Label Me This! When the Narcissist goes all “Mad Libs” on You

Do you remember “Mad Libs”- those books where a friend asked you to fill in nouns or verbs and then inserted them into a narrative that was then read to you.

Crazy, irrelevant stories would emerge much to our amusement.

What was fun in childhood can take a darker turn for adults. I don’t mean “Mad Libs” suddenly become evil narratives on their own.

However, I do feel narcissists and sociopaths continue to play this crazy game well into adulthood.

Rather than supplying generic nouns and verbs, they are prompted to provide names, vulgar words, derogatory comments, insults, mean slights and so on.

And if you stop to pay attention, you will find the narcissistic version of “Mad Libs” produces narratives that are just as ridiculous and ungrounded as the stories we participated in childhood.

For example, recently my stepson at various times has used the words “insecure, liar, and fat” to describe me.


Many words can describe me. I doubt the list above would make the top 200 words that most people who know me would use to describe me.

Where did these terms likely come from? I would imagine his Mother.

When I asked him why he defined me as “insecure”, he stated, “I don’t know. I don’t even know what that means.”

I had been critical of her and her lack of parenting. Rather than embrace that energy and look at herself, she chose to deflect and stick a label on me that had very little, if any, resonance.

But these labels bantered around by narcissists, no matter how irrelevant, can be damaging. They cause us to pause and question ourselves.

Am I insecure? Am I a liar? Am I fat?

This, to say the least, is a waste of our time.

We always must remember that narcissists do not live in the standard “agreed upon” reality.

They will instigate any and all behavior so they “win”.

Picture them with their nasty book of “Mad Libs”.

If you are the target for the moment, they will fill in your name and any and all harmful words they can think of into the blanks:
Slut! Whore! Stupid! Worthless! Fat! Ugly! and so on…

They are playing a ridiculous game that they believe they will win because it has worked for them in the past.

The next time you are with a narcissist and this behavior begins, realize it has nothing to do with you or with your reality.

Simply say to yourself about their behavior “Oh, are you using your little book of Mad Libs again?”

Just as the Mad Lib stories of our childhood had no real resonance in the world, the words of the narcissist are the same. Made up fantasies that only the narcissist believes.


21 thoughts on “Label Me This! When the Narcissist goes all “Mad Libs” on You

  1. Well said! Dealing with narcissists is a bit like being trapped in hall of mirrors at a fun house. It’s just one projection after another. Sometimes it helps to know that what they are trying to project upon you, is really what they are feeling about themselves.

    • Absolutely! And it’s a wonderful, freeing thing when we can step back from the crazy-making and acknowledge it for what it truly is.

  2. I find it very positive that you were able to look directly through and see, what was going on. It is not you, who create the problems. Narcissist people live in their own glorified world, where only all what they see as right are right in their world.

    Couldn’t we find an empty town and8 place all of them there? That would be nice for us and imagine their new reality 😉

  3. Hard to press “like.” 😦 😦
    Very very sad. “He knows not what he does!” I don’t care how much work we have done, words hurtled for the sole reason of hurting us do have an impact. Please Kim, make sure you get over this. I know your post tells us you are dealing with it and you even know where it came from…but it still hurts. I feel so sad that these children are caught in such nastiness. I will send you my prayers and healing energy! ❤ ❤

    • thank you so much Lorrie. I guess I write these things as a way to clarify what can be very confusing. My words are boundaries in a way- signaling- you can go here, but no further to anyone who tries to use these techniques to harm others.

      • Hi Kim… I understand….sending warmest love and healing to you all. ❤ It is a shame that some adults have to take the role of poorly behaved children. I respect you so much for taking the high road and send you lots of good energy!

  4. Hi Kim, I feel similarly to what Lorrie Bowden wrote. Also, it’s sad when young children are
    armed with harmful words that they no not know what they do/mean. At the very least, it is confusing for you to hear.
    Much love, Ka

    • I know. That is the part that was disturbing to me. I am certainly not without faults, but if you are going to label me, especially in the mind of the child, there at least must be some resonance with what is being said.
      Instead, there was nothing but confusion

  5. Agreed, Kim, a complete waste of time. Your time.

    The need for and/or acknowledgment of labels, good or bad, flattering or derogatory, have long been banned from my attentiveness. Who’s doing the labeling? And for what purpose?

    And whether it comes from a narcissist or any other person, it is (to your accurate words) rarely, if ever, about you. It is almost always about the labeler, the spewer, or the poor soul who fails to recognize they need help.

    I crafted a post about words and their power, not just in/with chidren but the manner in which they affect adults. Happy to share it with you if you’re interested.

  6. As just getting out of a relationship with a narcissist they words deeply resonated with me. I know the game/winning feeling that you describe here. And the idea of thinking it will work because it has in the past. When I was done playing the game, things did not turn out well, but as long as I did play and let them win everything was perfect. Thanks for posting this. Always good to read these things.

    • I am so glad you wrote this. I am always concerned that my narcissist posting comes off as petty and finger-pointing. All I want to do, though, is help those, who in their innocence do not see the harmful actions laid upon them by those with narcisssistic tendencies. I am glad you are now free of such energy.

      • I think those who haven’t been around a serious narcissist would take it as finger-pointing. But when you have had spent serious time around a narcissist it all makes sense. I really resonate with all your posts. Thanks for helping me through my struggles with my recent relationship with a narcissist.

  7. You are right – N’s and sociopaths use words to weave their webs of delusion and make themselves the hero, they carefully place insults hoping they will weaken us. Once we realize what they are up to, the words may still sting a little, but they will not sink in and fester.

  8. Great post, Kim. You’ve gone right to the heart of the truth – it isn’t at all about us. Folks make up their own version of reality based on their POV. We can stand in our own truth.

  9. Thank you for you insight. I can so relate! When I first met my step daughter’s narcissistic mother, I tried my best to get along, for step daughter’s sake. Soon, her mom started a smear campaign on Facebook using her very own mad libs adjectives about me. It’s hard not to take it personally!

    Luckily, (or unluckily?) I was raised by a narcissistic mother whom, after years of pain and agony, I have completely cut off from my life. This narcissist was easy! I pray daily that I can be that person in my stepdaughter’s life who gives her the tools to be a healthy person, even though her mom’s narcissistic.

    • I am so glad you found this helpful. I was getting chills at the similarity of our situations (although there has been no Facebook smear campaign against me that I know of). It is hard not to take it personally. I mean the “simple” act of taking a child who is not your own into your heart is PROFOUND. And I relate to your comment about your mother. We somehow begin to build skill set around these behaviors- don’t we? I don’t know whether that is a positive or not 🙂 Blessings and good luck to you!

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