Word Salad (And How To Toss It)


You ought to have read Perfect Sense. If not, stop now and go and read it. If you already have, good, let’s proceed. The word salad is an occurrence of several disorders and is invariably an unintended consequence of certain mental health conditions. This differs when word salad is considered in the context of narcissism. What is it? It is where we communicate with you in a method which does not make sense, fails to progress a discussion or results in a lack of an outcome. As opposed to a stream of consciousness, it is a mechanism deployed by our kind to achieve several outcomes which I detail below. The use of word salad is most effective in a face to face discussion but it also appears in telephone conversations with our kind, text messages and e-mails.

How does it manifest? The Lesser Narcissist engages in this behaviour as a matter of instinctive reaction. He does not realise that he is doing it (which is one of the most confusing elements for the non-narcissist to grasp since it appears deliberate). With the Lesser it is an instinctive response by him in order to maintain the upper hand in the engagement with the victim. He does not deliberately engage it to achieve the various outcomes I will refer to, but instead he just does it. The Mid-Range engages in it and whilst he may recognise some force in the comments of the victim, his need to remain holding the whip hand in the discussion results in him immediately continuing to behave in this manner without being fully aware of what he is doing. The moment he might start to reflect on what the victim has said with regard to his conduct, his reflection is overruled by the need to deflect and deny and thus the word salad continues. If the victim makes reference to the behaviour once again, the reflection may start but as soon as it does, it is pushed aside by the need to deflect. It is akin to points on a railway starting to move but then a greater force comes along and pushes the points back to the original position. The Greater knows what he is doing. He knows the upper hand must be obtained and he revels in being obstructive, frustrating and evasive. He regards it as a game and is entirely aware of what he is doing as he deploys this manipulative technique.

Word salad can appear in many forms. For instance, there will be circular conversations where the topic just keeps repeating without there ever being a resolution. We will repeatedly project and we will also bring up the past (whether real or manufactured). It is common as well in this word salad to play the victim. We will make incredible leaps of logic which will make no sense to you, but make perfect sense to us because they are necessary in order to achieve our aims and to keep the upper hand. We will twist, contort and engage in all manner of spoken and written gymnastics to ensure that the effects we require or desire are achieved.

Why do we do it? There are several reasons why the word salad is deployed by us.

  1. Words are easy to use. They are low in terms of energy expenditure.
  2. If we engage in spoken word salad then words disappear into the ether once they have been spoken which allows us to deny what was just said and suggest that your recall of the conversation is impaired and that there is something wrong with you and not with us.
  3. We want to confuse you. If you are confused then you will struggle to drive through what is happening. You are also less likely to realise what is happening. By being caught in the web of confusion you will struggle to make sense of the word salad.
  4. Naturally using word salad provides us with the necessary fuel that we require. You will invariably become irritated, frustrated, angry and upset. All of which provides us with negative fuel. Furthermore, if you give up on the conversation, the relief that manifests when you do so also provides us with fuel.
  5. Word salad is used to control you. By keeping you on your toes, suggesting you are in the wrong, that we are not, we maintain control. Control is fundamental to the narcissistic relationship and we must always have control over you.
  6. Lack of accountability. We regard ourselves as blameless and that we have no culpability for our actions. Utilising word salad allows us to maintain this state.
  7. Entitlement. We can do as we please, say what we want and you are not allowed to stop us. By engaging in displays of word salad we are exercising our sense of entitlement.
  8. Guilt. We want you to feel guilty. By making it seem like you are the one at fault you may well become apologetic which asserts our superiority and provides us with fuel. This also assists us in asserting control because if you feel guilty you are more likely to do what we want.
  9. Deflect challenges. We do not like you to challenge us and therefore by unleashing a word salad against you, we can deflect your attempt to challenge us.
  10. Create obsession. The whole exchange will make no sense to you and therefore afterwards you will obsess over it because you want to try to make sense of what has happened. You will replay what was said, analyse the content of messages and most likely discuss it with third parties. This maintains control over you because you continue to talk and dwell on us which is something we want.
  11. Plausible deniability. By talking in riddles, in amorphous and vague terms this allows us to adopt plausible deniability which can later be used against you or to further our denials at a later stage.

Why does it affect people like you in particular? Anybody “normal” would be perplexed by such behaviour but it is especially effective against those empathetic victims who are intimate partner primary sources. There are a few reasons why this is the case (and this accords with why you are selected as our victims).

  1. You try to understand somebody else’s position. A normal may give up and walk away in frustration but you feel obligated to try to understand what we are talking about;
  2. You place considerable value in resolving matters and you want to achieve this with us, which causes you to continue engaging with us;
  3. You need to be heard. You want to have your say and feel that you must be listened to. Of course we never listen to what you have to say, we only want your fuel, but you fail to recognise this and your repeated attempts to say your piece, speak your mind and air your views will play repeatedly into our hands.
  4. You need to understand. You want to work out what is going on. In the maelstrom of devaluation you do not know what you are engaging with. You think you are dealing with someone normal and intelligent who should understand what is happening and you need to understand why we do not appear to understand.
  5. You need to get us to understand. In tandem with your desire to heal and fix, you feel a considerable urge to make us understand that what we are doing makes no sense. You are on a hiding to nothing. The Lesser and Mid-Range have no insight and the Greater will not allow you to know he has insight.
  6. You feel you have to defend yourself against what is being said as you hate the world and especially us to have the wrong impression of who and what you are.

The consequence of all of this is that you are very easily drawn into the effects of a word salad and you remain gripped by it.

How do you toss the salad aside then?

  1. The most important step is to understand that you will never ever win the argument or the discussion. Stop trying to achieve this. It just will not happen and the more you try, the more you play into our hands. Once you have grasped that you cannot succeed you will then be able to cope with the word salad much more effectively.
  2. State your position once and leave it at that. You then know you have set out your position and you have told us. Therefore you know that you have spoken up and asserted your position which will make you feel better. You have not backed down.
  3. Understand that if you state your position seven times you have done so six times too many and wasted your energy. Learn to save your energy. You need it for other things when you are caught in the devaluation.
  4. Do not feel that you must defend yourself. The allegations we make are invariably projection but you fall for it every time. Do not do so. State that you have nothing to say on the matter rather than become drawn in.
  5. Avoid providing fuel. This becomes easier once you apply steps 1-4 above. It will also eventually bring the word salad to an end when we realise it is no longer proving effective.
  6. Walk away. Remaining and staying embroiled in the word salad is not going to achieve anything. Remove yourself from it. Do not just go into another room but leave the vicinity and go elsewhere. Your removal will be regarded as a criticism which will ignite our fury but if you are not there to be the recipient of this fury we will have to seek fuel elsewhere and you avoid the ramifications of this ignited fury.
  7. Eat some steak instead. It is tasty.

28 thoughts on “Word Salad (And How To Toss It)”

  1. as I asked the question, I feel like I should have some type of reply but all I can think of is ‘wow, absolutely amazing’ and his much it sucks to be caught in their games 🙁 Really? Make up sex? I guess there are those that enjoy creating drama and strife and anger (or whatever feeling) so they can have make up sex. **shakes head in amazement**

    1. This comment was in reply to Tina Andersen 🙂 Just ended up in the wrong spot in the comment lines

    2. You don’t have to reply, trust me I am fully aware of how weird it all is 😊 And as for the question on everybodys mind “why does she stay? ” Well, I don’t know how to answer that exactly without going into my full life story. The very very short version, I was born as a “heart-child” as my mother calls it (with a serious heart disease/deffect) and heart children are notoriously stubborn!! That parred with a huge interrest i human natur, the ability to read most people to a point where it is almost scary and my empathic natur I think is what makes me stay. At least for a little while yet. I am sort of studying him, with great intrest 🤔 As to the makeup sex, as he calls it. Well I’m sory to say that it is pretty great. As weird as it sounds it flows with so much gold that my empathic batteries just fill right up. Yes Yes, I know it is not real and I have no illusions of him changing and all that, but my empathic batteries does not seem to care.
      I am finding it very difficult to figure out in which empathic group I belong. I’ve read every H.G up and down and found something of myself in lots of them. Then I read the comments and often found myself wondering how these empaths could not see the manipulations. I have always been able to se them, but did not however know the name of what I was dealing with. I have also always been able to sort of shut down my epathy and fight back in a stubborn, logical and non fueling manor. Not letting the devaluation get under my skin as many others do. When I started to explore H.G I actually started to freak out a little, because I thaught if I am able to stand my ground, I must not be an empath at all. OMG I am a narc who thinks she is an empath. I actually startet crying before logic set in againg. That no narc would ever have an emotional freak out over being a narc 😂 Not long there after H.G postet about the supernova. The ability to shut of ones empathic trades and turn ones narc trades. I think I mostly belong there. However H.G seemes to descibe the supernova as more of an event. I am fully aware of doing it and that I do it as a response to fighting manipulation. So what the am I…… I wonder.

      1. Perhaps. I think I’m sort of an empath mix. Like a labradoodle……… I’m an empathedoodle 😂😉

        Another favorite thing of my husbands is the present silent treatment. Only one problem for him, I enjoy silence. As social as I am, I can also go for days alone without the need to talk to anyone. Always have, even before him. Again he gets sort of frustrated by my non response and ends up breaking his own silence either by simply talking again like nothing happened, asking me for help on something that requires tecnologi or insulting me. Once again i choose my respons and if it is an insult, I always answer by saying “that is your opinion. I do not share it, nor do I have to.”

  3. The endless arguments and discussions were completely exhausting. Wanted to throw the whole salad bowl out the window.

    1. Since taking HG’s advice ..I now state my position once and leave it at that .. and then change the subject ..Since doing this for a good few weeks I no longer get Word Salad

  4. Omg, after 2 weeks of not so much as even looking at him at the office, I spoke to him about something yesterday – and I cannot believe how horrible it feels to have that toxic psycho misting his schemes and devaluation and trouble in such a short amount of time, while looking innocent. I just want to get in a decontamination tank and wipe it all away. Ugh! It’s so impossible to come out unscathed by this malignant juggler, but I will do it. I’ll ignore but sweetly, pleasantly, smiling, compliment if spoken to, and be ever positive. Now at least I know I’m over him, and that I so do not want anything to do with him, and I’m so much happier.

  5. Secrets of the Fuel Matrix

    I saw some whining awhile back on the board about how there were more of us readers that could make Tudor famous and how he was only one man. While this is true, it is only a part of the story. You see, the power component of a narcissist’s construct is directly dependent on the “amount” and “quality” of fuel that a narcissist can get access to. The narcissist’s “ability” to do “great” things and possess the energy to accomplish, is a by-product of the emotional attention (fuel) they are able to garner.
    There are 2 reasons he is not world-wide famous and quite possibly, never will be. Reason 1: He is in need of a brilliant marketer because he lacks the time and ability to “be that marketer,” and will not admit to himself that he needs such a brilliant person. Judging by all the errors in his books, he doesn’t even have a competent editor. Reason 2: He does not have access to the amount and quality of fuel necessary to give him the energy and inspiration to propel himself into greatness. Simply put, his construct is sufficient for his normal everyday life but it is not sufficient to propel him into a more powerful construct that can allow him to do more than he does now. In a way, he is stuck. He can’t get better fuel sources or he would do so. The truth is, he can’t find and install better quality fuel sources. They elude his grasp. Until he can find such sources (and I doubt he can, looking at the past few years) he will never get much further along on the road to success than he is now. Yes, it’s all about fuel. Behind every great narcissist is a quality fuel source. Behind every lesser loser narcissist, is a terrible quality fuel source.

  6. Thankyou HG .. word salad is what I find triggers so much anger in me because I like to make myself understood and reach some sort clarity ..but it never works ! so now I will just say ” fair enough” and walk away ..leaving confusion behind me ..

  7. I experience this with my husband from time to time. Me being the type of empath that I am, will go head to head with him on most of it, simply stating blantly, and calmly I might ad, what he is doing i every given moment.
    “That there is a defflection. Right there, you’re denying ownership. And now, you are projektion this that and on to me. ”
    Usually it will end up in him scowling down at the table saying “I hate that psycoanalysing you do.” And me “Well, I disslike being devaluated. So what do you say we just quit the mindgames and do more productive?”

      1. Well it differs from time to time. Often he will just sulk for a little while. Most of the times he will become oh so sweet and showering me with “the gold.” If you’re asking me if he has changed anything in his behaviour permanently, then no. Which I have often wondered about, aspecially after reading H.G’s stuff, where he explaines that a narc will often change manipulation tactic when chanlenged. I have concluded that my husband seems to simply lack the ability to aply new tactics. He will try the same tactics over and over, knowing that I do not respond as he wants and then sort of getting frustrated by it.

        He will also engang in this tactic where he goes out, often on the pretend to go do something simple like pick up something at the grocery store or visit a friend and then not retur for hours. I know he is going gambling the minut he tells me he is going out, I can read it on him. He knows this, I’ve told him. I once, just to prove my point, walked in to the gambling joint, surprising him and tossing him a pack of smokes and asked point blank “so, are we done lying yet?” then I just walked out and went home. Still he seems to need to go this sherade everytime. Like his is simply not able to change his tactic.
        I once asked him point blank “tell me, do you ever tire of these mindgames we play? “ He looked at me with this look of mischief he often gets and replyed “I find them exilerating, and also they make for great makeup sex. Dont you? ” I answered “honestly, I find them to be a bit tiresome and over used.” I did not have to explain what I meant by what I said, he just knew, and he knew that I knew. We hugged and kissed and no other words where said on the matter.

  8. —–> “Eat some steak instead. It is tasty.”

    You have a great sense of humor , as all Narcs does….That elite sarcasm LOL!
    I have to say that this is what (((( maybe ))) make me feel atractt for your kind.

  9. hg or anyone who can answer this… not sure why my ex narc says EVERY SINGLE time how happy he is with his new supply. she is the midget housekeeper at the hosptial the only one who would date him while he was married to me… now were divorced but still have children together hence still talking. he always says ” Im so happy now” and it kills me and our children.

  10. I am still angry about this word salad. But I agree to your advice. I leave her from one moment to the other without showing emotion. All I say is “Aha” and then I go.
    Half an hour later she comes and has another question or demand or whatelse. She needs to know, whether I am still there.

    She gets what she fears most: rejection and a lack of power.

  11. This is exactly what I have been dealing with in the past, absolutely frustrating and he did it constantly when he was deflecting from all the wrongs he was doing and trying so hard to keep underwraps. The more I become educated the more upset I become for being dubbed so long and then to the continued audacity he continues with after I have not responded to him in weeks. It was these kinda of conversations that left me in complete bewilderment bc I couldn’t even identify what topic was had to be discussed by the end and he always did when dropping a bomb everytime there were plans made, everytime!! Does that sound correct HG?
    You know I would even pay you to mess with his head like he has done with me. Absolute rollercoaster from hell that ride was, glad I jumped off!!

  12. Word salad ( And how to toss it)
    It’s almost like the American saying called, “Slinging hash”.
    Word salad sucks. There’s now way to understand that!

  13. Pingback: Word Salad (And How To Toss It) ⋆ NarcTopia
  14. I think word salad may be one of the easiest ways to identify a manipulator. It took me a long time to figure this out in life but I’d run into at work and sadly I would doubt my own self until circumstances would prove me to be correct about something. And most definitely it was a common tactic of the narcissist I was entangled with. it started out similarly where I would be like doubting myself like do I just not understand what she is trying to say? Or does it really not make any sense. And after a few times while… It’s pretty clear however I didn’t realize the nefarious angle of it and why it was going on. A lot of times it was like about things that really were not that important. For describing her experiences at work and how everybody is crazy… But the way that it was explained would make no sense so I would be like OK??? Or I would be asked a question about something like how to fix something with say insurance on the car but I would only get part of the information so I really couldn’t understand what I needed to do to help and when I would ask for more information it would turn into some escalated thing and get dropped and I just thought this person is crazy. or I would be asked a question about something like how to fix something with saying insurance on the car but I would only get part of the information so I really couldn’t understand what I needed to do to help and when I would ask for more information it would turn into some escalated thing and get dropped and I just thought -wow- she’s really kinda crazy. They were probably almost 100 times This type of scenario played out over four years.
    Anyways HG… This is an excellent article and I recommend getting it out into the mainstream media… So many people experience it and don’t really even realize it they just think boy he talks and doesn’t make sense but I’ve noticed it in the workplace from one guy in particular who tries to intimidate higher level management by throwing in buzzwords and confusing sentences and throwing the topic off. Are year ago hearing it I was severely triggered… Now I just block him out and think what a freaking ahole.

    1. I’ve eaten word salad more times than I can count as an ipps and an ipss both Narcs used it extensively.

      HG ocassionally Mr Lesser aka narc#2 would back down and say you know you are right Lori I shouldn’t have done that I apologize. Why would he do that ? Narcs hate apologies and I know without question he’s a narcissist

      1. Because that false apology (it is not truly meant) is the best outcome for the narcissist at that juncture.

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