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
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.