Last Updated on April 14, 2021 by Alexander Burgemeester
Being in a relationship with a narcissist is emotionally draining, so when one breaks up with you, it can feel like a godsend. You’re finally free of the controlling behaviors, insulting comments, and constant gaslighting.
Unfortunately for you, narcissists don’t like being alone; they’re always searching for a source of supply, someone that can make them feel better about themselves. Sometimes they’ll find a new source, but often they’ll come back to you. Do Narcissists come back after dumping you? Yes! They most often come back after ending the relationship if there is still enough supply for them.
Why Do Narcissists Come Back After Dumping You?
As with all questions related to a narcissistic ex, the answer is an unsatisfying “it depends”. The circumstances of the breakup, the mental health and self-esteem of your ex, and your willingness to communicate with the narcissist post-relationship all come into play.
Why Do Narcissists Come Back?
While narcissists have an inflated sense of pride, they have no qualms about returning to a relationship if they think it will benefit them. This is especially true if they can make it look like they’re taking you back, doing you a favor. They’re always searching for a source of supply and if they can get it while making you feel like they’re the more emotionally mature and forgiving person in the relationship, all the better.
However, many narcissists take the approach of acting like nothing ever happened. They’ll re-enter your life as if no breakup occurred. This not only gives them an enormous sense of power, but it also weakens you mentally and emotionally. Their actions don’t make any sense, making it hard for you to understand what’s real. Are you misremembering that fight? Are you sure he dumped you (or that you dumped him)? Narcissists thrive on your confusion because it gives them control over what’s true.
How Long Does It Take for a Narcissist to Come Back?
There’s no concrete answer to this; it could be a week, it could be a month, it might even be several years. Narcissists don’t have a timetable, they only have alternate sources of supply. When those run out, they come looking for more.
It’s safe to say that the longer you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, the longer you’ll have to wonder “will the narcissist come back after dumping you?” The longer you’re together, the more time the narcissist has to learn your idiosyncrasies and how to control you. They’re comfortable in your toxic relationship, so it’s always easier to come back rather than find someone new.
Why Do Narcissists Come Back When You’re Strong Again?
Narcissists love you at your best. In the initial stage of the relationship, they idealize you, love bombing you with praise, telling you how wonderful you are and how great you make them feel. It’s the latter part of that statement that really matters to the narcissist though; the feeling diminishes the longer you’re in a relationship with them. Over time they start to devalue you and in doing so, eliminate your ability to make them feel better about themselves. Once they’ve devalued you enough, they have no further use for you and finally discard you.
A breakup resets the whole cycle though, especially if you have the time and strength to get your mental health back to what it was before the narcissistic relationship. You’re once again the shiny source of narcissistic supply, ready to be idealized, devalued, and discarded all over again.
What Makes a Narcissist Tick After a Breakup?
As always, this depends on a number of factors. The first and most important is who initiated the breakup? If it was the narcissist, the breakup could just be a show of power or a final discard.
A show of power is designed to force you into a position of subservience – you will ask for forgiveness, heap praise upon them, and provide a source of supply. In a way, this kind of breakup is a narcissist’s cry for help that they’re not getting what they want out of the relationship (admiration, sex, control). If you don’t give the narcissist what they want after the breakup (i.e. groveling) they’ll change tactics and might even ask you to forgive them.
If the narcissist was making a final discard though, they could go no contact on you for months. They’ve moved on to their next target and have no further use for you. They might contact you several months down the road when they have a need for supply that’s going unfulfilled in their current relationship, but it doesn’t take long for their attention to turn elsewhere.
What To Expect After a Breakup with a Narcissist?
There’s not really a playbook for how things go after a breakup with a narcissist. How it proceeds is based on the narcissist’s needs and how willing you are to fulfill those needs. In all cases though, the narcissist needs supply and they need to repair their ego (even if it’s at your expense).
How Does a Narcissist React When You Dump Him?
If you were the one that initiated the breakup, your narcissistic partner is probably brimming with rage. You’ve ripped open a hole in their ego and destroyed their self-esteem – the only way to remedy this is to destroy you. Narcissists have a host of nasty tricks that they’ll use to bring you down including smear campaigns that involve mutual friends, stalking, and baiting you back into the relationship just to break up with you.
Whatever the situation, the narcissist’s primary motivation after a breakup is finding a new source of supply or regaining their old one by pulling you back in. The solution? Go no contact, cutting off all lines of communication. The narcissist needs supply and if they can’t reach you, there’s no opportunity to receive it.
Do Narcissists Come Back After No Contact?
Whether the narcissist will return after you institute no contact is the most pressing concern, at least initially. Your tactic has almost certainly put them in a rageful state and they’ll do anything to be back in control of the relationship.
That’s not to say no contact is a bad idea though; if communication continued after you broke up with them, they would almost certainly lure you back in. Whether this is done with love bombing, insults, or pleas for a second chance. There’s a high chance of getting back together with a narcissist. Severing the lines of communication leaves the narcissist with fewer options for controlling you.
If you won’t talk to them, the narcissist will try to recruit your family, friends, or even coworkers to bring you back. Often the narcissist will act hurt, as if they don’t understand why the breakup occurred in the first place. In doing so, they also might slander you, bringing up all the things you did wrong in the relationship (true or not). Narcissists want you to feel like there’s no escape and the only way to fix things is to get back together with them.
However, should you return to the relationship, don’t expect flowers and chocolates. They will make you pay for the pain they’ve felt and the effort it took to get you back.
If your no contact does succeed, you’re not quite out of the woods. Just because the narcissist leaves you alone for some time doesn’t mean they won’t return. As mentioned earlier, narcissists come after you when you’re at your best. You’re most valuable to them after you’ve put your life back together. This is when they’ll pursue you, saying that “you were good together” and they “don’t even know why you two broke up in the first place”.
Time heals all wounds and helps you to forget the pain the narcissist caused. Don’t let them sneak back in after no contact has succeeded.
Do Narcissists Come Back After Silent Treatment?
Usually, the silent treatment is a tactic employed by the narcissist. While a fight can eventually lead to a resolution, nothing is ever solved by the silent treatment. The narcissist can go for weeks without speaking to you, with the implication being that you need them more than they need you. You will be the one to beg for forgiveness and acquiesce to their demands.
Sometimes the silent treatment never ends. They walk away and never speak to you again. While you won’t get any closure, consider yourself lucky if it happens. More often, the narcissist will go silent for some period of time, and then return as if nothing happened. They may have found a new source of supply but had a falling out with them and now they need something from you. Your best bet is to ignore them the way they ignored you earlier. Going silent with them lets them know you’re not a viable source of supply.
How Long Does It Take for a Narcissist to Come Back?
It’s a given that narcissists like to come back to their old relationships, so you want to know how long you need to wait to feel in the clear. Unfortunately, there’s no good answer to that question. Narcissists can hover for months or years. Often they’re just testing your resolve, popping into your life to see if you’ve forgotten how toxic your relationship was and whether you’re in a vulnerable enough state to take them back.
There is no specific time frame for this behavior; your best option is to close the door on them and never look back.
Do Narcissists Always Come Back?
Narcissists have a tendency to revisit their old relationships, but it’s not a given. It is possible for them to completely cut you out of their life. At the time, it can feel incredibly painful, but they’re actually doing you a huge favor (even if they’re just doing it for themselves).
They’re less likely to return to you if they find a consistent source of supply. In a way, their loss (being with the narcissist) is your gain. Narcissists usually don’t have lasting relationships though, so there’s a good chance you’ll be seeing them again when the next one fails.
Does a Narcissist Regret Losing You?
Your narcissistic ex isn’t capable of caring about you, only about how you make them feel. They regret losing a partner in the way you might regret losing a car – it was something that was useful to you and you’ll need to find another one to get by.
A narcissist will certainly say they regret losing you. They’ll say whatever is necessary to get you back in a relationship with them. It’s all a form of control though, and the narcissist will quickly lose the facade of appreciation and revert to their old ways.
How to Best Break Up with a Narcissist and Stay Broken Up?
- Recognize that you’re in a relationship with a narcissist.
- Know that as a narcissist, they are very unlikely to change (they don’t want to).
- Break up with the narcissist, but be prepared for consequences in the short term.
- If the narcissist is nearing a final discard phase with you, let it happen.
- No matter who initiated the breakup, go no contact afterward. Maintain this even if the narcissist tries to reconnect with you months or years later.
- Start the healing process. A relationship with a narcissist can be incredibly damaging to your self-esteem. Seeking out a professional to guide you through the process is always a good idea.
Ending a relationship with a narcissist is never easy. There is a high likelihood that they will come back to you at some point, and while they might say they have changed this is only a ploy to get you back under their thumb. Once you’re out of the relationship, stay out and don’t look back.