What happens when a narcissist realizes they can’t break their partner’s spirit?

Narcissists need to dominate and control their partners to feel superior. They achieve this by using tactics like manipulation, gaslighting, and emotional abuse to maintain their superiority.

Over time, these tactics can destroy the spirit of the narcissist’s partner. After all, being subjected to manipulation and abuse can erode someone’s self-esteem, leading to self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy.

However, sometimes, the narcissist’s partner remains resilient and unbroken. This causes a shift in relationship dynamics, which can throw the narcissist off and disrupt their usual games.

10 reactions from the narcissist when they can’t break you

Narcissists expect their carefully crafted tactics to break their partners down so the narcissist can maintain dominance. When this doesn’t happen, the narcissist must try something different.

They cannot afford to lose control of their partner, as this would threaten their dominance and beliefs that they are superior, causing a breakdown of their fragile egos. 

If you’re with a narcissist, and they realize they cannot break you, expect some or all of the following reactions. 

#1 Outbursts of anger

When the narcissist realizes they cannot control their partner’s emotions, they are likely to become frustrated and angry. Narcissists rely upon control of others to meet their goals, so being unable to exert control is a barrier. 

Given that it interferes with the narcissist’s goal-attainment, your resilience will cause intense irritation. You can, therefore, expect more frequent outbursts and attempts to regain control through anger. 

#2 The silent treatment

Narcissists love to punish others with the silent treatment. They think that you will be hurt by their withdrawal from you, which will ultimately cause you to change your behavior.

With the silent treatment, the narcissist hopes you’ll feel abandoned and rejected, leading you to come back to them, begging for reconciliation.When you come crawling back, they’ll be satisfied they have control again. 

See also  How Do Narcissists Treat Their New Girlfriends? Better Than You?

#3 Taking on the victim role

If the narcissist cannot break your spirit, they will gladly take on the victim role to gain some sympathy from others. They may portray you as an abuser to friends and family, which flips the narrative and allows them to get some external validation.

Painting themselves as victims to others allows narcissists to regain some semblance of control over you. They might not have been able to break you down in private, but with your reputation on the line, you might just give in to them. 

#4 Turning up the dial on manipulation tactics

When the narcissist realizes they aren’t breaking you down with their usual manipulation tactics, they will simply turn up the intensity. 

They will continue their mission to break your spirit by escalating the level of gaslighting and guilt-tripping they send your way. They hope that with ongoing manipulation, they can undermine your confidence and sense of reality even further.

#5 Smear campaigns 

The smear campaign is one of the narcissist’s key tactics. If they can’t control someone how they’d like, they will initiate a smear campaign.

This involves spreading rumors or lies about a partner to friends, family members, or coworkers. This tactic will discredit you, which can further isolate you from sources of support and make it easier for the narcissist to control you. 

#6 Intense paranoia 

Narcissists expect to be able to control everyone around them if they so desire. They think they are superior, so it never crosses their minds that someone might be immune to their games.

So, they can become highly paranoid when they cannot break you down. Since their usual tactics aren’t working, they will begin to question your motives, assuming that you are plotting against them or somehow undermining their authority.

See also  Why Do Narcissists Love-Bomb You?

#7 Projection

To cope with their frustration over being unable to break you, the narcissist may turn up the dial on their efforts to project their negative traits onto you.

Rather than taking accountability, they will shift the blame and accuse you of the very actions they are guilty of. This further complicates relationship dynamics, and is a desperate attempt to find a way to break you. 

#8 Boundary-testing

When the narcissist cannot break you, they will try to test your boundaries to see how far they can push you before you finally break. When they cross a boundary that upsets you, they learn a new way to exert control.

So, if they haven’t broken you down yet, you may find the narcissist pushing your limits, violating your personal space, and making unreasonable demands. They want to see just how much you can tolerate. 

#9 Searching for new supply

After the narcissist has tried several strategies to break you down, such as increasing their manipulation tactics and testing your limits, they will give up and search for new supply.

If the narcissist can’t break you down, you’re no use to them. They need someone who is so broken down that they’re willing to give into the narcissist’s every demand. Once it’s clear you won’t do that, they have to find someone who will.

#10 Discarding 

Once the narcissist finds someone to replace you, they will eventually discard you. Convinced that you’re no good for them, they will toss you to the side for a partner who is easier to control.

When the narcissist has secured a new partner, they may abruptly end the relationship with you, because they are convinced they’ve found a new target who is easier to manipulate.

See also  20 Things Narcissists Say to Get You Back

Sometimes, the narcissist will subject you to awful treatment before the discard. They may become physically abusive, turn up the intensity on verbal abuse, or throw their new source of supply in your face, just to make one last effort to ruin you before they toss you to the curb. 

The bottom line

Healthy relationships involve shared power, open communication, and mutual support. Unfortunately, the narcissist is far from healthy.

They know nothing about healthy relationships; their only goal is to control you so you’ll bend to their will. They know you’re easier to control if your spirit is broken, so they will make every effort to break you down.

Narcissists are accustomed to their typical manipulation tactics, which do a fine job of getting them what they want. However, they are quite perplexed when they run into someone who isn’t broken down so easily.

If they can’t break your spirit, they’ll make several additional attempts to break you down. They’ll test your boundaries, lash out in anger, or manipulate you even more intensely, dead set on driving you to the point of insanity.

When these tactics don’t work, they’ll simply find someone else to torture. You’re no use to the narcissist unless you’re broken down and willing to comply with all their demands.

Rest assured that if the narcissist discards you because you were too resilient for them, you’ve won the battle. You’re unwilling to let someone use you as a doormat, and you certainly don’t let disrespect get you down.

These traits will be useful as you navigate a life free from the narcissist’s grip.

Related Articles