How to Identify a Narcissist in Collapse

How to Identify a Narcissist in Collapse

Narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by a lack of empathy, combined with extreme self-centeredness and a need for constant attention. It’s a disorder that can have a profoundly negative effect on people, and it can be difficult to deal with someone who has it.

Today, we’ll dig into the collapsed narcissist and identify some of the red flags or signs that you might be dealing with a narcissist who might be what psychologists call a collapsed narcissist. 

What is Narcissistic Collapse?

When someone with NPD (or even toxic narcissist traits) loses the ability to get their unrealistic needs met through their usual methods of manipulation and deceitful behaviors, they will often begin to exhibit signs of collapse as they struggle to maintain control over the situation. A narcissist may also collapse if they’ve been confronted about their behavior and are forced to accept accountability for it.

Collapsing is a painful process for them since it’s often a point of extremely high stress and anxiety in their lives. In so many cases, the narcissist may have developed an entire persona around being superior to everyone else, but when this starts to break down, so does their false self.

While there are many signs to watch for, most are related to how a narcissist experiences a significant event or loss of supply; or in many cases, they just fail to maintain the normal amount of narcissistic supply.

Another form of narcissistic collapse occurs when a person becomes depressed without their narcissistic supply. This happens usually post-discard when the narcissist feels that he/she has lost control over someone’s admiration and adoration. 

This video goes into more detail on what a collapsed narcissist really is and how they got that way. 

What happens during a narcissistic collapse?

When someone with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) or narcissistic traits can no longer uphold their grandiose, confident image, they feel profoundly threatened due to the lack of narcissistic supply – or even the potential of lack.

As a result, they tend to become enraged, resulting in impulsive behavior, intense lashing out, or hurting other people. 

In severe cases, a person with NPD or NPD traits may feel so wounded they become suicidal or homicidal. They may see suicide or murder as the only way to get back at a perceived slight. 

Narcissists who are in collapse also tend to become enraged, resulting in impulsive behavior, intense lashing out, or hurting other people. 

What does a collapsed narcissist look like? 

If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of this kind of narcissistic rage and have wondered what prompted it, then you’ve probably seen a collapsed narcissist in action.

This is especially true if you’re involved with a narcissist who has been removed from their primary sources of supply: family members who have wised up to their manipulation and gaslighting; former friends who have rejected their lies and abuse, or even employers that have caught on to their toxic ways.

They have become devastated, hollow versions of what they once were. You ALMOST feel sorry for them. Of course, the specific reaction will also depend on the type of narcissist they happen to be.

Two Main Types of Narcissists

There are two main types of narcissists: vulnerable and grandiose.

Vulnerable Narcissists

Vulnerable narcissists tend to be shy and self-effacing. They are also hypersensitive to how others perceive them, which means they are easily hurt and offended by criticism. They tend to be pessimistic, insecure, and fragile. A vulnerable narcissist will respond with shame or anger when their sense of superiority is threatened or injured by criticism or rejection.

Grandiose Narcissists

By contrast, grandiose narcissists are those most people think about when they hear the word “narcissist.” Grandiose narcissists are arrogant, indifferent to others’ feelings and needs, and expect special treatment. When criticized or challenged in any way, they lash out with contempt and rage.

Can a collapsed narcissist recover?

Sometimes we’ll see a narcissist who has “collapsed” or otherwise seems to be going through some kind of emotional upheaval and distress. This begs the question: Can a collapsed narcissist recover? 

Is it possible for a collapsed narcissist to become normal again?

Sadly, the answer is no. A collapsed narcissist is not able to recover and be normal, because they do not understand that they are a narcissist or why they have become a narcissist.

In other words, they almost completely lack self-awareness, at least when you compare them to non-narcissists.

This lack of self-awareness, combined with their natural sense of entitlement and other typical narcissistic traits makes it nearly impossible for a malignant narcissist to recover from collapse. 

In fact, most of them will never realize the truth about themselves, even if their life depended on it. It is difficult for anyone to admit that their entire life has been a lie and a waste of time and energy.

The narcissist, a highly disordered personality, is incapable of having a healthy relationship with anyone. Because of this, their relationships are toxic and riddled with abuse.

Perhaps even more confusing, narcissists can be incredibly charming and enticing when they want to be. They’re also extremely manipulative and adept at grooming you to meet their needs. They do whatever they can to suck you in and hold you tight, to use you up until there’s nothing left.

When they “move on” or the relationship ends, they will often discard you without another thought. This is because they have no empathy or regard for anyone but themselves. In fact, they’re quite pleased with themselves when they can leave you utterly shattered as if it were some kind of game to them.

What triggers narcissistic collapse?

In the end, the collapsed narcissist is someone that has had their self-image severely damaged so much by a particular experience or situation, that they’ve begun to lose all sense of who they are. This often leads them down a path of anxiety, depression, and an inflated sense of oppression when dealing with others.

Narcissistic collapse is often triggered by narcissistic injury – a perceived threat to their self-worth or self-esteem. When this happens, narcissists typically respond with rage and contempt and may engage in destructive or self-destructive behavior such as substance abuse, suicide threats or attempts, violent outbursts, or physical violence directed toward themselves or others.

The Empty Shell Person

The best way to gain a better understanding of what is going on with the collapsed narcissist is to use the term “empty shell.” That’s because the narcissist in collapse very much appears to be a hollow shell of what they once were.

Most people have a solid sense of who they are. An empty shell person has lost their sense of self.

Because they’re so afraid to let their facade down, it’s hard to understand what is really taking place because underneath.

After all, beneath the ego structure of most human beings lies a sensitive and vulnerable narcissistic child. This can be a very painful place to be, and if this child was neglected or abused enough, they may have collapsed into themselves in order to survive.

This means that a lot of the personality structure and defense mechanisms had to go away in order to just cope with life day by day.

This video goes into detail on how to identify a collapsed narcissist. 

Are you dealing with a collapsed narcissist in a toxic relationship? Get help now!

The Aging Female Collapsed Narcissist

The Aging Female Collapsed Narcissist

(Prefer to watch/listen instead of read? See video on YouTube)

Identifying the Aging Collapsed Female Narcissist

Do you know a woman who seems to love being a perpetual victim? Someone who blames everyone else for her misery?

Whether she’s your mother, your wife, an ex or a friend or relative, have you met a woman who seems to have sort of lost her ability to get what she wants?

If you do, let me ask you a few questions.

  • First, is she of a certain age? And if so…does she seem to have an over-inflated sense of her own self-importance?
  • Is she ridiculously entitled, and does she require excessive and constant attention and admiration from the people around her?
  • Does she clearly think she is more important than others, even if she pretends otherwise?
  • Might she tend to over-exaggerate her accomplishments and/or talents?
  • Does she often talk about how she used to be famous, beautiful, or rich?
  • Does she seem to think she might only be able to associate with people she deems special?
  • Is it difficult to have a conversation with her that isn’t…well…about her?
  • Does she tend to take advantage of people and their kindness?
  • Is she the kind of woman who seems to want special treatment above everyone else, and does she forget or not seem to be able to care about how people feel?
  • Is she conceited or stuck up, or arrogant?
  • Does she always need to be the best and have the best of everything?
  • And what happens if you dare to criticize her? Does she get upset or angry when she doesn’t get what she wants or when people don’t treat her better than they treat everyone else?
  • Does she seem to always have issues in her personal relationships and friendships?
  • And despite the fact that she tries really hard to seem perfect and infallible, do you ever secretly think she might secretly be insecure or that she might be dealing with a lot of shame about herself?
If so, you might be dealing with an aging female narcissist. In fact, she may have found that she’s not quite as capable of getting the kind of narcissistic supply that she’s used to. This can happen when the narcissist’s family and friends have just had enough and, one by one, abandon them.
 
In some cases, the narcissist loses their ability to attract new supply because they get older and lose their looks, or because they become so self-involved that they forget how to do the whole love bombing thing – or any combination of these things.
 
But a narcissist really NEEDS that supply to continue to exist, right? So what happens then? Do they become a real person, or do they just sort of lose it?

What is a Collapsed Narcissist?

When a narcissist is unable to obtain narcissistic supply, what can you expect? Some people call this a narcissistic crisis or a collapsed narcissist. Whatever the label, it’s a big problem – and often, not just for the narcissist but also for the people around them.

For the record, let me define the collapsed narcissist: it’s what you get when a narcissist has stopped being able to obtain the proper amount and type of narcissistic supply.

And narcissistic supply is, in most cases, a person to help bolster the narcissist’s self-worth, self-esteem – value as a human being.

In essence, a collapsed narcissist will feel like they’ve been denied the very supply they need to exist – their proverbial life’s blood.

This leads to narcissistic injury, and as the collapsed narcissist writhes helplessly in the pain of not getting what they believe they’re due (whether it’s meeting some big goal or simply getting the admiration and praise they feel they rightly deserve), their whole world feels like it’s falling down around them.

Psychology of the Collapsed Female Narcissist

When it comes to the collapsed female narcissist, they will quickly find themselves losing self-esteem, and in so many ways, their self-image is nearly erased.

They begin to self-devalue and self-doubt. They literally hate themselves to the point that they project this self-hate onto everyone else around them.

So, since she figures that everyone “hates” her anyway, the female narcissist may as well hate them back. She sees no other option.

There is no more (or very little) social life for the collapsed narcissist.

People, the narcissist reasons, are all fake and stupid anyway, so why should they bother to be kind to anyone?

At this point, the female narcissist practically lives in constant attack mode, attempting to force people around her to provide the much-needed supply to which she was once accustomed.

She becomes overly sensitive and full of rage and hate. She throws temper tantrums that would rival a two-year-old and is outright intolerant, disrespectful, and often even violent in words and even actions to the people around her.

The previously-maintained facade of a nice/cool/easygoing/friendly kind of person falls away, and the true face of the narcissist is revealed – rage, ugliness, and general disgust for humanity.
 

Female Narcissists and the False Self

Narcissists put up a facade or create a false self-image for the world. They need you to think that they are superior and they need to have the best of everything.

Of course, covert narcissists put on a very different image of them having low self-esteem, which they really do, and they love to play the victim.

Female narcissists might also appear quite altruistic, but they only do this to get attention, not to help anyone. Grandiose and covert narcissists project themselves differently, but they are both just as manipulative and dangerous and lack emotional and compassionate empathy.

All narcissists thrive on narcissistic supply that they get from others who they use, manipulate, and abuse. In so many ways, female narcissists are just like those mean girls you hear about.
 
They do what they can to make their appearance flawless, and narcissists who become mothers manipulate and control their children. Their kids quickly join the ranks of their main sources of supply.
 
That is why children of narcissistic mothers don’t get to experience unconditional love growing up, and many of them were abused physically, psychologically, or both.

What happens to these female narcissists when they age?

  • What do you think happens to them when their appearances change and they end up getting wrinkles?
  • What happens to them when their children leave the nest? And may even go no contact on them?
  • And if she is divorced or widowed, how would she gain supply?

You can see that when the world of the aging female narcissist begins to crash down on her, she’s at risk of collapsing. How can you identify a narcissistic collapse in an aging female?

The Collapsed Female Narcissist in Action: What to Expect

While they are still unable to deal with any sort of blame, criticism, or perceived disrespect of themselves, they are actively projecting their own self-hate to the people in their lives – or maybe random targets such as people of different religions, races, or even political affiliations.

This is when the gloves come off, and the female narcissist blasts out her blatant bigotry and small-minded ways. You’ll see that anyone who is different from the narcissist is quickly minimized and put into a “not good enough” box (to put it very mildly).

This is also often when narcissists will go all-out to abuse their partners, whether physically, mentally, or otherwise. And yes, even female narcissists will abuse their partners and anyone else who comes into their inner circle.

Some narcissists will excessively cheat or gamble away their money. In some cases, it’s worse than that, but we won’t go into all of that today.

The loss of narcissistic supply triggers defensive behaviors, such as the whole “leaving my family and starting a whole new life” behavior – in which the narcissist literally flees what he or she sees as the scenes of their failures and attempts to literally start over again.

They may lose not only their primary source of supply – spouse or partner – but also their children, friends, and anyone else who used to offer supply.

This leads to the ultimate collapse and, often, a mental breakdown from which they may never recover. If you look at the narcissistic personality as a sort of house built on stilts, imagine that the lack of narcissistic supply is a strong wind that causes the house to come crashing down.

The Choices of the Collapsed Female Narcissist

The female narcissist has two choices if she wants to move forward here. She can try to become a whole person and develop real coping skills (and in some cases, obtain a new source of narcissistic supply), or she can remain collapsed and poison everything else in her world in the process.

So back to the house metaphor – the narcissist could burn down all the houses around theirs in order to take revenge on everyone and everything else.

In the end, regardless of the reason for the narcissistic collapse, the narcissist blames everything and everyone EXCEPT herself. She must believe, ultimately, that she is a victim and that nothing is her fault.

Do you know an aging female narcissist?

If your mother was that narcissist and you decide to go no contact with her, you can bet that her world feels like it is ending. She same will go for any female narcissist you’ve dealt with – but when she is unable to find and secure a new, worthy source of supply, she will become openly mean to literally almost anyone she deals with, and she will believe she is in the right, every single time.

You might call her a Karen (if you were the sort of person to call out Karens).

Remember this. When a female narcissist is collapsing, she might feel like everything is falling down around her.

Her world feels like it is nearly ending – and as she pathetically tries to hold on to the self she used to be, to hold on to her past, she will secretly loathe herself – but she will blame everyone but herself for this issue.

She may not even recognize that she’s no longer the self she used to be. She may become more insecure than ever, and chances are that she will do her best to keep faking it.

She might spend a lot of time in a plastic surgeon’s office and find herself competing with other women in odd and uncomfortable ways.

The truth is that she hates herself for what she has become, even though aging is natural and part of life.

I mean, don’t get me wrong – as someone who is 45 years old and living in a society that values youth and shuts down women of a certain age – I understand why it can be difficult – especially for a woman who bases her entire value on external things and the ability to manipulate people to get what she wants.

The female narcissist would prefer that reality to be covered up – she wants to hide her current self so badly.

As the female narcissist ages, her beauty begins to disappear, her kids are no longer around, and she is losing her sources of supply – those people who inadvertently were her “shield” to the world.

And now that she’s no longer able to control people the way she used to, all of those terrible parts of herself she has been working so hard to hide are bubbling to the surface.

That means she will do lots of crying and will not make an effort to hide how pitiful she really is. Expect plenty of hoovering at this point as the collapsed narcissist will do what she can to get her kids back if they’ve gone no contact, not to mention other former sources of supply.

You’ve got to remember: She is desperate right now as her world has crashed down.

A collapsed female narcissist can be even more dangerous and crueler than her younger counterpart, believe it or not, and be careful with her because she will be the dangerous type who has nothing left to lose.

It isn’t pretty, and while it would be really easy to feel sorry for her, don’t let her pitiful appearance fool you – she is more toxic than she appears.

Question of the Day:

Do you know someone who might be a collapsed female narcissist? How did or do you deal with her? Share your thoughts, share your ideas, share your experiences in the comments section below this video, and let’s talk about it.

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The Collapsed Narcissist

When Narcissists Collapse

Do you know a narcissist who lives in the role of being a perpetual victim? Someone who hates everyone in the world, or at least a whole bunch of people, because somehow, those people are the cause for his or her misery?

Have you noticed that often, these kinds of narcissists seem to be completely alone in the world? They have no regular source of narcissistic supply, and they just seem to be taking out their hateful energy on the world at large?

Sometimes, a narcissist loses their ability to obtain sources of narcissistic supply. This can happen when the narcissist’s family and friends have just had enough and one-by-one, abandon them.

In some cases, the narcissist loses their ability to attract new supply because they get older and lose their looks, or because they become so self-involved that they forget how to do the whole love bombing thing – or any combination of these things.

But a narcissist really NEEDS that supply to continue to exist, right? So what happens then? Do they become a real person, or do they just sort of lose it?

When a narcissist is unable to obtain narcissistic supply, what can you expect? Some people call this a narcissistic crisis or a collapsed narcissist. Whatever the label, it’s a big problem – and often, not just for the narcissist, but also for the people around them.

What is a Collapsed Narcissist?

A collapsed narcissist is someone who has some or all of the traits of narcissistic personality disorder who has not been able to obtain the proper narcissistic supply – as in, a person to help bolster his or her self-worth, self-esteem – value as a human being. In essence, they feel like they’ve been denied the very supply they need to exist – their proverbial life’s blood. This leads to narcissistic injury, and as the collapsed narcissist writhes helplessly in the pain of not getting what they believe they’re due (whether it’s meeting some big goal or simply getting the admiration and praise they feel they rightly deserve), their whole world feels like it’s falling down around them.

An Example of a Collapsed Narcissist

In other words, a collapsed narcissist is someone who isn’t getting what they want from the people around them for any number of reasons, but most often because something they previously used to manipulate people is no longer at their disposal. So, for example, the narcissist may have lost their looks, where previously they were considered highly attractive and desirable. And rather than using their intelligence or hard work to get what they wanted, everything they got was as a result of using their appearance to manipulate people. Now that they can no longer use their appearance as effectively, they get ugly, and fast – on the inside and in their relationships.

Digging into the Psychology of the Collapsed Narcissist

When a narcissist is in collapse, it is generally due to their own dependence on the people around them for both identity and validation. Despite appearances, there isn’t much going on organically with the narcissist’s identity. Unfortunately for them, they don’t have much of a self without narcissistic supply. Worse, they truly are insecure, at least those who might fall into the vulnerable narcissism subtype.

According to an NYU research study, “findings suggest that genuine narcissists are insecure and are best described by the vulnerable narcissism subtype, whereas grandiose narcissism might be better understood as a manifestation of psychopathy. ”

“For a long time, it was unclear why narcissists engage in unpleasant behaviors, such as self-congratulation, as it actually makes others think less of them,” explains Pascal Wallisch, a clinical associate professor in both New York University’s Department of Psychology and Center for Data Science and the senior author of the paper, which appears in the journal Personality and Individual Differences. “This has become quite prevalent in the age of social media—a behavior that’s been coined ‘flexing’.

“Our work reveals that these narcissists are not grandiose, but rather insecure, and this is how they seem to cope with their insecurities.”

“More specifically, the results suggest that narcissism is better understood as a compensatory adaptation to overcome and cover-up low self-worth,” adds Mary Kowalchyk, the paper’s lead author and an NYU graduate student at the time of the study. “Narcissists are insecure, and they cope with these insecurities by flexing. This makes others like them less in the long run, thus further aggravating their insecurities, which then leads to a vicious cycle of flexing behaviors.”

Loss of Self-Esteem and Lack of Authenticity in Self-Image

The narcissist loses self-esteem and their self-image is nearly erased. They begin to self-devalue and self-doubt. They might cling to some old version of themselves and can appear pathetic to people around them. This just fuels their hate for humanity, of course – because it cannot be their fault, and while they might eat up the supply they get from being pitied, part of them knows exactly what is happening and can’t fully accept the validation they’ve had to resort to forcing people to give them.

Self-Loathing and Disdain/Hate for Most Others

The collapsed narcissist feels the world is against them, so they tend to literally hate themselves to the point that they project this self-hate onto everyone else around them. Since everyone “hates” the narcissist, they reason, the narcissist may as well hate them back.

Social Life Becomes Non-Existent (Or Nearly Non-Existent)

There is no more (or very little) social life for the collapsed narcissist. People, the narcissist reasons, are all fake and stupid anyway, so why should he/she bother to be kind to anyone?

Constant Narcissistic Rage and Narcissistic Injury Cycle

At this point, they live in a constant attack mode, alternating narcissistic rage and narcissistic injury, among other typical narcissistic manipulation tactics, in an attempt to force people around them to provide the much-needed supply.

Collapsing Removes the Ability to Hide Negative Emotions

A collapsed narcissist is overly sensitive and full of rage and hate. They throw temper tantrums that would rival a two-year-old, and are outright intolerant, disrespectful, and often even violent in words and actions to the people around them. No one wants to be around them, and if they could be self-aware enough to admit it, even they wouldn’t choose someone like them.

The Mask Slips

Most narcissists have some semblance of a “false self” they present to most people in the world. But when the narcissist is dealing with collapsing, the previously maintained facade of a nice/cool/easygoing/friendly kind of person falls away and the true face of the narcissist is revealed – rage, ugliness, and general disgust for humanity.

The Collapsed Narcissist in Action: What to Expect

Projection of Self-Hate

We know that many narcissists (including MOST covert narcissists) seem to hate themselves, despite claiming the opposite. But the collapsed narcissist presents an extreme version of this unfortunate truth. While they are still unable to deal with any sort of blame, criticism, or perceived disrespect of themselves, they are actively projecting their own self-hate to the people in their lives – or maybe random targets such as people of different religions, races, or even political affiliations.

Small-Minded Bigotry and Prejudice

Even if the narcissist was once able to hide their prejudice and small-minded ways under the guise of charm or wit, they’re fading now. So, this is when the gloves come off and the narcissist blasts out his or her blatant bigotry and small-minded ways. You’ll see that anyone who is different from the narcissist is quickly minimized and put into a “not good enough” box (to put it very mildly).

Amping Up on Partner and Family Abuse

This is also often when narcissists will go all-out to abuse their partners, children, and other people close to them – whether physically, mentally, or otherwise. In some cases, it’s worse – the narcissist may even cause the death of a partner and/or their kids. It’s horrifying.

Harmful Addictions Begin or Increase in Intensity

Even if the narcissist in question was completely addiction-free pre-collapse, they often manifest or increase addictive behaviors during and after the narcissistic collapse. Some narcissists will excessively cheat, whether their addiction is to the sex itself or the attention they get from the person they’re cheating with. Others will gamble away their money. Some will also develop or intensify food, drug or alcohol addictions.

The Desperation of a Collapsed Narcissist Knows No Boundaries

Following the falling of the narcissistic facade and the outrageous abuse that comes after it is the rock-bottom kind of stage for a narcissist – it’s when they get depressed. They may threaten or even commit suicide, and they could also take serious action to hurt large numbers of people, which has occurred even in recent months in certain cases I won’t mention here.

Some narcissists will get desperate enough to enter therapy at this point, but many will just go completely bonkers and completely lose control. This is when you hear about them on the news.

The Loss of Narcissistic Supply Destroys the Narcissist

The loss of supply triggers defensive behaviors, such as the whole “leaving my family and starting a whole new life,” behavior – in which the narcissist literally flees what he or she sees as the scenes of their failures and attempts to literally start over again.

They may lose not only their primary source of supply – spouse or partner – but also their children, friends, and anyone else who used to offer supply. This leads to the ultimate collapse and often, a mental breakdown from which they may never recover.

If you look at the narcissistic personality as a sort of house built on stilts, imagine that the lack of narcissistic supply is a strong wind that causes the house to come crashing down.

The Choices of the Collapsed Narcissist

The narcissist has two choices if they want to move forward here. They can try to become a whole person and develop real coping skills (and in some cases, obtain a new narcissistic supply), or they can remain collapsed and poison everything else in their world in the process.

The Collapsed Narcissist Takes No Responsibility for Their Behavior

So back to the house metaphor – the narcissist could burn down all the houses around theirs in order to take revenge on everyone and everything else. What it all comes down to is that regardless of the reason for the narcissistic collapse, the narcissist blames everything and everyone EXCEPT him/herself. They must believe, ultimately, that they are a victim and that nothing is his/her fault.

Dealing with a Collapsed Narcissist?

If you’re stuck with a collapsed narcissist, there is one escape: you must leave and never look back. You must resist the urge to help this narcissist and take care of yourself and your kids if you have them. No contact is the only completely effective solution. However, this isn’t always an option for any number of reasons, so here are some tips to help you deal more effectively with the collapsed narcissist.

Now, don’t count out the basics here, because perhaps one of the most effective tools for dealing with any narcissist is the gray rock method.

Get help with narcissistic abuse recovery right now.

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