Have you ever noticed how some people find it incredibly difficult to let go of a past relationship? Well, when it comes to narcissists, this struggle reaches a whole new level. Narcissists are notorious for their inability to move on from losing old supply, and there are several reasons why this is the case.
The narcissists’ self-centred nature plays a key role in their inability to move on. These individuals tend to have an inflated sense of self-importance and believe that they deserve the very best in life. When a relationship ends, they simply cannot fathom why someone would willingly leave their magnificent presence. In their minds, they believe that they are superior and that losing them must be the other person’s loss. Thus, they struggle to accept the reality that someone could walk away from their seemingly perfect selves.
Another contributing factor is a narcissist’s entitled mindset. Narcissists firmly believe that the world revolves around them and that people should cater to their every desire. When a relationship ends, it undermines their sense of entitlement, and they find it incredibly difficult to accept that they are no longer the centre of someone else’s universe. They struggle with the notion that they are not entitled to possess and control others, which further intensifies their resistance to letting go.
Narcissists have a fragile ego that is easily shattered. Their self-esteem is often built upon the admiration and validation they receive from others. Thus, when a relationship comes to an end, their ego takes a massive blow. They perceive the rejection as a personal attack on their character, which triggers an intense emotional response. Their fragile ego cannot handle the idea that someone no longer sees them as the flawless, remarkable being they believe themselves to be.
Unlike genuine individuals who may experience a range of emotions when a relationship ends, narcissists’ struggles tend to be more intense. Their self-centred nature, entitled mindset, and fragile ego all contribute to their inability to move on. Instead, they may resort to manipulative tactics, such as hoovering, in an attempt to reclaim their lost supply. With a narcissist, it’s not because they lost you. It’s because they lost control over you.
Narcissists despise losing control. These individuals thrive on manipulating and exerting power over others. When a relationship ends, they lose their grip on their former supply. This loss of control threatens their sense of superiority and dominance, leading to significant distress.
Moreover, narcissists crave attention and validation. They constantly seek admiration and adoration from others to reinforce their inflated sense of self-worth. Losing old supply means losing a steady stream of admiration, which deeply affects their fragile self-esteem. Without this constant validation, narcissists struggle to maintain their self-perception as exceptional individuals.
Furthermore, being rejected is a significant blow to a narcissist’s ego. Their grandiosity and belief in their own superiority prevent them from accepting any form of rejection. Losing old supply means that someone has willingly chosen to remove themselves from the narcissist’s grandiose orbit, which the narcissist interprets as an affront to their perceived perfection.
In addition, the loss of a source of narcissistic supply greatly distresses these individuals. Narcissistic supply refers to the attention, admiration, and validation that narcissists receive from others. The loss of this supply threatens their self-esteem and self-worth. They become desperate to find a new source of supply to fill the void left by their previous relationship, often resorting to manipulative tactics to regain control.
Moreover, narcissists do not want their old supply to move on and find happiness elsewhere. The notion that someone they once had power over is thriving without their presence challenges their belief in their indispensability. They may attempt to sabotage their former partner’s new relationships or even try to hoover them back into their manipulative web.
Blaming others is a common defence mechanism employed by narcissists. When they lose old supply, they often shift the blame onto the other person. They refuse to acknowledge any fault or responsibility for the relationship’s demise, instead painting themselves as victims. The inability to take accountability exacerbates their struggle to overcome the loss.
With their heightened vindictiveness, narcissists may seek revenge on those who have left them. They cannot bear the thought of being discarded or abandoned, and their wounded ego incites a desire to cause harm. This revenge-seeking behaviour may take various forms, such as spreading rumours, engaging in character assassination, or attempting to ruin their former partner’s life.
Maintaining their image and reputation is a top priority for narcissists. Losing old supply threatens the carefully constructed facade they have built. They feel exposed and vulnerable when the truth of their manipulative and self-centred nature is revealed. Therefore, they invest considerable effort into keeping up appearances and ensuring that the blame for the failed relationship falls solely on the other person.
Lastly, narcissists often lack the willingness to engage in inner healing and self-reflection. Instead of processing their emotions and developing healthier coping mechanisms, they tend to deflect and project their insecurities and flaws onto others. This unwillingness to confront their issues extends the time it takes for them to move on from a loss, as they remain stuck in their narcissistic patterns.
The entitled mindset of narcissists can significantly impact their ability to cope with the end of a relationship. Here are a few ways:
- Grandiose expectations: Narcissists often have an inflated sense of self-importance and entitlement. They might expect their partners to constantly meet their needs and fulfil their desires without question. When a relationship ends, they may struggle to accept that their expectations were not met, leading to feelings of anger, resentment, and disappointment.
- Lack of empathy: Narcissists typically struggle with empathy and have difficulty understanding other people’s perspectives and emotions. Therefore, they may struggle to comprehend why their partner decided to end the relationship. Instead, they might see the breakup as an attack on their ego and react with anger or disbelief rather than considering their partner’s feelings.
- Emotional regulation difficulties: Narcissists often have a fragile self-esteem, which relies heavily on external validation. When a relationship ends, they may feel rejected and experience a blow to their self-worth. Consequently, they may struggle to regulate their emotions and may react with intense anger, sadness, or even engage in manipulative behaviors to regain control and attention.
- External blame: Narcissists find it challenging to take responsibility for their actions or acknowledge any wrongdoing. Instead, they tend to externalise blame onto others, including their former partners. They may engage in character assassination, smear campaigns, or attempt to tarnish their ex-partner’s reputation as a means of preserving their own sense of superiority.
- Difficulty maintaining other relationships: Narcissists often struggle to sustain healthy and meaningful relationships due to their entitlement, self-centeredness, and lack of empathy. Following a breakup, they may struggle to form new connections, as they may expect others to prioritise their needs and desires in the same way they did during the previous relationship.
It’s important to note that not all individuals with narcissistic traits will react in the same way, as personality traits and coping mechanisms can vary. Nonetheless, these are common patterns observed in those with narcissistic tendencies when faced with the end of a relationship.
Narcissists struggle immensely with letting go of old supply due to their deep-rooted traits and insecurities. The loss of control, attention, and validation, combined with their fear of rejection and need for revenge, make it challenging for them to move on. Moreover, the desire to maintain their image and the lack of introspection further prolong their healing process. Understanding these reasons helps shed light on the complex nature of narcissism.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach. She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.