When it comes to people with narcissistic personality disorder, it seems like the only thing you can predict is unpredictability. What happens next when they hit rock bottom?
What can you expect? What can you do – and how can you deal with and overcome their treatment during this unpleasant narcissistic cycle?
If you’re currently involved with a narcissist or are about to get involved with one – you’ll want to hear this.
What is narcissist rock bottom?
You might call a narcissist who has found rock bottom a collapsed narcissist. In general, narcissists hit rock bottom when they are able to no longer manipulate, exploit and abuse others.
In other words, narcissist rock bottom is what happens when the narcissist finally realizes that their abusive behavior will not be tolerated any longer, that what they have done has gotten out of control, or that they’re about to lose everything.
Unfortunately, it is typically later rather than sooner. It can take many years of ongoing manipulation and abuse before they hit rock bottom. Often, it happens when their closest sources of narcissistic supply go away, whether by their own choice or otherwise.
Why do narcissists hit rock bottom?
Narcissists crave power and control like an alcoholic craves their favorite drink. Narcissists NEED to have the people around them feeling weak and unempowered – this way, they’re malleable so that they’re easily controlled.
But when these people walk away and stop doing what the narcissist wants before they’re ready for it, the narcissist’s biggest fears are realized.
A narcissist’s lack of capacity for empathy and emotional depth, paired with a desperate need to feel validated and congratulated by others, will often result in their demise.
They will do just about anything to feel significant and special – so much so that they may lie, cheat and manipulate to get their own way.
So ironically it is their desperation for significance and validation which ultimately serves as the catalyst for their narcissist rock bottom.
What scares a narcissist?
As often as a narcissist threatens, directly or indirectly, to abandon you, you’d think they were perfectly secure in their ability to remain surrounded by sources of narcissistic supply – as in, people who love, admire, and serve them as needed.
But the truth is that while abandonment is probably the most human fear one can have, narcissists aren’t immune.
In fact, if we’re being honest, they’re probably pretty normal this way.
With that being said, the difference between a narcissist’s fear of abandonment and that of the average person is that a narcissist will actively abuse and manipulate the people around them in order to control them and keep them in their place.
How do the narcissist’s fears coming true lead them to hit rock bottom?
Fear of abandonment comes to fruition when you walk away from the narcissist. Now, don’t expect them to recognize this right away – but it’ll relieve some of the tension for them initially – even just the idea that they’ll be able to openly meet new people can be a huge thrill.
At first, they will feel free and some version of happy – but then one day (maybe even the same day the relationship ends), they’ll remember something that you used to do for them, and they’ll want that back.
If your resist (and I hope you do – read this about how to avoid the hoover maneuver), the narcissist attempts to navigate their remaining relationships – often not even personal ones, they grow frustrated and angry.
What does the narcissist experience at rock bottom?
You might think that when a narcissist hits rock bottom, they will finally see the light and realize how awful they truly have been – and you’d hope they’d be SO SORRY for this abusive behavior they’ve been serving up all these years.
As amazing as that would be, it’s rarely the case. Instead:
- They will probably feel like their world has been turned upside down and they have no idea how to fix it.
- They may become depressed and experience symptoms of anxiety-like panic attacks or insomnia.
- They may also lash out at others for no reason at all.
Whatever happens, you can expect them to be acting extremely erratic and unpredictable as they expertly play the victim.
The Narcissist’s Backup Plan
Before the narcissist knows it, you’re off living in a totally cute place that’s a little too far to just drop in. And, you’ll have the nerve to want your privacy, which won’t be tolerated if they are still part of your life.
Eventually, they begin to guilt and shame the few people who remain close to them, seemingly doing their very best to push your emotions aside. This, combined with a lack of narcissistic supply, culminates in the narcissist’s idea of actual hell.
So, the moment any source of narcissistic supply refuses to comply with their wishes or orders, the narcissist has lost control of that person and therefore has no influence over them anymore.
And that’s one of the narcissist’s OTHER biggest fears: that they’re so insignificant that no one cares what they say, do, think, or feel.
This right here is exactly what causes them to tend to need a backup ‘source of supply’ (since they can’t be alone), so they very often attempt preemptively replace a source of supply.
Unfortunately, it can be one of the most dangerous times for you. Because a narcissist who has hit rock bottom may feel as though they have nothing left to lose. They don’t even have the narcissistic supply they need to function – so their desperation can lead them to lash out.
The narcissist eventually hits rock bottom and they feel unbearable sadness, grief, or remorse because they can’t continue the way they are going anymore. In order to keep this grief or pain at bay, they will stoop to any level.
The Narcissist’s Rock Bottom Patterns
When the narcissist finally hits rock bottom, there is a predictable pattern that emerges. This pattern is so predictable that it can be used as a roadmap for how to deal with the situation.
- The narcissist’s life will begin to crumble under the weight of their own lies and deceit.
- This collapse may occur because of something external like losing their job or a major financial setback or some other traumatic event in their life.
- It could also happen because they have become so absorbed in their own self-image that they cannot see reality any longer – they live in a world of illusion created by their own ego which is beyond their control.
- As they begin to realize that they are no longer able to maintain this illusion, they become increasingly agitated, depressed, and angry until they reach a point where there is nothing left but rage at themselves for being so stupid as to believe such obvious lies about themselves as well as rage at those who duped them into believing these lies were true.
Should you support a narcissist who is at or near rock bottom?
Believe me, I get it – as an empath, you naturally want to support someone in pain, especially when it’s someone you love or loved so deeply.
But listen to me, don’t do it. Not this time. Hear me out.
As much as helping them would serve some codependent part of yourself, the narcissist is likely to cruelly reject your offers for help. This will make you feel rejected – again- and that’s going to do a real number on not only your self-esteem but also your psyche – triggering would be putting it mildly.
Personally, I don’t think you owe them any of your time or support, but if you must give it to them, try giving them space and let them know when you’re available if they want to talk about anything (without pressure!).
Just because they’ve hit rock bottom doesn’t mean that things are going to change – not for long.
In the end, you can only change yourself and your reactions to narcissistic abuse. You will never be able to control their actions.
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