Wednesday, September 3, 2014

How Narcissists Minimize and Invalidate

Part of what makes malignant narcissists so unpleasant to be around is their tendency to minimize and invalidate our feelings. This is a particular "skill" they likely learned earlier in life, as they realize that using it makes it easier to control and manipulate others. The phrase "you're too sensitive" is frequently trotted out in attempt to make you feel as if the bad behavior you're responding to is perfectly acceptable, and that you're the one with the problem. As someone pointed out on one of the Pinterest boards, people who possess empathy for other people do not use this phrase to minimize or invalidate what someone else is legitimately feeling.

Similar words that tend to minimize our reactions include, "You need to get over it" and "You're really good at holding a grudge," something we may hear if we dare to bring up a pattern of behavior. "I'm sorry you feel that way" is another line to watch for, because it implies that you are the one who needs to get over something, and it deflects responsibility away from the emotionally abusive person.

All of this goes hand-in-hand with gaslighting, a sinister form of emotional abuse in which a morally disordered person attempts to get you to doubt your own feelings and perceptions. It's named after a vintage movie in which a husband secretly rearranges items in his home in an effort to drive his wife crazy. Then he lies about it when she asks him if something was moved.

However, just because the person in the movie Gaslight was a man doesn't mean that female malignant narcissists don't do their share of gaslighting. They most certainly do.

Pixabay photo rtop by hansiline


  1. I thought this was quite insightful! I followed you over here from HubPapges

  2. Hi Audrey, thanks so much for reading. I write about this very frustrating condition in hopes of helping people who've encountered a malignant narcissist.