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How to Respond to a Narcissist’s Text (And Other Communication Tips)

by | Aug 8, 2023 | 0 comments

narcissist text messages. A woman looks at her phone bemused.

The term “narcissism” on this blog is used to describe a specific set of personality traits. It is not intended to be used as a professional diagnosis.

TINY - Pins - Short (1)Dealing with a narcissist’s text messages can be a challenging and frustrating experience.

Trust me, I know!

While trying to co-parent with my ex, all communication was limited to text messages and emails.

Although forgoing face-to-face contact help to reduce conflict, narcissists will still display manipulative and controlling behavior through text messages.

So whether you’re dealing with a partner, co-parent, family member, or even a friend, understanding how to respond to a narcissist text can definitely help your emotional well-being and change the outcome of the communication.

Let’s take a look at some strategies for handling narcissist text messages so that you can take the stress out of communicating with a narcissist:

Examples of Narcissist Text Messages

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In order to know how to respond to a narcissist text, it’s essential to recognize their distinct characteristics.

Here are some specific examples of text messages commonly sent by narcissists:

Guilt-Tripping Messages

Example: “I can’t believe you’re doing this to me after all I’ve done for you.”

Insight: Guilt-tripping messages are designed to make you feel responsible for their emotions or actions. Remember, their emotional well-being is not your sole responsibility.

Blame-Shifting Messages

Example: “You’re the reason things are falling apart. If you had just listened to me, none of this would have happened.”

Insight: Narcissists often deflect blame onto others to avoid taking responsibility for their own actions. Stay focused on addressing the specific issue at hand rather than engaging in a blame game.

Manipulative Flattery

Example: “I’ve always admired your intelligence and charm. It’s a shame you’re not using it in our relationship.”

Insight: Manipulative flattery aims to stroke your ego while simultaneously criticizing you. Be cautious of messages that mix compliments with subtle criticisms.

Passive-Aggressive Messages

Example: “Oh, I guess you’re just too busy to care about what’s important to me.”

Insight: Passive-aggressive messages mask their true intentions behind a veneer of innocence. Respond with directness and avoid getting drawn into their emotional manipulation.

Demanding and Controlling Messages

Example: “You need to do this right now, or you’ll regret it.”

Insight: Narcissists often attempt to exert control by imposing ultimatums or making demands. Maintain your autonomy and respond with confidence in your decisions.

In my experience, co-parenting with a narcissist shed light on the importance of recognizing these manipulative tactics.

I received messages laden with guilt and blame, which initially evoked intense emotional responses.

However, over time, I learned to detach emotionally and respond in a more calculated manner.

While it wasn’t always easy, these experiences taught me the value of setting boundaries, staying composed, and employing effective communication strategies when dealing with narcissistic text messages.

Here are some more examples:

What is the Best Response to a Narcissist?

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Navigating communication with a narcissist requires careful consideration of when to respond and when to ignore.

This strategic approach empowers you to maintain control over your interactions and protect your emotional well-being.

When to Respond:

Choose to respond when the communication addresses a legitimate and relevant concern.

If the narcissist’s message pertains to essential matters, such as shared responsibilities or co-parenting arrangements, a response may be necessary to ensure clarity and cooperation.

When responding, keep your tone professional and concise.

Stick to the facts and avoid engaging in emotional debates or personal attacks.

Focus on providing the information needed to address the issue at hand while maintaining a respectful distance.

When to Ignore:

Ignoring a narcissist’s text messages can be a powerful tool in breaking their cycle of manipulation and seeking attention.

Consider ignoring messages that are designed to provoke a reaction, draw you into an emotional argument, or deflect responsibility.

If the text contains insults, guilt-tripping, blame-shifting, or attempts to engage in mind games, it may be best to refrain from responding.

By not giving in to their tactics, you maintain your sense of control and prevent them from achieving their desired outcome.

Additionally, if the text lacks relevance to your current situation or doesn’t require an immediate response, consider letting it go unanswered.

This communicates that you are not easily swayed by their attempts to manipulate or divert the conversation.

By carefully evaluating whether to respond or ignore a narcissist’s text, you can assert your boundaries, prioritize your emotional well-being, and establish a healthier communication dynamic.

Your choices in how you engage with a narcissist can significantly influence the course of your interactions and ultimately empower you to regain control of the conversation.

What Happens When You Ignore a Narcissist Text?

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If you do choose to ignore the narcissist’s text, it can serve as a transformative approach to handling their manipulative communication.

By withholding the response they crave, you effectively disrupt their pattern of seeking attention and validation.

This tactic can have several noteworthy outcomes:

  • Breaking the Cycle of Manipulation: Narcissists rely on drawing you into their manipulative web to maintain a sense of control and superiority. When you ignore their text, you interrupt this cycle, denying them the satisfaction of knowing they can affect your emotions or actions.
  • Diminishing their Power: Narcissists thrive on their ability to influence and manipulate others. By not engaging with their messages, you strip them of their power over your reactions and decisions. This can lead to a shift in the power dynamics within your interactions.
  • Resisting Emotional Drain: Responding to a narcissist often leads to emotional exhaustion, as their tactics can trigger frustration, anger, or anxiety. Ignoring their texts allows you to conserve your emotional energy, protecting your mental well-being from their negative influence.
  • Testing Their Persistence: When you ignore a narcissist’s text, they might escalate their efforts to regain your attention. They could send multiple messages, become more explicit in their attempts, or even resort to manipulation tactics that they hadn’t previously employed. This escalation can reveal their true intentions and help you better understand their behavior.

However, it’s essential to recognize that ignoring a narcissist’s text messages can trigger a range of responses from them.

Be prepared for potential escalation, including attempts to provoke a reaction, guilt-tripping, or even more aggressive communication.

Stay resolute in your decision to ignore messages that are irrelevant or harmful, as consistency in your approach is key to reinforcing your boundaries.

By choosing to ignore a narcissist’s text messages, you take a proactive step towards reclaiming your control and mental well-being.

While the road may be challenging, the benefits of breaking free from their manipulation and fostering healthier communication dynamics are well worth the effort.

10 Communication Tips for Responding to Text Messages

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Engaging in communication with a narcissist can be a delicate dance, requiring both self-awareness and assertiveness.

These strategies will empower you to maintain your composure, set boundaries, and prioritize your emotional health while interacting with a challenging individual:

1. Stay Calm and Collected

When crafting a response to a narcissist, maintain a composed and business-like tone. Refrain from becoming defensive or emotional, as this only fuels their tactics. Address the topic at hand with a straightforward approach.

2. Set Boundaries

Clearly define your boundaries and expectations in your response. Narcissists thrive on pushing boundaries, so making yours explicitly known can help prevent manipulation.

3. Use “I” Statements

Frame your response around your feelings and perspective. By using “I” statements, you communicate your thoughts without appearing confrontational or accusatory.

4. Keep it Brief and Direct

Narcissists thrive on drawing you into lengthy, convoluted discussions. Counter this by keeping your responses concise and to the point.

5. Stick to Facts

Focus on objective information and facts rather than getting entangled in emotional arguments. This approach reinforces your credibility and minimizes their ability to manipulate the conversation.

6. Avoid JADE (Justify, Argue, Defend, Explain)

Narcissists often use JADE tactics to wear you down and shift blame. Sidestep this by refraining from justifying, arguing, defending, or explaining your decisions excessively.

7. Practice Empathy for Yourself

While it’s important to understand the narcissist’s perspective, prioritize your emotional well-being. Remind yourself that their behavior is a reflection of their issues, not yours.

8. Implement Time Delays

When responding to a narcissist’s message, consider incorporating a time delay before sending your reply. This pause allows you to collect your thoughts, assess the situation, and respond in a composed manner rather than reacting impulsively.

9. Choose Your Battles Wisely

Not every message from a narcissist requires a response. Evaluate the importance of the issue at hand before deciding to engage. By selectively choosing your battles, you assert your control over the conversation and avoid getting drawn into unnecessary conflicts.

10. Enlist Support

Seeking advice or venting to a trusted friend, family member, or therapist can provide you with valuable perspective and emotional support. Sharing your experiences with someone who understands can help you maintain your emotional balance when dealing with a narcissist’s texts.

What To Do If You Have to Talk Face to Face

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While managing communication with a narcissist through text messages is challenging, face-to-face interactions can present a whole new set of complexities.

Whether it’s a business meeting, a family gathering, or a co-parenting discussion, being prepared for in-person encounters is essential.

Here are some strategies to navigate face-to-face interactions with a narcissist:

  • Prepare and Stay Focused: Before the meeting, outline the key points you want to discuss. Keep the conversation focused on the agenda and the topic at hand. Avoid getting drawn into personal attacks or emotional manipulation by steering the conversation back to the issues you need to address.
  • Maintain Composure: Narcissists may try to provoke a reaction from you during face-to-face interactions. Practice maintaining a calm and composed demeanor. Take deep breaths, pause before responding, and remind yourself that their behavior is a reflection of their own insecurities.
  • Use Assertive Body Language: Your body language can communicate confidence and assertiveness. Maintain eye contact, stand or sit upright, and avoid displaying signs of anxiety or submission. Narcissists often feed off perceived vulnerability, so projecting strength can help deter their attempts to control the conversation.
  • Set Clear Boundaries: Just as with text messages, clearly establish your boundaries at the beginning of the conversation. Politely but firmly communicate what behavior is acceptable and what is not. Stick to these boundaries throughout the interaction to minimize manipulation attempts.
  • Redirect Manipulative Tactics: If the narcissist employs manipulation tactics, such as guilt-tripping or blame-shifting, acknowledge their statements briefly and then redirect the conversation back to the relevant topic. Avoid getting sidetracked by their attempts to divert the discussion.
  • Seek Support: If possible, bring a neutral third party to the meeting as a witness or mediator. Having someone else present can help keep the conversation on track and discourage the narcissist from engaging in disruptive behavior.
  • Stay Goal-Oriented: Keep your objectives in mind throughout the conversation. Focus on achieving specific outcomes or reaching agreements. By maintaining a results-oriented approach, you can avoid getting entangled in emotional power struggles.
  • Practice Active Listening: While it’s important to stand your ground, also practice active listening. Give the narcissist an opportunity to express their perspective, but avoid getting emotionally entangled in their narrative. Acknowledge their words and pivot back to the main topic.

Remember, face-to-face interactions with a narcissist can be emotionally taxing, but with the right strategies, you can navigate these situations while preserving your own well-being and achieving your goals.

My Personal Journey: Communicating with a Narcissist While Co-Parenting

In my own experience co-parenting with a narcissist, I found that learning to control my emotions and communicate in a business-like manner was crucial.

Through trial and error, I discovered the power of setting boundaries, focusing on facts, and maintaining a composed demeanor.

By prioritizing my mental and emotional health, I was able to navigate the challenges of co-parenting and maintain a healthier communication dynamic.

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Mastering Communication with Narcissists: Your Path to Empowerment

There you have it! Sometimes we can’t avoid communicating with a narcissist, but we can control how the communication happens.

When you’re texting a narcissist, just remember to give yourself a moment before responding. This will help you keep your cool and maintain control of the conversation.

How do you text with a narcissist? Any other communication tips? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

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