There’s nothing like the thrill of the chase to get the dopamine flowing. Knowing someone’s pursuing you feeds the ego and makes you feel special, which is why many narcissists find it addictive.
Narcissists love being chased because it puts them in control and boosts their fragile egos. It provides them with a sense of power and a narcissistic supply.
Unfortunately, chasing someone all the time can be exhausting, and the time will come when you want to disengage and focus some of that attention on yourself for a change. This could be a dangerous move.
When you stop chasing a narcissist, they may devalue you or fly into a narcissistic rage. They’ll use manipulative tactics to get you to reengage in the chase, so they can regain control.
I want to give you some tips about how a narcissist might respond when you stop chasing them and prepare you for the possible fallout.
5 Ways a Narcissist Reacts When You Stop Chasing Them
#1 They Devalue You
A narcissist might devalue you if you stop chasing them to regain a sense of power and control.
When they sense that their influence over you is diminishing, they may resort to devaluation tactics to assert their dominance and re-establish their self-perceived superiority.
Devaluation breaks down your self-esteem, making you more susceptible to their manipulation and ensuring you continue seeking their validation.
For example, you decide to step back from your relationship to focus on yourself for a while, but the narcissist resents the move. The sudden lack of attention leaves their ego bruised, and they become desperate for validation.
They start criticizing you to get your attention and make themselves feel superior, saying you never think of anyone but yourself. They project their own self-obsession onto you and use it to manipulate your emotions.
This tactic aims to create a sense of guilt or self-doubt within you, fostering an environment where you’re more inclined to start chasing them again because you want their validation and approval.
#2 They Love Bomb You
When thinking, “How do narcissists act when you stop chasing them?” You probably didn’t consider love bombing, but it happens more often than you might think.
A narcissist always wants to be in the driver’s seat, precisely where you put them when you started chasing them.
Now you want to take that power away, they’ll use love bombing to worm their way back into your affections and take hold of the steering wheel once again.
By showering you with gifts, compliments, and excessive affection, they’ll try to grab your attention and hold on to it.
They’ll chase you for as long as it takes to get you back under their influence, at this point, they’ll start running, expecting you to chase after them. The sad thing about it is you probably will.
Once a narcissist has hooked you through love bombing, they often revert to their previous manipulation, control, and emotional exploitation behaviors. This is where the cycle of idealization, devaluation, and discard comes into play.
As the initial euphoria of the love bombing phase fades, the narcissist’s true motives become apparent.
They might start gradually withdrawing their affection, attention, and effort, leaving you desperate for the return of their initial intensity and willing to start chasing them again to get it.
This push-pull relationship is emotionally exhausting and keeps you trapped in a never-ending loop.
The narcissist’s ability to oscillate between showering you affectionately and withdrawing it keeps you chasing, and them in the driver’s seat.
#3 They Pursue Someone Else
The thrill of the chase can be so addictive that the moment someone stops chasing you, you start chasing someone else.
This is because our brains experience dopamine surges when we pursue a romantic interest. Those dopamine surges intensify our emotional state, encouraging us to pursue more of these pleasurable experiences.
This is particularly true of the narcissist who needs constant admiration and reassurance to sustain their fragile self-esteem.
When they are being chased, their ego is constantly boosted, and they thrive on the attention and control they have over their pursuer. However, when the chase stops, it creates a void that threatens their sense of superiority.
As the chase ends, they lose the attention they crave, triggering feelings of inadequacy and abandonment.
To counter this, they might seek out someone else to chase them, restarting the cycle to regain their desired ego-boosting effects.
In essence, the narcissist’s reaction to the end of chasing is fueled by their deep-rooted insecurities and the fear of being left without the validation that sustains their sense of self-worth.
The thrill of the chase becomes a continuous cycle as they desperately seek the emotional highs it provides, perpetuating their need for external affirmation.
When you stop chasing a narcissist, it threatens their need for constant attention and validation.
To maintain their sense of control and superiority, they might chase someone else to reestablish their self-worth and maintain their desired level of dopamine-induced excitement.
Pursuing someone new allows the narcissist to shift their focus away from your withdrawal, diminishing its emotional impact while simultaneously fulfilling their craving for attention.
#4 They Fly Into a Narcissistic Rage
When I first considered, “How do narcissists react when you stop chasing them?” The idea of narcissistic rage jumped out at me.
Withdrawing your attention by stopping the chase threatens the narcissist’s self-image, causing them a deep narcissistic injury. The narcissist can’t control this or the pain they experience, which may trigger a narcissistic rage.
While this can take many forms, when it occurs in response to someone ceasing to chase the narcissist, it’s usually expressed as an explosive outburst of anger, hostility, and often manipulation.
The narcissist’s ego is so intricately tied to their perceived superiority and dominance that any perceived challenge to this image is met with a fierce response.
When you stop the chase, the narcissist might bombard you with messages, show up unexpectedly, stalk you, or resort to emotional blackmail to pull you back into their orbit.
They might tell you they have nothing to live for now you’ve lost interest in them and threaten to hurt themselves.
Recognize these explosive reactions for what they are – the result of a fragile self-image being challenged – and maintain your boundaries.
By staying grounded in your reality, you can shield yourself from their attempts to restart the chase and protect your own mental and emotional health.
#5 They Unleash the Flying Monkeys
Imagine you not only stop chasing the narcissist, but you go one step further and start ghosting them as well.
By cutting off all forms of communication, you’ve effectively closed the door on them, giving them no way to regain that much-needed attention and control.
The narcissist has to seek alternative means to get you to reengage with the chase, and that means deploying the flying monkeys.
Flying monkeys are anyone the narcissist has control over and can manipulate to do their bidding. The narcissist uses them to pry information from you, to intervene on their behalf, or to guilt-trip you into reconnecting with them.
Flying monkeys serve several purposes for the narcissist in this situation. First, it extends their influence over your life even though you’ve withdrawn your direct involvement.
Second, it creates confusion and emotional turmoil as you face multiple external pressures to reengage in the chase.
Third, it allows the narcissist to maintain an image of innocence or victimhood, shifting the blame onto you.
A narcissistic ex-partner might encourage mutual friends to reach out, expressing concern for their well-being and suggesting you should reconsider your decision to cut off contact.
They might employ guilt-inducing phrases like “You’re hurting them deeply” or “They’re really struggling without you.” This orchestrated manipulation attempts to reignite feelings of responsibility and guilt, drawing you back into the chase.
In this intricate dance, it’s crucial to recognize that these flying monkeys are often unwittingly caught in the narcissist’s manipulative web.
Understanding their role can help you resist their influence and stay committed to your choice of disengagement.
Why do Narcissists Want You to Chase Them?
Narcissists want you to chase them because it feeds into their need for constant attention, validation, and control.
When you chase them, you make them feel desirable and admired, validating their inflated sense of self-importance and superiority.
For narcissists, being chased reinforces their belief that they are special and deserve unwavering attention.
It strokes their ego and puts them firmly in the driver’s seat. This position allows them to manipulate the relationship to their advantage, keeping you forever in pursuit.
Narcissists use the chase to exploit your emotional vulnerabilities. They thrive on the emotional roller coaster of love and longing, enjoying the dopamine hit that comes with that and with knowing that they can control your feelings and actions.
Narcissists want you to chase them because it fulfills their deep-seated need for control, admiration, and affirmation.
It gives them constant attention and emotional energy, which fuels their ego and reinforces their distorted self-image.