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Pet Ways to Ease Stress
with Jessica Loftus, Ph.D. & Jack Murray

Polly’s Parrot Phrases to Soothe a Narcissist’s Stress

Living with a narcissist demands constant, careful monitoring of my every word. A momentary slipup could result in an explosive episode of narcissistic rage. Therefore, I fortify myself with a cracker box full of parrot phrases to appease the narcissist in my home.

Someone who meets the DSM-5 criteria for narcissistic personality disorder (narcissist) fundamentally has low self-esteem. That’s why a narcissist feeds constantly on compliments, adoration and praise and feels extremely stressed when the supply runs low. Even when the emotional goodies ring insincere, they still soothe a narcissist’s stressed, tattered ego like a healing balm. Here are a few of my favorite phrases to parrot at a narcissist.

  1. “You’re Special!”

When all else fails, this works like a charm. I watched a friend of a narcissist cleverly evade a nasty rage when the narcissist observed the friend getting more attention at a party. The friend simply explained that the narcissist displayed such a majestic presence that most people felt intimidated. The friend was ordinary, more like the ordinary party goers. Like magic, the narcissist relaxed noticeably and smiled.

  1. “You’re Right!”

Since there is no point in persuading a narcissist to see a different view point, this treasured phrase will squelch most arguments. Besides, who wants to hear the ridiculous justifications and excuses for their insensitive, cruel or rude behavior? One narcissist flew into a nasty rage because someone “disturbed her at work” by sending her an email. The email was sent to a personal email address which the narcissist retrieved while playing on her smart phone when she was at work. When the truth is stressful, a lie will always soothe and calm.

  1. “Your Home is Gorgeous!”

This also applies to a narcissist’s vehicle, yacht, yard, flower pot, holiday decorations, hairstyle, craft projects, glasses, personal taste, dog, cat, parrot, aquarium or trash can. Who cares? From my birds-eye view, narcissists rarely detect white lies (or even big, ugly lies); they are so happy to get the compliments.

  1. “Only Your Needs Matter.”

I stopped saying, “Polly wants a cracker,” because I only got fed after the narcissist fed herself, played on Facebook, texted a few friends, applied makeup, watched TV, napped and shopped. Even then, the narcissist asked another household member to feed me and clean my cage – I guess to ease the stress of having to focus on my needs for a moment.  But, boy she loves to hear how gorgeous I am!

  1. “You are Lovelier than the Bride!”

The uglier the narcissist, the more I parrot this phrase.

  1. “You are Good.”

Never taking ownership of their evil ways, narcissists constantly soothe stress (and guilt) by reminding themselves of how good or moral or spiritual or ethical they are. That’s why churches are loaded with them. Don’t get me wrong, good people attend church too, but they repent.

  1. “You have Every Right to Be Mad!”

How dare any parrot or human speak the truth about a narcissist’s bad behavior or true nature?

  1. “You are the Best!”

This becomes very tricky when the narcissist is not particularly, smart, funny, interesting, talented, insightful, creative or skilled.  One idea is to parrot insignificant accomplishments like, “You are the best toilet cleaner, shoe polisher or garbage taker outer I ever met. Another good fallback is to fuel the narcissist with plenty of excuses for their mediocrity, “You didn’t get enough encouragement, the game was rigged, the competition was unfair – I’m sure you get the idea“

Polly wants a cracker and some praise. Did you notice that I didn’t parrot anything about my stress – living with a narcissist?

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Polly’s Parrot Phrases to Soothe a Narcissist’s Stress

Jessica Loftus

Jessica Loftus has worked as a licensed clinical psychologist and national certified career counselor for more than 20 years. She currently offers counseling sessions via telehealth in Illinois. Her website,, outlines steps for making a career decision. details. See her retired blog, "Pet Ways to Ease Stress,"

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APA Reference
Loftus, J. (2018). Polly’s Parrot Phrases to Soothe a Narcissist’s Stress. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 2, 2020, from


Last updated: 7 Sep 2018
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