The Narcissist HATES Being Ignored

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How does a narcissist tolerate ignoring i.e. treating them like they were invisible? Theoretically, a true narcissist can’t tolerate being ignored….by anyone. Usually, they will act out or do anything to focus that person’s attention back to themselves. One of the best ways to get a narcissist to leave you alone (eventually) is to ignore them. A classic narcissist needs attention and praise… but not by everyone per se. There is a difference in how they respond depending on whether you are a random person providing-or not providing- narcissistic supply, or a valued love interest.

Interactions With a Narcissist

For a random person, there are generally three interactions as follows:

1.) The person gives the narcissist attention and praise.

Narcissist’s response: Continue to use that person to provide narcissistic supply.

2.) The person criticizes the narcissist or shows defiance (which may be in the form of ignoring).

Narcissist’s response: He or she will hate you and either holds a grudge or tries valiantly to convert your thoughts about them.

3.) The person ignores the narcissist, not criticizing nor providing attention (positive or negative) – maintaining a neutral position.

Narcissist’s response: He or she realizes that you aren’t worth their time (as you aren’t giving narcissistic supply) and ignores you right back.

However, being ignored by a love interest or from someone they value is a different story altogether. Many narcissists cannot handle the hit to their ego when they are rejected this way; so much so, that narcissists are (paradoxically) prone to suicide with too much exposure to such perceived criticisms.

Those are generalizations about classic narcissists. The truth, though, is that every narcissist will react differently… there is no one standard for how a narcissist will react when ignored. Some will react violently, some will be furious, some will stalk the person, some won’t care at all, and some will never truly have a “love” interest that they put that much value on.

“Love” may not necessarily be impossible for narcissists; they just view love differently than other people. Narcissists see love as a relationship where they are provided with a significant, highly valued source of narcissistic supply. Conquering a highly valued romantic partner is one of the best ways to attain this. Narcissists will fearlessly pursue a seemingly unobtainable love interest. Like fame, money, status, and power, acquiring a highly regarded partner is also a priority for many narcissists.

Rejection of a Narcissist

On the outside, a narcissist appears superior and invincible… but what about how they feel inside? Some might think that a narcissist wouldn’t care about being ignored by one person because of the hefty number of people who seem to worship him or her, but that’s not necessarily true.

Rejection hurts any normal person, but it nearly kills a narcissist! Why is that?  It is believed that narcissists became narcissistic as a result of the shame they suffered in early childhood. If a child was abused in childhood or neglected in such a way that made him ashamed of whom he is, then he will try to cope with, or cover, that shame in whatever way is available to him or her. Some individuals will become socially withdrawn while others will choose a different defense mechanism such as narcissism. He or she does their best to hide their alleged defects by projecting an air of superiority.

In order to maintain his feelings of superiority, a narcissist will exaggerate his own importance and will not listen to or accept anyone who tries to point out his or her flaws. That is why ignoring a narcissist hurts so much… because the act of ignoring him is viewed as an attempt to devalue his exaggerated worth and reminds him (or her) of his childhood shame.

How the Narcissist Responds to Being Ignored

The narcissist will devalue and demean those who don’t agree with him or those who point out his flaws. When being ignored, he generally will do one of two things:

1.) Label the person who ignored him as ‘inferior’ and thus give himself a reason to no longer think about the rejection

2.) If the ignoring person is highly valued and cannot be considered inferior, then the narcissist will then do his best to take revenge. It’s very common for a narcissist to treat someone badly just to “prove” to them that they are not important to him.


About Alexander Burgemeester

10 Responses to “The Narcissist HATES Being Ignored”

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  1. Natalie says:

    I have also noticed narcissistic behavior in soldiers after basic training. I wonder, if a soldier was humiliated so badly in basic training that afterward, he would hide his alleged underachievement by his exaggerated worth?

  2. Fern says:

    Three months ago, I ended my relationship with my narcissistic ex. He had been emotionally and sexually abusive, and had terrified me with his rages. I felt like I was dying – physically, emotionally and spiritually. With help (professional and personal,) I found the strength to break free.

    I ended the relationship by sending a text message and I told him that I didn’t want any further contact from him. As soon as I’d sent the text, I called my service provider and had my number changed. I don’t know if he replied or tried to call as my new number was in service within minutes. He hasn’t tried to make contact in any other way (ie by email or in person.)

    When we were together, I told him that I’d done NC with previous exes. He always made a point of saying that I wouldn’t have to do that with him because he wouldn’t stick around where he wasn’t wanted. For that reason, I feel confident that he won’t contact me. I believe that in his mind, not trying to contact me is a way of showing that he is superior to other men who had to be silenced.

    I’d appreciate any thoughts on whether or not he may contact me.

    • karen says:

      I think he may try to get in touch. But you need to look out for your own needs, not his. You need to build up your resilience and do NOT be tempted under any circumstances to have him back, even though some feelings will rise up in sympathy of him, maybe, from time to time. Just move on. Swiftly. Don’t waste even a minute dwelling on him. Live LIFE! Good luck

  3. Carlia says:

    Before I realized on a website that my ex was a narcissist, he discarded me again after coming back into my life after dumping me 10 years ago. He told me that it was up to me if we should remain friends or not. I decided not to. For more than a year, I never talked to him. However after creating my website, and publishing two stories in national magazines, I sent an email to everyone in my address book—including him. He looked at it, I know because of the web logistics. I’m curious though, did it make him jealous do you think? Other people I contacted sent me a group email thanking me for the free copies of my stories. I didn’t send him one, though. Do you think that it hurt his feelings? He wouldn’t look if he didn’t care, right?

    • Marcy Martinez (MarcyPoe) says:

      He probably feels the following: indifference or envy or both; either way, he just doesn’t care. And in another sense, he may know that you are wondering if he will respond -therefore, once again attempting to have some sort of control- and so by ignoring you, he is showing you that he doesn’t care, so as to try to stir up some emotion in you.

  4. Nicki says:

    I left a narcassist last year fleeing with my children. I blocked his number and bought a cheep phone for contact re children.
    He is a total weirdo! I refused to mediate with him and stated why, I’ve tried the break up row (via email) but am greeted by business type responses!
    Anyway I’ve give up. This relationship was never normal so I’m never going to get the normal end I longed for.
    I just blank him now. See how he likes it, the silent treatment was a punishment he often used to me. I blocked his emails calls and texts! I’ve no idea if he knows where I live as I’ve never told him. My family deal with contact however I will retrieve the kids from him and ignore his presence and just speak to the kids. He may utter the odd word about “what has happened” during their contact – I hear it but I don’t acknowledge it. I know my kids well enough to know if they are hungry tired or unwell and don’t need to know what they’ve eaten etc.
    Not sure if ignorance is the best thing to do, it is hard as I am a human and I did love this man, but I have had to oust him out of my thoughts (just like he used to do to me)
    Does anyone else use this strategy?

  5. Jacqui says:

    I have been in a relationship with a man for nearly 8 years. He told me he was separated at the time, only to discover he went back to his wife. I ended it a few times, only to have him pursue me. He left his wife and we began our journey. He was a drug addict and ended up losing everything, and has bad credit that will never come right. I helped him by taking him to out patient rehab, he relapsed twice. On the 3rd attempt he has been sober and clean for nearly 3 years. In the 5 years whilst still abusing drugs and alcohol, it was a life of extreme highs and lows. We lived together a number of times, me having left him more times. He is horribly controlling, and gets verbally aggressive. I have had 2 other marriages where I am still in contact with them and am very friendly with them and have great relationships with them, albeit the relationships ended. My attraction to this man was his so-called passion and love of life. The very first holiday we went on together right in the beginning, I remember coming back and thinking I could not continue, as he is so controlling. On one of the occasions when I left, he had a relationship with one of his AA members which I did not know about. On returning to the relationship, yet again, this was kept from me. On my birthday, he picked a fight with me and left. I found disgusting messages that he had sent to this woman. I was broken and ended the relationship. We then later got back together – total insanity, I know! we went for counseling together and I discovered I am codependent, which he doesn’t like the sound of. I do not assert as I am afraid of his reactions. I married him nearly 5 months ago. But now I find that I am paying the household bills, while he shows how he has changed and how wonderful he is to his 2 ex wives and pays for all their needs – he has one child with the first and one adopted child with his 2nd wife who has FAS. My son chose to go to boarding school because he would rather be there than live with this controlling man. And my daughter does not want to be around us either. My son leaving, sent me into shock and realization that I have been isolated and left alone with this person that I have no respect for. I am a successful business person, but only now after 8 years have discovered just how much I have put my little family through and how much I have been used and abused. I also realize that throughout the relationship he has never been there for me when I have needed him emotionally, but I have to be there for him always. I sometimes think that he may have proposed to me so that there is an appearance of a happy family where his FAS child can come and live – who I have not been allowed to have contact with in 5 years due to his mother not allowing it. She is also a prescription drug addict and he wants to fight this. I think using this false appearance of a blissful family life. I believe the FAS child is the perfect child to feed what he needs. I left the common home – which belongs to me. I have not been back in 2 weeks. I am ignoring him and I have I instituted divorce proceedings and have served a notice for him to vacate my home. In spite of all this, I sometimes feel guilty, I feel sorry for him and feel like I am the one to blame, so when his “nice” messages come through, they tug at my heart strings. I am in counseling to stay strong. But for the first time I have realized the exact nature of what has happened to me, even though I attended alanon meetings and heard the word “codependent” I did not really understand what was happening to me. Some once said to me that these people don’t have relationships, they take hostages. I have been held captive for all this time. It’s time to start having a love affair with myself! Thank you for your insightful website. The more I read, the more knowledge I gain to help me on the road to recovery.

  6. John says:

    My covert N girlfriend had me completely fooled. She worshipped me, and said that she knew one day I would leave her. (She had a very bad childhood.) I was in love with her- and would never have left her. I wanted to marry her. She moved away for work and we said we would continue to make it work. Her calls became less frequent. She devalued me over time, and then discarded me saying that she knew I would never be happy with just friendship. I said that I wanted to stay friends, and she then did everything to hurt me – ignoring emails etc. Eventually I told her we should stop contact. She had a Narcassistic rage by email. I got a volley of aggressive and nasty texts. I ignored all of them. I could tell that this was driving her mad- the fact that I would not react.
    Three weeks later – because I’m a soft hearted stupid fool- I message her. She tells me that I have hurt her more than anyone in her entire life, and that she does not think that she wants to let me get so close to her again! We start messaging for a week. Then she starts to ignore me again! Really – it’s all games. I end up more confused. You can never win. I have since blocked her contact. I need to move on. She does not care about me- I have to accept it.

    • gir1 says:

      Exactly the same with me…I have cut all contact with him on march 29th and I am just try to feel better….my soul was raped for over 4 years…uuuggghhh

  7. Samantha says:

    I was with my narcissistic ex for about 6 years. Well I’m not 100% sure whether or not he suffered from narcissism because he has never been diagnosed by a professional but his personality does match a lot of the traits regarding narcissism. For starters, the relationship was perfect and intense in the beginning. He told me he loved me after only knowing me for a week. Also spoke about having kids and marrying me someday. I thought he was perfect. After awhile he began asking me for money. If I didn’t give it to him on time he would get mad and yell at me and tell me he couldn’t rely on me. Everything was always about him, nothing was ever about me. If we went out and I wanted to buy something for myself he would throw and temper tantrum and go home. When we lived together he would go into rages and forcefully kick me out when he knew I had nowhere to go. He would push me and throw my things in the hallway and demand I leave. While refusing to let me take my cell phone or purse with me I guess to spite me so that I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere. Sometimes he would do this in the middle of the night. When I left he would call me later crying begging for me to come back. He would never be intimate with me after a year. I would see him on sex and dating websites trying to meet other girls for sex. He would always deny this behavior and tell me I was insecure and crazy. If I did confront him about cheating he would tell me that it was my fault and if I had given him enough attention he wouldn’t have to cheat. Sometimes he would threaten to hit me and get in my face with his fists balled up. He would spend money on prostitutes but refuse to buy anything for our kids. When I would get fed up and try to leave he would harass me nonstop calling me and sending me vulgar text messages. If he broke up with me for someone else it was always my fault. After a while I began thinking I was crazy. I even questioned if I saw things I knew I saw. His exes would tell me he was crazy and psycho and would stalk them when they broke up. Sometimes he would send me text messages threatening to kill me or end my life. He would go back and fourth between highs and lows. He always discarded me when he met someone else but would continue bothering me when the girl wasn’t available. It was a nightmarish situation. I would beg for him to just leave me alone and he would refuse telling me we had kids therefore I could never get rid of him.

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