in a lie, and you’re questioning them about it.

Rather than directly answer the question, they’ll say, “I wouldn’t have to do this if you weren’t so sensitive!” 

They don’t explain the lie or answer any questions you have about it. Instead, they conveniently shift the blame onto you!

Now the focus is off of them and their bad behavior. The problem isn’t that they lied; the issue is that you made them do it! 

What to do when the narcissist avoids your questions 

So, you’ve realized the narcissist uses several strategies to avoid answering your questions. What do you do now?

The responses below can be helpful.

Set a boundary 

When the narcissist is refusing to answer your questions, it’s critical that you set boundaries. Tell them you expect honest, clear communication from them. 

If they cannot be honest, tell them you’ll be ready to discuss when they can honor this boundary.

Stay on-task

The narcissist will likely use strategies like deflection or gaslighting to distract from the question at hand. Don’t fall for these strategies.

When the narcissist distracts you from the question you’ve asked, remind them of what you’ve asked. Maybe they’re accusing you of imagining things.

In this case, you can respond, “I’m not imagining things. I’ve asked you a question, and I’m waiting for your answer.” 

Consider letting it go

Truthfully, you probably know the answer to your question, even if the narcissist won’t give you a direct response. If they’re using strategies to dodge your question, chances are, you’ve caught them in a lie, and you know the truth.

If they’re refusing to answer, you might consider letting it go. If you already know the truth, it’s not worth the fight.

Ultimately, you’ll probably have to accept that a narcissist will avoid answering your questions. You can expect them to engage in manipulative, exploitative behavior pretty consistently.

If you remain in the relationship, you’ll have to accept that there is little to no chance this behavior will ever change. Learn some acceptance and practice self-care to promote your own emotional well-being amidst this chaos. 

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