Narcissists are actually very textbook creatures. Once you educate yourself on their common behaviours, you can then arm yourself with the knowledge and foresight needed to extricate yourself from their web.
Ultimately, the narcissist does not want you to ever leave them (unless they choose to discard you). You have been such an excellent source of narcissistic supply for them, they can’t bear the thought of not having your energy on tap.
But your happiness and self-worth are paramount. For your own wellbeing, you may be ready to now leave the narcissist in your life. Be aware though, they are not going to like it one bit.
So let the narcissist stand there, spewing and tantruming to the world, while you walk away. Allow yourself a little smile, as you see them for who they truly are – an emotionally incapable child, stuck in an adult’s body.
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Things That Happen When You Discard the Narcissist First
They will try guilt you into staying
One of the most common things that will happen when you discard the narcissist first is that they’ll try and guilt you into staying.
They may use their trauma or financial situation to keep you there. They will literally use every little thing they’ve ever done for you to keep you trapped. After all, that’s what the love bombing phase is for – so that you can’t turn around and tell them that they’ve never done anything for you.
A narcissist doesn’t do anything for free. Everything is transactional and they will expect it all to be repaid at some point in the future – whether you realise it or not.
Common ‘guilt’ phrases narcissists may use:
“You know I can’t stand being alone.”
“Go on, my Dad’s already left me, you might as well leave me too!”
“How can you leave the mother of your children?”
“After everything I’ve done for you!”
“I’m going to be homeless now, how can you do this to me?!”
“I’ve supported you through your studies and this is how you repay me?”
“How dare you!”
“I bought you that car/ paid for that holiday/ took you to expensive dinners and now you’re just going to walk away? You’re so selfish!”
“I’ve got nothing left to live for, I might as well just kill myself.”
At the end of the day, if someone’s guilting you into staying in a relationship that you don’t want to be in, it’s emotional blackmail.
They’ll bargain with you
After the guilt tactic, the next thing that will likely happen when you discard the narcissist first, is that they’ll try to bargain with you.
This is where all of the promises under the sun will be made… but only if you stay.
Bargains the narcissist may try to make with you if you stay:
“I’ll go to couples counselling.”
“I’ll stop drinking/ taking drugs.”
“I won’t see my mates any more.”
“We’ll save and go on that overseas trip you’ve always wanted to do.”
“Let’s try for a baby.”
“We can upgrade the house, like you’ve been asking for years.”
Don’t be fooled, just because they promise to go to therapy or stop drinking, doesn’t mean they actually have any intention of doing so. It’s called Future Faking.
Future faking is where a narcissist will promise you all sorts of things, with no plan to actually follow through. Example, they may give you the impression that they want to travel and have kids (even though they don’t) and that you two coming together is purely fated.
It’s merely a manipulation tactic to hook you into a reality that they know you want, even though they don’t want it and have no intention of delivering the goods.
Future Faking = making [fake] promises for the future, just to get what they want now.
Words are cheap, just like the narcissist. If you decide to stay, it won’t be long before everything goes back to normal. And I use the word ‘normal’ loosely, as nothing about an abusive narcissistic relationship is normal.
Just by you staying, you have basically consented to all of their past wrong-doings, which cannot be brought up again in the future.
At the end of the day, the narcissist has no plans to change. They just want to to get you back into your place, so that they can go back to being who they truly are while extracting supply.
They’ll threaten suicide
If you discard the narcissist first, get ready for, “I’ll kill myself.”
My narc ex pulled this one on me multiple times during the split. The first time he said it, I actually took his words seriously. I hugged him and told him that he still had kids to live for etc. I gave him lots of compassion and empathy.
By the second and third time he said it, I was much more sceptical. I mean, I’ve been there myself. When you’re truly suicidal, you don’t shout it from the rooftops just to get attention. You’re quiet, you generally keep it to yourself and you’re fairly resolute when you make that final decision.
I knew he was genuinely desperate in wanting to keep me there, but it was emotional blackmail. By that point I was merely exhausted from his manipulations and there was very little empathy left to give.
They will devalue you
Of course, one of the narcissist’s favourite weapons is devaluing. I mean, if they don’t have the spiritual, emotional and mental capacity to rise and meet you at your level, then they must bring you down to theirs.
The idea here is to basically crush any self-worth that you may have left, so that you don’t feel like there is anything outside of the abusive relationship for you.
Common narcissistic devaluing phrases:
“So what’s your plan, to be pathetic and single forever?”
“No one else will want you.”
“You’re lucky I even put up with you.”
“You’re nothing without me, you’ll be back.”
“Good luck affording to live without me.”
Remember who you are. Even though the narcissist’s words may cut deep and feel so real, they are not. They’re merely the projections of that scared, insecure child within who cannot stand the thought of being left with themselves.
|READ: 100+ Narc Gaslighting Terms →|
They’ll be nice as pie
Another anomaly, which can happen when you discard the narcissist first, is that they’ll be nice as pie.
It may feel like a genuine niceness, but don’t be fooled. They’ve just been forced to pull that mask back on and be on their best behaviour, in the hopes of hooking you back into their web.
A narcissist is incapable of being nice for extended periods of time.
Once I’d told my narcissistic husband of 20 years that I was done, he worked through all of the previous tactics that we’ve just covered. But, once it was clear that nothing was going to work and I was 100% leaving, he flipped the script to being super nice.
Then one day, something triggered a narcissistic injury within him. I can’t even tell you what it was to be honest, but his mask just flew off and that look of pure contempt was back.
“I’ve been walking on eggshells trying to be nice to you all week!” he threw at me.
I thought, “you know… it really shouldn’t be that difficult to just be a nice person.” That alone spoke volumes to me. Not to mention that he couldn’t stand walking on eggshells for a week or two, yet I’d been doing it the whole damn relationship with him!
They’ll tell you that no one else will love you
Telling you that no one else will ever love you is such a common tactic when you discard the narcissist first. This one goes hand in hand with devaluing you.
The narc wants you to feel as though you’re not loveable, which is ultimately a projection of themselves not feeling loveable. They are also masterful at digging into your deepest wounds and rubbing salt in them, all in the name of gaining narcissistic supply for themselves.
Their fear is that you will in fact find somebody who truly does love you the way that they never could. You leaving them is a total abandonment for them, even though they’ve done bugger all to actually make you want to stay.
Common “no one loves you” phrases used by the narcissist:
“No one will ever love you again.”
“No one can ever love you the way I do.”
“Not even your family love you as much as I do.”
I remember when my husband pulled some of these lines on me, I thought, “damn straight no one else will ever love me the way you do,” because if this is ‘love,’ I’m out!
They’ll fly into a rage
You can bet your bottom dollar that at some point after you’ve discarded the narcissist first, they’ll fly into a rage.
Some narcs may flip into a rage first up, while others will cycle through some of the devaluing and guilt-trip tactics first.
A narcissistic rage is purely an adult tantrum.
It’s basically, ‘I’m not getting my own way, and I want my own way NOW!’
But, narc rages can be scary to witness. Anyone who’s been on the receiving end will tell you how shut down they felt. These rages most definitely instil a sense of fear within the victim, especially if you’re dealing with a violent narcissist.
If you’re worried about your safety around a narcissist, it’s imperative that you get some help. Having a support person to be there when you have to converse with or confront a violent narcissist is highly recommended (although I know that’s always an easy task).
They will threaten you
Remember, you’re essentially dealing with an overgrown toddler here. So, when the other tactics aren’t working, the narcissist will throw in some threats just to round off the abuse.
They may threaten you financially, physically, materially, emotionally and/ or socially.
If they hold any of the pursestrings, they may threaten to not give you your money. When it comes to splitting assets, they’ll most definitely feel that they’re entitled to more than 50%.
When it comes to material items, they will justify why they deserve more or deserve the better quality items. They may even withhold your belongings from you as ‘punishment.’
Violent narcissists may threaten you physically or scare you with stalker tactics. These types of threats can be particularly disturbing and sometimes very covert, which makes it hard to prove what they’re doing to other people.
They may threaten to spread complete lies about you publicly, serving to shame, alienate, discredit and ruin you.
One of the threats I received was, “well, I just don’t know if I can show up for the kids if you can’t give me what I want.” Just to clarify… what he wanted was sex.
Threats can feel like such an extreme violation of your self, your freedom, your safety and your security, among other things.
Oftentimes we just need to stand strong within ourselves and realise that we cannot control what the narcissist says or does, no matter how painful. Surround yourself with the right people who support you no matter what, block that mofo from your life (if possible) and let the chips fall where they may. Know that you are living a life of integrity, no matter what bs the narcissist pulls.
The narcissist’s biggest fear is people finding out who they truly are.
An empath’s biggest trigger is people NOT seeing who they truly are.
And that my friend, is the difference between a narcissist and an empath.
They’ll want to remain ‘friends’
A rather annoying thing that will happen when you discard the narcissist first is that they’ll actually want to stay friends.
This poses a big conundrum, because you really need to rid them from your life so that you can start to heal from the abuse and move on.
But, you moving on is the last thing that the self-absorbed narcissist wants. After all, you’re their toy and they’re not done with you yet. They want to keep you on their shelf, to be pulled down and played with from time-to-time as they please.
As narcissists are so obsessed with their appearance and how the world views them, they feel the need for everyone to think that you’ve remained ‘friends.’
That way, their image will stay intact and they will get the extra validation of, “you guys are so amazing. Even after a break-up you’re still good friends.” It plays right into the hands of their false self, which requires that absolutely everyone must like them.
Plus, as I’ve just mentioned, they want you to still be available to them for whenever they feel the need. Maybe they want to continue to be able to crash on your couch or borrow money off you. Maybe they just want to be able to use you to dump on and vent to about their day, in turn giving them an energetic supply.
|READ: Going Low Contact with a Narc Ex →|
Whatever the case may be, I strongly recommend cutting off any ‘friendship’ with the narcissist once you’ve ended the relationship. If you have to stay in contact with them due to children, work or family, opt for Low Contact. Keep the communication strictly factual and business-like, but nothing beyond that.
They will not take any responsibility for the relationship breakdown
I remember my narc ex asking me, in the most innocent of ways, during the break up, “if there was one thing that you didn’t like throughout the relationship, what was it?”
Little did I know that this was a trick question. I hesitated to share a slice of my honest truth with this man, but I thought, maybe this will give him some insight. Maybe this will help him grow into a better person for the future. How wrong was I.
I responded by saying, “well… I hate how you’ve always spoken to me like rubbish.”
At first, he seemed to show a small amount of remorse. He said, “I’m sorry for the times that I’ve spokes to you that way. Sometimes I just snap, I don’t know why I do it.” Notice that he’s already backing out of taking accountability.
|READ: A Narcissistic Non-Apology →|
The conversation continued, “I don’t know what comes over me in those moments. I don’t say anything about it later on because I don’t want to bring it up again.”
I replied with, “people always appreciate an apology.”
Before I know it, he’s starting to get angry, saying, “it takes two you know. Obviously you’re saying something to trigger me, which makes me react like that, which then triggers you.”
So, just like that, every time he swore at me and spoke to me like dirt underneath his shoe, it was my fault. And me feeling crappy about how he’d spoken to me was simply a ‘trigger,’ which was also all on me.
In the end, I had to basically bow out and agree to disagree because the torrent of anger coming from him just would not stop. Isn’t it amazing how quickly he’d turned his actions of ‘speaking poorly to me,’ straight back onto me. There is absolutely no responsibility being taken for his own rageful outbursts.
Here I was thinking that he could use this conversation as something to grow from, but nope. A narcissist doesn’t see anything wrong with themselves or their behaviour. If you don’t like being treated like crap, that’s your problem, not theirs.
A narcissist will never take accountability for how their words or actions have contributed to the downfall of a relationship.
They will hoover you
As we’ve touched on, the narcissist will still expect you to be available for them at their whim.
When you discard the narcissist first, they will sneakily hoover you back in, just to keep you there on the hook. The narc also gets off on the the fact that they still have power over you, if you give in to the hoovering.
A hoover is anything that effectively hooks you back into their web. It’s an effective manipulation tactic, which can be disguised as something innocent.
Examples of narcissistic hoovers:
- Random text message (even though you’ve gone No Contact)
- Offering a helping hand
- Sending gifts for the kids
- Giving you money out of the blue (so now you feel indebted to them)
- Showing remorse for their wrongdoings (even though historically, they’ve never actioned any true change)
- Using important dates to reach out (birthdays, anniversaries, holidays etc.)
- Telling you how ‘perfect’ you are / how much they still love you / that you’re ‘soul mates’
- Start love bombing you again
- Promise you the world (although they have no intention of delivering)
- Urgently need you to help them with something
- Pretending like nothing has happened and that you’re both great friends
|READ: More Hoovering Techniques →|
If you do find yourself hoovered back into a relationship with a narcissist, you can guarantee that the abuse will not stop, in fact, it will oftentimes get worse. The narc will resent the fact that they had to love bomb or hoover you in again and you must be punished for that behaviour.
They’ll want to control the storyline
When you discard the narcissist first, they will most definitely want to control the storyline around what other people hear and think.
Ultimately, the narcissist cannot risk having anybody see the truth of the situation, even if they’re completely in the wrong.
They must appear as the hero or the victim at all costs, depending on which strategy they’re going for.
When I left the narcissist, he was constantly wanting to know who I’d spoken to, who I’d told about the split, what I’d told them and what they’d said in response.
Every time I saw him (unfortunately ‘No Contact’ was not possible with kids involved), he would be getting me into conversational corners.
He’d ask questions that really had no right answer. I was forced to either give him the answer he wanted, which would just validate his story. Or, if I spoke my truth, he’d gaslight and manipulate me, so that he could (attempt to) change my reality or my view on the situation, hence the storyline that I’d tell others.
There is no winning against a narcissist.
Except that by this point I was fully aware of his game, so there was nothing he could do to change my reality or storyline anymore.
Examples of questions he’d corner me with:
“I never made you feel like you couldn’t spend money, did I?”
“Did I ever stop you from seeing your friends?”
“Did I ever tell you that you had to cut out your family?”
“I never made you give up work, did I?”
The intention behind these types of questions is for the narcissist to control the story that you’re telling others.
If you agree with what the narcissist says, it serves to further strengthen their own story, which they’ll spew out to anyone who will listen. Plus, by you agreeing with them, you’re actually consenting to their version of events.
On top of that, you can never ever retract your agreeance with a narcissist. If you ever disagree with that topic or event at any point in the future, they will say, “but you said you agreed with me, why did you lie?” or “that’s not my problem that you’ve changed your mind.”
A narcissist is forever moving the goalposts.
If a narcissist corners you with a question (which clearly has no correct answer) and you disagree with their agenda, get ready for an argument!
They will be throwing all sorts of unrelated topics and accusations at you and have you caught up in a word salad before you have time to think. Next thing you know, you’re having to defend yourself at every move. You’ll be trying to explain yourself in the most logical and rational way possible, but it won’t make a scrap of difference. You will be so deep into the narcissist’s manipulations and gaslighting, that eventually, you’ll most likely end up admitting defeat, just out of sheer exhaustion.
They may conduct a smear campaign
One of the most infuriating, damaging and hurtful things that can happen when you discard the narcissist first is that they will embark on a smear campaign against you.
A smear campaign is one of the major ways that the narcissist will control the storyline of not only the break-up, but the relationship in its entirety.
The smearing can happen on social media, through the narcissists flying monkeys and with the narc getting to people before you can, just to paint their version of events.
You can guarantee that the narcissist will leverage their social media accounts to paint the picture of themselves as being the hero or the victim at the hands of you.
It could be the ‘poor me’ tactic, where they’ve given you everything and done everything for you and yet you selfishly left them. You’re an evil person!
Or, they could go for the other tactic and show the world how amazingly they’re doing without you. Because, after all, you were just holding them back from living to their true potential this whole time. Obviously, they’re the amazing, successful one, not you.
Flying monkeys in a narcissistic dynamic are the people who not only believe the narcissist’s stories, but they will willing do the work of the narc. They may spread gossip, which further enhances the narcissist’s storyline and they won’t hesitate to make you look like the bad guy.
Another common trait of the flying monkey is that they will come to you as a ‘concerned friend.’ You may feel comfortable enough to open up to them, but unbeknownst to you, the flying monkey is merely spying on you and gathering information to take back to the narcissist.
It’s really just a game where the narcissist creates competition amongst others and collects the people who are ‘on their side.’ This way they can treat them as pawns to use at their disposal.
The flying monkey may feel special to be a part of the narcissist’s inner circle, or there may be other perks, which appeal to them. Maybe the narc shouts them drinks all the time and invites them out, making them feel included.
In reality, the flying monkey often doesn’t fully realise that they’re being used, until the narc discards them once they’re done with them.
These flying monkeys prove to be extremely useful in publicly smearing someone who has discarded the narcissist, as they are the ultimate enablers of the abusive behaviour.
Getting into the ears of others
Another thing that will probably happen when you discard the narcissist first, is that they will get into the ears of others before you can.
This tactic is particularly heartbreaking when the narc gets to your personal family and friends before you have a chance to even talk to them. You won’t even have the opportunity to talk about what’s happened without those people already having the scene set in their minds.
You can bet that the narcissist has painted themselves in the light of the victim, which can only leave you as the perpetrator. Even though you know in your heart that it’s rubbish, will all of your friends and family believe what you have to say when the narc has already been there, bawling their eyes out and pulling at their heartstrings?
The best advice that was given to me by a friend was that ultimately, the right people in your life will back you and believe you without question. Some of them have probably already noticed little things that weren’t right in the relationship or with the narcissist, but had never mentioned anything. And the people that do believe the narcissist are not your friends anyway – they don’t deserve a place in your life.
I remember having a falling out with my narcissistic sister-in-law years ago. The first thing she did was ring my Mum and tell her what had happened from her own self-serving perspective. By the time I got a chance to speak to my own mother, she did not have my back. She totally believed everything my sister-in-law had said. Along with that, my Mum made it clear that she wasn’t getting involved, therefore the topic was closed with her. I was totally alienated from my own mother at the hands of a narcissist.
They may help you move out
Okay, I know this is a bizarre one, but let me explain.
Remembering that the narcissist cannot stand the thought of people seeing the real them, they will be putting on the whole ‘nice guy/ nice girl’ show for the world.
They don’t want people to hear along the grapevine that they’ve thrown your belongings onto the front lawn and keyed your car – because that would make them look crazy, right?
So, instead, the narcissist may actually help you move out into another place, just so that they can assume the ‘hero’ role. It’s imperative to them that all of your mutual friends and family see them as being perfect.
They also want everyone to see the separation as amicable (no matter what the reality is). Particularly if there’s any risk of you telling some of these people about the real reason you’re leaving their ass – because of their abusive behaviour.
Another layer to the ‘helpful ex’ role is to protect themselves by controlling the storyline. If you do share some of what went on behind closed doors, their nice exterior makes it harder for people to believe that they were actually extremely abusive.
They will replace you quick smart
After the narcissist has guilted you, threatened you, gaslighted you some more, raged at you, smeared you publicly, devalued you and hoovered you back in, then they will replace you.
Two weeks after my husband was still declaring his undying love for me and saying that he’ll never love anyone ever again, he’d swapped me out. I’m not even joking.
Even though I knew my very recent ex was a narcissist, it was still an incredible blow to be replaced with a new supply within months of the separation. I mean, we’d been together for 20 years, since our early twenties. He claims that he didn’t see the separation coming, it was a complete shock to him. And yet, here he is just two months later with a new girlfriend.
That was when I really had to face the fact that he’d never truly loved me to begin with. Sure, he loved what I’d given to him… my energy, time, compassion, empathy and my youth. I’d given him everything and even when he demanded more, I gave him that too.
But ultimately, he was a hungry narcissist who was desperate for a new energetic supply to feed off. He has no direct energetic source of his own, the only way he knows how to get it is to take it off others, not unlike a vampire.
Although it hurt like hell, ultimately I was free.
If you’re interested in seeing more on what happens when you discard the narcissist first, check out the video below by Mental Healness.
Interestingly, Lee is a self-aware diagnosed narcissist. After he was set to lose everything, he resonated with being a narcissist and has been going to therapy ever since, to try and learn how to be a better husband and father.
His channel is raw and real and you’ll get some great insights into how the narcissist’s mind works. Lee now works to educate people on narcissism and is the first guy to tell you to get out and go No Contact!
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