The discard has happened, the narcissist has erased you from their lives just like that. You are shocked, wondering what happened or how it came to be so fast. You are wondering whether to call them or text them, begging for an explanation. But no matter what you do, nothing works. They seem unable to get over what they believe you’ve done, or even what they have done to you – and you become convinced that the only way to get back into their favor is by making the narcissist miss you after the discard.
How do you make the narcissist miss you after the discard?
What should you expect when your relationship with a narcissist is over?
Going no contact with a narcissist is never easy, and that’s true whether you’re the one who left or you’re the one who got discarded. I remember when I finally got the nerve to leave my ex-husband, there was part of me that sort of wished I could make him realize exactly what he’d lost. I wanted him to regret what he’d done to me and how he’d affected my life. It was a little different when I went no contact with my mother. I wanted her to know I was doing better without her in my life if that makes any sense. In either case, while I knew for sure that I didn’t want them in my life any longer, I guess a part of me kind of wanted them to miss me, or at least to regret losing me.
Can you relate? Maybe you finally found yourself free of a narcissist in your life who gaslit you, manipulated you like there was no tomorrow, and who seemed to live to bring you grief. And now that they are gone, you kind of hate to admit it, but there might be a tiny little part of you that misses them despite the fact that they took you for granted, minimized you, and made you feel like you were worthless.
Does this sound like you?
You’ve done your research, and you recognize that you probably miss the narcissist because of the trauma bond which was the result of the ongoing cycles of a toxic relationship.
You might even already know that going through these cycles of intermittent reinforcement – ongoing punishment and reward, sprinkled with tiny crumbs of affection here to keep you hooked – will cause that trauma bond to make you feel like an addict who has gone cold-turkey on their drug of choice when the narcissist is no longer part of your daily life.
Do you want the narcissist to regret losing you?
Have you ever found yourself wishing the narcissist would regret losing you? Or wanting them to miss you once you’re gone? If so, you’re going to want to stick around, because that’s exactly what we’re talking about today: how to make the narcissist regret losing you and/or miss you after the discard – what you can expect from the narcissist, how they think about you once you’re gone and exactly what you can do to make them realize exactly what they’ve lost when they lost you.
Listen, I totally get how you feel here – and who could blame you for feeling like you want them to suffer a little? After all, they were awful to you and you did everything in your power to make you happy. In many cases, you feel like they’ve ruined your life – and maybe even affected it in so many ways that you can’t undo. If nothing else, you spent far too long trying to fix the unfixable. And you’re rightfully angry.
What Will Narcissist Miss About You?
The first thing we need to recognize when it comes to narcissists is that what they miss isn’t so much you as an individual, but what you did for them. They miss you as a source of narcissistic supply, which, in case you’re new around here, means that you offered them attention, validation, and maybe even admiration – all the “supply” they needed to feed their ego. Plus, they might miss the things you did to help them take care of themselves and their lives: cooking, cleaning, taking care of their bills and business – stuff like that.
But is it even possible for them to miss you as an individual?
Will a narcissist miss you for who you are?
Sadly, the answer is no – at least not in the same way that a normal person might miss you. I mean, don’t get me wrong. They’ll definitely notice your absence because you’re not giving them all the things you did before. They will miss having you as their own personal emotional garbage dumpster. They will miss your money or your attention or your lovemaking. They will miss the status or social standing you offered them. They will miss the supply your family and friends may have given them, if they haven’t completely pushed them all away from you by now. But as much as at least a part of you wants the narcissist to miss you for you, it cannot happen.
How Do Narcissists ‘Love’ You?
Rather than longing for you, they long for your services or for the benefits they get out of the relationship. Look at it like this:
For the average toxic narcissist, the discard leads to the “out of sight, out of mind” phenomenon. They don’t see you as a whole person but as an extension of themselves. Their perception of relationships isn’t the same as yours or mine – they see previous relationships sort of like normal people see their smartphones.
The Smart Phone Comparison
Sure, when we first get our smartphones, they are amazingly new and shiny and fast. They have new features. They do all this cool stuff. But over time, they get overloaded and they start glitching here and there. We notice some new apps that we are DYING to try won’t work on our phones. Before long, we hear about a newer, faster, better model that recently came out. Before we can say boo, we’re at the Verizon store, casually joking with the cute salesperson as we sign the dotted line. We’re getting that new phone, by golly and we aren’t sad about the fact that we’re no longer going to use the old one. I mean, sure we might miss the sparkly case we bought for it, or we might miss the little clip-on stylus we paid extra for, but in general, we don’t sit around crying about our old phones. We just replace them without a second thought.
That’s how narcissists see relationships. And we all know that narcissists are infamous for revisiting old flames, for sure. But you’ve got to know that, for a narcissist, it is never about how amazing you might be – it is about what they can get from you in the form of narcissistic supply.
What is narcissistic supply?
Narcissistic supply is most often gained through attention-seeking from an individual, but it can also be gained from a pet or group of people. In the narcissistic abuse recovery community, we often refer to ourselves or other people who are being used for narcissistic supply as “the supply.” In general, the narcissistic supply is used by the narcissist to get attention, validation, admiration – all the “supply” they need to feed their ego. The narcissist often has a circle of supply or “narcissistic harem.”
Understanding Narcissistic Supply
Don’t confuse that with the idea that they miss you or that they feel something real. The truth is that the narcissist just wants someone – a body – to fill the space that you previously occupied in your life. Let me explain.
The Ice Cream Truck Illustration for Narcissistic Supply
Think of it like this: let’s say you’re a little bit addicted to ice cream. You’ve been trying to quit eating it, but one day you find yourself really needing a little ice cream fix. Just then, you hear the ice cream truck coming down the street.
“What luck,” you think. “I was just craving ice cream!”
You go outside and you stand there with your money. Your excitement rises as you hear the trademark ice cream truck music getting closer and closer. As the ice cream truck approaches, you notice it’s not the same truck that usually comes through your neighborhood. Do you turn away and go back inside if it isn’t the truck you expected to see? Of course not! You get your ice cream! That’s because you are not thinking of that specific ice cream truck at all. You’re only thinking of the delicious ice cream you’re about to indulge in – so it’s what it can provide, not the truck itself. You can and would get your ice cream fix from any ice cream truck.
So, in this example, you’re the truck and the ice cream is the narcissistic supply.
They won’t miss you for you. What they do miss is your narcissistic supply. That is if they don’t end up getting it from somewhere else. If they are able to move on to get their narcissistic supply from elsewhere, then they most definitely will appear to forget you exist. I mean, they will certainly use you as a weapon against the new supply – so, if the new supply folds their laundry wrong in their opinion, for example, and you did it “right” – well, they will throw that in the new supply’s face. But again, that’s about what you were doing for them, not who you are.
How to Make the Narcissist Miss You After the Discard
So, how can you make the narcissist miss you? How can you make them regret losing you?
We’ve established that the only thing narcissists miss about you is the supply you gave them. And there is one thing that the narcissist regrets about losing you, and it is that they didn’t take even more from you before they did. They don’t regret the way they treated you. They don’t regret the way they discarded you, and even if you discarded them, they don’t regret what they did to cause you to do that.
But there is one way that you can cause a narcissist to think they’re missing out on you, after all. It’s just five steps and probably simpler than you might think.
1. Remove Yourself
First, you have to reduce or eliminate any contact you have with them following the discard. So just stop engaging with them on any level that isn’t absolutely necessary. If possible, go completely no contact and remove them from your life. If not, just deal with them as much as you need to – so, if you have kids together, only communicate with them about the kids and the business of raising them. No emotions, no kindness. Just black and white facts and information that is necessary to do your pickups and drop-offs, any medical information you’re required to share, and stuff like that.
2. Focus on You
Now, once you’ve started to do the low or no contact thing, you’re going to want to start focusing on taking care of yourself. During your relationship with the narcissist, chances are that you kind of lost yourself – if you ever fully understood yourself before you started. And now is a perfect time to start getting to know yourself, finally. Figure out what you like and what makes you happy. Find out what your passions are, if you don’t already know, and indulge in them. Throw yourself into a fun project or something that makes you want to get up out of bed in the morning. Imagine what your ideal life would look like, and start taking steps to create it now.
3. Fix What’s Broken
If there is something you don’t like about yourself that you are capable of changing, now is an ideal time to do this. Maybe you want to lose a few pounds or maybe you want to increase your self-esteem. Or, you want to get better at keeping up on your housework, or you want to start working out or reading or going to church more often. Whatever you’ve been meaning to do that will make you feel more complete and happy – start working on it, one tiny baby step at a time. Even just researching your desired result can be a great way to start moving in the right direction.
4. Get Clear on What You Deserve
You spent a long time feeling worthless, thanks to the narcissist and their abuse. Now, you need to really take a good, hard look at this whole situation. Be honest with yourself. Did you really deserve the way they treated you? Was any of it your fault? I can tell you with all certainty that you didn’t deserve that. How do I know? Well, because no one deserves to be treated the way a narcissist treas the people close to them. And chances are that you’re a kind, compassionate and giving person who loves hard – which the narcissist knew when they met you, and that’s part of the reason they have managed to keep you around as long as they did. Let me remind you that you deserve to be loved, to feel safe, and to not be scared in your own home, at the very least. You deserve to be loved in the same way that you’d love. What you don’t deserve is to be taken advantage of, abused, and treated like you don’t matter. Because my friend, you do matter. You are important and your thoughts and your feelings and your ideas are real and they are worth hearing. Please always remember that.
5. Live Like No One’s Watching
While you might be tempted to show off your newfound awesomeness once you get there or to send the narcissist a little message letting them know how much better you’re doing, don’t bother. Their response, if any, will only annoy or frustrate you. Worse, they may try to hoover you – as in, suck you back in – so they can get more supply from you now that they can see you’re sort of “recharging” yourself. So rather than sitting around wondering if they’re missing you, try living like they don’t matter. Live as if they never existed at all. Find ways to make yourself happy and ways to make yourself feel amazing, and embrace them. Now is the time you can truly begin to create the life you’ve always wanted – or maybe the life you couldn’t have imagined before. Baby-step your way there and you can’t lose. Meanwhile, the narcissist will be fully aware of the fact that you no longer want or need them, because you’ll be too busy living. And the cherry on that little ice cream sundae will be the fact that you’ll be so busy living the sweet life that you might even forget you ever missed them, eventually.
Question of the day: Have you ever wished you could make a narcissist miss you after the discard? If so, how did it work out for you? Share your thoughts, share your ideas and share your experiences in the comments section below this video, and let’s talk about it.
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Do they really care about losing you? Do they actually grieve the loss of the relationship?
Doesn’t everyone grieve after a relationship ends?
Grieving is normal and healthy when it comes to the end of a relationship. After all, healthy grief releases our feelings rather than allowing them to sort of “get stuck” and keep us from healing – or worse, make us sick. Healthy grief allows you to heal the loss and move on with life.
But grief is not always healing – especially when we’re talking about a covert narcissist.
How is a covert narcissist different than a grandiose narcissist when it comes to grief?
A covert narcissist is different from their more overt counterparts in that they aren’t so blatantly open with their self-centeredness. Your standard, “out there” narcissist tends to be aggressive, self-important, exploitative, and they often have extreme delusions of grandeur and an obvious and extreme need for attention.
More “covert” narcissists, on the other hand, seem to sort of masquerade as “introverts,” as in they are seemingly shy and prone to feelings of neglect or loneliness. They seem to be hypersensitive, are riddled by anxiety, and in direct contrast to the overt narcissist, suffer from delusions of persecution.
So when we’re talking about grief, more overt narcissists will grieve loudly and tell anyone who will listen how they were wronged. They really dig in and suck up that attention – also known as narcissistic supply. But this is one area where the covert narcissist really differs.
Anyone can become stuck in their own grief, seemingly locked into the past and unable to move forward in their lives. This is true for almost everyone outside of the grandiose narcissist.
Covert narcissists, however, are a different story. On one hand, they are known to lack empathy and almost never demonstrate genuine remorse. They just don’t seem to care about things that most people do.
Do narcissists grieve the loss of a relationship?
Well, in some cases they do – but not in the same way as you or I would. The difference here lies in what they believe they have lost. If there is any space between the end of your relationship with the narcissist and the beginning of the next one they get into, they will feel deep and painful grief, at least until they move on. That’s because they’ve lost their source of narcissistic supply.
How do narcissists grieve at the end of a relationship?
Let me explain by telling you a story about a couple I recently helped get through their breakup in a series of coaching sessions. For the sake of their privacy, we’ll call them Ned and Emily.
Ned had been in a three-year relationship with Emily when Emily decided to end the relationship. Ned was devastated. In this relationship, like in his past relationships, Ned was a taker.
While he seemed to always be trying to get love, he was clearly unable to give love or share love.
Emily, an empath by nature, had grown up with an overtly narcissistic mother. In choosing Ned, she thought she was choosing someone who was her mother’s polar opposite: he seemed so sensitive and different than her loud, pushy mother.
So she tried hard to make the relationship work. She always assumed that she was the problem, and she would try to change herself to fix things. Emily gave as much as she could – but she often felt very lonely with Ned. That was confusing to her, but she kept going, trying new ways to connect with him and make him understand her.
She thought maybe if she tried harder, he would reciprocate. That was what normal people did, right?
She would do everything she could to make him feel loved, special, important – she would listen to him intently when he talked about things that mattered to him, she learned to watch basketball (of which Ned was a superfan) and she even joined his bowling team.
But when Emily would try to talk about anything she cared about, Ned would cut her off, tell her he was bored, and quickly direct the conversation back to himself and his own interests. He showed literally no interest in her as a person, and after three years, she was emotionally exhausted. She had stopped even trying to talk to him about herself. In fact, she could barely even remember HOW to talk about herself.
She felt oppressed by Ned’s excessive need for her time and energy (all focused on him, of course) – and his lack of interest in her as a person made her feel more like an object. As the relationship went on, it became painfully clear to Emily that Ned didn’t seem to care about her at all. He treated her like she didn’t personally matter, and Emily was pretty sure that she could easily be replaced by – literally any other woman – and Ned wouldn’t even notice. In fact, Ned had even literally told her once that she “wasn’t even a real person.”
He had taken away everything that she was by not acknowledging it – and the relationship was, as far as he was concerned, all about him.
Like a lot of us do, Emily started Googling what was going on and she found my videos. A several-hours long binge-watch led her to understand that Ned could possibly be a narcissist, and that he might not be capable of change. That, along with three years of ambient abuse, had led her to make the decision to end the relationship.
Ned resisted and insisted the two go to counseling and stick it out. Emily, against her better judgment, agreed after many hours of begging from Ned. She felt bad, she said, because Ned seemed so sincere and willing to change, now that she had tried to end the relationship.
But after several failed attempts with traditional therapy, during which Ned charmed the therapist and fooled them into thinking Emily was the problem, Emily finally scheduled a couples coaching appointment with me.
During our first session, Ned was all charm and kindness. He said he was just absolutely devastated when Emily threatened to leave him. He said felt like his “source of love” was gone. (Yes, that means “source of narcissistic supply,” and yes, he LITERALLY said this.)
But here’s the thing: Ned wasn’t was not grieving the loss of Emily as a person he loved. He was grieving the loss of her love for him. He was grieving what she DID for him, NOT who she was. He didn’t even seem to really KNOW who she was, because he hadn’t actually bothered to learn about her outside of what he needed to know to manipulate and control her.
And as it would turn out, Ned was grieving the loss of the relationship more like a child would, rather than a mature adult. This, as you may know, is common for narcissists; they tend to resemble emotional children. There seems to be a spectrum ranging from toddler to pre-teen.
As you might expect, Ned felt like he would die if Emily actually left him. He was stuck in his grief, stuck in feeling like a victim – LIVING in the “poor me” space. He was showing narcissistic injury all over the place, and this would occasionally turn to narcissistic rage.
As someone who seemed to have narcissistic qualities, it made sense that Ned had never done the inner work to develop the adult part of himself that would allow him to not only bring love to himself, but also to share it with others.
And so, this left him feeling lost, abandoned, and just plain-old hurt. He laid heavy guilt trips on Emily, even threatening self-harm at one point, and this made her afraid to leave.
Ned couldn’t seem to heal. In fact, no matter how much he cried, he remained stuck in his apparent grief. Because he was abandoning himself, he just continued to feel alone and despairing. Sometimes he was angry at Emily for abandoning him and other times he was angry at himself for not being a better partner. He had many regrets that plagued him, and a constant inner refrain was, “If only I had….If only, I had listened to her more, maybe she wouldn’t have left. If only I had told her how beautiful she is, maybe she wouldn’t have left.”
But Emily had heard all this before, and she knew it was only talk. During their three-year relationship, she had believed this line so many times that she actually felt kind of dumb for falling for it. She had repeatedly believed him and he had repeatedly proven to her that the minute he knew she was “back in” – he’d go back to his usual ways.
Emily was just done. And who could blame her? But she knew what she had to do: she ended things with Ned and she went no contact. Within six months, she started to feel like a human again, and last month, she reached out to me to tell me that she was in a new, healthy relationship with an amazing guy. I was thrilled for her – she deserves to be loved and cherished, just like each of us does.
Ned, on the other hand, was not okay, no matter how much sadness he released, because Emily, for him, had been his Source of love, or as we call it, his narcissistic supply.
He had handed to her the job of defining his sense of self, so when she left, all he could feel was abandoned. While he hadn’t really bothered to understand her for the amazing woman she was, Ned had made Emily responsible for his feelings, his self-worth, so when she left, he felt like an abandoned child.
Emily thrived in her new relationship because she had learned how to love herself and so she had learned how to set boundaries for herself and how to love her new guy in a healthier way.
Ned, not surprisingly, found another relationship within a couple of weeks of losing Emily, and he thought all of his problems were solved! He was in love, he told me in an email, and this one was SOOOO much better than old Emily, who had the nerve to want a two-sided relationship. Luckily for his new source of supply, Ned ended up alone again six months after that.
The truth is that this cycle will likely repeat for the rest of Ned’s life, or at least until he decides to learn to take responsibility for his own feelings and needs. This may never happen, since he demonstrates so many narcissistic qualities, so he will likely continue to lose relationship after relationship and continue to be stuck in feeling like a victim of the women in his life – when in reality, his excessive need for their attention and energy is the very thing that stops them from staying.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? If so, you might need help with narcissistic abuse recovery.
Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Resources
The QueenBeeing SPANily, Official – We consider this to be the best narcissistic abuse recovery support group on the web. Offers several subgroups and features a vigilant, compassionate admin team full of trained coaches and survivors, supporting more than 12k members. SPAN is an acronym created by Angie Atkinson that stands for Support for People Affected by Narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships.
Other Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups– We also have separate groups for each stage in your narcissistic abuse recovery, as well as some for those who have moved past recovery and are evolving into the next stage of their own life. Survivors have unique and individual needs, even when they’ve moved on – so we’re still here for you.
One-on-One Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Coaching – If you prefer to get more personalized support in your recovery, you might like to schedule a session with one of our coaches to plan and execute your own narcissistic abuse recovery plan.
Find a Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Therapist – If you’re looking for a therapist for narcissistic abuse recovery, either because you cannot afford coaching and want to use your health insurance or because you have additional issues you need to address that do not fall within the realm of coaching, you will want to find the right therapist for you – and as far as we’re concerned, that therapist must understand what you’ve been through. This page offers assistance to help you do exactly that.
Short answer: yes, but not for the reasons one would hope. Let me explain.
Narcissistic Love As a Smartphone
For the average toxic narcissist, the discard leads to the “out of sight, out of mind” phenomenon. They don’t see you as a whole person but as an extension of themselves. Their perception of relationships isn’t the same as yours or mine – they see previous relationships sort of like they see their smartphones.
Sure, when they first got them, they were new and shiny and fast. They had new features. But eventually, they slowed down and they became obsolete. A newer, faster, better model came out. They quickly upgraded. Maybe they miss a feature or two, but in general, they don’t dwell on their old phones.
Why do narcissists always seem to go back to their exes, at least once?
Don’t confuse that with the idea that they miss you or that they feel something real. Think of it like this: let’s say you’re craving ice cream and you hear the ice cream truck coming down the street.
“What luck,” you think. “I was just craving ice cream!”
You go outside and you stand there with your money. As the ice cream truck approaches, you won’t turn away and go back inside if it isn’t the truck you expected to see. You are not thinking of that specific ice cream truck at all. You’re only thinking of the delicious ice cream you’re about to indulge in – so it’s what it can provide, not the truck itself. You can and would get your ice cream fix from any ice cream truck.
Does that make sense? Let’s dig in and relate this to narcissists and their psychology.
Narcissist Psychology in Relation to Toxic Relationships
By nature, narcissists are extreme in their affections, so they’re as shallow as they are unstable.
During the love-bombing phase, narcissists will find you to be highly desirable. Since they’re in “acquisition mode” during the beginning of a relationship, they’re on their best behavior. Since they’re trying to get you “hooked,” they are trying to “win” you – and this means they don’t bother looking for anything wrong. They put you up on a pedestal – and they fool both you and themselves.
The truth is that part of the reason we don’t notice the red flags during that time is that they actually BELIEVE it in the moment – they really think, at least temporarily, that they have found Mr. or Ms. Perfect.
Why are narcissists so mean to you?
You have to remember too that narcissists lack object constancy, and that means they can only see you as either perfect or totally and completely worthless – there is no in-between. Of course, right about the time they get you fully attached, they start to notice little flaws about you. Nothing big – just enough to help them recognize that you are, in fact, human.
Of course, now that they’ve got you in their clutches, they see you as a sort of object – a trophy, if you will. While the initial days of this phase will feel too good to be true, you’ll soon notice that it actually IS – the idealization (or love bombing) phase ends abruptly and painfully as you head into the discard phase.
This is around the time they get bored. The narcissist’s feelings seem to go from fire to ice: they will suddenly become the most critical person you’ve ever met. It’ll start subtly at first, maybe, a veiled insult here and there, and before you know it, you’re the primary target of quietly horrific psychological abuse.
How does the narcissist feel about relationships?
Most narcissists can’t have decent relationships – once they know they have you, they almost feel like they don’t want you anymore. Of course, if they lose you, they go into “hoovering” mode. That means they’ll suddenly NEED to be with you again and nothing will stand in their way – the chase resumes and they’ll pursue you like no other (at least until they have you back – in which case they’ll go right back into the devalue and discard phases).
This can feel almost as good as love bombing to an unsuspecting codependent. But as always, the other shoe drops and, despite how sincerely they recently professed their love, no matter how many exciting and detailed plans they future-faked you into believing – as soon as their interest wanes, they suddenly develop a very convenient case of amnesia and start backing toward the proverbial exit door and right out of the relationship. This is, as you already know, a vicious cycle that can continue for months, years, or even decades.
And where does all of this leave you? Devastated is an understatement. You won’t understand how someone who was just so passionate and hot for you is suddenly freezing you out. But why would they be so cold?
How can the narcissist be so cold when they discard you?
Here’s the awful but simple truth: in this moment, they do not care about you. Yes, they may try to suck you back in at some point, and yes, this cycle WILL repeat. But the truth is that it’s not YOU the narcissist coming for – it’s the narcissistic supply you offer them. It’s not who you are. It’s what you can do for them.
Did you cause the narcissist to discard you?
So is this all YOUR fault, or what? Did you do something wrong? No. The fact is that you couldn’t have done anything to change this situation – the narcissist repeats this cycle in every single one of their relationships. No matter who you are – and you could be the most amazing person on the planet – it doesn’t matter. The narcissist does not succeed in relationships – at least not long-term, healthy ones.
Does the narcissist miss you?
Don’t get me wrong – in many cases, they’ll sit around and suck up your narcissistic supply for years if you let them. They are incapable of keeping up a healthy facade for long – and this will lead healthier targets (people who haven’t had their self-esteem destroyed by their parents or another toxic relationship, for example) to walk away from the narcissist. That will often lead a narcissist back to a more “reliable” form of supply.
Bottom line? Narcissists seem to stop thinking about you when they no longer want you, but most narcissists repeat this cycle over and over again with you and with everyone they get involved within various capacities.
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