What Happens When You Abandon The Narcissist?

What Happens When You Abandon The Narcissist?

If you’ve decided that the narcissist in your life is not healthy for you, there will come the moment when you realize that it’s time to walk away. But, unfortunately, no matter how much you try, nothing changes, and the abuse continues.

Are you planning to abandon a narcissist?

If you plan to abandon the narcissist in your life, you should know first that you’re most certainly not alone. Unfortunately, the unfortunate truth is that thousands of men and women experience emotional and psychological abuse at the hands of a malignant narcissist. While this is terrible news for humanity, it’s good news for you today because our research and experience allow you a glimpse into the psychology of the narcissist and a play-by-play guide for exactly what to expect when you leave a narcissist.

It’s a painful realization to reach that point of giving up, but this is what is necessary if things aren’t going to change. This is when you have the greatest risk of narcissist retaliation if the narcissist thinks you’re planning on leaving them. Once you decide that it’s time, the final stage of implementing this can take place. Deciding to abandon a narcissist is scary, especially since a part of you misses the person you signed up for and how they used to be so kind and caring before everything changed.

Discovering That You’re Dealing With a Narcissist

Maybe there was a specific incident (or several) that you feel caused them to become disillusioned with you, and so you spent months or years trying to make up for whatever damage they claimed you caused.

And you might have found yourself Googling about how you could become more like what the narcissist in your life really seemed to want, right? But then you ran across something that blew your mind – you found out about narcissism, or more specifically, narcissistic personality disorder.

As you read through the checklist or article you found or watched the video you clicked on, and a lightbulb went on in your head. Your brain almost hurt from the heavy realization you had at that moment: after all the months or years you’ve been blaming yourself, it turned out that it wasn’t you after all.

You suddenly understood that this person matched up to the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder. And that even if they weren’t diagnosed, they clearly demonstrated the trademark behaviors. You didn’t know if you were happy or super angry that you’d been unfairly beating yourself up for all this time. You weren’t sure whether to be upset that you had bent over backward to prove yourself to someone who would never see you. You struggled with the idea that you wasted so much of your life trying to make them happy when it would turn out that even if you were literally perfect, they would never be satisfied.

In other words, you recognized that this person who you now know as the narcissist in your life has actually done nothing but abuse and devalue you as they see fit and at any given moment for almost as long as you can remember. Are you worried you might be wrong, and this person isn’t a narcissist? If so, take our free toxic relationship test or look at this video, which offers signs that you’re in love with a narcissist. 

Making the Decision to Leave the Narcissist

Maybe you thought something was wrong with you at first. You couldn’t understand how someone could treat you the way this person has treated you, so you assumed you must be the problem. Maybe you thought that if only you could somehow “fix” whatever the narcissist claimed was wrong with you, and things would finally change.

But now, you’re over it, and you want out. You crave (and deserve) freedom, and you have taken the time to create your escape plan to go no contact or low contact.

You would love to abandon the narcissist completely. But you want to know what to expect. And if you’re honest, you are understandably concerned about what consequences you could face if you take off and leave the narcissist.

Why is it so difficult to abandon the narcissist? 

Let’s face it – the reasons you might be hesitant to leave the narcissist are many. Not only are you highly likely to be trauma bonded to them, thanks to years or even decades of abuse, but you might be dealing with a fear of abandonment and some attachment issues of your own.

And, quite honestly, you’re at least a little bit afraid of them.

You have seen the narcissist fly into an unreasonable narcissistic rage for the smallest of reasons. And anytime the rage didn’t give them the results they wanted, you’ve witnessed them using narcissistic injury, also known as the “poor me” act, as a way to manipulate you into doing what they want. Unfortunately, this has been a problem in your life more often than you care to admit.

But now that you’re finally done and you’re ready to get the heck out of dodge, you are fully expecting all hell to break loose. You know that it won’t go easily, and you suspect that the narcissist will do anything literally in their power to stop you, especially because you leaving means them losing the one thing they cannot do without – narcissistic supply.

And, if you’re like most survivors, you’re worried about what they will do if you leave.

What can you expect when you abandon the narcissist?

The early part of the no contact journey is no picnic, so when you abandon the narcissist, you can expect to deal with various manipulation tactics, including the following.

The narcissist will beg you to stay.

The narcissist might beg you to stay – or even try to talk you out of leaving. You may even hear things like, “You’ll never find anyone who loves you as much as I do,” or “You’re going to regret this in the long run.” But, then, they will start love-bombing you again and suddenly become the “perfect partner,” and they’ll seem so sincere. Naturally, you will want to believe them, and you will find it nearly impossible to leave if you indulge in this little fantasy at all. Just remember that once they’ve got you firmly back in their grip, they’ll quickly return to their old ways.

The narcissist will guilt-trip you.

The narcissist will try to make you feel guilty for abandoning them. Then, they will suddenly forget that they ever treated you anything but like royalty. In general, narcissists are incapable of taking responsibility for their actions, and the narcissistic guilt trip takes things to a whole new level. Not only is the narcissist well-aware of your “buttons” (which they will happily push at any given moment to get what they want), but they have literally no limits to the levels to which they will stoop. This video offers insight into managing your guilt when you abandon the narcissist.

The narcissist will threaten you.

In many cases, the narcissist will (at least threaten to) stoop to any level to get revenge. You may even hear things like, “If you leave, I’ll tell everyone what a bad person you are” or “If you walk out that door, don’t ever expect me to let you back in!” Remember that even if you choose to stay, they’ll start a smear campaign about you if they haven’t already. So don’t try to reason with them, and don’t make excuses. If you’re afraid they will physically hurt you or your kids, be really intentional in your planning and do your best to avoid confrontation as you exit. If possible, leave and don’t say anything to the narcissist until you’re safely away. This video offers insight into what to do if the narcissist snaps on you. 

The narcissist will stalk and harass you. 

Expect to be stalked and harassed by the narcissist after you abandon them, especially if they have no other sources of narcissistic supply. If they have other sources of supply, they may still stalk you, but it might be less intense or not at all, depending on the situation. Still, it’s important to remember that for the narcissist, this supply can literally feel like a requirement for them – like air or water. So, whether it’s immediately or later down the line, you should be aware that abandoning a narcissist can lead to stalking. If you’re concerned about an existing stalker or you already know that the narcissist in your own life will become a stalker, be sure to grab my free stalker safety kit, right here, so you can take precautions and keep yourself safe. This video also offers insight into how to keep yourself safe from a stalker. 

The narcissist will hoover you.

If the narcissist in your life is not already engaging with a replacement for you, then you can expect to be hoovered. Named after the famous vacuum cleaner company, “hoovering” happens when the narcissist tries to “suck you back in” after the discard. This can be drama-related or an attempt to reconcile the relationship – or, in some cases, an attempt to get you to break no contact once you do get away.

You can expect the narcissist to hoover since you are one of their primary sources of narcissistic supply – and sometimes, the only one. When you unexpectedly cut off that source of supply, the narcissist will be like a vampire who goes without blood for too long. They’ll do anything to get a little taste of it – if they’re in need anyway. They will send you texts such as “Can we please talk?” or “I miss you, please come back.”

Now listen – this next part is hard and will take a ton of willpower, but you’ve got to hold your ground here. Don’t answer their texts. Please don’t respond to their repeated efforts to contact you on social media. Block them and their usual flying monkeys – and if they show up at your door? You don’t answer it. If they won’t leave and are causing a scene? Call the police and have them removed. 

This video offers insight into why narcissists hoover and how to prevent yourself from falling back into that toxic, abusive mess they claim is a relationship.

And speaking of flying monkeys, this brings me to my next point.

The narcissist will engage their flying monkeys in triangulation.

Here’s where the narcissist will employ these so-called flying monkeys. Flying monkeys are just people who willingly or otherwise do the narcissist’s bidding and support their agenda. In other words, they enable the narcissist’s games and manipulation, whether they do it willingly or the narcissist manipulates them into helping.  If the hoover doesn’t work, and sometimes even before they try the hoover, the narcissist will pull out the triangulation card.

Triangulation is, unfortunately, a prevalent manipulation tactic often employed by narcissists; this is when the narcissist communicates as a third party between two people but prevents the two from communicating directly through either manipulating or controlling at least one of them.

So, in this case, because the narcissist may be desperate to get in touch with you for a bit of supply or to cause you more stress and pain (which, if we are honest, is also supply), they’re going to start reaching out to people who will help them by telling you “how worried they are” or “how sad the narcissist seems” since you left, or whatever. This video offers insight into dealing with flying monkeys and the smear campaign. 

The narcissist will flaunt their new source of supply in your face.

Alternatively, the narcissist may quickly scoop up a new person to be their source of narcissistic supply. And, once they’ve got that poor unsuspecting soul in place, you know what they’ll do, right? They will try to use this to hurt you. So, they will try to contact you to fill you in on their “good fortune.” They’ll want you to know how much better they get along with the new supply – and how that person “gets them” in ways you never could.

Of course, they’ll take all the supply they can get, right? So you know they’ll be posting all over their social accounts, telling the world about this new and amazing person they have finally found. They’ll proclaim that this person is their new soulmate and even insult you indirectly in the process by either not acknowledging that you ever existed or by directly pointing out how much better they are with the new person. They will conveniently forget how a similar thing happened when they met you – that they once thought you were their amazing soulmate who could do no wrong and who just “got them” in ways their ex never could. Ahem. Yep, it’s a typical narcissistic cycle of abuse. Anyhoo…

They will try to call you or send you messages to brag about them, hoping that they will get a rise out of you. Of course, the best thing to do is ignore the messages and block their number and social media profiles. If you get any strange friend requests or follows from new accounts that look suspicious, then you will want to block those as well. This video offers insight into how to deal with the narcissist getting a new supply.

The narcissist will run smear campaigns.

Remember how I mentioned smear campaigns before? Well, not only is the narcissist is worried that you will expose who they are, but they’re also going to need a replacement supply and fast! So, they’re going to tell everyone a big sob story, and they’re going to try to tell everyone what a terrible person you are.  They will attempt to ruin your reputation among your family and friends, and if possible, they’ll even try to get you fired from your job. The narcissist can also threaten you by leaking your personal and private information in public. Be careful to avoid engaging with their rumors and lies. Instead, if someone you feel deserves an explanation asks you, then you can explain yourself just one time. If the person appears not to believe you or continues to act as a flying monkey on the narcissist’s behalf, you can step away emotionally until you’re feeling more healed – and at that time, you can decide whether you’d like to keep that person in your life. This video offers insight into dealing with the narcissist’s smear campaign.

Should you abandon the narcissist? 

Given all of the information shared here, you might feel a little doubtful about your decision to leave the narcissist. Worse, you might find that things are still not resolved, and more damage is done by separating from the narcissist. But while it won’t necessarily be easy, it will certainly be worth your time and trouble. And now that you know what to expect when you abandon a narcissist, you can be prepared and protect yourself along the way. This video offers insight into creating your exit plan safely.

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

Online help is readily available for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Here are some options to begin healing from narcissistic abuse right away.

 

No Closure At the End of Your Relationship? What Now?

No Closure At the End of Your Relationship? What Now?

Why do narcissists refuse to give you closure in a relationship?

Are you desperate for closure after the ending of a relationship with a narcissist?  Rarely is the need for relief from the discard allowed by the narcissist – and being able to speak your mind and discuss the issues you lived with if you have gone no contact is practically a foreign concept.

Lack of Closure After a Toxic Relationship Leaves You Reeling

Feeling the need for closure in order to move on and heal can perhaps be one of the more frustrating things survivors of narcissistic abuse go through after a discard. I know that for me personally, it left me feeling like it was impossible to stop thinking about the narcissist and I even struggled to forgive myself for having been with them in the first place. Can you relate?

What can you expect from the narcissist at the end of a relationship?

With a narcissist, if you get closure then you are one of the rare few. The narcissistic person will not allow you to get the closure you need. Instead of closure you get the silent treatment, smear campaigns, gaslighting, blame-shifting, the narcissist playing victim, hoovering, and repeated abuse. In other words, anything but closure.

They might even call you the abuser. Of all the people I have spoken to about the abuse they have suffered, not one has said they have had closure directly from the narcissist.

Can you create your own closure so you can move forward with your healing after narcissist abuse?

Absolutely you can! This video talks about why a narcissist won’t give you closure as well as ideas for how to move forward with your own life to create the closure you seek.

Get Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Now

Additional Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Resources

Narcissistic Abuse: The Disgusting Truth About People Who Don’t Go No Contact

Narcissistic Abuse: The Disgusting Truth About People Who Don’t Go No Contact


(Prefer to watch/listen rather than read? See video here) I have to be honest. In all the years I’ve been researching, writing about, and producing videos on narcissistic abuse recovery and narcissism in toxic relationships, I’ve seen the amount of “experts” go from single digits to probably thousands. In fact, the topic has become an official “niche,” which means that people who teach others how to make money online are recommending it as an option for people who don’t know what topic they want to focus on.

And while this should be a good thing because it could raise awareness of narcissistic abuse, you would be shocked at how often I see my own content repeated and rewritten on sites that appear quite professional. Though I am certain that many of these new experts are actual survivors of narcissistic abuse who are doing what they do for good reasons, there’s one particular bunch I need to complain about for just a minute: all of these so-called coaches who think there’s only one way to go when it comes to dealing with narcissists in your life. They don’t consider any individual person’s situation, and they refuse to imagine any possibility in which it’s not possible to completely cut someone out of your life. And that’s because they just don’t get it – but they also don’t realize (or don’t care) how painfully invalidating this can be for victims and survivors of toxic relationships.

Because I’m here to tell you, it is not always possible, at least not immediately. And quite honestly, I have repeatedly found that people who have not experienced truly toxic relationships don’t really understand the depth of trauma bonding, not to mention the isolation factor and the financial abuse and control that comes along with them. And anyone who hasn’t been there really cannot understand the complicated nature of a narcissist’s manipulation and control tactics, which, in my opinion and experience, means they should not be coaching anyone on this topic and they shouldn’t be creating content that is meant for people who are dealing with it.

So, let’s talk about it. Here is what happened.

Today, after hearing from yet another survivor that a particular coach (with whom she paid for a session) berated and belittled her for not being able to just go no contact with her narcissistic partner, I felt like I was going to lose it.  That coach and anyone else who are die-hard no contact pushers are doing survivors a disservice, and to be perfectly honest, I think these people just need to stop it, to put it politely.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The fact is that going no contact works remarkably well for healing after a toxic relationship. And of COURSE, I recommend it – we all know that no contact is the ideal solution to dealing with and healing from a toxic relationship with a narcissist. But the truth is that it isn’t always an option for everyone who has to deal with narcissists for a bunch of different reasons.

For example, maybe you have to live with a narcissistic parent for financial reasons, or you’re unwilling to go no contact with your entire extended family, and you know they won’t or can’t choose you over the toxic family member you’re dealing with. Or you’re working on leaving your narcissistic partner, but haven’t figured out all the logistics yet. There’s also a possibility that you’re dealing with a narcissist at work, and you are not in a position where you can change jobs so easily which means you will have to keep dealing with the narcissistic co-worker or worse, manager. Maybe the narcissist lives next door and you aren’t able to just sell your home and move right away – if at all. Or, and this is probably what I hear more than anything else, you might have to co-parent with a narcissistic ex.

Those are really tough situations as it is, and it frustrates me how often coaches and therapists will tell people in these situations they’re wrong for not going no contact because I get it from a personal perspective. The truth is that it took me a while to figure out how to leave my own ex for with a baby for both financial and logistical reasons. It makes me so angry because quite honestly, anyone who has to deal with a toxic narcissist is already dealing with enough self-doubt and invalidation on a daily basis. They just don’t need any added stress and they don’t need anyone else telling them they’re wrong for something they really can’t control.

So, please hear me on this one, my friend. The truth is, whether we like to admit it or not, there are some situations where it just plain is not an option – at least not immediately.

And while I’ll admit that it is very difficult, if not completely impossible, to fully heal while you’re still dealing with a narcissist on a daily basis, there are certain things you can do to make life a little less difficult while you’re there, and there are things you can do to begin to work toward healing in the process. Let me fill you in.

How to Deal with a Narcissist When No Contact is Not an Option

When you find yourself enmeshed in a toxic relationship with a narcissist, even though you realize your best option would be to leave or go no-contact, it isn’t always a real possibility in every situation. Sometimes, you just want things to go smoothly – you’re not in the mood for a narcissist’s usual games, gaslighting, and emotional manipulation. And there are plenty of times when you’re certainly not feeling like fending off any narcissistic rage, or narcissistic injury.

Let’s talk about five ways to manage the narcissist even if you are unable to go no contact. And if you stick with me through the end, I’ll share one more – a little bonus for you. It’s my own personal secret technique that will help you manage any narcissist you can’t go no contact with. In fact, this technique will work on literally almost any difficult person you come across.

Respond To The Narcissist Without Reacting

You already know how much the narcissist enjoys controlling and manipulating you by triggering your emotions. And, I’m sure you’re well aware that they deliberately say hurtful or dishonest things to evoke emotional outbursts from you. And you might even know that they do this intentionally to make you feel crazy – and to make you look crazy to others – because they want to keep you isolated and under their control. But as frustrating and overwhelming as this can be, if you want to manage a narcissist’s abusive behavior, what you need to do is to be as cool as a cucumber – no matter how hurtful the narcissist is to you. This will be challenging because they will always do what they can to provoke you into blowing up. But if you give them logical, calm, and relatively cordial answers that lack emotion, they will get bored and eventually move on to a different tactic. You can also use the grey rock method, which is both proven and highly recommended. This is where you give really boring one-word answers without reacting and without emotion to push them away.

Keep Your Boundaries Firm

If you are unsure of how to create firm boundaries, then you must learn to do that first. To do that, take a few minutes and decide what is and what is not acceptable to you. Then, you’ll want to make it clear which behaviors you will tolerate and which ones you will not. For instance, if you are co-parenting and you don’t want the narcissistic ex to keep calling you every time your kid farts during their visit, then you make it firm that you will only want to communicate through email or a court-approved app, unless it’s an absolute emergency. And, take steps toward being independent of the narcissist’s help as much as possible – or at least do what you can to limit your dependency on any narcissist. The more independent you are, the less you will have to deal with them.

Make Sure You Have A Solid Support System

When you are unable to go no contact with a narcissist, you will be stressed enough as it is. Make sure you build yourself a solid support system of friends who will understand what you are going through. Now, I’m well-aware that many of us have very few people in real life who really get it, and that’s why I recommend that you get involved with a narcissistic abuse recovery support group. In addition to various local groups you can find at meetup.com, there are also many online support groups, including our top-rated and absolutely free QueenBeeing SPANily groups. In any case, you need access to people who really get it – and you want to make sure you are not all alone in this so that when something upsetting happens caused by the narcissist, you have someone to vent to who will listen and support you.

Keep Your Expectations Realistic

This is difficult, but you’ve got to remember who you are dealing with here. You must remind yourself as difficult as it is having to deal with a narcissist that you cannot kick out of your life that they will not change. They are ridiculously limited, so recognize those limitations. See them for who they are, and use this awareness to help you see that you really aren’t the problem. The fact is that narcissists have so many shocking similarities among them, regardless of age, financial status, culture, religion, sex, or location, that it almost feels like there’s a narcissist playbook.  Just remember, you don’t have to like it, but you do need to remember that they will not change and despite what they might pretend, they will always keep doing what they do. In other words, and I’m sorry to have to tell you this, never have hope that the narcissist will all of a sudden treat you with love and respect, because sadly they won’t.

Nurture Yourself

You must take good care of yourself such as getting the sleep you need, get some exercise, eat healthily, and engage in your hobbies, your spiritual beliefs, and anything else that makes you happy. Never allow the narcissist to take that away from you. Never allow them to have that kind of power over you. Self-care is critical when you are dealing with a narcissist.

Are you still with me? Okay, this is where I’m going to share my own secret narcissist management technique with you. It is only two steps, and it is both ethical and repeatable.

Use This Technique to Manage Any Narcissist in Any Situation

You want to know how to make a narcissist be nice to you, right? Isn’t that what we all want? Well, I’m going to tell you how to do that right now, because sometimes, you just want first aid – a quick and simple way to make life easier for a while – to make the narcissist just BE NICE TO YOU.

PLEASE NOTE: This ONLY works if you ARE NOT IN ANY DANGER OF A PHYSICALLY ABUSIVE REACTION!

Step One: Do not reward “bad” behavior with the narcissist’s desired reaction. So: Your only response to negative behavior is “GRAY ROCK.” Now, you’re going to want to be super careful here and stay calm, even when the inevitable happens – because this can and may induce narcissistic rage, narcissistic injury, and extreme gaslighting. You may feel angry or upset -but DO NOT show it, no matter what. Stay positive and polite.

Step Two: Reward “good” behavior with what the narcissist needs from you: love, admiration, and his or her proper place on the pedestal. When the narc behaves him or herself, even if you recognize it as love bombing or idealization, bestow all the love and admiration you can on him/her — tell him/her how amazing and wonderful and perfect they are – and do it as sincerely if you can. AND: This can even work if you’re dealing with an ex in a co-parenting situation or a boss or co-worker – just adjust to make it appropriate for the situation.

Using this technique will cause the narcissist to indirectly realize that you’re not going to give them your emotional energy unless they are kind to you. Your emotional energy and focus on the narcissist is pure narcissistic supply – and they need that. So what will happen is that most of the time, if you stick it out, they’ll try to be at least polite if not go into the love-bombing mode. That means that you’ll essentially be training them to be nice to you by only giving them narcissistic supply when they treat you nicely.

Bottom line? Don’t expect miracles – narcissists don’t change, even if it is theoretically possible. So make sure you understand that this will be your new way of life if you do stick around forever.

Worth noting: You’ll have to be consistent if you want this to work. You can NEVER stop these practices if you hope to keep this thing going. The narc will absolutely and repeatedly try the various “bad” behaviors – aka manipulation and abuse tactics – and you will need to be very in control of your emotions to make this happen. BUT you CAN do it, if you choose to.

With all of that being said, I hope you’ll take comfort in knowing that as difficult as things are right now, it won’t last forever. One day you will be able to go no contact, one way or another, should you choose that. Eventually, you will have a well-enough paying job that will allow you to leave home if you are dealing with a narcissistic parent or partner. Eventually, you will be able to find another opportunity for the right job if you are dealing with a narcissistic coworker or boss. And eventually, your kids will reach 18 which means you will no longer have to deal with the narcissistic ex.

Question of the Day: Can you relate? Are we on the same page or do you think I’m wrong? Share your thoughts, share your ideas and share your experiences in the comments section below this video, and let’s discuss it. 

You might also like these videos:

What Happens When You See The Narcissist After No Contact?

What Happens When You See The Narcissist After No Contact?


(Prefer to watch/listen instead of reading? See this video)

So, you went no contact with a narcissist, either because you left them or they left you. In any case, you decided that you’ve had just about enough of a toxic relationship and you finally decided to make the commitment to yourself: you have gone no contact, once and for all.

No Contact is a coping technique that is practically required to heal after narcissistic abuse. It involves removing yourself from the narcissist’s life. You stop seeing, speaking to, and interacting with the narcissist. This allows you to clear your life of the negative energy they bring into every room so that you have the space you need to heal without dealing with the toxic influence of your former personal tormentor.

Now, for the record,  you might have gone no contact with a partner or former partner, or maybe it was a family member or a friend. In any case, initially, you might find yourself on the “pink cloud” that many people report they experience during narcissistic abuse recovery.

Pink Clouding in Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

“Pink clouding” it is a term that is used to describe the feeling of elation that many addicts and alcoholics feel shortly after detoxing and moving into sobriety. I first heard it used in our community by Kim Saeed.

When you’re on the pink cloud, you will feel excited and hopeful in ways you didn’t before, and things in your life might seem to be moving in the right direction for the first time in a long time. Unfortunately, there’s one big problem with the “pink cloud” syndrome – and that is quite simply that it can make us dangerously overconfident in one way: we might think we’re fully recovered when we’re actually just beginning.

The worst part is that this overconfidence can sadly lead to what I call a sort of “relapse” where we fall back in with the narcissist. For example, when you first leave a narcissist, you can start to see the possibilities of a life without constant control and codependency.

The pink cloud is very common for survivors of narcissistic abuse who have just gone no contact. We are often so relieved that we aren’t dealing with the everyday stress of dealing with a narcissist’s drama and mind games that we don’t even consider the possibility that we’ve still got some work to do before we can say we’re truly healed and ready to move forward.

Unresolved Trauma in Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

When you do go no contact, you might find yourself feeling totally liberated and free. This is an amazing feeling! But being in a relationship with a narcissist will leave you with a whole bunch of unresolved trauma that you’re going to need to work through if you’re going to create the life you really want and deserve for yourself.

The trauma you experienced manifests itself in trauma bonding, which is a condition that causes you to develop a psychological dependence on the narcissist while you’re in the relationship with them. It is sort of a survival strategy that many survivors develop during these toxic relationships, but it also makes recovering much more difficult afterward as you’re literally addicted to the narcissist and the toxic relationship in the same way as an alcoholic is addicted to alcohol or a drug addict is addicted to their drug of choice.

That means that even if you logically know you aren’t interested in having the narcissist in your life anymore, there is some part of you that will have a hard time saying no if the narcissist is able to contact you once the relationship ends. This is exactly WHY we recommend that you go no contact if possible when you end a relationship with a narcissist. (Of course, if you have kids together, you might need to just go low-contact, where you use the gray rock method to avoid drama, and where you only communicate about the business of raising your child, without emotion – and only as absolutely necessary).

The trauma bonding factor means that you’re going to need to be careful to avoid the narcissist as often as you can so you can avoid the dreaded “relapse.” But what if you happen to run into the narcissist in public after you go no contact? What happens if you see the narcissist?

Because unless you move to a different city, that’s a really serious possibility. And sadly, more common than you’d expect.

How Does the Narcissist Perceive You After No Contact?

You will wonder how they could potentially perceive you – and that all depends on how long it has been since you went no contact, and how much you have healed since that time. Let’s talk about it.

What Happens If You Have Not Yet Healed After Going No Contact And You See The Narcissist?

I’m going to tell you something that I would never tell you in any other case. If you haven’t healed and you happen to see the narcissist after going no contact, I want you to take a page from the narcissist’s book and put on a sort of mask. Why? Because if the narcissist sees that you have not healed after the damage they caused you in this toxic, unhealthy relationship, they will absolutely RELISH the idea that they’ve somehow won the relationship. They will definitely think of you as weak and they will even attempt to reinforce the idea they probably spent a lot of years putting into your head – that you’re worthless or at least somehow inferior to them.

So, rather than giving them the narcissistic supply they’d inevitably get from seeing you feeling miserable and alone without them, I want you to totally fake it. PRETEND you’re doing great, no matter how you feel in the moment. Don’t give them the satisfaction of knowing they’ve hurt you. In general, if the narcissist thinks they’ve sort of “won” the relationship, they might pretend to ignore you or just look at you with contempt – acting as if you are clearly beneath them.

So, what can you do to appear healed even when you’re not? Well, consider what telltale signs you might be showing if you’re feeling miserable. Chances are that the narcissist would recognize that you’re hurting by the way you carry yourself, the way you dress, and by your body language if you don’t speak to them. So, for now, just tidy yourself up and keep yourself looking as fresh as you can when you go out in public. Maybe put some good music in your ears as you get ready and in the car or on the walk to wherever you’re going – that’ll help to at least temporarily boost your spirits.

What Happens If You Are Healing When The Narcissist Who You Went No Contact With Sees You?

If the narcissist sees you after you go no contact with them and you seem confident, you are dressed well, and you appear to be healthy, then they may begin to idolize you again. This will be especially true if you have moved on with another partner, and even if they are with another partner – or source of supply. They might indicate the desire to connect with you on some level – and there might be a tiny part of you that secretly hopes that will happen. That’s your trauma bonding coming back to bite you in the proverbial butt.

But always remember that the narcissist’s idea of a relationship is ugly, to put it mildly – and they really don’t want to have a real relationship with you. They will, as always, just hurt you over and over again. You know you’re better off without them.

If the narcissist sees you after years of you going no contact with them and they have seen that you have healed on some level, they could try to trap you again. They may think you would have forgotten about what they did to you and would try to reel you in. They may even tell you they have changed, but their intentions would not be any different.

On the flip side, if you have healed yourself and you seem to be quite well to the narcissist, they may actually ignore and avoid you due to their sense of pride. They actually could see you as superior to them which would dig into their insecurities. That is the level of healing you want to attain.

Just remember your reasons: You had enough of the narcissistic abuse and once and for all you went no contact with the narcissist who made your life a living hell.

What else should you do if you see the narcissist after no contact?

Not that you’re out for revenge or anything, but if you were it would serve you well to remember that the best revenge is served cold.

Remember what narcissists need more than anything? Attention. Narcissistic supply. In other words, narcissists hate to be ignored. So one way to deal with them is to give them exactly what they deserve – NOTHING. None of your attention and none of your energy. You can just walk away.

Now, you have to know that the narcissist will need to pretend that there’s something wrong with you when you do this. They will never be able to admit to themselves (or to anyone else) that they mistreated or abused you in any way. In fact, they’ve probably already told everyone how crazy or terrible YOU are and most likely portrayed themselves as the victim.

But what if ignoring them isn’t an option? Then what are you supposed to do? Well, you can just nod or smile in acknowledgment and keep on walking. It’s really all about keeping your composure and maintaining your dignity.

This next part is really important. Despite the fact that you would probably rather be poked in the eye with a sharp stick than see this person, you’re going to have to put your feelings on the back burner for a minute. Why? Because under no circumstances should you allow the narcissist or anyone nearby to see that you’re in any way bothered by the narcissist’s presence.

Pay attention to the little details here – be very aware of your facial expression and avoid showing any signs of disgust. (If you’re anything like me, your face has a way of telling all your secrets – so you might want to practice your poker face in the mirror ahead of time to be safe.)

And if you want to avoid giving the narcissist that little zing of satisfaction they will inevitably feel if they think you look or seem anything less than amazing, you want to appear indifferent. Act like they’re any acquaintance you’ve ever met – like they’re just somebody you don’t really know very well almost.

Even if it absolutely tortures you to see them, never let them see you sweat – even if you need to go cry in your car afterward.

Regardless of how much or how little you’ve healed if or when you happen to see the narcissist after going no contact, just be sure you don’t react to them at all – or if you do, keep it brief, polite, and business-like. Remember that the narcissist will be watching closely, looking for any reaction at all. They will get a little “hit” of narcissistic supply if they think you miss them or you’re having a hard time without them.  So just be sure to avoid giving them even a slight hint that you are affected by not having them in your life – unless the effects you display are positive.

What if the narcissist approaches you and attempts to hoover you?

Play it cool, like ice. Just don’t give them the chance to trap you again. Remember that no matter how hard they swear they’ve changed, or they will change, they absolutely will not. As always, they’d continue to be the person they’ve always been. You went no contact for a reason, so don’t give up on yourself.

Question of the Day: Have you found yourself running into a narcissist after going no contact, and if so, how’d that work out for you? In hindsight, what tips would you offer for your fellow survivors? If not, are you concerned you might? Share your thoughts, share your experiences, share your ideas in the comments section below this video and let’s talk about it.

Get help with narcissistic abuse recovery right now.

 

 

No Contact vs. Ghosting and Silent Treatment

No Contact vs. Ghosting and Silent Treatment

(Prefer to watch/listen? See video on YouTube!)

If the silent treatment is a form of narcissistic abuse, does going no contact make you a narcissist? Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of comments from viewers who are worried that they might be the narcissist in their relationship. Most of the time, these comments are on videos related to the silent treatment, ghosting or things narcissists do or say in any given situation.

One of the most common concerns is whether going no contact makes you a narcissist. People learn that the silent treatment and ghosting can be considered forms of narcissistic abuse, and they equate this to the way we treat a narcissist when we go no contact with them.

I get why they feel this way – it’s a little confusing. In both the silent treatment and in ghosting, the narcissist ignores us and/or doesn’t respond when we try to reach out to them. And that’s exactly what we do when we’re using the no contact method to heal ourselves.

So what is the difference here?

How is no contact different from the silent treatment and ghosting?

Are we just as bad as the narcissist for choosing to end contact? Does this make us “one of them?” If the silent treatment is narcissistic abuse, does no contact make you a narcissist? And what are the differences between the silent treatment, ghosting and the no contact rule? Let’s do this.

First, let’s quickly define the silent treatment, ghosting, and no contact.

What is the silent treatment?

In a nutshell, the silent treatment is a manipulation tactic where the narcissist will stop talking to you for days, hours, weeks or even months in order to punish you for some perceived slight. It can cause serious emotional and psychological damage if you don’t realize what is happening.

What is ghosting?

Ghosting is basically exactly what it sounds like – the narcissist disappears on you without a word. This can be for any number of reasons – they may be attempting to punish you for something, or it may be a totally selfish reason in which the narcissist hasn’t even considered the possibility that you’d be bothered by their absence. Remember, they have a lack of empathy, so it makes sense that they wouldn’t consider your feelings. In ghosting, the narcissist might reappear at any given time, ready to consume more of that narcissistic supply they so desperately need.

What is no contact?

And then there’s no contact, which, if we’re being honest, is both a coping mechanism as well as a technique that is practically required to heal after narcissistic abuse. It involves removing yourself from the narcissist’s life. You stop seeing, speaking to, and interacting with the narcissist. This allows you to clear your life of the negative energy they bring into every room.

So what are the similarities and differences here?

No Contact vs. Ghosting and the Silent Treatment

Let’s start with what’s similar. As I mentioned earlier, in all three cases, one person intentionally avoids the other person. And, in all cases, the end of contact can be done without a word to the other person involved.

But that’s pretty much where the similarities end.

The differences between the silent treatment, ghosting and no contact go much deeper and are significant. So what differentiates no contact from the silent treatment and ghosting?

1. The Motivation/Intention

As I mentioned, narcissists give you the silent treatment because they want to punish you for something they think you’ve done wrong. Often, this is the result of a narcissistic injury. Ghosting can be done for the same reason, or it can be done out of pure selfishness and a lack of concern for your feelings and wellbeing. No contact is more about protecting yourself so that you can be safe and heal after going through an abusive, toxic relationship. The silent treatment is passive-aggressive and abusive, while no contact is really less about the narcissist and more about you. In no contact, you aren’t trying to hurt the narcissist – you’re just trying to save yourself.

2. What You Get Out of It

Again, the narcissist is often trying to get something from you when they give you the silent treatment. They’re trying to get you to do (or not do) something. Or they’re trying to put you in your place. Or make you submit to their will. But when it comes to going no contact, you want nothing from the narcissist except to be left alone. You don’t have an ulterior motive that involves them at all – you’re just trying to get away from them so you can have the space you need to heal.

3. The Trauma Bonding Part

Another difference between no contact and the narcissist’s ghosting or silent treatment is that no contact is that one of the first steps to resolving the trauma bond developed during your toxic relationship with the narcissist. Since trauma bonding causes you to feel sort of addicted to the narcissist (and you can learn more about that at the video I’ll link for you right there and in the description below), going no contact can be likened to an addict going cold turkey to quit their drug of choice. Like it or not, the narcissist has an almost druglike effect on us after all of the years of the trauma they’ve put us through – in fact, research shows the same part of our brain is affected by them as is affected by drugs. But while most narcissists have also suffered some form of trauma, usually in childhood, their reasons for giving you the silent treatment or ghosting you are usually not directly related to it (but it can be indirectly related since their impulsiveness and lack of empathy probably stem from their reaction to that trauma).

Think you’re dealing with trauma bonding? Take this test and find out now.

So how do you know you’re not the narcissist?

Often, codependents feel responsible for everything that goes wrong in their relationships, and this is often a result of the fact that toxic people over the course of their lives have conditioned them to feel this way. We know that one of the biggest red flags of a toxic narcissist is that they refuse to take responsibility for anything other than positive things they (or others) do. Anything that might be seen in a negative light or that doesn’t portray them as the vision of perfection they have for themselves? They squarely place the blame on literally anyone or anything else.

So, it’s fairly safe to assume that if you’re worried that you’re the narcissist, you might not be.

Narcissistic ‘Fleas’

Now, there is such a thing as narcissistic fleas – and that might be where your confusion is here. Narcissistic fleas are just little behaviors and habits that victims pick up from narcissists, such as verbal bullying, coldness, or an apparent lack of empathy. The good news is these “fleas” can be eradicated with mindfulness and intention.

But how could this be? We are so different from narcissists. We feel deeply and we aren’t bullies.

Well, look at this logically for a moment: when we spend a lot of time with someone, we naturally tend to pick up certain habits and speech patterns from them. For example, when I moved back to the St. Louis area after college, I recorded my outgoing message for my voicemail. After being back for six months or so, I called it one day and totally freaked out – I sounded completely weird to myself. During my years in college, I had picked up a bit of the country twang that people in my college town all seemed to have.

And, on a slightly more relevant note, when my ex-husband would be in the wrong mood, he’d take sort of a bullying tone with communication. He’d always talk in sort of an accusatory way – and even if he didn’t directly accuse me of something, it always felt like he did. A year or two after I left him, I found myself using a similar tone with a friend at one point. Luckily, I recognized it and did my best to change it.

When someone accuses you of being a narcissist

But what if the person you believe is a narcissist turns the tables on you and tells you that you are in fact the narcissist, and not them? What is going on when the narcissist calls you a narcissist for going no contact?

Their logic seems to go like this: “Well, you said that the silent treatment or ghosting is narcissistic abuse. You aren’t talking to me and won’t see me, so you must be the narcissist. Could they be right? Are we all toxic narcissists because we choose to go no contact?”

I think you and I both know the answer to that one. But just to make it perfectly clear, let me fill you in. There are two things to consider here.

The Hoover Maneuver

First, the narcissist is intentionally trying to manipulate you into responding to them, so by accusing you of being the very thing they are, they tempt you to respond to them and reengage – they hope you’ll argue with them so they can hoover you back in, one way or the other. Hoovering is what we call it when the narcissist tries to “suck you back in” after the discard. This can be drama-related or it can be an attempt to reconcile the relationship or to get you to break no contact. In other words, the narcissist will call you a narcissist to get you to accept the blame for everything that they’ve done wrong (plus anything you did in reaction to said wrongdoing) and then get you back into their little circle of narcissistic supply. Don’t fall for it. That brings me to my next point.

Projection, Gaslighting, and the Smear Campaign

And second, in addition to projecting their own bad behavior and qualities on to you, the narcissist is, in a way, gaslighting you with this kind of accusation.

In case you’re new around here, gaslighting is a pervasive and highly-effective tactic the narcissist uses to manipulate you into doubting your own reality, not trusting yourself and your perceptions, and questioning your own sanity. This little mind game is quite effective, especially when done over the course of several years in a relationship, and it helps the narcissist sort of brainwash you into doing what they want.

While self-awareness is scarce among narcissists, they seem to intrinsically and systematically extract narcissistic supply from anyone who allows it. And, whether you were raised by, married to or otherwise engaged with the narcissist in your own life, you KNOW they know they can get it from you. You know they have a freaking map to every button you’ve got – and they won’t hesitate to push them.

So, if the narcissist can insert even a small amount of doubt into your head about the fact that they are the reason that your relationship would ultimately fail? Well, they feel a strange kind of validation and satisfaction. Plus, they’ll use this as part of the sob story they’re going to tell about you in their inevitable smear campaign.

That’s where they’ll tell everyone you know (and even some people you don’t know) about what a horrible partner, son, daughter, sister, brother, employee – or whatever – you are, so that they can get attention from other people, who will feel sorry for them and give them more narcissistic supply – you know, attention, validation, pity. The stuff that narcissists need to keep going.

Bottom Line: The Difference Between No Contact, Ghosting, and the Silent Treatment

So, what is the bottom line here? Basically, if you are going no contact, you’re doing that in order to prevent further abuse and trauma being inflicted on you by a person who has proven repeatedly that they will never stop hurting you. You are not doing anything TO them, other than not allowing them to be part of your life. It is not a move meant to hurt them or get revenge on them. It is simply a move to save yourself so you can heal. If someone is giving you the silent treatment or ghosting you, they do not necessarily intend to completely end contact with you – they simply intend to hurt, manipulate and control you. Or, in some cases, they simply just don’t care or don’t think about how their behavior would make you feel. And even if they do, they are unlikely to be bothered by your feelings.

Take the Narcissist Test

How can you be sure you’re not the narcissist in all of this? How do you know you’re not just justifying your behavior by telling yourself that you’re going no contact, but secretly you’re just ghosting a perfectly nice person?

Ask yourself two simple questions:

1. Do you care how people feel and sometimes change your behavior because of how someone else feels?
2. How did or does the person you’re going no contact with make you feel when you spend time around them?

If you are a narcissist, you would’ve answered “no” to number one and you would have varied answers to number two. If you are not, you would have answered yes to number one and most likely, you’d find yourself feeling terrible, unlovable, worthless or otherwise negative when you have spent time with the person in question. They hardly ever make you feel good these days, but they may have once made your heart soar. Still not sure? You can take our narcissism test here.

Question of the day: Have you ever worried that no contact, ghosting, and silent treatment were all the same thing? Have you ever worried that you might be the narcissist? Share your thoughts, share your ideas, and share your experiences in the comments section below this video, and let’s talk about it!

 

Going No Contact with Narcissist Mother

Going No Contact with Narcissist Mother

See full video.
Narcissistic abuse recovery story on going no contact with narcissist mother. I’m briefly sharing my story on how I finally went no contact with my narcissist mother (and why) as well as offering advice and tips on how to get through going no contact and how to rebuild your life afterward.
Read the full story as mentioned in the video.

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