Ending a relationship with a narcissist can be an undoubtedly challenging and unavoidable circumstance for those who have the misfortune of being involved with such an individual. The decision to sever ties with a narcissist is not one to be undertaken lightly, as it often comes after enduring a myriad of toxic behaviours that erode one’s self-esteem and well-being. However, there comes a time when it becomes imperative to prioritise one’s mental and emotional health over the destructive dynamics of the relationship.
The process of ending a relationship with a narcissist can be prolonged, as they often cling to what they perceive as a source of adoration and validation. Narcissists thrive on controlling and manipulating their partners, making it exceptionally difficult for the victim to break free. Consequently, the termination of the relationship may lead the narcissist to experience a sense of rejection, which can breed obsession and further exacerbate the challenges faced by the victim.
When you end a relationship with a narcissist, it is not uncommon for them to struggle with moving on to a new source of supply. This is because their fear of rejection fuels their obsession with you. While not all narcissists display this behaviour, those who do often find themselves fixated on their former partner, unable to let go and move forward.
There are several reasons why a narcissist becomes obsessed with their ex after the relationship ends. Firstly, rejection is difficult for anyone to handle, but for a narcissist, it wounds their fragile ego significantly. They thrive on external validation and admiration, and when their primary source of supply withdraws it, they experience intense feelings of emptiness and worthlessness. Consequently, they desperately seek to regain control and power over the situation by re-establishing a connection with their ex.
Secondly, narcissists struggle with maintaining a stable sense of self. They rely on external validation to prop up their fragile self-esteem, and without it, they feel lost and adrift. By fixating on their ex, they attempt to reclaim some of the emotional stability and self-assurance they have lost. This obsession serves as a means of regaining a sense of control and identity.
The obsession of a narcissist can manifest in various ways, each with their own unique characteristics. Here are several common ways their fixation with their ex-partner may materialise:
- Constant Contact: The narcissist may incessantly call, text, or send messages to their ex, attempting to maintain a connection and control over their life. They may even reach out through family, mutual friends or acquaintances to gather information about their ex’s whereabouts and activities.
- Stalking: In extreme cases, the obsession can escalate to stalking behaviour. This can involve monitoring your social media profiles, showing up unexpectedly at your workplace, hobbies or home, or even hiring a private investigator to gather information about your life.
- False Promises and Manipulation: Narcissists are masters of manipulation and may use false promises of change and reconciliation to maintain control over their ex-partner. They may shower you with attention and affection, only to revert to their abusive behaviours once they feel they have reeled you back in.
- Smear Campaigns: When a narcissist feels rejected, they may attempt to discredit their ex in order to bolster their own sense of superiority. They may spread rumours, exaggerate faults, or engage in character assassination, both privately and publicly.
- Love Bombing: In some cases, the narcissist may engage in love bombing, where they shower their ex with excessive attention, gifts, and affection. This is an attempt to overwhelm their ex-partner and make them feel guilty for ending the relationship.
- Hoovering: Hoovering refers to the narcissist’s attempts to suck their ex back into the relationship, often by creating a sense of urgency or crisis. They may feign illness, financial trouble, or emotional distress, using these tactics to elicit sympathy and emotional support.
- Gaslighting: Gaslighting is a manipulative technique used by narcissists to distort their ex-partner’s perception of reality. They may deny past events, minimise or dismiss their abusive behaviour, and make their ex doubt their own memories and experiences.
- Threats: Narcissists can resort to threats and intimidation to maintain control. Narcissists may perceive rejection as an affront to their inflated egos and respond with aggressive or coercive behaviour to instill fear in those who rejected them. This strategy serves to reinforce their belief that they are superior and indispensable.
- Blaming and shaming: This strategy of blaming and shaming those who rejected them, attempting to manipulate the narrative to portray themselves as victims. By fabricating a sense of entitlement and highlighting their alleged sacrifices for their targets, they aim to guilt-trip the rejecters into reconsidering their decision. This blaming and shaming often involves discrediting the rejecter’s accomplishments or belittling their character, further diminishing their self-esteem.
- Criticism: narcissists may criticise, mock, and humiliate their targets. This devaluation serves to erode any confidence or self-assurance the rejecter may possess, leaving them vulnerable and potentially more inclined to seek validation from the narcissist.
- Meeting up: the narcissist’s persistent attempts to arrange meetings or re-establish contact display their relentless pursuit to regain control and attention. These arrangements can be manipulative and coercive, serving as a means to maintain their influence and domination over those who rejected them.
- Claiming they’ve moved on and telling those who rejected them to do the same: Narcissists attempt to portray the impression that they have moved on effortlessly, often going to great lengths to assert this claim. Through this façade, they aim to undermine the emotional security of their target and obtain a sense of power and control. By insisting that the other person should also move on, they manipulate the desired outcome and maintain their inflated self-worth.
- Dragging out divorces, changing childcare arrangements: legal matters such as divorce settlements or child custody arrangements, the narcissist’s obsession can prove to be particularly problematic. They refuse to acknowledge the legitimate concerns and needs of the other party involved, believing that their desires should supersede all else. This refusal to agree leads to prolonged and potentially acrimonious legal battles, as the narcissist seeks to control the situation and maintain their perceived dominance. This behaviour often stems from their inability to accept any loss or compromise, consistently prioritising their own interests over the well-being of those affected.
- Sudden illnesses: whether real or feigned, within themselves or their family. This manipulation tactic aims to evoke sympathy and attention from the person they are fixated upon. By directing focus away from the other person’s concerns and onto their own supposed hardships, the narcissist attempts to regain control of the narrative and reinforce their position as the central figure in the relationship.
When dealing with the obsession of a narcissist after ending a relationship, it is crucial to prioritise your own safety and well-being. Here are a few ways to keep yourself safe:
- Implement No Contact: It is essential to establish and maintain a firm boundary of no contact. Block the narcissist’s phone number, email address, and all social media accounts. Avoid responding to any attempt to contact you, as any contact only fuels the narcissist’s obsession.
- Strengthen Support Systems: Surround yourself with a strong support system of friends and family who understand the dynamics of narcissistic abuse. Share your experiences and seek emotional support from those who will validate your feelings and reaffirm your decision to end the relationship.
- Document Incidents: Keep a record of any incidents of stalking, harassment, or abusive behaviour. This documentation can be useful if legal action is necessary or if you need evidence to obtain a restraining order.
- Seek Professional Help: Consider seeking the assistance of a therapist or counsellor who specialises in narcissistic abuse. They can help you navigate the emotional aftermath of the relationship and provide guidance on how to heal and move forward. (Sponsored.). https://betterhelp.com/elizabethshaw
- Practice Self-Care: Engage in activities that promote self-care and self-love. Prioritise your physical and emotional well-being by practising mindfulness, exercising, and engaging in activities that bring you joy and fulfilment.
- Stay Alert for Manipulation: Be aware of potential manipulation attempts by the narcissist, such as hoovering tactics or false promises of change. Remind yourself of the reasons why you ended the relationship and the harmful effects of their toxic behaviour.
- Stay Safe Online: Be cautious about what you share online and ensure your privacy settings are secure. Limit public access to your personal information, as narcissists may use this information to stalk, harass, or manipulate you.
In conclusion, when you end a relationship with a narcissist, it is not uncommon for them to become obsessed with you. Their fear of rejection and the fragile nature of their ego fuel this obsession. Understanding the reasons behind their fixation and implementing strategies to keep yourself safe are essential steps towards healing and moving forward from a relationship with a narcissist. Remember to prioritise your own well-being and seek support from trusted individuals to help you through this challenging process.
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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.