Breaking up with or even divorcing a narcissist? First of all, congratulations to you! You’ve realised just how toxic this type of relationship is, and have made the decision that you deserve way better. This is huge.
Now comes the hard part – The Last Conversation. Before you take the plunge, though, it helps to be completely prepared for any tricks your other half will have up his or her sleeve. The more ready you are for the fallout, the better equipped you are to handle it. Deep breath now – here’s what a narcissist does at the end of a relationship…
1. They’ll gaslight you
“This isn’t you talking! It’s your parents – they never liked me, they’re just poisoning you with their opinion. Don’t you see how suspicious and paranoid they’ve made you? They don’t actually know our relationship. This is what they want, not what YOU want.”
Narcissists feed off of gaslighting, which is essentially the act of manipulating others into believing something is their fault, and planting seeds of doubt to mess with another person’s perception or memory of something.
So, once you leave a narcissist he will often go into full gaslighting mode, listing off all the reasons that the relationship break-down is actually your fault, and all the amazing, loving things they do for you on the regular. They’re even known to brag about how you’ll never meet anyone like them, and how you’re so lucky to have them in your life. This is just a ploy, and you need to stick to your guns.
2. They’ll make big promises about changing
“Please, give me one more chance. You’re the best thing that ever happened to me. You know how much stress I’ve been under at work. Just one more month – let me show you how happy I can make you!”
One of the most damaging things a narcissist does throughout the course of the relationship is play with your emotions. One day you’re they’re world, the next you just can’t do anything right. It’s a vicious cycle that ultimately always ends with the victim seeking approval. Because of this innate willingness to please a narcissist, this part of the break-up is incredibly tricky, and will require lots of inner strength.
Chances are, the narcissist will beg and plead with you, promising to change and be everything you need. Perhaps that’s why one of the most common questions we get asked is: “Can a narcissist change?” In most cases, they can, but not for long. So, if you do give in and grant them another chance, don’t be surprised if they stick to being Partner of the Year for a short time. You’ll be happier than ever, but don’t be fooled – it’s only temporary. Once you’re back in their clutches and they’re back in control, the old behaviour will return.
3. They’ll give up without a fight
“Sure thing. To be honest, I don’t find you attractive anymore, this just saved me the trouble of doing it myself!”
This can be one of the most hurtful scenarios, so get ready. It’s when a narcissist simply agrees to the end of the relationship. They might be cold and distant, or cruel and unkind. But the exchange may be a very short one, and can often leave the victim wondering if they’ve made a mistake.
4. They’ll refuse to let go
Talk to me.
Why aren’t you answering my calls?!
I’m depressed. I need you. I’m scared I might do something stupid.
Are you there?”
The best thing you can do as soon as you leave a narcissist is to cut off all contact. And we mean ALL contact. Block their number, take away their key, remove them from your social media – we’d even recommend removing any mutual friends, if this is possible, because they just might try and get to you through a third party.
The thing with zero contact is, it can often drive a narcissist mad. You see, they thrive off of control, and you cutting them off means they’re no longer in control. Don’t be surprised if they try and initiate ‘surprise’ meetings, contact your friends and family, or turn up uninvited. Take extra special measures to keep yourself safe, and ask for help from people you trust if you need it.
5. They’ll move on at lightning-speed
“Hey! I just wanted to say I hope you’re good and good luck with everything. I’ve moved on and I’m actually happier than ever, and I really hope someday you can be, too.”
Alternatively, your narcissist may move on immediately, which can send a lot of victims spiraling. It’s in their nature to do this In fact, studies have shown that narcissists don’t feel emotions as deeply, and that their memories differ to the ones most of us have. So it makes sense that they go looking for their next conquest right away. The moment they’re with someone new, they’ll do their best to let you know about it, which can prompt feelings of jealousy and longing. Do NOT give into this. Even if they get in contact to ‘wish you well’. It’s a trap.
Do narcissists care if you move on quickly just like they did? They may pretend that they don’t, but they surely do! So, just keep living your life and remember, you’ve had a lucky escape.
So, there you have it – what a narcissist does at the end of a relationship. Stay strong, don’t give in and think about how much happier you’ll be when you’re in a healthy relationship. Need more inspo? Feeling hopeless? Check out our guide to why you should never give up on love here.