Why do most narcissist’s always seem to return to an ex?
When you think back to their ex, you can probably remember all the narcissists told you about them. If the narcissist has moved on to someone new, that’s what they are most likely saying about you. Everything they did to you, they are always telling others that you did it to them. They are always playing the victim or the hero. They are never the villain as in their own minds they rewrite history to escape accountability, to avoid any feelings of shame or remorse, their lack of ability to reflect and with their lack of empathy towards others, with their black and white, good or bad thinking means once they’ve made their stories up these are their truths.
Some might genuinely know what they are doing, yet as it serves them, they don’t care, they have a disorder, it’s who they are, it’s become their beliefs and way of life, they see no reason to change as they believe it’s all your fault. It is never all your fault; no one deserves to be abused mentally or physically.
Yes, they can act differently around different people, this is because they live playing the games of being in control and gaining attention, they can recognise if they treated all others badly, it would look bad on them, even though they’ve still been blaming those around them.
It can be a few months or a lot of years, yet most narcissistic people seem at some point to return to an ex of theirs that apparently treated the narcissist so terribly.
They may have told you things like how lazy the ex was. How many times the ex had cheated on them, how the ex controlled them and took all their money. How the ex didn’t take care of the children properly, didn’t look after the home, didn’t work too lazy, wouldn’t let them see the children and all the other negative lies they come out with, that in one way are true, as people around then become so drained full of anxiety and CPTSD, people around them often end up being unable to cope with day to day life as the narcissist sucks everything out of them and leaves them an empty shell of their former self, so the narcissist twists it to their advantage and their truths, so if they said: “the ex took all their money.” The narcissist most likely spent all money on some form of addiction the narcissist financially abused the ex and took all the exes money, leaving the ex with none to give, the narcissist believes the ex stole from them, they think they’re entitled, they don’t see what the ex did do, just what they didn’t. If the said, “the ex didn’t look after the home.” The narcissist most likely drained the ex emotionally, physically and financially, leaving the ex empty, drained, with anxiety and depression, so they no longer had the ability to look after the home. The narcissist will not reflect to see how they caused this, only that the ex was no longer meeting their needs. If they said, “The ex will not allow them to see the children.” The ex most likely had stopped this due to all the counter parenting the narcissist throws, all the letdowns of not collecting the children, the children being full of anxiety, and this is the ex trying to protect the children. The narcissist believes they should be in control, they think the children are their property and that they should be allowed to pick and choose and do what they want, and when they lose the control of the exes mind and the ex stands up for themselves, to the narcissist the ex is at fault for not allowing them to do exactly as they want when they want, once a narcissists mind is made up that they are correct, they have made their minds up, they will not look for compromises with exes regarding children, it’s their way and never-ending games way. And as the narcissist then truly believes the ex is at fault, they tell their lies so convincingly that others believe them, that with the facts of reality that the ex might have anxiety, the narcissist not might not see their children, we have the words of the narcissist and the actions of the exes that match so we believe the narcissist and often unwittingly end up becoming an enabler, most often our instincts do try to tell us things, yet as we have no evidence to back these up, we push them to one side until it’s too late, sometimes ignoring our instincts keeps us in some situations we should have never stayed in, what we are missing it the background to the story. We don’t hear both sides to see what had indeed happened and led to the situations the narcissist is now using to play the victim so well to gain sympathy, gain attention and manipulate those around them.
You may have met them while the narcissist was in a relationship with someone else, giving you all the pity plays of how it’s already over, they just need to leave, they no longer shared a bed, they were only together for the sake of the children, with all the charm you believe them and fall into a relationship with them, waiting for them to leave. They do, moving straight in with you as nobody falls in love faster than a narcissist that needs somewhere to live or used to look like they are healthy and twist the knife in on the ex.
The idealisation stage often continues, when they first move in, you’ve met your soul mate, and life couldn’t be better, then one-day things slowly start to change, you don’t know what is going on, then poof they are gone, not only are they gone, you hear they are back with that crazy ex, it can be weeks, months or even years later.
That crazy ex might have even been around at the start of your relationship to warn you off. Yet, the narcissist had already informed you they would do this, that they just can not let go, that they stalk them, and with some of the exes that come searching for answers, messaging to see what’s happening, messaging to warn you, this often backs up within our own minds, the stories the narcissist is telling us, again we have the narcissists words and the exes actions. Yet, we don’t have the knowledge as to why the ex is acting how they are. Due to no closure and never-ending smear campaigns, they just wanted to be heard and have closure.
When they go back to an ex, If you ask them why you’ll get answers like. “You made me realise how much I truly loved them.” Or “They’ve promised to change. The children deserve an opportunity to see if we can make it work.” The ex themselves just hasn’t managed to see clearly or break the trauma bond and are in the middle of being re-idealised by the narcissist and all the lies the narcissist is telling them now.
You might have even tried to get them to come back to you, and you will probably at some point have been that crazy ex to another person that the narcissist went back to.
When they say things like. “ I realised I loved my ex.” What they mean is they remember the ex giving them more attention than you are at present. Although the narcissist is really enjoying the attention, they are getting. The narcissist will triangulate you both while you both allow this, with both of you wanting the narcissist and trying to win them back. The narcissist is enjoying filling their human needs and having you both available. Neither of you is winning, the only one winning the game is the narcissist, and in reality, the one that loses is the one that ends up with the narcissist. Even if you don’t see it at the time, the only way to win is to walk away and save yourself, learning that you definitely do not deserve to be treated this way. You are worth so much more, which isn’t an easy thing to remember as the narcissist has most likely manipulated you and destroyed your self-esteem, gaslighted you into a mind full of self-doubt. You can, and you will recover from this.
Some narcissist’s want to try and let you down gently and kindly. They will not just disappear. That’s because they want to have the both of you, to triangulate you, so you both work harder to please them, so they are getting so much attention.
When they tell you the crazy ex has promised to change. It actually meant they had promised to change when they went for the re-idealisation hoover, and it worked.
If you’ve been that ex they tried coming back to, you know exactly what they are like.
The narcissist may say things like. “We’ve been together so long I really need to give it another go for the family.” All they mean is every time the narcissist goes back for the hoover. The ex falls for it. And the narcissist knows they can keep doing it.
To be honest, how many of you went back? I went back once after the narcissist got caught messaging their best friends wife, they’d get the best mate and I, set them up, the look on that narcissists face, as they were happily chatting them up, for us to pull up with full beam headlights. Of course, the narcissist was caught trying to have an affair. Yet I got messages of. “ you’ve ruined a family. You’re selfish.” The narcissists best mate in the car park actually mentioned to the narcissist, “ this is just like what you did with my ex.” So the narcissist had done this before.
If you’ve taken the narcissist back, you’re not alone, and they are very good at what they do. There comes the point where you are “thanks but no thank.” When you realise you choose happiness over the whole fairytale, that always ends in nightmares.
The narcissist will go back to you if you give them a chance. They will go back to anyone who can meet a need they require at that time, that will have them again.
You have to choose the short term pain of closing the door on that chapter of your life over the long term pain of forever going around in negative toxic hurtful cycles with a narcissist. You have to choose the long term gains you’ll get from that short term pain. Is it hard? Yes, is it worth it to be happy? Yes.
After a few months, you could actually hoover the narcissist, as they’ll be bored with the Person they go back to you for your own mental health and sanity. I wouldn’t recommend this course of action. But some have done so.
The reality is the ex was never horrible; they were never abusive or crazy, just like you wasn’t. In the Narcissists reality, they were as they didn’t conform to the narcissist needs or supply the narcissist with things even the narcissist didn’t know they wanted for themselves. So the narcissist met those needs elsewhere, and when you failed to conform, they went back to the ex.
While ever you and any of the ex’s allow them to do so, the narcissist will continue.
It’s hard at times, especially when ego and pride get in the way. Also, the trauma bond and the narcissist negatively fill all your human needs. But sometimes you have to think, enough is enough, rise above, let the ex have them, and go and live a dame good life for yourself and your children. Start no contact or grey rock to break the trauma bond. Then fill your human needs up in positive ways.
Contribution, Focus on your children if you have them, join support groups and help others.
Certainty, create new routines and set boundaries for you and your children.
Uncertainty, try new hobbies, meeting new people.
Growth, learning new things, joining groups, reading.
Love and connection, learn to create and love who you are, connecting and loving yourself, those who are good people you are close to, support groups with those who’ve been through similar, helping them through, connecting and helping each other, this also helps with significance. You feel happier helping others and others helping you.
As we have empathetic traits, most of us do fall for the lies, charm and pity plays, often more than once, wanting to help them.
A narcissistic personality disorder is on a spectrum, so not all narcissists go back to their ex’s and some ex’s who’ve worked out what they are, or are on the road to being themselves again, will not take the narcissist back, so although we can generalise what the majority of narcissists do if someone hasn’t triangulated ex’s, that doesn’t mean they are not a narcissist, same as if someone has gone back to an ex, yet doesn’t have all the other traits, they are not a narcissist.
If you’ve been abused, mental or physical, if they are a narcissist or not, you need to get out safely, and you need to stay out.
Click on the links below to join Elizabeth Shaw – Life Coach on social media, for more information on Overcoming Narcissistic Abuse.
Games narcissists play.