If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of narcissist text messages, the examples given here should sound familiar.
Communicating with a narcissist may seem easy at first since they generally like to do most of the talking.
Eventually, though, you get to experience narcissist texting games.
Except, they’re not—at least not for anyone but the narcissist.
So, what are these games of which we speak?
And how do you spot them?
- What Are Some Text Habits of a Narcissist?
- What Is Narcissist Word Salad?
- 15 Examples of Narcissist Text Messages
- 1. Texts to Keep You on Your Toes
- 2. The “You Deserve to Feel Bad” Texts
- 3. Narcissist Word Salad Texts (to Reel You Back In)
- 4. Emotional Ping Pong Texts (to Keep You Guessing)
- 5. Texts in ALL CAPS
- 6. Threats, Taunts, and Over-the-Top Insults
- 7. Texts from a Mind Reader
- 8. “I Know You Better Than You Know Yourself” Texts
- 9. Texts with Demands
- 10. Emoji Salad Texts
- 11. Texts with Odd Emoji Pairings
- 12. Late Night Texts
- 13. Texts because “We’re Fighting”
- 14. Cold Shoulder Texts
- 15. Gaslighting Texts
- What Happens When You Don’t Reply to a Narcissist?
What Are Some Text Habits of a Narcissist?
When we talk about narcissist texting habits, we’re talking about how they use texting to knock you off balance and keep you under their control.
Texts from a narcissist come in a variety of types, depending on the sender’s purpose:
- Draw you in with love-bombing
- Make you question or feel guilty about your boundaries
- Use guilt or shame to manipulate you
- Demand that you do something for them (immediately)
- Call you names and leave you feeling raw, miserable, and insecure
- Overwhelm you with words to confuse and exhaust you
- Leave you wondering what they mean or what they’re not telling you
What Is Narcissist Word Salad?
One minute, you’re wondering, “Why do narcissists ignore texts?” After all, if they think you’re ignoring them, they’re awfully quick to punish you for it.
Soon enough, though, you’re skimming over a long, passionate text message from them—a narcissist word salad—and thinking, “I like the silence better. This is exhausting.”
It’s meant to be.
The narcissist will dump words all over you to overwhelm you with one sentence after another in rapid succession, all to get those words swirling around in your head as you struggle to condense them into one clear, coherent message.
The main goals: Confusion and surrender—both yours.
Sidebar: Are you in a relationship that is controlling and manipulative? If you want to break free, then check out my Emotional Abuse Breakthrough course.
15 Examples of Narcissist Text Messages
Each of the examples here illustrates a fairly typical conversation with a narcissist. Some will probably sound more familiar to you than others.
We apologize in advance if they trigger any unpleasant memories.
1. Texts to Keep You on Your Toes
They’re texting you every few minutes or even several texts a minute, each one pulsing with urgency and the implied expectation that, of course, you’ll want to reply as quickly as possible with the requisite degree of empathy and eager solicitude.
- First: “Hey, Babe! Let’s go out tonight. My treat.”
- And then: “And by my treat, I mean I’ll handle dessert. Or maybe drinks.”
- One minute later: “Are you seeing this? Why aren’t you responding?”
- Another minute later: “What is happening? Why won’t you text me back? Omigod… ARE YOU GHOSTING ME?!?!?!?”
2. The “You Deserve to Feel Bad” Texts
The narcissist will use guilt, shame, and fault-finding to take you down a peg whenever you seem to feel too good about yourself. If you’re feeling good, they want to be the reason for it. Otherwise, they’ll take you down three pegs so they can lift you up two.
- “Hey, Babe, I forgot to tell you that you had something sticking in your teeth earlier. Gross, right?! I hope you fix that before anyone else sees you.”
- “We need to talk about your choice of breakfast foods. You have to cut out the sugary carbs, or that gym membership is useless. And let’s face it, you need to try something drastic at this point.”
3. Narcissist Word Salad Texts (to Reel You Back In)
When narcissists sense they’re losing you, they’ll use texting to overwhelm you with words—usually a heady mix of almost-apologies, vague promises, and passive-aggressive digs.
- “Hey, Babe. I’ve been thinking about us all morning and how great we are together. If I have been as selfish as you say, just know I’m committed to putting you first if you put me first. We get along so well when we’re both putting in the effort. But I’ve noticed that when I slack off, it’s because of something hurtful you’ve said or done. Not judging, just the truth. You know we’ve got something special, and I need you to realize that and show you’re as committed as I am to making this work. I feel like you’re pulling away from me, and I don’t know why, but you’re blowing it by not being there for us. At least meet me halfway and put in the effort I’m putting in. I know we can have a relationship most people would envy.
4. Emotional Ping Pong Texts (to Keep You Guessing)
The narcissist knows when and how to keep you emotionally off balance by alternating warmth and coldness—without any explanation. First, they gush all over you (#lovebomb), and then they’re like, “WTH!? Srsly????… I can’t even!”
- First: “I love you SO much! [kissy face emoji, eggplant, etc.].”
- Second: “What are you doing right now? I need you!”
- And then—in response to your lovey-dovey text: “Sheesh, dial it down! I’m at work!!! Going radio silent b/c I just can’t with you right now.”
5. Texts in ALL CAPS
You once told yourself you loved their passion. They “live out loud.” They don’t care what people think. They really, really care about… stuff. But when the ALL CAPS texts come flying in, you immediately tense up.
- “I AM SO DONE WITH MY MOM/DAD/BROTHER/SISTER/BOSS!!!!!!! YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE WHAT THEY SAID TO ME TODAY! I DARE YOU TO GUESS.”
And you know they expect you to respond immediately.
6. Threats, Taunts, and Over-the-Top Insults
The narcissist won’t hold back with insults if they see an advantage in pulling you down and sabotaging your confidence. Were you having a good day? What on earth for when your life and everything you’ve done so far is pathetic and embarrassing?
- “Just a side note to remind you your house is a pile of garbage in a garbage neighborhood. When will you love yourself enough to move out and find something better? You know I’m ready to help with that. I’ll do anything to get you out of that disgusting hole. You can’t seriously be content to stay there!”
7. Texts from a Mind Reader
When you fail to respond to their text within five minutes or less, the narcissist just knows you blew them off because you don’t really care about them—or you were too busy flirting with someone else—or you wanted them to feel insecure about the relationship.
- N: “Why aren’t you answering my texts?”
- You: “I was in a meeting.”
- N: “Whatever.”
- You: “No, seriously, I was in the middle of a meeting. My phone was off.”
- N: “Sure, okay. I bet if so-and-so had texted you, you would have responded.”
- You: “Um, no, because my phone was off.”
- N: “Uh-huh. What are you not telling me? You always do this!”
8. “I Know You Better Than You Know Yourself” Texts
As the mind reader in this relationship, the narcissist is confident they know you and your mind and heart better than you do. And because they know you, they know what’s best for you. Your life is a masterpiece of their making (for their benefit). Just don’t get in the way.
- N: *I know exactly what we should do this weekend! I’ve got it all set up.”
- You: “I actually have plans for the weekend that I can’t get out of.”
- N: “WTH! You never told me!”
- You: “Yes, I did. You’ve known about it for over a week.”
- N: “Omigod, I thought you were kidding. So, I’m supposed to cancel my plans because yours are automatically more important?”
- You: “Well, I already committed myself, so… yeah.”
- N: “But my plan is better for both of us! Won’t you at least hear me out?”
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9. Texts with Demands
After all, you want to keep the peace, right? And all you have to do is obey every demand the narcissist sends your way. And they often come by way of text messages because it’s more convenient. There will be no peace until you obey.
- “Get me a drink. Make it a double.”
- “Sweep the kitchen floor. It’s disgusting.”
- “That dress/tie/hairstyle isn’t working for you. Change it.”
10. Emoji Salad Texts
These texts come peppered with emojis to communicate sentiments the narcissist may or may not genuinely feel. It’s a convenient way to either lull you into complacency (before they shatter it) or keep you guessing as to their intent.
- “Thinking of you right now. 😍😈💓🍆🌭🥨😘 Meet me for lunch—or a snack—or … something?”
- And then, “You know where I’m going with this, right? ” 🍆🍆🍆😜
- And then, “Hello-o-o??? 🌮 🥨🌭 Anybody home?”
- And … “Are you ghosting me? 🤨😟Don’t leave me hanging!🥺️ ”
11. Texts with Odd Emoji Pairings
Emojis can be helpful when they’re not overdone or mystifying—or both. The thing is, the narcissist wants you confused, thinking, “Now, what on earth does that mean?” and “Why can’t they just use words?” When you’re confused, you’re easier to manipulate.
- N: “What are you doing tonight? I have an idea. 🤠😷🔥 You game?”
- Y: “???”
- N: “You srsly don’t know what that means? I have so much to teach you.”
- Y: “Um.”
- N: “I could be more obvious, but that would spoil the fun.”
- Y: “Not really.”
- N: “You don’t know what you need.”
12. Late Night Texts
The narcissist will text you at all hours of the day or night to ensure you’ll still respond with the same alacrity and interest. If you turn off your phone and only notice their texts when you wake in the morning, prepare yourself for wrath and recrimination.
- N: “I hate my life.”
- N: “Are you awake?”
- N: “Why aren’t you texting me back?”
- N: “Omigod, at least my ex was there when I needed them!”
- Y: “It’s 2 am. I wake up at 4.”
- N: “Well, now that you’re up…”
13. Texts because “We’re Fighting”
They won’t actually talk to you—even if you’re in the same room together. One minute you’re both happily occupied with something (separately), and the next, they’re sending you an angry text about something you failed to do for them.
- N: “Don’t think I’ve forgotten about your blowing me off today.”
- Y: “??? When did I blow you off?”
- N: “I told you to pick up some wine on the way home, and you didn’t.”
- Y: “I didn’t get the text til I got home.”
- N: “And you couldn’t have gone out and gotten it for me? Am I nothing to you?”
- Y: “No. You’re something. It’s a bit late to head out for wine. Maybe tomorrow.”
- N: “Whatever. It’s fine. Just opened that bottle you’ve been saving.”
- Y: “That was for my mom’s birthday!”
14. Cold Shoulder Texts
Oh, now, you’ve done it. You’ve crossed them in some way (you’re still trying to figure out exactly how). You know well enough that when they’re silent, that’s when they do their worst. So, unless you’re cool with the nuclear option, you’d better hurry up and grovel.
- N: “I’m busy.”
- And then, “Aren’t you going to apologize?”
- Y: “For what?”
- N: “🙄 Ugh! Srsly?!?!? None of my exes were this clueless!”
- Y: “???”
- N: “Forget it. Get back to me when you’ve figured it out.”
15. Gaslighting Texts
Eyebrows up if any of these phrases sound familiar:
- “Oh, I hate it when you do this…!”
- “Here you go again…”
- “Seriously??? … You’re funny.”
- “Wo-o-o-ow! Are you kidding me? Do you know how crazy you sound?”
- “Ugh! I am so tired of getting this from you.”
What Happens When You Don’t Reply to a Narcissist?
The narcissist may feel totally justified in ignoring your texts, but if you do the same to theirs – watch out.
They will see your lack of promptness and raise you one or more of the following:
- Angry text demanding to know why you’re not responding;
- Worried text demanding to know you’re okay and not angry with them;
- Phone calls and voicemails dripping with anger, worry, and entitlement;
- An in-person visit with urgent door-pounding or pressing of the doorbell button;
- Stalking you at your workplace or home to see if you’re with someone else.
We need a witness protection program for victims of narcissistic partners. Someone should get on that.
Now that you’ve looked through all 15 examples of narcissist text messages, which ones come closest to texts you’ve received?
Our goal here isn’t to rub salt in your wounds but to make it easier to spot narcissistic texting habits, so you can decode their messages and save yourself years of torment.
If you know someone whose texts could give the examples in this post some serious competition, how will you respond today? And what will you do for yourself?