When The Narcissist Can’t Control You Anymore, This Happens

Last Updated on May 26, 2021 by Alexander Burgemeester

How does a narcissist react when they can’t control you? The narcissist feels a compelling need to control people in their environment; their spouse or partner, workmates, friends, and neighbors. Losing control is a narcissist’s worst nightmare; and when they do, they go from zero to one hundred real quick.

A major component of narcissism is gaining control over others. This type of behavior is often a reaction to a childhood completely dominated by a narcissistic parent (or parents)- controlled in all aspects of his young life and not allowed to develop control over his own life.

Healthy parenting involves allowing children to learn where the boundaries lie, whereas narcissistic parenting involves the parent(s) establishing complete emotional control over their offspring.

The narcissist feels threatened when they lose control; they are afraid they will be exposed for who they really are, and they are petrified of losing their narcissistic supply.

They can’t bear this feeling, and to defend themselves against this gut-wrenching emotion, the narcissist will go into attack mode. These are the things you can expect when the narcissist can’t control you anymore. 

The Narcissist Lives In Fear of Losing Control

What Happens When the Narcissist Can’t Control You Anymore

Narcissistic People see other people in their environment as extensions of themselves. They are the center of the world- the controller, an idol to be adored and admired. In their mind, this makes it acceptable for them to control and abuse others. An expert in knowing best how things should turn out and how people should behave, the narcissist tries to control them.


Significant others who don’t immediately do as the narcissist wishes are subjected to manipulation, threats, coercion advice-giving, guilt, manipulation, domination or any other means at the narcissist’s disposal. Narcissists have an obsessive need to control others due to their fear of abandonment. Abandonment is the ultimate narcissistic injury.

The connection between narcissism and control is strong and represents one of the diagnostic tools used by psychologists to define the personality disorder (Narcissistic Personality Disorder). People suffering from narcissism attempt to control others in order to enhance their own sense of power and entitlement.

The Need for Control

Narcissism and the need to control relate to their self-image as does the tendency to devalue others to increase their own sense of self-worth. Controlling others also relates to a lack of empathy, a tell-tale trait seen in people with narcissism. Narcissists typically believe they deserve special recognition for their superior talent or intelligence, which they feel gives them the right to exploit, demean, and use others.

In intimate relationships, narcissism and control might be exhibited in the narcissist’s attempt to determine a partner’s choice of friends or how a loved one dresses. The narcissist might become jealous or possessive and resort to aggressive behavior to exert control.

He or she might resent a partner who does not focus constant attention on the narcissist or defer to his or her desires. The narcissist feels he must control his significant others in order to have a steady, reliable source of Narcissistic Supply.

What Happens When The Narcissist Can’t Control You Anymore?

When a Narcissist can’t control you anymore they will fail to find Narcissistic Supply sources, just like a drug addict that can’t find any drugs. This precipitates a narcissistic crisis.

The narcissist becomes more desperate and more compulsive in looking for his drug. The more they fail, the more he is hurt and expresses his emotional turmoil by acting out (not uncommonly with ‘narcissistic rage’).

The Narcissist is so afraid of losing their Narcissistic supply (and of unconsciously being emotionally hurt) – that they would rather “control”, “master”, or “direct” the potentially destabilizing situation.

Being abandoned could cause a narcissistic injury so grave that the whole edifice can come crumbling down. Narcissists usually entertain suicidal ideation in such cases.

But, if the narcissist initiated his abandonment, if THEY directed the scenes, if the abandonment is perceived by them to be a goal THEY set himself to achieve – they can and do avoid all these troublesome consequences.

7 Things to Expect When The Narcissist Loses Control

1. Narcissistic Rage

If you think you’ve seen your narcissistic partner angry, well hell hath no fury like narcissistic rage! You will witness their wrath in a way you’ve never experienced before, and let me warn you in advance, it will scare you. The narcissist is terrified of who they really are, they spend an excessive amount of time and energy protecting themselves from their own reality.

Narcissistic rage is fuelled by the thought of them being exposed as false and weak. They have convinced themselves that they are the perfect human specimens with no flaws, and to acknowledge that this is far from the truth is their worst fear. 

As you will have experienced, narcissists are exceptionally calculating, and every action is meticulously thought through before it is carried out. However, when narcissistic rage takes over, they are not in any way concerned about the consequences.

How narcissistic rage is expressed is dependent upon the individual. Nevertheless, the deeper the narcissistic injury, the more severe the reaction which is definitely verbal but also has the potential to become physical. Here is what narcissistic rage typically looks like:

  • Aggressive Outbursts: An aggressive outburst can take the form of intimidation, overtalking their victim, yelling, threats of harm, throwing objects and verbal abuse. 
  • Violent Outbursts: Violence typically takes place when narcissistic rage gets to an uncontrollable level and they feel they have no other outlet apart from physical force. The violence is either towards their victim or themselves. 
  • Passive Aggressive Behaviour: This is a more subtle form of rage, but it is equally as damaging. Passive aggression involves giving their partner the silent treatment, backstabbing, agreeing to do something important and then denying it when the time comes. Gaslighting, orchestrating someone’s failure, procrastinating and guilt-tripping. 
  • Suppressive Behaviour: This type of narcissistic behavior involves playing the victim by acting as if something is wrong in the hopes of getting attention. Acting as if a problem doesn’t exist, treating their significant other as if they have done something wrong without letting them know what they’ve done. Hiding money and alienating themselves from family members. 

2. The Narcissist Will Start a Smear Campaign

The narcissist must protect their reputation at all costs; when they can’t control someone, their worst fear is that person has uncovered their true character. Armed with what they think they know, the narcissist will go into self-defense mode and run around spreading rumours.

They will contact everyone you know through social media, text messages and email telling them how evil, manipulative and abusive you are. Everything they do to you, they will say you do to them. Their main aim is to get in there first. If they suspect you are going to spill the beans, the narcissist will go to the ends of the earth to ensure damage limitation, and if that means spoiling your good name, then so be it. 

3. Do a Disappearing Act

Narcissistic supply is like a drug to the narcissist, if they can’t get it from you, they will get it from someone else. When they have pulled every trick in the book and they still can’t control you, expect your narcissistic partner to pull a disappearing act on you.

They might disappear in hopes of getting your attention so you beg them to come back; or, they will disappear for real in search of new supply. In this case, you will probably never see them again. The narcissist will do everything they can to rid themselves of your life including block you on all social media platforms, change their phone number, and change location.

4. The Narcissist Will Stalk You

Some narcissists simply refuse to take no for an answer, they will ignore your feelings and act as if they don’t exist. The narcissist will force their will onto you, and this sometimes involves stalking. You may not even be trying to escape from your narcissistic partner, you may have chosen to shut them out of a certain area of your life.

For example, let’s say they act the fool at a colleague’s leavers party, because you can’t trust them not to repeat their narcissistic behavior, you simply don’t invite your partner to the next work get together. But it just so happens that he hears about it, you tell him you are going to visit your mother that night, and as you are shoving that piece of birthday cake in your mouth, you look across the room and there he is giving you the evil eye! 

5. The Narcissist Will Subject You to Public Humiliation

How does a narcissist respond to rejection? The first thing you need to know is that they will never tell you they feel rejected. Instead, they will make a calculated plot to make a complete fool out of you in public. Whether it’s an outright rejection or a perceived rejection, the narcissist will become quietly threatening and demeaning, and every act of wickedness will be done with a smile on their face.

Your partner will have a deep desire to want to punish you for what you have done. The slightest disagreement or constructive criticism will lead to an all-out cold war and you won’t even know it’s happening until you are slapped in the face with it. Here is what to expect if you are ever subjected to public humiliation by a narcissist:

Nude Picture Exposure

Depending on the extent of the Narcissistic injury and how badly the narcissist wants to shame you, they will accidentally on purpose send one of your nude pictures to a family member, or if they want to be really vicious, they will post the picture online. To ensure that you know, the narcissist will tell you exactly what they’ve done, but pretend as if it was a dreadful mistake. 

Using Your ‘Friends’ to Humiliate You:

Flying monkeys are people who assist narcissists in their smear and shaming campaigns. If you ever experience this, don’t take it personally; remember, narcissists are master manipulators and they are capable of getting anyone to do anything. If you have been a victim of narcissistic abuse, you know how easy it is to fall for their charm. Using your friends or people you know to humiliate you might go something like this.

So one night, you decided you were not in the mood for sex, you are as nice about it as possible and say something like, “Not tonight babe, I’ve got a terrible headache.” Your partner will interpret that as the highest form of rejection, and he will spend the night trying to work out the real reason you said no.

Since a lot of narcissists suffer from terrible anxiety and grandiose imaginations, it is not uncommon for them to make up scenarios and believe them to be real. After denying your partner sex, he might conclude that you must have had a passionate lovemaking session with your manager in the closet.

To prevent this from happening again, he will somehow manage to manipulate your co-workers into spreading it around the office that you suffer from a sexually transmitted disease. Despite the fact that you’ve never had, and you would never even consider having a sexual relationship with your boss, your reputation in the office has now been completely tarnished. 

6. Lie Lie Deny

What happens when a narcissist is exposed? A narcissist will never admit they are in the wrong no matter how much evidence is stacked against them. Whether its photographic, videographic or you caught your partner red-handed, they will lie so hard that you will convince yourself that you’ve got it wrong.

Despite the vindictive nature of narcissists, they are often compared to children and one of the reasons for this is because of the shameless lies they tell. A two-year-old will look you in the eye with chocolate around his mouth and tell you he hasn’t eaten the chocolate that was on the counter.

Narcissists tell the same type of lies, when they have been found out, they are not going to cry, cower in shame, or suddenly become enlightened about their wrongdoing. Instead, they will gaslight you, this is their first line of defense and the narcissist’s specialty. 

7. The Narcissist Will Bait You

When you stop showing the narcissist emotion, they will bait you to get a rise out of you. This intentional act of provoking an emotional reaction is their way of confirming their power and superiority over you. During the baiting process, the narcissist removes his mask and gets really ugly; ordinarily, they want you to think they are a good person who truly loves you but has temporarily lost their senses.

They will trigger you intentionally to get a negative reaction. It is also important to note that there are levels to baiting. The first level starts with love bombing you at the same time as devaluing you.

If that doesn’t work, the narcissist will move onto phase two; they will target the people closest to you. If you’ve got children together, he will say something like, “You’re an awful mother and I’m going to file for sole custody.” If you are really into your career and care about what your colleagues think about you, he will find a way to destroy your reputation at work.

Whether its family, friends or church members, the narcissist will go as far as tarnishing your good name in every area of your life. As soon as you start yelling and shouting about the damage he’s doing, like magic, it will stop because he’s got what he wants – your emotional energy. And at this point, there is a high chance that he will discard you and move onto the next. 

Final Thoughts about When a Narcissist Can’t Control You Anymore

A major component of narcissism is gaining control over others. This behavior is often a reaction to a childhood completely dominated by a narcissistic parent (or parents)- controlled in all aspects of his young life and not allowed to develop control over his own life. Healthy parenting involves allowing children to learn where the boundaries lie, whereas narcissistic parenting involves the parent(s) establishing complete emotional control over their offspring.

Do narcissists destroy who they can’t control? The answer to this question depends on the type of narcissist you are dealing with. Narcissism is a spectrum Personality disorder, the higher up the spectrum they are, you can expect an all-out war when they can’t control their victims. A word of caution, if you are dealing with a high spectrum narcissist, you might want to be very strategic about how you plan your exit.

If your partner has ever been violent, there is a high chance you are dealing with a more severe type of narcissist, and in situations like this, I wouldn’t risk it, instead, I would advise that you seek legal assistance in the form of getting a restraining order. In this way, you can more or less guarantee your safety.

Either way, once you are confronted with the reality of who your partner is, you need to make some quick decisions about whether to remain in the relationship, because it is exceptionally rare for a narcissist to change.

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Alexander Burgemeester

Alexander Burgemeester has a Master in Neuropsychology. He studied at the University of Amsterdam and has a bachelor's in Clinical Psychology. Want to know more?

43 thoughts on “When The Narcissist Can’t Control You Anymore, This Happens”

  1. After all the pain I have suffered since I was 5 years old the no contact is the best.In my opinion the only good narciss is a dead narciss .They are a different society that live among us ; they use empathetic people And unknowingly people to feed on :They are evil .That’s who killed Jesus

    • I completely agree Robert. I think there are more narcissistic disordered people in this world, then what mental health professionals think. I think narcissists are often the cause of why we see high domestic violence, high drug and alcohol abuse, high levels of distress and mental health problems in the family, school, and work environments. These are cruel and selfish people who harm others intentionally and get the assistance of other people to often hurt some of the kindest and nicest people in society!!! Pure evil!

      • And Roger, you and Robert have made some of the most accurate descriptions I have seen online about narcissists. They are nothing but pure evil and the saddest part is they are never held accountable for their bad behaviour, and get away with it even into old age. They were never ever corrected because it was easier for parents to turn a blind eye rather than discipline them as children, so they just carry it on into adulthood.

        • Narciss try to create fear and uncertainty and attack on your autonomy and self esteem to traumatizes bonding. YUK their puke is in them ????

        • Even the legal system can’t help you because everything they Narciss do leave no evidence or you have to have the legal system connected to your hip.or they will use abuse by proxy. It all takes time and money.Their communication is subtle and stealth to chip away your self esteem

          • I was married to a narcissist for 26 years and I thought he was the most amazing man in the world. 2 days after my daughter was married he beat me like I was a man punching me 3 times in my face. He apologized and did it again 2 nights later only this time he claims it was not his fault because he was drinking and didn’t remember. In court for our divorce he said he hit me 1 time and it never happened again. He couldn’t tell the truth if his life depended on it. Because of his lies I’m living in a room at my sons house because I was a housewife and didnt get an education while I was raising children as the judge put it. My X lied and is living in a house on the water with lots of toys and both of our businesses. I don’t make enough money to support myself and he’s living the high life. I’m 55 and have nothing because I wanted out of the marriage. Was it worth it? Hell yes

      • I totally agree with you. I have a NPD mom and it has been extremely difficult till now. She is my mom, and I am binded by culture that I cannot disrespect her. Is really tough. Found a man, and he is beginning to have traits of NPD. I decided to disappear from the man. Having one NPD person in the family is already bad enough, no way will there be two.

      • You are absolutely right NPD is an epidemic it’s infiltrated in every part of our society teachers police men governments. It is such a nightmare in this society now they are wreaking havoc 60% divorce rate SO MANY kids damaged beyond repair. And still judges are not keen to them yet I was even watching a doctor Phil show the husband was 100% horrible narcissist and he actually was treating the woman pretty bad they are the best manipulating evil people ever I mean look at Hitler Robert Austin is absolutely right it’s just such a shame and so heartbreaking they did kill Jesus and also NPD is so prevalent everyone hated Jesus…. The thing I just fell over about I couldn’t believe it I kept seeing this pop up in my face over and over again I wouldn’t even click it I thought it was just lies but I finally did and it’s actually real 90% or 95% of the presidents are all related to I think it’s King John a little girl did this whole thing she’s around 13 I can’t believe it I never did vote because I felt like I was wasting my time I never believed in new world order and things like that but it just can’t be a coincidence that 95% of the presidents are all related even Obama is related to one of the Kings of England it’s just absolutely crazy I couldn’t believe it I researched and research and it’s really really true

      • Demanding people are half the problem in the world.Ultra ego and hyper critical people are the ones who start wars.

    • Same here. Since I was 5 or 6 I have been emotionally abused in the worst ways by people who want me to call them family. I went no contact with these people 3 years ago. They say they don’t know why. They lie, Deny, Manipulate, Smear your name, Play mind games,Team up against you. Mistreat you, Abuse you, include you in only the things they want to include you in, and do all the things this article outlines. I don’t want anything to do with them. I went back to one who begged me back. Big Mistake.
      They are not good people and I have to decided to surround myself with positive, respectful people who make me feel like I make them feel. Loved and valuable. Dont trust them even if they are dying unless you hear from God that they have changed.

      • Hi Rhonda,
        Everything is possible but I doubt that there is one single narcissist that can actually change. As for hearing from God that a narcissist changed? God hates insolent pride – AKA Narcissist and He will not always suffer them. The father of all narcissist is satan, the original number 1 narcissist. He thought so much of himself that he actually thought he would dethrone God and ascend to His throne! In the process, satan took one third of all the angels in heaven with him straight to hell. Which is exactly what narcissists do. See, most people can give their lives to God and God will work with them baggage and all, but narcissist think themselves to actually be GOD so they will never humble themselves before Him. Therefore they will never avail themselves of the salvation that God has waiting for everyone. And God knows this, He knows their hearts. They are beyond all hope.
        Rhonda, family are those who love you, edify you and respect you regardless of whether or not they have blood ties to you. Truly, it is always preferable to be alone than surrounded by narcissists and or their minions. It’s ok to have an ex-family. People break up all the time and this applies to families where narcissist abound. I’ve done the same thing as you, let a narcissist back in only to regret it big time! Twice, even recently I did this but these creatures are like cookies cut from the same mold, half an ounce of poison cookie dough, 4 chocolate chips coated in demon blood for each, four minutes baking time in hell.
        If there is another defense other than full no contact against these monsters, it’s that they all have the same playbook. Just like you mentioned, mind games, smear campaigns and their minions teaming up to destroy you. They ARE very much predictable. Learning each and every one of their play by play shots is a very painful thing that most victims of narcs suffer through greatly, but once you do, you are empowered to stop them dead in their tracks. Don’t believe the hype that it is only a small percentage of the population that are actually full blown narcissists. Narcissists are everywhere, they are lawyers, doctors, police officers, your neighbors and more. They exist by creating demonic spiderwebs and armies of cruel minions also known as flying monkeys. I don’t even regard narcissist as human beings and yes, the only good narcissist is a dead narcissist. The destruction and human devastation that they cause is immeasurable. You can start the healing process by being good to yourself. Trust is earned not given away so when someone new comes into your life, if they walk like a narcissist, if they talk like a narcissist, if they act like one, THEY ARE A NARCISSIST! Do not give them an entry into your life. Value yourself, your private time, your peace and know that you are precious to God. May you heal completely and may God grant you all His peace and love forever, Rhonda. Yours truly, Mark

        • Hi I’ve read all that’s been wrote. I can see the man I love is definitely a narcistic. Thing is I’ve never loved anyone like him. Yet the way he treats me is literally killing me. We don’t see each other but every few was as we live 2 hrs apart. We have stayed on fone for literally 4 straight days. When we hang up I cry almost til he calls again. I get Togo to his house for 4 days n he brings me home. Today he called.things were good then out of blue he hangs up. I tried to call n text but he hasn’t answered. Long story and I so wish wish I could write it. We both are in 60s. I lost my husband a yr ago and he came in my life after he lost a daughter he really saw this Sept. My grieve is beyond
          Devastating. go this house f

  2. hi to Robert, Roger, and Shelley, and Sheila who have submitted to comments on narcissists I had a terrible childhood too, for as long as I could remember, she was the worse person to me and my sister she hated my mom that is one of her sisters because she didn’t know how to do things, she was a very nervous sort of person and my aunt took advantage of that
    Then , a ex- boyfriend of 13 years dumped me and I am ashamed to say I was too ignorant to see that he was a controlling person, I feel he used me and said sweet things to me and bought me things, just so he could keep me . It has been some time about 11 years since he dumped me , but once again I agreed to be a friend , what a mistake that was . I am a super emotional person and I must have cried enough to fill 2 rivers over that time. I am still crying even if I dont talk to him or text , I am so emotional trying to get him out of my head I dont expect any of you to understand that I am so emotional and crying , but it is a real feeling

    all of you are so right narcissistic people controlling people toxic people or whatever you call them are very very very evil I am trying to let go of this person who I thought really cared for me in those 13 years, but it is just more difficult for me
    thanks for listening

    • What you are traveling through is the PTSD tunnel; time heals with new knowledge. The replay of betrayal,at some time your time will only address the replay for a moment ,let it for a moment and stop thinking. It is like a cigarette the less you smoke the less nicotine in your body stop.There will times when something triggers the thought, let it and it won’t mean much anymore.There is a light at the end of the tunnel you are almost there❤️😊

    • I too am crying, I get it, I love you, thank you for sharing, you are helping others this way. Keep moving forward, god bless you.

  3. All of the comments I read are absolutely spot on! My husband and I are 11 years apart in age (he’s older). He’s always been controlling and insecure. It makes sense that he’d also be mentally and physically abusive. Our oldest son is 20 now and I think it’s high time for me to run like my hair is on fire. I’ve tried in the past to get away, to no avail (obviously).

    • That funny that you would run with your hair on fire.I tell people if they were able to plug in my head like a computer ,they would run down the street with their Brain on firer. 😹 Soooo True

  4. Is it normal for the NPD to start emanating from the victim? Is that because of the projection of blame onto the victim, and a self defense mechanism?
    On a side note, I noticed that the author of this may not realize it, but their writing seems to be sexually descriminative. I assume this as all the pronouns are male (not to sound like some “lefty lunatic!”) Why is it the man who is the narcissist? Maybe that’s just a bias of the author …
    Anyhow, it is pretty distracting as a male victim of both an NPD mother through childhood, and now an NPD wife. I cannot begin to explain the unhealthy dependency and lack of any affirmation is truly taxing!
    Personally, I think NPD comes from a level of simple-mindedness, stubbornness, and ultimately an incredibly weak ego.

    • Its not sexist, it is just that most Narcissists are men. 75% ish, but I totally agree that there are female Narcissists and I am sorry if that distracts you as a male victim. People do not become Narcissists because they love theirselves, it is quite the opposite and often the result of psychological neglect.

      • Is there anyway to help these people?- doesn’t seem possible. My son in law has all but destroyed us, our daughter and our 2 beautiful grandchildren 4 and 7- we are all his victims. My daughter and her parents (us) are now estranged and not allow to see children. His plan to isolate and gaslighting successful.
        I’ve been in couseling since they got married (11 yrs) on and off. My couselor said it was only the 2nd time in her long career she told a client to walk away and fast.
        I wish terrible things on this man, but when I read the cause it makes me very saddened that there is not a cure or path one can go down to change this terrible personality.
        I know there are narrasitic woman- my mom was jealous of my looks, income, husband, lifestyle and I spent 50 yrs trying to please her- finally I walked away- and you know the signs- please do the same male of female.

      • my narcissistic ex is a physically beautiful woman, unfortunately we have a child together so its hard to go no contact. she done an excellent job of projecting a victim persona, people look at her and cannot see her true self and think she is innocent. I broke up with her in 2018 and the rage continues to this day(away from social settings of course)

  5. Just beware people like us have a tendency to attract them. I was married to 1 for 40 years only to get involved with another 1 that is worse than my husband was

  6. It is true that those who have been abused by narcs – will gravitate towards the same. Not because it is healthy. But because it is what we know. It’s familiar. Until you truly understand your worth and value as a human being, you will always be a target. Raise the bar. Do not accept the unacceptable. A narc will run like the wind if he/she can’t control you creating the submissive victim they require to make themselves feel superior. We cannot fix them. But we can fix ourselves. A healthy person is poison to a narc. KNOW your worth. Demand respect. If we do not learn our lesson, we are doomed to repeat it until we do.

    • Narcs target empaths also, like demons attracted to the bright light.
      Indeed learning to spot them very early is an empath gift.

  7. Personally, I’m concerned about the overuse of the word “narcissism,” I think some people are just sh*tty, no one is perfect, we are all flawed. Do I think that it exists as a personality disorder? Absolutely, but the label itself is thrown around too much without any real diagnosis, and I think that’s dangerous because that way nothing gets resolved. Personally I went from a 14 year long relationship with a self-centered, selfish, lazy, bully, to a 6 year one with someone similar, but I cannot think that both of these people are narcissists … the first guy, definitely, but not the second. He was just a mean drunk, who did shitty things when he was drunk, and gaslit me only when I confronted him about the drunk stuff. Am I abandoned now? Yep. Am I hurt. Yep. But I still love the guy, and I am too smart of a woman to think that it was entirely not my fault. Don’t trust people until they earn your trust, don’t give people more than they give you, & men and male psychology, specifically, make them work for romantic rewards or they will never value you. Men are hunters. That’s a reality. That’s what a lot of what people are talking about when they talk about ‘narcissism.’

    • Yes we as women know this. But we are human and emotionally built different. We must learn to love ourselves unconditionally. Then the healing begins.

  8. I have been in a 37 year relationship and discovered the last few years the behavior consisting with the narcissist. Throughout the relationship I was busy having kids, being a stay at home mom and overweight! 205 I went and had gastric bypass and that was the beginning of the behavior patterns described that stood out to label my partner. So I started using that word and boy did shit hit the fan. Right now I am filing for divorce and I believe I need to look at getting a restraining order. He has used my depression and mental state against me making me out to be crazy and everyone believing him. Devastated but know I need to move on but scared at the same time of his deviousness!

    • It does not matter what other people believe. That can be used to control you. It only matters what you believe about you. It is not on you to convince others and it is not up for a vote. You have all the power over you.

  9. So succinct Alexander. I’m talking my mother down after my younger brother moved into her home uninvited and has spent the last eight months coping with him. She is 90. After he told her that she was incapable of looking after her finances and that he should run things, she told him that she already had someone doing that. His parting words were ” when you die, I’m not coming to your funeral”. She is slowly recovering, but she is still torn between the son she knew and the monster he is. He abandoned her and she ended up in hospital, but has almost recovered. He has a new source, a new partner. I feel sorry for her, but I feel better about my mother now. These are truly terrible people. I understand what they are, but I don’t understand why they are.

  10. I am the daughter of a widowed, re-married father who has high narcissistic traits. He happened to marry someone new, who is diagnosed borderline personality disorder, and I believe she is also highly narcissistic. My husband and I have refused to give in to their unrealistic and unreasonable financial demands on us, and we are very concerned that my father also has early dementia. He is now on his second smear campaign of me, after he trespassed into our home at the end of June, of this year. I am considering filing for an order of protection or an order of no contact.

  11. I am an Indian and it’s in our culture for the daughter-in-law to stay at the husband’s parents house. In the beginning of my marriage I never understood why I was being blamed for everything and why my in-laws were acting so heavily emotional all the time. Then I started picking up hints from their own talk and behaviour that they were scared of basically 3 things- (1.) Losing the attention of their son (their only source of financial supply), (2.) Losing their image in front of the very few relatives they still maintained contact with (the rest are “horrible” people according to them) and (3.) That I would tell my relatives about the way my in-laws were treating me (given that mine is a very close-knit family), again spoiling their “image”.

    Every attempt (and the amount of lies that went into it) to make my relationship with my husband, with his relatives and with my relatives, weak, made me realise how really low their characters were. I saw loathing in their eyes when I got pregnant, my sister-in-law avoided me completely for a whole month in spite of living under the same roof. When I felt really bad about it and told my husband, he spoke to his sister, but she just denied it trying to make him believe that “your wife lies about your little sister and you blindly believe it? See, she’s managed to spoil the relationship and trust we as siblings shared”. But unfortunately for her, her mask fell away a couple of years later after she got married and started having way too many issues with her husband and his parents. Like you said, when a narcissistic person loses control of their source, they panic, and without meaning it to, let their true personality come to the forefront.

    My pregnancy and my post delivery experiences with my husband’s family were daunting. I won’t go into details but as a result of their attitude I developed post-partum depression and numerous health problems. Eventually I had to leave my job. My husband got a job in a different country, and I joined him along with my daughter.

    But I was in for a ride when my husband started displaying narcissistic personality behaviour at certain times. It was something I never expected because he had been very understanding and supportive of me back home. I never understood why the sudden change in his attitude. I fell into severe depression and anxiety, my mind was all foggy, I couldn’t take proper care of my daughter or myself, I didn’t have any friends, I limited my contact with my family because I didn’t want them getting hurt knowing about my situation. But after a couple of years I could take it no more, I hated the person I had become. So once when my husband gave me his narcissistic treatment, I reacted – for the first time. Everything that had been locked up inside me from the past 2 years came bursting out, he was so shocked seeing me lash out like that. But then my reaction did make him realise his mistake and he did apologize to me.

    Finally I started seeing some light in my relationship, I got myself treated for all my physical ailments, I started exercising regularly and following a balanced diet, and after a few months the fog in my head started clearing away. It was only then that I started understanding why there had been a sudden change in my husband’s attitude towards me – his family had been behind it! I don’t know why I never noticed that whenever he called his mother, he would decrease the volume of the call to a bare minimum, so that I couldn’t hear what she was telling him. Once I started noticing this, I confronted him, initially he declined having done it, but then when I caught him doing the same again, he stopped. I realised that it was something about me that my in-laws kept telling my husband that sparked the change in his behaviour. I understand now that he is not entirely narcissistic in himself but since he has been brought up by narcissistic parents, he behaves and reacts the same as them because that is what he has grown up watching, and they too want him to behave like that with his wife (any other woman in my place would have experienced the same) because they fear him having a close relationship with anyone other than them. I realised that my in-laws knew exactly what would trigger that kind of behaviour in my husband. They had complete control over his emotions. It was at this point that I started understanding that my in-laws behaviour is far from normal jealousy or fear, it was something else that I wasn’t aware of. I started researching and came upon the term “Narcissistic personality disorder”. The more I read about it, the more I was able to connect the dots and understand my experiences with crystal clarity.

    Now I know exactly what is to be done to keep myself at peace – keep a healthy distance from my in-laws; Not avoiding them completely but at the same time not falling into their emotional traps and lies. I don’t worry anymore about the lies they’ll be feeding my husband and their relatives about me, projecting me as the bad guy, because for all it’s worth I know that my husband needs me, I know that he has never been truly loved by his parents. Although my MIL projects her son as the “Golden Child”, I’ve seen her unmasked face once when her son denied giving her a large sum of money for some unnecessary demand of hers. The only “love” is for the son’s money, not for his health or happiness. Now, even my husband has slowly started realising this fact.

    I am not sure though whether I should share my findings with my husband, about NPD and that his family members are having this disorder. Because for all I know, he is also partly narcissistic, as in he displays that personality whenever he is triggered by his family, otherwise no. I feel bad for him, I feel like he’s trapped in the relationship between his parents and me, trying to keep both sides happy. I want him to realise that he should aim for what makes him happy, and not suffocated.

  12. I don’t believe in ‘narcissistic injury’ of a domineering narc parent causing the child’s narcissism. It’s genetic. I’m sure of it. I also believe that it’s related, somehow to the autism spectrum. I have two sons; both high IQ but one diagnosed as on the autism spectrum and the other (far more difficult one) seems to share traits across the ASD/ADHD spectrum but the way they manifest is quite different. For example they both have deficits of empathy but my ASD son appears far more naive and innocent somehow, while the younger son is just more manipulative somehow. I hate to say it about my son, and he is adorable, but I can see him trying different strategies and then when he hits on a winner he is instantly satisfied, the tears dry, he’s like the cat that got the cream. He has the smug look of his father, yet I’ve resisted having him in our lives as much as possible so there can be no blaming it on the father’s influence. He is just so much like his dad, and I feel the narcissism is as genetically inherited from him as the fair hair, blue eyes and left-handedness (what is that, why are so many left-handed). Both are rude and vain, believe they are uniquely clever, always right and talk non-stop over the top of other people. Neither of them can cry properly. My son – at age 5 – actually asked me to explain how to cry. His father was close to both his parents but he couldn’t cry when either of them died. He made his mother’s funeral all about him … and used to brag about his precociously early memories – of standing in his cot (pre-verbal) and wondering why his mother wasn’t picking him up as soon as he woke. He has three sisters: another narcissist who is extremely smug, an evangelical christian (also, I believe a narcissist) and a sister who has lived in a secure mental health facility for a decade after trying to kill their mother and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. It’s a loaded genetic dice I’ve rolled and am very worried about my son. Nothing seems to help. He’s not mean but he will always push to get his own way, far beyond ‘the line’ of anyone I’ve ever met. My son and his father purposely antagonise one another and seem to enjoy both riling each other up AND getting riled up. There is both pride and mutual contempt. Narcissism doesn’t cause narcissism, it’s a heritable condition that is passed from parent to child. It makes other people miserable, wounds and traumatises but I don’t believe it can be ‘turned on’ by environment in susceptible genes. It’s a genetic phenotype; a set of traits that define how one reacts to the environment, and inhibits the effect of any environmental influence in the same way autism does.

  13. My narcissistic mother died 4 years ago. I’ve yet to shed a tear over her death. In fact I’m glad she’s gone. She made everyone’s lives in the family miserable, was very controlling and manipulative, played all kinds of baiting games and played members of the family against each other. Narcs will ruin your self esteem and doubt yourself every step of the way. Worst of all my spineless father enabled her behavior and even took on some of her characteristics including repeating the same lies, insults and excuses she came up with. I cut off contact with both of them years ago. After my mother died, my spineless enabling father tried to “patch things up” with me. I alternated between feeling guilty, feeling sorry for him, but not trusting him, as he was in his 80’s by that time, but the things he was saying and doing according to my brothers made me not want a relationship with him. He was still playing put down games. I did write him a letter telling him how manipulative and controlling they were both were, and that I didn’t trust him. He died earlier this year and I’ve yet to shed a tear over his death as well. Mean while my brothers have turned against me since his death. I thought with both parents dead, that would end the sick twisted controlling games, but I see signs of the same types of narcissist behavior in them as well. The only solution to the never ending problems was to go no contact. I’ve had to learn the hard way, the family I grew up in was so damaged and so centered, that they really didn’t care about me anyway. So I’m learning how not to care about them. I’m a senior citizen and what ever days I have left on this earth, I want to spend without all the drama and two faced games.

  14. It was only after I left my narcissistic husband of 4 years, that I started realizing how he humiliated, degraded and manipulated me to get what HE wanted from the start. Passive aggression, baiting, disappearing, smear campaigns … Excellent article, thank you!

  15. Our son is with a narc his personality has changed was it my fault I blame me his mum. I have had counselling over a year now since I saw him or newborn grandchild. I have had to look at all my interaction was I jealous no did I support son he states I was a good mum! He met a hum “woman” child on the net who cat fished him.

    I have had an illness which effects my mental ability found on a blood test now on meds and regular blood work ill for years only found out recent had a breakdown and this was how it was discovered one year ago, but now know I must have had it for years. I feel I let him down but one year on realize with doctors backing I was losing my mind hallucinations sad but this happened after sons Childs birth. The narc didn’t believe this said I did this on badness she claims .

    Sadly at times it turns into dementia I have auto immune disease and because I was fed up of being neglected lied to on top of the illness I lashed out my punishment ghosted. The narc has cut us off and convinced our son to do this to his dad and mum but will meet up with his sister but sadly only met up twice in a year both make it awkward .

    His sister tries even after a nine hour open heart surgery the narc cut her off and our son is hardly seeing her and she hardly sees her nephew. Our son has cut off his family friends and she has cut off her family but kept her friends! She and her sister are rivals and states her mum loves her sister and not her yet the narc does the same to us.

    We have found out she lies found her out so many times. Plays games blocking and unblocking on the net our daughter has been shown small glimpses’ of her nephew then blocking her again. She unblocked our daughter close to her/narcs birthday and when she didn’t receive a present because frankly after blocking our daughter why reward her she then blocked daughter again .

    After meeting near narcs birthday a date close to the pre op our daughter practically begged to see our grandchild and her brother. Our daughter had a life saving op so ill yet daughter managed to see our grandchild but after said meeting narc yet again knowing our daughter had gone through life saving organ donation and seeing her scar has been blocked and ghosted again possibly because our son was wanting to care and meet his sister. Just wicked.

  16. I am building my life back after 20+ years of being married to a narcissist. The signs were there early but I didn’t understand. The relationship between us was good at times but mostly just tolerable. Most of her energy was put toward her work. I found it odd that every job she had, her boss was a jerk and was incompetent.

    Because she was career oriented and had much more earning potential, we moved for her work and everytime it was the same thing. I thought for the longest time it was because she was working in a “man’s world” and was being discriminated against. When we started a family, I stayed home to raise the kids. When they became school age, it seemed natural to restart my teaching career. As soon as I got reestablished, she convinced me to agree to move the family to a foreign country for a job that more than doubled her pay.

    I was nervous about it and my worst nightmare came true shortly after moving there. I was not happy with how she would just commit me to things without discussion. When I spoke up about this, she threatened to kick me out of the house. I knew then I had put myself in a very vulnerable position because I couldn’t fly back to the US,and wouldn’t leave my children behind, but I wouldn’t be able to stay in the country. She controlled everything. As happened with most her jobs, she got fired and we all came back.

    It came to a head when she opened her own business and worked from home. I struggled but worked to get reestablished in the work place to give myself some sense of control over myself. But home life was a living hell-I was a loser and worthless and though she never got up to have breakfast with me and the kids before, she now made a point of it to tell me how useless I was in front of the children. She woke me up to tell me she wanted a divorce because “(She) was making good money, the kids were old enough to take care of themselves so (she) didn’t need me anymore”

    The abuse got so bad, I couldn’t stand to see how stressed the children were and I was advised to move out as I was being set up. She had told me I needed to move out but when I did it was a shock to her. Then she started using the police to harass me everytime I picked up the kids to stay with me.

    Ultimately she made up some truly absurd charges but were good enough to get a TRO and she made sure to add I couldn’t have contact with my children. I got it lifted but only after I agreed to give her sole occupancy of our marital home. She used that along with the fact that I couldn’t afford my own place without a rent sharer to get majority custody. She misled the Court about everything-I was a terrible father, was abusive, and somehow convinced the Court that she made significantly less and that I made more to get child support so high I had to go into debt to pay my bills. She even got it retroactive so that I had to defend myself from jail time for being a deadbeat Dad. The children were alienated from me as I was marginalized as a parent and the reality she worked to create took hold, that only she could financially take care of the children. When you’re making over $115,000 and getting $16,000/yr tax free it’s easy to do.

    When you make $45,000 and being taxed on that but have $15,000 taken plus still have to pay for 1/2 private school tuition, it’s impossible. The Court was abusive. When I tried to explain what was really going on to the GAL assigned to our case, she said “Homeless people have custody rights.” Gee thanks! I was near the breaking point when finally our divorce got finalized. I got 50%custody but she immediately broke it and as one child now was an adult, the other close behind and due to all the stress they had to deal with, I didn’t have the heart to challenge her violations in Court.

    But since “finalization” she has had me in Court for 5 Motions and counting, trying to convince the 6th Judge to our case that I owe her for items while we were married that were taken from my buyout on the home. My youngest is almost 18 and she tried to formally change the custody arrangement -likely because she can’t stand paying me $206/month in support which will continue if my daughter goes to college (I paid $1209 for 2 1/2 years) and wants to ensure she can claim her for taxes. My son has come back to me and due to her abusive behavior, dropped out of the school he was attending and moved in with me.

    I read everywhere that it’s best to ignore her but am in a situation in which I really can’t because the Court continues to allow her to keep filing motions which require me to respond to and appear to defend myself. This year I’ve gotten 3 dismissed and have 2 more coming. But it seems she has no incentive to stop because she knows how disruptive it is at the very least.

    I am open to any advice-but not interested in counter motions that would only make me have to put more energy into her. Without the fact I have to respond to her Court motions, I could and do ignore the vast majority of her abusive messages. I’ve gotten better, but of course she uses it against me in Court saying she has to use it because I’m unresponsive to her and just recently was ordered to cooperate with her.

    Fortunately that’s a vague term but it gives you an idea of what I feel trapped in. Any thoughts are appreciated. What I just explained doesn’t do justice to the whole story but that would be a novel.


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