One of the scariest parts of being abused by a narcissist is that they feel entitled to remaining in power and control of you for as long as they see fit. They don’t care about your thoughts, feelings, emotions, or needs, they only care about how much narcissistic supply they can get out of you.

Because of this, narcissists will say just about anything to get you back. In this article we have invited 8 of our community members to share some of the phrases that the narcissist in their life used to get them back. It is our hope that having this information will help you protect yourself and heal from the narcissist in your life.

1. “Nobody can love you the same way that I do.”

Narcissists dehumanize the people that they abuse by only viewing them as sources of narcissistic supply. They don’t care about the thoughts, feelings, emotions, or needs of others. They only care about how much narcissistic supply they can get.

When a narcissist has someone in their life who consistently gives them narcissistic supply (i.e. validation, admiration, reassurance, power, and control) it helps the narcissist maintain a grandiose self-perception that allows them to truly believe that they are the center of that person’s life.

A grandiose narcissist.

When this person stops being a source of narcissistic supply for the narcissist (e.g. a break up) the narcissist could try to get that person back by saying something along the lines of “Nobody can love you the same way that I do.”

A Quote from One of Our Community Members

“When I initiated the divorce with my ex-wife she told me that I would never find someone who could love me the same way that she did. It caused a lot of self-doubt and confusion for me and I ended up staying in the marriage for another 8 months before I was able to summon up the courage to leave.” – Ian

The reason that this is such a common thing for a narcissist to say when they are trying to get you back is because they truly believe that they are, or should be, the center of everyone’s life. They believe that they are so special and unique that nobody could possibly love the people that they abuse the same way that they do.

Comments like these could manipulate someone who has left the narcissist in their life into giving the relationship another chance just because they are afraid that the narcissist might be right.

2. “Can we just be friends?”

One of the most sneaky things that a narcissist will say to get you back is “Can we just be friends?”. Now, a friend is a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection. Remember, narcissists don’t view you as a friend, only as a source of narcissistic supply.

A narcissist asking to be friends.

The reason that narcissists ask you if you can remain friends is because they know that keeping you close will give them the information that they need to manipulate you into giving the relationship another chance.

A Quote from One of Our Community Members

“I made the mistake of treating my narcissistic ex like a friend. When we broke up he begged me to stay in touch and be friends because he said that he couldn’t live without me. I felt guilty so I did. After a while I thought that he had changed and decided to give the relationship another shot. Boy was I wrong.” – Alex

When you end a relationship with a narcissist, it is in your best interest to limit the amount of contact that you have with them as much as possible. Remaining “friends” with a narcissist will only give them the time and information that they need to manipulate you back under their power and control.

Suggested Readings:

Our articles Why Do Narcissists Want to Stay Friends? and Why Do Narcissists Keep Their Exes Around? has a lot of information that will help you understand the reason that narcissists use the idea of friendship as an excuse to stick around.

3. “How could you leave me at such a difficult time?”

It is very common for narcissists to try to get you back by saying things that are designed to make you feel guilty. For example, “How could you leave me at such a difficult time?”. In this example, the narcissist doesn’t care that you left them during a “difficult” time. They are just trying to make you feel guilty for leaving.

A Quote from One of Our Community Members

“Part of the reason that I stayed in the relationship for so long was because of guilt-tripping. If I tried to leave he would threaten to hurt himself and tell me it would be all my fault. He would refuse to take his heart medication and tell me that he was forgetting because I left him. It was horrible and kept me trapped for years.” – Ann

10 manipulation tactic that narcissist use to make you feel guilty.

Suggested Reading:

Our article “How Do Narcissists Make You Feel Guilty?” guides you through all 10 of the manipulation tactics that narcissists often use to make people feel guilty.

4. “You are nothing without me!”

Deep down, narcissists struggle with feelings of being unlovable, inadequate, worthless, weak, and unwanted. They use narcissistic supply to suppress these painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions, but it doesn’t always work.

When the painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions that narcissists have can’t be managed with narcissistic supply, narcissists turn to projection. This is a defense mechanism that occurs when someone takes part of their identity that they find unacceptable and places it onto someone else.

For example, a husband who cheated on his wife accusing his wife of cheating instead of taking responsibility for his infidelity. For narcissists, the parts of their identity that they find unacceptable are their painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

A woman with many painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

When you end a relationship with a narcissist, you are no longer a reliable source of narcissistic supply. Without a reliable source of narcissistic supply, the painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions that narcissists have get triggered.

With comments along the lines of “you are nothing without me” narcissists can project their painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions onto you. Their goal is to manipulate you back into the relationship by making you feel as unlovable, unwanted, inadequate, weak, and worthless as they feel.

A Quote from One of Our Community Members

“When I left the narcissist I was in a tough spot because I had been out of work for 5 years and was just an absolute train wreck. Somehow my ex knew this and told me that I can’t live without him. That I would be nothing without him. Luckily, I had a sister who stopped me from going back to him but hearing it made me want to.” – Erin

Suggested Readings:

Our articles Why Do Narcissists Use Projection?andHow Do You Know When a Narcissist Is Projecting? have a ton of information that will help you grasp a better understanding of projection and how/why narcissists use it.

5. “If you come back I promise to get therapy.”

One of the reasons that narcissists are so good at manipulating people into giving them so many chances is because of a manipulation tactic called mirroring.

In this context, mirroring refers to a narcissist’s ability to absorb an extraordinary amount of information about someone’s identity and using that information to create a falsified identity that the person being mirrored can relate with.

The information that narcissists get when they mirror someone allows them to do and/or say exactly what that person needs to see and/or hear to give them a second chance. For example, a narcissist could try to get you back by saying something like, “If you come back I promise that I will go to therapy.”

A narcissist trying to get his wife back by promising to go to therapy.

They say these things because they know exactly what you need to hear to give them a second chance. The likelihood of a narcissist having the self-awareness needed to make a real change is very, very, low. If the narcissist in your life is making promises that would require them to take responsibility for their behavior, don’t believe them.

A Quote from One of Our Community Members

“I gave my ex-wife multiple chances because she promised to go to therapy. It was a never-ending cycle of me leaving, her promising to get help, her refusing to get help, and then me leaving again. Looking back I can’t believe that I let the false promises go on for so long but that is what love/manipulation does to you!” -Joey

Suggested Reading:

Our article How Do Narcissists Use Mirroring? has a lot of information about mirroring that you may find helpful.

6. “You are a narcissist!”

A mistake that many people who are being abused by a narcissist make is trying to help the narcissist see that they are a narcissist. Sadly, narcissists are never going to truly acknowledge their wrongdoings. They might pretend to from time to time, but it will never be genuine.

But one of the reasons that telling a narcissist that they are a narcissist is a mistake is because narcissists are very good at using projection and gaslighting to convince others that they are the ones who are narcissistic, not the actual narcissist.

A narcissist projecting.

For example, one of the most common manipulation tactics that narcissists use is called stonewalling. This is a narcissist’s refusal to participate in the communication and connection of the relationship. Now, on paper, stonewalling seems very similar to a defensive technique called the Gray Rock Method.

The Gray Rock Method occurs when someone restrains themselves from engaging in meaningful interactions with the abusive/toxic people in their life. For example, if a narcissist sent you a mean text, you could use the Gray Rock Method by simply not responding.

There is nothing wrong with using the Gray Rock Method, but in the midst of the narcissistic abuse cycle, you may not know that. If you were to call a narcissist out for being a narcissist, they could flip the script on you by saying something like, “I’m not the narcissist, you are! You have been stonewalling me for the past week!”

A narcissist telling someone that they are stonewalling him.

Without a clear understanding of narcissistic abuse, a comment like this could manipulate someone being abused by a narcissist into becoming apologetic and going back to the narcissist just because of how confusing the situation is.

A Quote from One of Our Community Members

“When I finally left I was called manipulative and a narcissist by my ex narc girlfriend and all of her flying monkeys. They made me feel like a monster for going no contact with her. It was such a confusing time in my life and I almost went back to her a few times because of it.” – Raymond

Suggested Reading:

Our article Do Narcissists Use the Gray Rock Method? will help you grasp a clear understanding of the difference between the Gray Rock Method and stonewalling.

7. “I know that I hurt you and I am sorry.”

When a narcissist “apologizes” to someone, they are very good at pretending to take responsibility for their behavior, to acknowledge the impact that their actions had on someone, and to take steps towards making amends.

A narcissist pretending to apologize.

With a comment like “I know that I hurt you and I am sorry” narcissists are often able to manipulate the people that they abuse into giving the relationship another chance. Sadly, the narcissist has no intention of changing, they only want to regain power and control over the person that they were abusing.

A Quote from One of Our Community Members

“I was a sucker for all of the apologies. He was so good at them because he wouldn’t just apologize to me, he would go out of his way to apologize to my family too. He was a master at crocodile tears and would swear up and down that he was a changed man, going to therapy, reborn, the whole nine yards.” – Jasmine

8. “I think that we should get married”

In the narcissistic realm, future faking is a manipulation tactic that occurs when a narcissist makes a false promise for the future to get what they want in the present. It is very common for narcissists to use future faking to manipulate the people that they abuse into giving them another chance.

For example, imagine that you have ended a relationship with a narcissist because they refuse to make any type of commitment to you. To get you back they could future fake you by saying, “I think that we should get married”.

A narcissist proposing to his wife to keep her in the relationship.

They have no interest in actually getting married. They just know that asking you to get married will manipulate you back into the relationship. They don’t care about the thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs that go into marriage. They only care about regaining power and control over you.

A Quote from One of Our Members

“I hadn’t heard from or seen my ex for 2 months when he showed up on my sister’s doorstep looking for me. He proposed to me, apologized for being absent for the past two months, and told me that he was at a therapeutic retreat getting help. He promised to change, and promised to be faithful. I hate to say it but I said yes. – Jill

Suggested Reading:

Narcissists are notorious for getting into relationships for all the wrong reasons. Our articles Why Do Narcissists Get Married?” and What Do Narcissists Want In a Relationship? have a tone of information about this that you may find helpful.


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All of the content that Unfilteredd creates is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for clinical care — please visit here for qualified organizations and here for qualified professionals that you can reach out to for help. This article has been reviewed by our editorial board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policies.

References:

Ronningstam, Elsa. Identifying and understanding the narcissistic personality. Oxford University Press, 2005.

Kalogjera, Ikar J., et al. “The narcissistic couple.” The disordered couple (1998): 207-238.