When a relationship ends, the average person is sad for some time. They may fondly remember special times with the other person or great conversations. They miss such things, but in time, they’re ok. They move on & get involved in other relationships. This is a healthy way to cope, because it allows a person to heal.
Nothing like this happens with narcissists.
Narcissists are incapable of truly loving. Because of this, a relationship that has ended doesn’t affect them in the same way as it affects your average person.. They don’t miss the person they love, but instead, they miss their favorite source of narcissistic supply. This is why they act differently than functional people when a relationship ends. Narcissistic supply is like a drug to them. When a relationship ends, they’re losing their “fix”, if you will. That isn’t an easy thing for any addict to handle.
To start with, narcissists don’t usually understand why someone ends a relationship with them. To understand, they would need at least some empathy, which most people know is something that all narcissists lack. They don’t understand why their ex would object to them cheating, why that former friend complained that they took advantage of their good nature, or why their adult child was hurt when they cut their child out of the will for simply telling the parent, “no.” Narcissists are incapable of grasping such concepts. In their minds, they’re entitled to whatever they want. Besides, the behavior didn’t hurt them, so it isn’t important to them. If it had hurt them, they’d change their behavior at the speed of sound. Since it didn’t though, they are left baffled why their partner, friend or child ended the relationship. What the other person wanted or felt wasn’t so much as a blip on their radar. All that matters to a narcissist is what they want, which usually boils down to their precious narcissistic supply. Since the wants of the narcissist & victim are vastly different & the victim’s are not even considered by the narcissist, usually the end of a relationship catches them by surprise. Their victims often warn them for months or even years in advance that they won’t tolerate the abuse forever, yet still, narcissists are shocked when someone ends a relationship with them.
Narcissists also don’t like rejection. No one does, of course, but narcissists are infuriated by it. Rejection is a narcissistic injury. It makes them feel badly about themselves, so the person who rejected them must pay for making them feel that way. Rather than walk away from the failed relationship with some semblance of dignity, most narcissists opt for revenge. Overt narcissists often harass & stalk their victim, & get their flying monkeys in on the process as well. They also will unleash a very impressive smear campaign, lying about the victim being the cause for the failure of the relationship because of being selfish, crazy, controlling & even abusive. This often isolates the victim from friends & even family who believe the lies. Covert narcissists are much less likely to harass & stalk their victim, since they prefer to look like a good person, but some will or have their flying monkeys do their dirty work for them. They also don’t have any trouble creating a smear campaign, but it is much different than their overt counterparts. Rather than say outright their victim is crazy & abusive, they phrase their smear campaign in a way so as not to sound critical, but concerned instead. They may say something along the lines of, “I’m not surprised my ex left me. She got so mean when she took drugs. She just wasn’t herself. I hope she’ll be ok…” See how this smear is? It makes the person saying these things sound concerned & as if he isn’t trying to destroy the reputation of his ex girlfriend. People will believe this type of smear campaign very easily, even if they know the ex in question & know she never took drugs.
There is also the likelihood of the narcissist trying to “hoover” the victim back into the relationship. When this happens, the narcissist may do their best to make the victim believe they have changed. They may make promises that they have no intention of keeping such as they won’t do whatever the victim complained about anymore. Some other empty promises are if the victim would only take the narcissist back, he or she will be faithful, they’ll be less selfish, they’ll think more of their victim’s needs. The narcissist also may shower the victim with expensive gifts or love letters. They may send their flying monkeys to tell the victim how miserable they are without the victim, & how desperately they want to resume the relationship. This is a tough one, I know. When I first broke up with my now ex husband, it seemed like everyone we knew was telling me how sad he was, how miserable he was, how much he missed me & how I really should get back together with him. I felt so incredibly guilty at that time that I agreed not only to return to him but to marry him after only a short time apart.
Sometimes, narcissists fall into depression after a relationship ends, too. They have no coping skills & aren’t fully aware of their emotions, plus they just lost their narcissistic supply. It’s normal they wouldn’t handle any break up well when you consider these facts. This can be so hard for the person who ended the relationship. When people tell you how sad this person is or he says he doesn’t want to live without you, it can be incredibly hard to take. It can make you feel incredibly guilty & responsible, which is truly unfair.
If you experience these things after ending a relationship with a narcissist, I urge you to remember that the narcissist is acting this way not out of a genuine & healthy love for you, but because he or she is a narcissist. They are incredibly dysfunctional people. You stick to no contact, & remind yourself often exactly why you came to that decision. Write things down if it helps, since writing can be an incredibly useful tool. Also remember that person’s emotions aren’t your responsibility. Don’t forget to document everything in case you need to involve the law at some point. Even if you don’t, the documentation will help you a great deal to remember why you’re no contact. It’ll also help you to see the way this person tries to manipulate you. And, if the narcissist creates a smear campaign against you, never, ever react to it. Any reaction would give this person narcissistic supply, so you deprive this person of that supply. In time, he or she will get bored with your lack of reaction & give up the smearing. Lastly, if the narcissist sends the flying monkeys after you, remember that few are truly innocent people who are fooled by the narcissist. Most are also narcissists, I believe. Treat them accordingly. Remember to tell them nothing that you would object to the original narcissist knowing, in particular anything about the original narcissist. Chances are the flying monkey will share everything you say with that person, so give them no material to work with. Most importantly, pray & lean on God to help you get through this. He truly will help you!