If you were raised by narcissistic parents, you are probably familiar with these. These are the words I heard from my parents (yours may differ somewhat but the devastating effect is the same). I’ve broken them down into childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, since the emotional abuse doesn’t stop when you become an adult. Sometimes it gets worse. No matter what stage of life you’re in, these words are intended to destroy your soul. They are extremely effective weapons.
You are too sensitive (the #1 criticism)
You have no sense of humor.
You cry too much.
Shut up or I’ll give you something to cry about.
Your hair looks like a rat’s nest.
You always look so dirty and sloppy. (after being outside playing)
What did you do to your hair? (I did nothing; my hair was naturally thin and fine and tangled easily–and also grew in a strange way with cowlicks and weird curls)
You read too much. (what?)
You’re too obsessed with your books, drawing, and solitary games. (These were my escapes)
You act so immature; no wonder you have no friends.
You know you hate competition (when I wanted to join the swim team)
You know you’re not good at team sports. (I wasn’t, but this made me doubt myself even more when playing team sports)
I don’t think you really want that. (subtle gaslighting intended to make me doubt my own reality)
Here, let me do that for you. (a favorite of my mother’s when she didn’t have the patience to teach me or supervise me in a new or unfamiliar activity)
You’ll only make a mess of things. (another way to discourage my competence).
They’re just jealous of you because you’re prettier/smarter than they are (this seems nice but wasn’t based on reality and even I could see through that BS; I was bullied because of my high sensitivity, not my “superior” looks and intelligence)
You come from a better family than they do. (better in what way?)
We don’t associate with people like that. (see above–my parents were VERY into social status)
Don’t tell anyone what goes on in this family.
Keep your mouth shut about what happened here tonight.
You’re gaining too much weight. (my mother’s #1 favorite criticism, usually done in front of others)
You’re too fat (when I weighed 120 lbs at 5’4″!)
Your hair looks too stringy/greasy/what have you done to it, etc. (a variation on the childhood hair criticism)
You eat too much chocolate, you will get pimples and no one will think you’re pretty anymore.
You don’t study hard enough; you will fail all your subjects and not graduate (always catastrophizing)
You’re too pretty to wear that/do that/say that, etc.
You know you don’t want that. (making me doubt my reality)
You know I don’t like it when you act “tough” (but my sensitivity was hated too–I could never win).
You always get too hurt by everything (no empathy after a breakup or lost friendship, etc.)
You always get too obsessed with a boy.
This dress will make you look slimmer (this was a dress given to me in front of my friends at a birthday party)
Your butt is too big (I do have a big butt–I couldn’t help it! It’s the way my spine curves. What was I supposed to do? Slice it off?)
Your breasts are so big they will hang down to your waist when you’re 50. (I’m over 50 now and they don’t, they weren’t THAT big, and I think there might have been some envy in this anyway because she wore an A cup and I wore a C)
You’re acting like a crazy person.
What a stupid thing to say.
You have a terrible personality. I wouldn’t like you either.
You should change your personality.
You need to learn to control yourself.
You’re not goal-oriented.
You’re living a loser’s life.
You have nothing to show for your life.
You make terrible choices.
You’ve always made terrible choices.
You probably did something to deserve it. (always said when someone else treated me unfairly; no empathy shown)
Well, the way you are, I’m not surprised they are so angry with you/don’t like you, etc.
You’re a disgrace.
You never learn from your mistakes.
You overreact to everything.
You have no sense of humor/too sensitive, etc.
You don’t know how office politics works. (I don’t, and I hate it, but this was meant to insult me)
You never did have a knack for making it in the business world.
You’ll always be poor because you make such terrible choices.
Don’t expect any help from us.
You made your bed, now lie in it.
Why don’t you join a convent? The nuns will take care of you. (said when I was threatened with homelessness during my divorce).
Go live in a homeless shelter (see above).
You don’t take good care of your kids.
You’re a terrible parent.
Those kids are going to grow up with so many problems.
You weren’t raised to be this way.
It’s not my responsibility that what I said upset you.
You chose to be upset by that. (again, taking no responsibility and blame-shifting).
You choose your own emotions. (see above).
You made a choice to be depressed/miserable, etc.
I could go on, but I think this is enough for now. Do any of these sound familiar to you?
Lies My Narcissists Told Me