You may trick a narcissist into revealing the truth, but you have to take a safe approach because they can explode in a narcissistic rage.
A narcissist can be lying to you for a long, long time before you suspect it. They are manipulative by nature and will twist the truth to serve their own interests.
Worse, getting them to admit to their lies is incredibly tough. That said, however, if you know how to go about it, you can trick a narcissist into telling the truth.
Let’s explore some of the most effective ways to get them to open up, reveal what they are actually thinking, and make them blurt out the truth.
How to trick a narcissist into telling the truth?
You can trick a narcissist into revealing the truth, even if it is only a partial truth that would prove they were lying in the first place.
All you’ll need is patience, a deep grasp of their personality traits, and a plan. Stay ready to inflate their ego, use their weaknesses against them, and be persistent in your questioning.
Here are 10 experience-backed ways to trick a narcissist into telling the truth:
1. Use sweet-talk and flattery
Narcissists have a strong sense of self-importance. By appealing to their ego, you may be able to get them to tell the truth.
They crave admiration and praise, so start by complimenting their looks, honesty, intelligence, kindness, or perceptiveness.
For example, you can say, “You always have such a great way of understanding complex situations.”
This can make them more inclined to prove that they are as wise as you suggest, and in the process, spill the truth.
Or tell them, “I know you’re too smart to lie to me. I trust that you’ll tell me the truth.”
Now, they need to prove their intelligence and honesty, increasing the likelihood of a truthful response.
2. Feign ignorance
Pretending not to know the truth can be an effective way to elicit honesty from a narcissist.
For example, you can say, “I heard that things went really well at the meeting.”
If this statement is untrue, they may feel the need to correct you, which might lead to them inadvertently revealing the truth.
3. Create a safe environment
Narcissists often fear vulnerability, so they may avoid telling the truth to protect their self-image.
Before you start prying the truth out of a narcissist, use subtle approaches and calm demeanors to put them at ease and let them open up.
To foster trust, you can say, “I understand that everyone makes mistakes, and I won’t judge you for being honest with me.”
This reassurance may encourage them to be more honest.
4. Offer incentives
Narcissists are typically self-serving, so providing a reward or perceived gain for telling the truth can be effective.
For example, you can say, “If you tell me the truth, I can help you find a better solution to this problem.”
This emphasizes the benefits they’ll receive, such as gaining respect or avoiding negative consequences.
5. Ask open-ended questions
Instead of directly confronting a narcissist with accusations, use open-ended questions to encourage conversation and self-reflection.
For example, you can ask, “How did you feel when that situation occurred?”
This approach can prompt them to think more deeply about the situation, potentially leading to a truthful response.
6. Leverage their competitive nature
Narcissists enjoy challenges and winning. Frame the act of truth-telling as a challenge they can conquer or a way to outsmart others.
For example, you can say, “I bet most people would try to hide the truth in this situation, but I know you’re not like them.”
This appeals to their competitive instincts, making them more eager in telling you the truth to prove their superiority.
7. Show confidence in their integrity
Narcissists value their reputation and how others perceive them. When you express confidence in their integrity, you encourage them to be honest.
For example, you can say, “I’ve always admired your straightforwardness; it’s one of the qualities that sets you apart.”
This affirmation may motivate them to live up to your expectations and tell the truth.
8. Use their weaknesses against them
Narcissists are often self-conscious and insecure about their weaknesses and flaws. If you have a way to use their weak points against them, you can get them to tell the truth.
For example, you can say, “I heard that you’re not as successful as you claim to be. Is that true?”
This may make the narcissist feel like they need to prove their success and prompt them to tell the truth, potentially revealing any false claims or exaggerations.
Or, you could say, “You’re usually so great at reading people; I’m surprised you didn’t notice this before.”
This may trigger their insecurity and prompt them to prove their perceptiveness by telling the truth.
9. Induce boredom or indifference
Making a narcissist feel bored or indifferent can decrease their motivation to lie.
So, engage them in boring or insipid conversations, cutting them each time they want to talk about themselves.
When things don’t pique their interest for long, they may blurt out the truth without any effort to dress it up in a lie.
You can say, “So I met a kid at a party, and I taught him the entire alphabet. First I told him what A looks like, how to draw it, and what words have A at the start. He was great at picking up. So then I told him what B looks like, how to draw it, and what words have B at the start. Then I told him…”
Okay, you get the drift. It doesn’t have to be A to Z. It may be how you cleaned your kitchen or how you worked out an Excel/Google sheet.
When you beat up their “me-focus” with your dull stories, they may truthfully blurt out what an idiot you are.
And that gets you a chance to confront them about that office gossip they spread about you.
10. Use reverse psychology
Narcissists thrive on control and manipulation. By using reverse psychology, you can make them feel like they are in control while actually getting them to tell the truth.
For example, you can say, “I don’t want to hear the truth, so don’t tell me what really happened.”
This may make the narcissist feel like they are getting away with something and prompt them to tell the truth.
True Story of A Narcissist Accepting They Cheated
Jack took a mid-day break and left work to grab some lunch and meet Julia at her office. He was running up the stairs to spring a surprise on Julia when he stopped in shock.
Julia was there on the landing, kissing her ex Rob. They all saw each other. Julia let out a small shriek and Jack freaked out. Without another word, Jack turned and left.
A week later Jack confronted Julia about the incident.
Julia asked, “What?”
Jack asked, “You and Rob on the stairs that day… What were you doing?” And Julia replied Jack saw it wrong, and she wasn’t there at all.
That was narcissistic gaslighting, as clear as it gets.
Jack almost lost it but could not get her to admit it. They broke up, but reunited after some time.
Years later, Julia was starting up a company. She needed a big sum of money and asked Jack to loan it to her. Jack didn’t have the full amount, but he promised to talk to his banker and see what he could do.
Two days later, while having lunch together, Julia said, “I want to tell you something, but you have to promise you won’t get angry or leave.”
Jack said, “Okay.”
That’s when Julia finally admitted that it was her and Rob on the stairs that day. He forgave her.
Sadly, things did not go well for Jack. He never got back the money he loaned her but had to repay it all to his bank. Eventually, some years later, Julia ghosted and blocked him.
Jack often wonders what might have been different if Julia had been honest from the start.
[All names used above are not real.]
Why do narcissists lie?
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is marked by an inflated sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy, and a need for admiration. Actually, they have poor self-esteem and rely on others’ praise to boost their self-worth.
Narcissists lie for mainly four reasons.
- Lying is simply another tool in their arsenal for manipulating people to get what they want, as they believe they are above the laws that govern the rest of us and can get away with anything.
- They lie to appear good in the eyes of others and to secure their perceived high status, driven by a deep craving for admiration and attention.
- They also lie to cover up their mistakes and failures, as they cannot handle being seen as imperfect or criticized. They will also lie to avoid taking responsibility for their actions and to shift the blame onto others.
- Narcissists also lie to maintain control over their relationships and situations. They use lies to keep their partners in confusion and uncertainty, make them co-dependent on them, and prevent them from finding out their “nasty” truth.
They believe they are superior to others and feel entitled to special treatment, and will lash out when they feel criticized, rejected, or disrespected.
What to avoid when trying to get the truth from a narcissist?
Some methods for getting a narcissist to reveal the truth can be harmful to your health. Avoid the following approaches:
- Appealing to their emotions: Narcissists are often lacking in empathy and may not respond well to emotional appeals. They may demean you instantly.
- Confrontation: Avoid confronting a narcissist directly or immediately, as this can make them defensive and less inclined to speak the truth.
- Aggression: Aggressive behavior towards a narcissist can lead to them becoming even more resistant to telling the truth. And it can trigger them into unexpected violence.
- Threats: Threatening a narcissist (“I will see you later…”) can send them into survival mode, making them even more deceitful and vengeful.
Overall, it is best to approach a narcissist calmly and with a clear goal in mind.
How do you know if a narcissist is lying?
To tell if a narcissist is lying, pay close attention to inconsistencies in their stories, presenting themselves as victims, self-aggrandizement, pressure to convince, and manipulative language. Also, be aware of non-verbal cues, like avoiding eye contact, showing signs of agitation or irritation, or suddenly getting up to leave.
What is reverse psychology?
Reverse psychology is a persuasion technique that involves suggesting the opposite of what you want someone to do or believe. The aim is to prompt the person to react against the suggestion, ultimately leading them to follow the desired course of action or adopt the intended belief.
Once you know how to unravel a narcissist, whether they are your boss, friend, or family member, you can put up your fences against their future lies and gaslighting behavior.
Some truth-spilling tactics that I use with my narcissist acquaintances get me unexpectedly good results.
Remember that narcissists are cunning creatures. So, while the truth-revealing strategies may not always work as well as you would like, they can be useful in many situations.
Before trying to trick a narcissist into admitting the truth, analyze the risks vs. benefits.
A narcissist exposing the truth may not always be worth the mental toll it takes on you. They may grow vindictive and over-cautious when they realize you tricked them.
That’s why you must educate yourself to learn more about their nature and behavior patterns.
And always prioritize your mental health and well-being above all else.
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Author Bio: Written and researched by Sandip Roy — a medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher, who writes on mental well-being, happiness, positive psychology, and philosophy (especially Stoicism).
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