15 toxic arguing techniques used by narcissists and manipulators

What a narcissist ?

narcissists, psychopaths, and people with antisocial qualities engage in maladaptive behaviors that exploit, degrade, and injure their intimate partners, family members, and friends who are unable or unwilling to resolve disagreements or participate in healthy, mature discussion.

It’s important to note that not everyone who lacks the ability to construct effective arguments, understand logical fallacies, or resolve disagreements is a narcissist. A regular, well-intentioned individual, on the other hand, is typically sincerely eager to improve. Meanwhile, a narcissist seeks to conquer, dominate, and obtain their desires, frequently at the price of others’ well-being.

I’ve seen thousands of good and poor examples in many settings and everything in-between as someone who has been fascinated by and studied philology (i.e., language), psychology, and reasoning for most of my adult life. Most people, on the other hand, are unfamiliar with these fields and may become easily confused, frustrated, or intimidated.

As a result, in this essay, we’ll look at some common narcissistic strategies used in arguments and other social settings.


Gaslighting is a deceptive technique that may be summarized in three words: “That didn’t happen,” “You imagined it,” and “Are you insane?” Gaslighting is one of the most pernicious manipulative techniques because it tries to distort and degrade your sense of reality; it erodes your capacity to trust yourself and, as a result, makes it impossible for you to feel justified in reporting abuse and maltreatment.

When a narcissist, sociopath, or psychopath gaslights you, you may find yourself gaslighting yourself to deal with the cognitive dissonance. Two opposing viewpoints clash: is this person correct, or can I trust what I saw? A manipulative person will persuade you that the former is an unavoidable truth, whilst the latter is an indication of your own dysfunction.

To counteract the gaslighting effect, it’s necessary to root yourself in your own reality. Sometimes writing things down as they happen, informing a friend, or reiterating your experience to a support network can assist. The power of having a validating community is that it may guide you away from a malignant person’s warped reality and back to your own inner guidance.

Arguing in bad faith

A common person seeks to understand the other side, listens to them, is honest, and ensures that they understand where others are coming from when they disagree. Sure, individuals can get overly irritated or nervous from time to time. But, in general, that is the unwritten rule.

Narcissists, on the other hand, argue in what is known as “bad faith.” It suggests they don’t give a damn about the other person or try to understand them. Worse, they are committed to purposefully misinterpreting and mischaracterizing others, frequently to ludicrous levels.

They are willfully misleading, dishonest, and morally corrupt. Frequently while also accusing others of being dishonest, deceitful, and morally immoral.

Fallacies, nonsense, word salad

Although narcissists are typically unprepared to hold adult talks or settle issues, they believe they are experts. As a result, they frequently utilize phrases, arguments, or approaches that they have heard of but do not fully comprehend, all while claiming to be logical, reasonable, or accurate. You are being illogical, unreasonable, uninformed, and unwilling or unable to have a mature discourse to the point that they become highly agitated or even hostile.

Meanwhile, what they’re saying is an incoherent tirade or a jumble of logical and argumentative fallacies, misrepresentation of you, factual inaccuracies, emotive language, or outright rubbish (as in something that literally makes no sense). In more severe circumstances, it’s known as word salad, which refers to a collection of words that have been tossed together with no sense of consistency or organization.


When a person is persistently reluctant to accept his or her own flaws and does everything possible to avoid being held accountable for them, it is a sure symptom of toxicity. This is referred to as projection. Projection is a protective technique that involves transferring blame for one’s undesirable behavior and features to someone else. It eventually serves as a diversion from responsibility and ownership.

Provoking, bullying, intimidating

Because a narcissist’s purpose is to dominate and be seen as correct at any cost, aggressiveness is frequently used. The more blatantly hostile methods used by narcissists fall under this group.

Provoking, bullying, and frightening are examples of these strategies, in which the narcissist picks on you, calls you names, shouts, behaves extremely emotionally, intentionally attempts to harm you, lies to you, threatens you, or even physically assaults you.

Not only that, but they make it appear as if you are the one who is irrational, overly emotional, and aggressive against them by reacting to it or ignoring it.

Nonsensical conversations from hell

If you believe you’ll have a serious chat with a toxic person, be prepared for enormous mindfuckery rather than attentive dialogue.

If you ever disagree with them or confront them in any way, malignant narcissists and sociopaths will employ word salad, circular dialogues, ad hominem arguments, projection, and gaslighting to confuse you and pull you off course. They do this to discredit, confuse, and annoy you, divert your attention away from the core issue, and make you feel guilty for having real ideas and feelings that may differ from theirs.

Lying, denying, changing definitions

They may lie about what happened, what you or they did or didn’t do, or even what is genuine and factually accurate at times. Frequently to the point of complete denial and delusion. Gaslighting is an attempt to perplex the other person and make them doubt their own experiences or reality by lying about it.

Redefining to fit their story is another way that falls into this group. They are fond of utilizing euphemism terminology or redefining regularly used phrases to fit their story when it is evident that it does not. The idea is to rationalize that what they’re doing is good and that what they’re saying is correct, even if it’s not.

To perplex you, it may be necessary to reframe or minimize their destructive conduct. For example, I didn’t shout at you; I was just enraged. Alternatively, I’m not being abusive or manipulating; I’m simply being firm and honest.

Blanket statements and generalizations

Intellectual masterminds aren’t invariably malignant narcissists; many of them are intellectually sluggish. They generalize everything and everything you say, making broad assertions that don’t recognize the intricacies in your argument or take into consideration the numerous opinions you’ve paid tribute to, rather than taking the time to thoroughly analyze a different perspective. Why not designate yourself with a term that completely ignores your point of view?

Generalizations and sweeping claims, on a bigger scale, invalidate experiences that don’t fit into society’s unsubstantiated assumptions, schemas, and stereotypes; they’re also employed to preserve the status quo. This type of digression exaggerates one point of view to the extent that a social justice problem is hidden totally. Rape allegations against well-known persons, for example, are frequently answered with the reminder that fake rape claims do occur.

Deflecting, attacking, projecting

Deflect and attack is a sadly prevalent narcissistic strategy.

The idea here is to divert attention away from the narcissist’s words and actions and toward what you’re saying and doing so that they never have to accept responsibility for their poisonous conduct or respond to what you’re saying.

Instead of confronting or accepting responsibility for anything you don’t like or find inaccurate and harmful, they will swiftly deflect and go into attack mode if you bring it up. This implies they’ll utilize their poisonous techniques to rapidly divert focus away from themselves by bringing up anything you said or did. Often to the point that they try to put you on the defensive by accusing you of all kinds of things, some of which include things they themselves are doing (narcissistic projection).

Deliberately misrepresenting your thoughts and feelings to the point of absurdity.

Your varied viewpoints, real feelings, and lived experiences are transformed into character faults and evidence of your irrationality in the hands of a malignant narcissist or sociopath.

Tall stories are used by narcissists to reframe what you’re actually saying in order to make your views appear silly or horrible. Let’s imagine you express your dissatisfaction with the way a toxic buddy speaks to you. When you’ve done nothing except express your thoughts, he or she may put words in your mouth, saying things like, “Oh, so now you’re perfect?” or “So I’m a horrible person, huh?” This allows them to dismiss your right to have feelings and ideas about their inappropriate behavior, and it makes you feel guilty when you try to set limits.

Involving others and acting out revenge fantasies

The egos of narcissists are exceedingly fragile, and their self-esteem is unstable. They interpret it as humiliation, as you being unjust, even nasty to them, if you genuinely stand up for yourself and don’t play their games. You are irrational in their eyes because you do not recognize that they are superior, correct, and all-around amazing people. They find it deeply upsetting and are filled with feelings of guilt, unfairness, and fury (narcissistic injury).

They frequently seek for false affirmations to help them cope with their overwhelming feelings. This entails seeking out others who will support them and tell them that you are wrong and wicked, while they are correct and nice. Lying, slandering, triangulating, gossiping, stalking, and other types of social violence and manipulation are all part of it.

Changing the subject to evade accountability

This is what I like to refer to as the “What about me?” syndrome. It’s a deliberate diversion from the original topic in order to draw attention to a separate issue. Because narcissists don’t want you to bring up the subject of holding them accountable for anything, they will redirect conversations in their favor. You’re complaining about their bad parenting? They’ll bring up a blunder you made seven years ago. This sort of distraction has no time or subject constraints, and frequently begins with a statement like “What about the time when…”


Anything that a narcissist perceives as a challenge to their supremacy is exaggerated by them. Only they can be right in their universe, and anybody who dares to disagree causes narcissistic damage that leads to narcissistic wrath. According to Mark Goulston, M.D., narcissistic fury is caused by a strong feeling of entitlement and a false sense of superiority, rather than a lack of self-esteem.

When they can’t think of a better method to control your opinion or micromanage your emotions, the lowest of the low turn to narcissistic wrath in the form of name-calling. Name-calling is a simple and effective technique to knock you down, humiliate you, and insult your intelligence, looks, or conduct while rejecting your right to exist as a distinct individual with a right to his or her own point of view.

Love-bombing and devaluation

Toxic people make you go through an idealization phase until you’re sufficiently committed to starting a connection or relationship with them. Then they seek to diminish you while denigrating the exact things they once respected. Another example is when a toxic person elevates you while actively discounting and criticizing someone else who threatens their sense of supremacy.

Narcissistic abusers frequently do this: they denigrate their ex-lovers in front of their new relationships, and the new spouse eventually suffers the same mistreatment as the narcissist’s ex-partner. What will eventually happen is that you will be subjected to the same mistreatment. You’ll be the ex-partner who becomes their new source of supplies one day. You just aren’t aware of it yet.

Preemptive defense

Be skeptical if someone insists on being a “good man” or “nice lady,” that you should “believe them straight away,” or that they highlight their trustworthiness without any prompting from you.

People who are toxic and abusive exaggerate their abilities to be sensitive and caring. They frequently advise you to “trust” them without first establishing a solid trust foundation. To mislead you, they may “perform” a high degree of sympathy and empathy at the start of your relationship, only to reveal their fake mask afterward. The genuine self is shown to be terrifyingly cold, cruel, and contemptuous as their fake mask begins to crumble periodically throughout the devaluation phase of the abuse cycle.