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

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.

Written by Alexander Burgemeester on

Alexander Burgemeester has a Master in Neuropsychology. He studied at the University of Amsterdam and has a bachelor's in Clinical Psychology. He devotes himself to writing important information about certain mental health topics like Narcissism and Relationship problems. He is the main author of all content on Thenarcissisticlife.com Want to know more? Read by author bio page.

22 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 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.

  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❤️😊

  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.

  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.

  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.’

  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!

  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.


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