Popular Narcissistic Abuse Colloquialisms and Idioms


Newer word combinations and phrases have entered the lexicon of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), in order to casually communicate and describe certain narcissistic abusive behaviors and feelings the abuses create,  like the two combined words — gas and lighting for gaslighting. We find these newer idioms and colloquialisms mostly online, and they seem to do a very good job of assessing, in laymen’s terms, what it is like to be around and/or abused by a person with personality disorders and other related personality comorbidities.


1. Future Faking

Future Faking means placating about the future. The narcissist has learned how to tell you what you want to hear, usually because of distinct experience. If you believe you are your narcissist’s first victim, think again. They have been perfecting their placating behavior for years. They know exactly what to say about the future to keep you locked in. What does everyone want in a new relationship? Someone who is committed to building trust. Someone who is in it for the long term. Someone who talks about marriage, family, kids. Someone who talks about the perfect house to buy and when they want to buy it with you. Someone who is completely supportive and interested in you, how you feel and how you want your life to be. Someone who wants to have a blast going on vacations. Someone who wants financial security. Someone who wants a strong connection and deep roots. And lastly, someone who wants to “take care of you.” Who wouldn’t want all of that? The narcissistic has no problem faking that they want all of this too, and telling you over and over that you are that special person they are finally going to have it with – building that fake future with you that they have no intension of participating in. You are in their lives to serve them and meet whatever agenda they have this year. That’s it. Narcissists must be served. Placating you gets them served.

2. Love Bombing

Love Bombing is a part of the placating behavior, but it may or may not be about the future. Love Bombing happens at the beginning of the relationship and then after each abusive episode once the cycle of narcissistic abuse kicks in. It is designed to focus you in on what you want and keep you distracted from what you are actually getting. You are put on a pedestal. You are viewed as the perfect love for the narcissist. You are told you are everything they have ever wanted. You are taken on lavish vacations. Flown to Paris, France for lunch, given a new car, told their family will love you (if their family still talks to them). You are sexed to death and you are so busy being sexed out that you don’t even notice they are very mechanical and robotic about sex. They could care less if it’s you or some other person but they will tell you, you are a “great fu*^” over and over. There’s a huge clue for you. Someone who respects you and loves you will not tell you what a great fu*^ you are. They will respect you and use words that are kind and respectable. Narcissists will hang on your every word, tell you they love you extremely soon in the courtship, pretend to care about your every feeling and emotion, and propose within a short timeframe. Now… how can you be perfect for them when they have no idea who you are? They only feigned interest to lock you in. They never truly heard a word you said. They were too busy assessing you and sizing you up to see what boundaries were your strongest so they could begin their campaign of destroying them via manipulation to gain all power and control in the so-called “relationship.” Once they assess that you are a good choice for owning and manipulating, they will do anything and everything in their power to keep you locked in. They will buy you are car, a house, a boat, a guitar. They’ll give you an expense account! This is to get you dependent. They are going to take it away from you in the future in order to destroy your security and financial well-being so you can’t get away.

3.Honeymooning, Hearts and Flowers, Starting New

Honeymooning is the reconciliation phase of the narcissistic cycle of abuse that happens in the aftermath of an episode, where the abuser has blown off steam and placed all their hatred onto you and in your soul. Their hatred is a loathing that most of us cannot even articulate. Honeymooning is Love Bombing with some added features. You are showered with gifts, vacations are scheduled way in the future (this further locks in you in with hope). There are long talks and reminiscing about when you first met and how phenomenal that was, and talks about how perfect you are for each other (you are their perfect feeder and enabler, they are not perfect for you). The whole, “It will never happen again,” or, “I am doing better now,” speeches happen in this phase, with tons of reminiscing about all the plans you made together in the beginning to switch you off the emotional pain you are feeling after just being abused for five hours, and put back in time to connect you with the warm fuzzy feelings of the beginning. This is very confusing. The complex-PTSD is becoming ingrained, and the chaos and confusion here begins to cause brain injury over time. You will soon become confused, fuzzy and cloudy in your thoughts all the time not just during this phase. The constant polarizing from one extreme to the other damages you to your core.

4. Narcissistic Victim Syndrome

Narcissistic Victim Syndrome is a newer colloquialism that is part of the trauma bond, PTSD, and addiction to “fixing,” where the effects of consistent but not constant abuse create certain behaviors, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes from which you can no longer escape. You now have narcissistic victim brain injury to go along with your debilitated emotions. You have become obsessed with texting them back. You have become obsessed with figuring out what is happening to you. You are online devouring every paragraph of information about narcissistic abuse. You have become obsessed with getting control of your situation. You have become obsessed with managing the situation and the abuser’s emotions. You find yourself apologizing for their bad behavior towards you. You have lost your own space in your own being and ecological system. Your entire focus is on the horrific relationship, healing it, controlling it, managing it, modifying who you are in order to stop the next outburst, the next episode, from happening.  “You” are now gone. 

5. Flying Monkeys

The Flying Monkeys idiom is my least tolerated. Flying monkeys is Triangulation. Can we just let it be what it is and say triangulation? Do we have to have this ridiculous idiom that dumbs down what is really happening and why? Flying Monkeys has nothing to do with what is happening in triangulation. Triangulation is a highly sophisticated abuse tactic that not just anyone can do without honing specific destructive and unique manipulative skills. Do yourself a favor and take this one out of your vocabulary and study triangulation.

6. Hoovering

Hoovering showed up to describe the way the narcissist “sucks” their victims back into so-called, “relationship.” The hoover vacuum company probably wonders how they got sucked into the narcissistic disorder! Hoovering is simply the manipulation of rehashing the good parts of the past to rekindle good feelings and create the façade that, “It was really good most of the time so come back, I’ve changed.” Conjure Connecting might be more appropriate than hoovering — There’s a new colloquialism for us – Conjure Connecting. The narcissist conjures up some wild fantasy-world scenarios to suck you back in and suck in the people around you to make them believe the narcissist is wonderful and you just have maturity issues. It’s like Voodoo with an element of necromancy – connecting with the dead – your dead, so-called “relationship,” that is. Conjuring up the past, like versions of poking pins in a doll when you are not around, that looks like you, and reciting spells that will  manipulate you into reconnecting with the wonderful part of the relationship in the beginning that the narcissist never felt but you think or thought you did. All kinds of crocodile tears here, feel sorry for me’s, it’s not my fault, I had a bad day, on and on type manipulations. Next thing you know you are apologizing for nothing you did, they can actually get you to feel sorry for them for abusing YOU! You are soothing the narcissist and assuring them it will be ok now. You are sucked back in and before you know it you are already going through another abuse episode — the second cycle in the cycle of narcissistic abuse. 

7. Gaslighting

Ahhhh Gaslighting. The mother of it all!  Gaslighting is designed to break down any and all boundaries of a person’s being in order to figuratively crawl up inside the person’s body and take over. Gaslighting is the all-time favorite tactic of the narcissistic abuser, especially the narcissistic abusive person with other personality disorders like: borderline personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder and/or their traits. Gaslighting: method of debilitation, deception, manipulation, control, deprivation, chaos, confusion, and exhaustion. The psychology profession adopted the idiom/colloquialism. It shows up in the APA dictionary. It has nothing to do with anything of gases or lighting. It was the title of a movie where the protagonist displayed all the debilitating behaviors of a classic abuser and the name stuck. Stream the movie so you can see how the actual gaslight comes in to play. There are countless pages about gaslighting online. I have yet to find any one paragraph that covers the whole tactic. There are other abuse tactics incorporated within the gaslighting tactic, which makes it complex to define. Put all 11 of the narcissistic abuse tactics and everything done within those tactics into one term, and you’ve got Gaslighting. It is the abuser’s favorite, and the narcissistic abuser uses it in particularly hideously cruel and calculating ways.