The Narcissistic Ex

Were you married to a narcissist or recently broke up with one? If that is the case, then you have experienced how utterly painful divorce can be. You have to deal with the loss of the relationship or sense of family, and worry about the children and money. Yet to make matters worse, you are made to feel as if all those good years counted for absolutely nothing as your narcissistic ex will say or do anything that reaps him benefits at your expense. There is no loyalty or appreciation for all the good years and effort that you put in to the relationship. Now that you have split, whatever is in his or her best interest is all that counts. It’s depressing but it can also be frightening.

The Pattern

Why would anyone fall in love with a narcissist, the master manipulator? To begin with, narcissists are very charming and often present themselves so as to be attractive and charismatic. They are what the person wants them to be. They are often the center of attention and tend to be successful in whatever field they have chosen. When a relationship first starts with a narcissist, they shower their new partner with affection, admiration, and compliments. A narcissist appears to have really loved you- because falling in love feels so good to them. They thrive on being enchanted by a partner who sees them as the fantasy they imagine themselves to be. They adore you for adoring them and love being loved. Most people find that falling in love is just the first step toward a more intricate and intimate relationship. However, when the bloom of romance fades for the narcissist that is when things can get doubtful and risky.

As the high of being in love wears off, the narcissist begins to realize that being in a serious relationship will involve times that are not all bliss and that they cannot hide their own flaws forever. Furthermore, they cannot tolerate your flaws either as they feel it is a reflection on them. A narcissist will be super sensitive to criticism but will regularly dish it out without any remorse.

At some point either you or your ex had enough of the conflict and abuse and chose to break up. The stress of the split most often makes the narcissist even more difficult to deal with, and you will have to cope with the realization that you were never truly loved in the first place. It’s not easy.

Breaking Up

As you break up with a narcissist, be prepared for a battle unlike what you’ve experienced before. While you are an emotional wreck, he maintains composure and is as cold as ice. You are left to deal with the real-life responsibilities while he walks away from everything; you will be left to clean up the mess he has made and pay his bills. It is common for them to leave you to clean up the house while they clean out your bank account. He will find ways to punish you in ways you couldn’t possibly have ever imagined (even if he is the one who left, he will still blame you for the failed marriage).

The narcissistic ex will continue to act in abusive and manipulative ways. He may even engage in destructive acts. Once the breakup becomes a reality and nonnegotiable, his ‘false persona’ will probably disappear altogether and you will experience vengeful and hurtful behavior. He is completely lacking in empathy and remorse, and since he is no longer receiving narcissistic ‘supply’ from you – he will dismiss you and discard you (and the time you put into the relationship) as worthless to him.

The ex will consistently manipulate the children, often with gifts, to enlist their sympathy to his side. Yet he also will dump them at their mother’s house on his custodial days if he happens to have a date that night.


A narcissistic ex often finds reasons to remain in the life of the former partner and continues to present problems after the relationship ends. If you are in the process of ending a marriage with a narcissist, it is important to take full advantage of the legal system to help end the relationship in a safe manner. A therapist or support group can help people who have children with a narcissistic ex learn coping skills for interacting with the narcissist calmly and how to maintain personal boundaries. Narcissists are only concerned about themselves and can be unreasonable, selfish, emotionally volatile, and manipulative. It is important to avoid engaging emotionally with the narcissistic ex as that is a form of supply, and consistently reinforce strong personal boundaries.

Narcissists commonly launch personal attacks against their victims. When dealing with a narcissistic ex, refuse to respond to personal attacks and that may help de-escalate the situation. Responding back with equally strong emotion of one’s own can have the undesirable effect of making the narcissist feel validated and will encourage his behavior. Respond to the narcissist’s explosive emotions with calm detachment, perhaps using a statement such as “You’re obviously very angry.” Even if maintaining an air of calm in the face of narcissistic abuse doesn’t stop the behavior, many experts believe that it can stop the behavior from escalating.

Many narcissists also respond well to a flattering statement. Rather than emotionally engaging with the narcissist, try using flattery to suggest a change in behavior. Statements with flattery such as, “You’re so generous, I know you don’t mind sharing the cost of Billy’s school clothes,” can make the narcissist feel validated and secure, thereby minimizing emotional volatility and improving the chances of cooperation.
Most people with narcissism fail to respect the needs of others. A narcissistic ex may easily disregard personal boundaries since he will generally believe his own needs, desires, and feelings are far more important than others’. Dealing with a narcissist often means stating and re-stating your boundaries repeatedly, and consistently sticking with them. If you give in just once, the narcissist will continue to invade the boundaries you have set. It is not uncommon to have to reiterate your personal boundaries to a narcissistic ex at each new meeting. Most experts advise identifying the consequences that will occur if the narcissist crosses a personal boundary, and sticking to these consequences.

Narcissistic ex’s can be vindictive; they will tell lies to friends and family members in order to ruin the reputation of their ex-partner, attempt to blackmail their former spouses by threatening to spread vicious lies about them, steal money from them and even try to turn the children against their mothers. They can go into an explosive rage, sometimes becoming physically violent, when challenged. They will always lay the blame for the failed relationship on the ex-partner. Prepare yourself for battle.

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About Alexander Burgemeester

6 Responses to “The Narcissistic Ex”

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  1. Paul Ragusa says:

    I am the ex who is suffering at the expense of the narcisstic ex – and I am the man? I find it disappointing to find that, in my attempts to find some support and guidance on line, I find that most writers assume the narcissist is the man – as implied in your article. And you are a man. Why is it that writers/experts write as if the narcissistic ex is usually the man? My narcissistic ex-wife is making my life, and the lives of our three children, a destabilizing, living hell! I spent $70K trying to end this marriage (because she dragged out every aspect of the process) and now I am broke, and still miserable. Can you point me in the direction of any male-friendly support? I am not naive about mental health issues. I hold a master’s degree in counseling psychology and worked in the field for 10 years. I need help.

    • Michele Smith says:


      This is a very gender neutral site:
      It also has a lot of resources for free along with the option to buy e-books/ courses. I haven’t bought any as yet as I have been left in debt due to a Narc ex, but I found the free articles and survival stories to be really helpful.
      Best of luck

    • Kurt W says:

      I also have a full blown narcissistic ex wife , and truely feel your pain. I depleted 100k retirement acct for attorney’s fees, lost a 700k home to her, and live in a rented 1000 sq ft townhouse. Fortunately, I sercured 50-50 custody of my now 10 yr old so. Divorced now for 3 yrs, and although she tries to inject her BS into my life, I am much better equiped to handle her ridiculous and irrational behaviors. All I can offer is that you’re not alone, and to stay the course as best you can. Envision your life 6 months to a yr into the future. You’ll get there faster than you think. And hopefully, like me, you’ll find a incredible new partner in life who can understand and empathize with what you are and have been going through. Keep your head
      Up, it will get better for you, unlike the narcissitic behavior of your ex, which will continue to get worse and infect any relationship she has with anyone else in the future, and hopefully will redirect her anger and behaviors away from you.

      • Foxy says:

        Hi. Thanks for the encouragement. My partner and I struggle repeatedly with his ex-wife of 7 years. They have 2 children from their marriage. A 19 yo daughter who has been poisoned by her mother and who has cut off her father and their 17 yo autistic son whom she cannot manipulate. We face weekly battles trying to communicated about Thomas’ welfare and development, trying to work with her to manage his behaviour etc. she will not work with my partner unless I am around because she “respects me”. I have worked hard to develop coping mechanisms for the 2 of us so we manage her personality but its exhausting. We are now in counselling to learn new tools to help us.

  2. Joe says:

    I too. Have a narcissistic ex wife. She is a very angry person, i tried to calm her down on many occassions and tried to find reasons for her angry moods. Inwhich she turns away from any self diagnoses and has been telling all that will listen that it is me that is the angry one. Yes at times through the frustration of lisyening to her lies, i become loud and more straight forward. Her scence of relaity did not match what was being said and done. Even when i recorded her what has happened she dismisses it as o well. She shrugs it off and she starts again.
    She was hording money and threaten me if i took her to mediation she will take my superannuation.
    Cunning woman. 2 weeks after we split she was on the dating scence and brags that she has 3 blokes on the go. Then the next day denighes it and the day after that is back on the bragging about how many dates she has on the go. She palms off the kids when ever she gets a date. To me she is the town bike and its our kids who are suffering as she ignores them in her pursuit of self so could enlightenment. Her spiritual freinds all encourage her to be a bitch as they are responding to the lies she feeds them.
    Now im hearing more and more stories very simular to mine. Seriously Its like we all married the same woman. Same sayings. Same characterisrics. Basically same everything. What is happening to our women.

  3. Sharon says:

    I have 2 very vindictive narcissistic ex’s – one husband, one a partner. Both joined forces and tried to plead me insane. Ruined relationships with friends for fear of their own exposures. One son is turning narcissistic as I can see it and I believe helped with some of the damage. He’s only a teenager – at the hands of these evil toxic people. I’m not sure he is aware of the outcome this will lead him to in his own life. Something I seem to no longer have any input into due to his father taking over control. He doesn’t live with me.
    Amazes me how people will listen and join in the bullying when they don’t even know the whole truth. They’ve had my friends turn on me and all ask me the same questions and all act the same. Even neighbours have been involved and the community as to where I am living. They’re not even aware of how obvious they are making themselves as I can see it all in front of me and choose to ignore it.
    I will never understand why someone just wont move on after a relationship has ended.
    It will never destroy me. I’m trying very hard to work on myself and learn more about emotional intelligence which these clearly are lacking in. Self preservation and knowledge is a big thing to conquer these rats. There are always good people out there that will be of support in some way and to not take a scrap of notice from these lowly people.

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