Five Conversational Derailments



We don’t do conversations. That suggests that it is an equal process where we listen to you and your opinion is respected and deemed as valid. During seduction our conversations are both information gathering exercises and monologues which are there to showcase our brilliance. Once we devalue you, our conversations with you are tirades, imperious and haughty speeches, vicious diatribes against you where we speak and you had better damn well listen. All conversations must be controlled by us. Our need for control is considerable because if we every allow you to hold centre stage then we are losing out. We risk losing fuel, we are allowing our innate superiority to be undermined and we are ceding control to you. This is why we must never allow you to think or even achieve some kind of dominance, even if slight, during a conversation over us. The conversation is a mechanism for our use, not yours. It is for us to shine, to avoid blame, to lash out at you, to hoover you back in and enable us to achieve what we want. It is our conduit and you just happen to be involved but on the receiving end. Achieving such domination and control of the conversational arena is absolutely necessary and to maintain such a position we engage in numerous manipulations. There are many which are deployed and here are five of the most popular ways we will derail a conversation for the purposes of maintaining or seizing control.

  1. The Blame Shift

If you are trying to accuse us of something or pin the blame on us in the course of a conversation this is against our rules. We will not allow this to happen. We are unaccountable and especially so to somebody like you. If you can hold us to account through a conversation, then this reduces our superiority and allows you control. In order to prevent you from achieving this will engage in a blame shift. Whatever you are accusing us of will be your fault. It does not matter if there is no logical link (in your world) between what you have accused us of and our response. These conversations are not governed by your logic but by ours. Our logic is that we must maintain control and therefore shifting the blame on to you, by any means, is a logical method of achieving this. There is the logic for you. Understand this and you begin to understand why we act as we do. Accordingly, you might accuse us of the following and be met with the response in bold.

“You have been seeing another woman, I can smell her perfume on you.”

“I’m not having an affair but if I was who would blame me? You never show me any attention or affection. You cannot smell perfume; you are just making that up.”


“Why haven’t you remembered to switch the oven on?”

“Why do I have to remember to do that? It is your job. If you spent more time getting on with what you are supposed to do, rather than trying to pick fault with me, this wouldn’t happen.”


“Why are you always trying to tell me what to do?”

“I don’t do that. You are over-reacting. I just suggest things for you because let’s face it, you aren’t really capable of making the big decisions yourself are you? That’s not me being horrible, that’s a fact, you are poor at decision-making. You should thank me for helping you.”




  1. Projection

This favourite method of derailing the conversation is so effective because it takes your breath away. By accusing you of doing the very thing that we are accused of (and invariably we are doing) you are so astonished at our bare-faced cheek, our audacity and our brass neck, that you lose sight of what you are talking about and end up focusing on the counter-allegation that we have just flung at you. You hate being thought of in an incorrect manner and because we project with such conviction, you are immediately drawn into engaging us on this point. You will fail to press on with your accusation against us and instead be side-tracked into discussing your own behaviour in a fruitless effort to try and persuade us that you have not done any of the things that we accused you of. You let your emotional response to such allegations take hold of you and this is entirely deliberate. Expect to hear comments such as these: –

“If you didn’t drink so much, you might begin to realise just how horrible you can be, but you can never remember because of your drinking.”


“You always take the last can of soda without replacing it. It is so selfish.”


“Me flirt? Have you seen the way you go on around Harry? Only last week you were all over him like a rash. It just wasn’t me that saw it and commented on it either.”


“You never turn up on time. I find it disrespectful.”


“You spend too much time thinking about your work and not enough concentrating on our children.”


  1. Interruption

You will not be able to finish what you are saying because of our repeated tendency and need to interrupt you. We do not consider anything that you have to say having any value. You are inferior to us therefore anything which comes out of your mouth must be inferior to. We do not recognise or respect boundaries and therefore we regard it as perfectly acceptable to talk over you and interrupt what you are saying. Our sense of entitlement means that we are always to be heard and if this means cutting across you, so be it. This can reach even childish extremes where we will say one word so you stop and then we stop. You try to speak again and we repeat the trick. We keep doing it, halting you from speaking until you continue talking and we speak over you or you storm off in frustration. You can expect to hear phrases such as these: –

“If you would just let me speak.”

“If I can get a word in edgeways.”

“Why don’t you listen for a change?”

“This is important.”

“I want to have my say for once.”

“If you actually listened you might understand.”

“No that’s wrong.”

“No, you are making this up.”

“I have to stop you there.”

  1. Topic Shift

We love to deflect and distract. We also exhibit a considerable capacity for moving the conversation away from what you want to talk about and thus have control, onto something we want to talk about. It might be espousing our virtues of having a go at you instead, but we will hijack the conversation and wrench it over to our preferred topic. You must not protest for if you do you will be accused of trying to monopolise the discussion and failing to listen to us. We are brilliant at talking about ourselves or finding some topic which we can take round and round and round as you feel yourself falling into a stupor. We rely on your innate empathic nature of politeness, good manners and being a good listener so we can abuse this and prevent you talking about something which matters to you. Nobody is interested in what you have to say. Expect shift comments such as these: –

“That’s all very interesting but let me tell you about….”

“That’s not important right now, but this is….”

“That is irrelevant, now let me tell you..”

“Oh I must tell you this, it is hilarious….”

“I have to tell you this before I forget….”


  1. Silent Treatment

The old favourite. If we do not like the way, the conversation is going then we will either walk off or sit in silence. This is often done when there is a conversation going on in a group setting as well where we are failing to dominate the discussion. We want to bring it back to us and therefore by sitting silent and sulking we hope to engender some sympathetic reaction that causes someone to comment on our silence or invite us to speak. When done in a one-on-one situation this is designed to ignore what you have to say, treat it as unimportant and make you feel uncomfortable. You will be forced to ask us what is wrong and then chase after us as we remain sullen and silent. Your comments are forgotten as the spotlight returns to us again and the conversation has been successfully derailed.

14 thoughts on “Five Conversational Derailments

  1. Ali says:

    yup have been dealing with a narc neighbor…she was caught red handed doing something somewhat illegal (but not enough for cops to arrest her, sigh)… confronted… I was subjected to, and recognized, the blame shifting tactic… it failed… it was honestly pathetic. she was prevented doing it again…for a while…and…has been again caught going around the solution to repeat her actions… and again caught red-handed and this time not confronted but it was made clear to her she was caught yet again. Another solution is in place… I keep thinking she’s a lesser/mid ranger… so maybeeee just mayyybeee she’ll stop finding ways around those “fixes”. I know better then to think she’ll give up… when confronted and stopped she’s resorted to petty harassment which doesn’t bother me but I sure wish she’d give the silent treatment LOL

  2. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD. says:

    Round and round we go…

    At this point once I see this happening I disengage because it’s utterly pointless.

    I hate wasting my time.

    1. mistynolan01 says:

      I liked to ignore ex narc when he was in the middle of a long tirade or a long string of platitudes about his wonderful self, and just play with my nails or something. Hee hee! Fun times. NOT.

  3. Sasha says:

    I had left a similar comment in response to a reader who pointed out that the “so called president” of the US is an N. HG Tudor’s writings must be proliferated- with hope made part of school curriculum to prevent the continuation of N’s being elected to positions of power.

  4. Roberto says:

    Just watch Tucker Carlson or Kellyanne Conway to see how it works…

  5. Sarah says:

    Speechless, now I understand why I could never have a conversation with him.

  6. mistynolan01 says:

    Oh! He never covered up. Much, much too vain, and his vanity won out over trying to deprive me of seeing his body. I would’ve laughed out loud had he tried that, anyway.

    That narc suffered right along with me! And that makes me happy to know that no narc would ever hurt me enough to give them the pleasure of knowing they hurt ME!

  7. mistynolan01 says:

    I hated to hear his voice after a couple of years, what used to sound sexy and was a turn in, eventually sounded likevshit smells. I wouldn’t even engage him unless I wanted to start a fight to rush to do what we came to do then retreat to our safe zones!

    Being raised by two fucking narcs (or psychos) I was conditioned to go along to get along, but dammit I didn’t have to do that as a grown woman. BPD was why I even engaged with the son of a bitch anyway!

  8. mistynolan01 says:

    Every. Single. Tactic. They all were used on me. After about two years I’d figured out that fool was playing stupid tricks and I was not having it! Not without a good fight.

    Sooooo … when he’d go on his tirades, or grandiose speeches about his superiority, I’d pick at my nails or try to look around him to see the television. When he got angry, I’d get angry. Then we’d fight. Then we’d fuck. It was the only good thing about our whatever-you’d-call-it.

    I say good because I’d learned early on he was intimacy phobic, so great sex it was! And I didn’t give a fuck because I’d told HIM he wasn’t husband or relationship material and we could just be fuck buddies, but monogamous. Oh(!) how he must have laughed and laughed at that last phrase.

    I’m sure he was injured, in retrospect, but the fact that he knew HE would never be monogamous healed the injury momentarily.

    He punished me for three more years. Pouting (which made my side hurt from trying to hold in my laughter), silent treatments (during which I’d sometimes dance right in front of him) would make his blood boil and the verbal argument ensued and then we’d … do the dirty.

    I couldn’t resist him and he couldn’t resist me; some of that could be attributed to the fact that we both were new to the town, he less recently than I, and there weren’t many options for either of us.

    I ACTED all of this out. Of COURSE it bothered me to the point where I was worn to a nub; to the point I’d almost lost myself … ALMOST.

    I look back and thank his ratchet (hood version of wretched) ass for “disengaging” — thanks asshole!

  9. Diva says:

    I have definitely had experience of the blame shift, the silent treatment, the topic shift and projection…..although I did not see it for what it was at the time. These 5 characteristics, in my opinion, are the realisation of what and who you are involved with. The only trouble is, most of these traits do not often materialise until you are hooked and by this time, most of the damage is already done. Diva

  10. jenna says:

    Being borderline, i needed to resolve matters fairly soon, or else i felt sad and kind of trapped in uncertainty. I wud ask him certain questions, and he wud shift the topic. But i wud not stop. I wud ask again. He wud go back to the original topic shift. Then i wud ask ‘why don’t u want to tell me?’ to which he wud respond ‘you’re a lawyer now?’ Ughhh!!
    I wud eventually get my answer (though it was probably a lie), but after an argument.

  11. frix says:

    So sharp! That’s shocking…
    I could add one more way: ignoring what we say content-wise and instead criticizing the WAY we talk (wrong choice of words, inadequate tone, stupid questions,…). Rolling your eyes, parroting us, or simply not answering our questions works great!

  12. K says:

    1. Blame shifting makes me want to explode like Krakatoa. BOOM! I will take you down to Chinatown on this one. Expect apoplectic rage with an undercurrent of violence. The narcissist will NOT win on this one. I will.
    2. Projection confused me, so I would simply tell the individual that s(he) was incorrect and leave it at that. My ULN & MMRN and my MMRN’s mother used this often.
    3. Interruption: I was interrupted so often that I came up with the 15 second rule, this meant I had 15 seconds to blurt out a thought. I got so good at it that I could finish in 10 seconds or less, most of the time.
    4. My ex highjacked every conversation. I thought it was rude when he did it to the children or other people, so I became a master of redirecting the conversation back to the person that he had highjacked.
    5. Silent treatment: My ULN did this the most, so I did it back and it was fabulous. I loved it!

  13. Brian says:

    Don’t forget the ‘fake outrage’
    “I can’t believe you said that!”

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