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.

27 thoughts on “Five Conversational Derailments

  1. Brian says:

    Are there derailments when it is just an everyday conversation?
    like pretending not to hear,

    1. HG Tudor says:


      1. What…?

      2. Brian says:

        HG Thanks 🙂

        strongerwendy argh 😀

        1. Sorry Brian, couldn’t help myself 🙂

  2. K says:

    “Nobody is interested in what you have to say” WTF!

    Nobody wants to listen to narc conversations about: how many meds you are on (18 at the time), the size and color of your bowel movement (4 inches and light brown), how many skin tags you have (gross, get them removed!) AND exactly where each and every one is located on your body, how delicious your Ambrosia Salad recipe is (you told me 7x and I don’t like Ambrosia Salad), or about your latest hemorrhoid flare up.

    Thousands of my neurons died off from a blizzard of boredom.

    1. MLA - Clarece says:

      My God, K, I almost ran to the corner of my office to sit and rock on the floor, holding my ears shut and saying “make it stop” over and over and over again….
      You have earned your Halo!

      1. K says:

        Thank you, MLA – Clarece, I have always wanted a Halo.

        Ha ha ha…you made my morning!

        Quick! Code Red! MLA is about to go into PTSD shock, get the smelling salts before it is too late. Someone page Dr.Tudor STAT!
        And tell him MLA is about to go into the Fetal Position.

        There were so many SMH moments with these people. Honestly. Nobody cares about BMs or skin tags.

  3. Viva says:

    When the LMR started the silent treatment, I told him that his silence concerning business was consent or permission for me to make decisions without him. Unless he broke his silence, I could and would proceed without him. I gave him timeframes to respond and explained that I would proceed if I did not get his answer. He did not give any answers on many issues and then years later, whined and pouted that he was left out of the decisions. Don’t lose your voices completely or fear that the narcissist might turn the tables on you. Just keep records of all in writing communications and only communicate in writing. Total no contact is the last stage of process of escape. There is a minor or partial no contact during the process. Don’t answer except to resolve business issues and if you can’t resolve with a mutually acceptable resolution, then get your lawyer to resolve the issue.

    1. Tappan Zee says:

      Yea…..well I am taking that respite….forever.

      ^ H: cheshire cat smile here!

  4. Iris says:

    Yep I recognize all these tactics. I even did at the time it was happening, but still sometimes my emotions got the better of me and I took the bait anyway.

    My need to be heard and my need to be right was stronger than my common sense at these moments.

    What I hatted the most of all these tactics was the fact that he often just hung up on me. So incredibly rude.

    I know they do this on purpose and I know what their true motives are, but I wonder what they tell themselves at these moments though.

    I’m sure they don’t think they do it to remain in control. So what is it?

    Something like “She is so annoying, she is so bossy, she is such a nag. I don’t have to accept this.”?

  5. IJ says:

    All too familiar….

  6. I have been known to talk over people. I’ve definitely been called on it. It’s rude. I hate that I do it and try to be aware of it. For me, I’ve digested what they are saying, assume I know what point they are trying to make (admittedly, I’m not always right and that’s where it is annoying to others) and have moved forward. Sometimes it’s because they are taking a really long time to make their point. Growing up, everyone talked over each other as sometimes it was the only way to be heard. Anyway…I frequently count to 10 (in my head) while someone else is talking so I don’t talk over them.

    1. Iris says:

      I do that too. People are so slow sometimes *sigh*

  7. MyTrueSelf says:

    Thanks for bringing clarity to these tactics. I recognise them as the back bone of most interactions with my Ex.
    I’d add to those my ex’s speciality : Withholding information.

    1. K says:

      My mother withheld information ALL the time and she still does.

  8. H. says:

    It didn’t matter the subject matter….regardless of the topic, every single attempt at conversation would end at him shouting…YOU NEVER LISTEN TO ME.

    The only time this wouldn’t happen was when he was in his short lived nice cycle.

    1. K says:

      I see a respite hoover in your comment, H. My MMRN told me I never listened to him either during a devaluation hoover. It was baffling.

      1. H. says:

        Yea…..well I am taking that respite….forever. Thankfully I found this blog, so I got a clue. It took me a few times of failing at No Contact…but this time its working. It feels different, I think I have accepted all that happened to me, know I can’t change it….and I’m moving on. The rage is gone.

  9. Hello. I’m so new here and still trying to wrap my head around all this. I am beyond thrilled to have found this blog. HG, thank you for your insight!
    I wish I had known how to handle these derailments years ago… I especially recall the blame shifts where he would admit to the bad behavior but would claim he had to do such and such because of something I had done… for example, when he was caught in a ridiculous lie, he would say that he only lied to catch me in my lies. If I would stop lying him, he wouldn’t have to lie so much to catch me.
    I only got the silent treatment/ghosting once. Sometimes I think I would have welcomed a little silent treatment action… but maybe not….

  10. PureRage says:

    All familiar
    but did you forget to mention: diflections ??
    I hate it ..

  11. Derpy says:

    Yes indeed.
    Caught him talking extremely sexual with a woman; accused him of inappropriate behavior/cheating.

    He interrupted me, “Oh, I see how it is. You can talk to any guy you want to and if I say anything I’m overreacting, but if I talk to any girl, I’m cheating.”

    Started trying to explain that the guy I was talking to was a coworker and we were talking about work. He interrupted me. “Okay… I have to stop you right there…” I attempted to continue on ignoring his interruption.
    and he interrupts again. “Excuse me, you just interrupted me. Why are you always interrupting me? Why can’t you just sit and listen sometimes? You NEVER listen to me. This is why we never make any progress when we argue. I’m so tired of arguing with you. It’s like you just love arguing and can’t wait to start a new argument. It’s just like that time that (brings up some old argument he caused and eventually brow beat me until I shut up about it)”

    And then the conversation completely changed to something else entirely and nothing is resolved because he’s spewing hatred at me, hangs up on me and went into a silent treatment binge because I’m so selfish, hateful and ungrateful.

    8 years of this every time I attempted to resolve issues. He was so good at doing this. Every. Single. Time. This is why I eventually just stopped arguing with him at all and then finally left, knowing that my feelings didn’t matter and I couldn’t ignore the hurt anymore. I don’t miss it at all. And my lord am I glad it’s gone.

    1. PureRage says:

      All too familiar
      are all the narcs made in hell with the same mold?

      1. Derpy says:

        Well, I can only think that in some ways yes lol. In others, they have their own little trademarks that make them unique. They need them in order to attempt their disguise as NOT being a narcissist. Which is why this blog is so good to see all the variances and similarities.

      2. H. says:

        I vote YES

      3. K says:

        Yup, they are. I like your name BTW.

      4. Shesaw says:

        100 likes for this comment. Still laughing!

Vent Your Spleen! (Please see the Rules in Formal Info)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous article

Tell Me That It’s True