7 Things Narcissists Do When You Go No Contact | How Does a Narcissist Handle Rejection and No Contact
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a psychological condition marked by an inflated sense of self-importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. Whether familial, romantic, or otherwise, people who have a relationship with a narcissist often find themselves ensnared in a complex web of manipulation, control, and emotional turmoil.
Establishing firm boundaries is a crucial step in dealing with a narcissist. Often, the most healthy and effective boundary is initiating a ‘no contact’ rule. Going ‘no contact’ entails cutting off all communication and interaction with the narcissist to protect your emotional well-being. However, this step has challenges, mainly due to the narcissist’s typical reactions to such a decision.
In this blog post, we will delve into the seven things narcissists typically do when you go ‘no contact’ and how they handle rejection and the implementation of ‘no contact.’ Understanding these behaviors can provide invaluable insights and strategies for those on the arduous journey towards freeing themselves from a narcissistic relationship.
Understanding ‘No Contact’
‘No Contact’ is a term commonly used in the context of narcissistic abuse recovery, and it represents one of the most effective strategies to regain control and start the healing process. This concept involves cutting off all communication and interaction with the narcissist. It includes in-person meetings, phone calls, emails, and text messages, blocking them on all social media platforms.
The ‘No Contact’ rule aims to protect the victim’s emotional well-being, providing them with the necessary space and peace to heal and rebuild their life free from the narcissist’s manipulation and control. This boundary acts as a safeguard against further psychological harm. It allows for the breaking of the toxic bond that has been formed.
However, implementing ‘No Contact’ is challenging. It requires considerable strength and resilience, as it often comes with feelings of guilt, fear, and loneliness. Moreover, the narcissist’s reactions to this boundary being set can further complicate the process. They may engage in a range of behaviors to reestablish control or provoke a response, making the maintenance of ‘No Contact’ difficult.
Despite these challenges, it’s important to remember that ‘No Contact’ is a crucial step towards recovery. It helps victims disconnect from the toxic influence of the narcissist and start focusing on their self-care and healing. The initial period may be challenging, but with time, resilience, and support, one can navigate through this period and come out stronger on the other side.
7 Things Narcissists Do When You Go No Contact
When you decide to cut ties and go ‘no contact’ with a narcissist, their reactions can be intense and varied. Here are seven common behaviors you might encounter:
1. Denial: The Narcissist’s Initial Response
Denial is often the first response from a narcissist when faced with a situation they don’t want to acknowledge or accept. This behavior can manifest in various ways:
Dismissal: The narcissist may downplay your decision to go ‘no contact’ or stop chasing them, treating it as a trivial, temporary matter that doesn’t concern them. They might act as if nothing has happened, disregarding your actions and statements.
Blaming Others: The narcissist may refuse to take responsibility for the actions that led to the situation, instead placing the blame on others. They might accuse you of overreacting, being too sensitive, or misinterpreting their actions. Alternatively, they may blame external factors, never accepting that their behavior could be the root cause of the problem.
Rewriting History: Some narcissists may rewrite history, denying events or actions that have occurred. They might insist that abusive incidents never happened, or they may present a distorted version of events to make themselves look better.
Denial serves as a defense mechanism for narcissists, shielding them from the uncomfortable truth and preserving their inflated sense of self. It’s important to recognize these tactics for what they are and to stand firm in your decision to protect your emotional well-being.
2. Anger and Aggression: A Narcissist’s Reaction to Losing Control
When narcissists feel their control slipping away, such as when a partner implements ‘no contact’ or stops chasing them, they can respond with anger and aggression. These intense reactions stem from their fear of losing control and their fragile sense of self. Here’s how this may manifest:
1. Verbal Abuse: Narcissists may resort to verbal attacks, including harsh criticisms, sarcastic remarks, or even explicit name-calling. These verbal assaults aim to belittle you, make you question your self-worth, and provoke a reaction.
2. Blaming and Shaming: A common form of aggression from a narcissist involves placing blame on others. They’ll accuse you of causing their anger, claiming that their aggressive behavior merely reacts to your actions. That serves to deflect responsibility from themselves.
3. Threats and Intimidation: Some narcissists may resort to threats or intimidating behavior to regain control. That could range from veiled threats to more overt displays of aggression. In extreme cases, it could escalate to physical violence.
4. Destructive Actions: Narcissists can exhibit destructive behavior aimed at causing distress or demonstrating their anger. That involves damaging possessions, spreading rumors, or trying to sabotage your relationships or reputation.
While these behaviors can be terrifying and overwhelming, it’s crucial to remember that this is a reaction to the narcissist losing control, not a reflection of your worth or behavior.
3. Bargaining: A Narcissist’s Attempt to Regain Control
Bargaining is a common strategy employed by narcissists when they feel they are losing control of a situation or person. This tactic involves making promises or concessions to regain control or prevent the loss of their source of narcissistic supply. Here’s what this might look like:
1. Promising Change: Narcissists might promise to change their behavior, acknowledging their mistakes and vowing to improve. However, it’s important to remember that narcissists often lack the self-awareness and empathy necessary to make meaningful, lasting changes.
2. Using Guilt: The narcissist may try to make you feel guilty for deciding to end the relationship or go ‘no contact.’ They might argue that they’re being unfairly treated, that they need you, or even that you owe them another chance.
3. Offering Incentives: Narcissists might offer incentives to persuade you to change your decision. This could involve material gifts, special favors, or promises to fulfill your desires. However, these ‘gifts’ usually come with strings attached, serving as a means of maintaining control over you.
4. Emotional Manipulation: Narcissists are adept at exploiting emotions, and they may use fear, obligation, or pity to sway your decision. If you leave, they might express extreme distress, profess deep love, or threaten severe consequences.
5. Using Shared History: The narcissist might bring up shared memories, achievements, or dreams to convince you to reconsider your decision. They use the past as a weapon to tug at your emotional strings, trying to evoke nostalgia and sentimentality.
Recognizing these tactics is crucial when dealing with a narcissist. While it’s natural to want to believe their promises and give them another chance, it’s essential to remember their history of manipulative behavior and emotional abuse.
4. Smear Campaign: A Narcissist’s Defense Mechanism
When narcissists feel threatened or rejected, they may resort to a smear campaign against you. That is a defensive and aggressive strategy to damage your reputation and self-esteem while maintaining their image. Here’s how this tactic can play out:
1. Spreading Lies or Exaggerations: The narcissist might begin spreading false information or exaggerated stories about you. They typically portray themselves as the victim and you as the perpetrator, distorting the narrative to suit their needs.
2. Gaslighting: A smear campaign often involves gaslighting, where the narcissist manipulates you into doubting your perception of events. They might deny things that happened, twist the truth, or accuse you of behaviors that they exhibited.
3. Turning Others Against You: The narcissist may attempt to turn friends, family members, or even your colleagues against you. They’ll present themselves as the aggrieved party, gaining sympathy and support while isolating you.
4. Using Social Media: Narcissists often use social media as a platform for their smear campaigns. They might post defamatory content about you, share private information or conversations, or manipulate public opinion against you.
5. Invoking Pity: As part of their smear campaign, narcissists often paint themselves as the misunderstood victim, unjustly attacked by you. This not only garners their sympathy but also diverts attention away from their abusive behavior.
5. Hoovering: A Narcissist’s Pull to Regain Control
Hoovering is a manipulation tactic used by narcissists to suck their victims back into an abusive situation or relationship, much like a Hoover vacuum. This tactic is often employed after no contact or a break-up when the narcissist fears losing their source of narcissistic supply. Here’s how hoovering may present itself:
1. Love Bombing: The narcissist may shower you with affection and praise to remind you of the good times. They’ll use charm and charisma to pull you back in, creating a sense of nostalgia and false hope for the future.
2. False Apologies: A hoovering narcissist may offer what appears to be heartfelt apologies for their past behavior. However, these apologies often lack genuine remorse and are a ploy to regain control.
3. Creating Urgency: The narcissist might fabricate a crisis or urgent situation to force a reaction or contact. That could involve health scares, made-up emergencies, or simulated emotional breakdowns.
4. Using Mutual Connections: Narcissists might use mutual friends, family members, or even your children as conduits to communicate with you or glean information about your life. They might also use these shared connections to send messages or convey their ‘improvements’ or ‘hardships.’
5. Promises of Change: Narcissists can make grand promises of change, vowing to seek therapy or alter their ways. While change is possible for everyone, fundamental transformation requires deep self-awareness and commitment, which narcissists often lack.
Recognizing hoovering tactics is crucial for maintaining no contact and protecting your mental health. These manipulations can tug at your heartstrings and create confusion, but remember the cycle of abuse that often follows the narcissist’s seemingly sincere overtures.
6. Playing the Victim: A Narcissist’s Deflection Tactic
When narcissists realize that their usual control tactics aren’t working, they often play the victim. This behavior is a manipulative strategy designed to evoke sympathy and guilt, drawing attention away from their actions and onto their alleged suffering. Here are some ways this tactic may manifest:
1. Self-Pity: Narcissists may use self-pity to paint themselves as the ones being hurt, claiming they’re being treated unfairly or unkindly. They’ll emphasize their feelings of hurt or rejection, attempting to make you feel guilty for their perceived suffering.
2. Manipulating Facts: To make their victim role more believable, narcissists may distort the facts of the situation. They might exaggerate incidents, omit important details, or even create false narratives portraying them as the innocent party.
3. Evoking Sympathy from Others: Narcissists often use their victim status to gain sympathy or support from others. They’ll share their version of the story (often heavily skewed or outright false) with friends, family, or even social media, hoping to garner backing and further isolate you.
4. Excusing Their Behavior: Narcissists can conveniently excuse or justify their own unacceptable behavior by playing the victim. They’ll claim their actions were responses to being ‘mistreated’ or ‘misunderstood,’ refusing to take responsibility for their abusive behavior.
Recognizing this tactic is vital to maintaining your resolve and protecting your mental health. Remember, genuine victims, seek justice, not control. Conversely, narcissists use their ‘victim’ status as a control tactic, aiming to keep you in their emotional grip. Stick to your perception of reality, rely on your support network, and, if necessary, seek professional help to navigate this complex situation.
7. Moving On Quickly: A Narcissist’s Display of Indifference
Narcissists often move on quickly after a relationship ends, especially when they lose control over their previous partner. This behavior is another manipulation tactic aimed at triggering emotions of jealousy, insecurity, and inadequacy in the one left behind. Here’s how this might look:
1. Swift Replacement: Narcissists can quickly jump into a new relationship, often before the previous one has ended. This rapid replacement serves a dual purpose: it provides them with a new source of narcissistic supply (attention, praise, validation), and it sends a message to their ex-partner that they are easily replaceable.
2. Public Display: Narcissists are likely to flaunt their new relationship, making it as visible as possible through social media posts or public appearances. The aim is to ensure their previous partner is aware of their new ‘happiness’ and feels the sting of being left behind.
3. Idealization Phase: The narcissist will typically enter the idealization phase with their new partner. This phase, characterized by excessive attention, affection, and praise, is designed to lure the new partner into the narcissist’s control. Observing this from the outside can be painful for the previous partner, who might feel discarded and inadequate.
4. Discrediting the Past: Narcissists might compare their new partner favorably to their ex, highlighting the new partner’s ‘superior’ traits and their new relationship’s ‘improved’ state. That serves to demean the ex-partner and make them feel inferior.
How Does a Narcissist Handle Rejection and No Contact
Rejection and the implementation of ‘no contact’ are particularly challenging for narcissists, primarily due to their inflated sense of self-importance and entitlement. When faced with rejection or ‘no contact,’ a narcissist’s typical reactions may involve a wide range of emotions and actions, from confusion and denial to anger and retaliation.
Short-term reactions: Initially, a narcissist might refuse to acknowledge the rejection or ‘no contact’ rule, dismissing it as a temporary situation. If reality starts to set in, they may experience rage, humiliation, and confusion. To regain control, they might engage in aggressive behaviors or start a smear campaign to tarnish your reputation.
Long-term reactions: In the long term, if the ‘no contact’ rule continues to be enforced, a narcissist may resort to more manipulative tactics. These could include playing the victim to garner sympathy or quickly moving on to a new relationship to demonstrate that they are unaffected by your absence. Sometimes, they might oscillate between these different tactics to break your resolve.
It’s important to note that these behaviors do not reflect genuine love or concern for your well-being. Instead, they indicate the narcissist’s inability to handle rejection and loss of control. By recognizing these behaviors for what they are – attempts at manipulation and control – you can better maintain your resolve to keep the ‘no contact rule in place and protect your emotional well-being.
How Does a Narcissist React When You Stop Chasing Them
When you stop chasing a narcissist or cease participating in their manipulative games, it disrupts their sense of control and self-importance. Consequently, they may respond in various ways, often dependent on their personality and the extent of their narcissistic traits. Here are some possible reactions:
1. Intense Pursuit: Narcissists feed off attention; if they sense they’re losing it, they might escalate their behaviors to regain it. They may increase their attempts to manipulate you, using guilt-tripping, love-bombing, or even threats to make you return to their control.
2. Anger and Retaliation: If their attempts to lure you back fail, the narcissist might respond with anger. They could become vindictive, seeking to punish you for what they perceive as your wrongdoing. That could involve lashing out verbally, spreading false rumors, or bullying.
3. Playing the Victim: Some narcissists might portray themselves as victims when you stop chasing them. They may spread stories about how they have been mistreated, seeking to gain sympathy from others and paint you in a negative light.
4. Quick Replacement: Narcissists will often try to quickly replace you with someone else, particularly someone willing to give them the attention they crave. They do this to demonstrate that they’re unaffected by your departure and to regain the feeling of control and power.
5. Periods of Silence or Disappearance: Some narcissists might retreat, showing periods of silence or disappearing altogether. However, this is often a temporary phase, and they may reappear once they think you’ve let your guard down.
Regardless of their reaction, it is vital to maintain your boundaries and remain committed to your decision to stop participating in their manipulation. It’s crucial to remember that any change in a narcissist’s behavior is likely a tactic to draw you back rather than a genuine change in your character or attitude.
When You Stop Reaching Out to a Narcissist
When you stop reaching out to a narcissist, you disrupt their expectations and source of ‘narcissistic supply’ – the attention and validation they constantly seek. This shift in dynamics can trigger a variety of reactions:
1. Intense Effort to Regain Connection: Initially, the narcissist may redouble their efforts to regain your attention. That could involve excessive messaging, calls, or attempts to meet in person. They might compliment you, make grand promises, or use manipulative tactics such as gaslighting and triangulation to confuse and draw you back.
2. Anger and Blame: If you maintain your distance, the narcissist may become angry and start blaming you for the issues in the relationship. They might hurl accusations, belittle you, or become overtly hostile, all to provoke a reaction and reestablish control.
3. Playing the Victim: The narcissist might also play the victim card. They might spread stories about being mistreated, unjustly ignored, or abandoned, trying to evoke sympathy from you or others and provoke guilt that could lead you to reach out.
4. Quick Replacement: A common tactic used by narcissists when they’re being ignored is to find a replacement quickly. They might showcase this new person on social media or through mutual acquaintances to provoke feelings of jealousy or inadequacy in you.
5. Periods of Silence: Some narcissists may respond with an unexpected silence, using the absence of communication as a punishment or a way to make you anxious and provoke you into reaching out.
Remember, these reactions are not about you; they are about the narcissist’s inability to cope with the perceived loss of control and attention. Suppose you’ve decided to stop reaching out to a narcissist. In that case, it’s crucial to stick to your decision, maintain firm boundaries, and seek support if needed. Protecting your mental and emotional health should always be your priority.
Coping Strategies for Implementing No Contact
Implementing and maintaining a ‘no contact’ rule with a narcissist can be incredibly challenging, especially given the tactics they might employ to provoke a response. Here are some coping strategies to consider:
1. Set Firm Boundaries: Be clear about your decision to go ‘no contact’ and what that entails. That may involve blocking their number, email, and social media accounts and communicating your decision to mutual acquaintances if necessary.
2. Build a Support Network: Contact trusted friends, family members, or a support group who understand your situation. Sharing your experiences and feelings with understanding others can be incredibly therapeutic and empowering.
3. Engage in Self-Care: Focus on your health and well-being. Engage in activities you enjoy, exercise regularly, maintain a balanced diet, and ensure you get enough sleep. Taking care of your physical health can also support your emotional well-being.
4. Seek Professional Help: If you’re finding it particularly difficult to cope, consider seeking help from a mental health professional. Therapists or counselors experienced in dealing with narcissistic abuse can provide valuable insights and coping strategies.
5. Practice Mindfulness and Emotional Regulation: Techniques like mindfulness, meditation, yoga, or even deep-breathing exercises can help manage anxiety and stress, keeping you grounded and focused.
6. Work on Self-Empowerment: Take this time to reconnect with yourself. Engage in activities that boost your confidence and self-esteem. That might involve picking up a new hobby, learning a new skill, or setting personal goals and working toward them.
7. Document Everything: If the narcissist continues intruding on your life, record all communications or incidents. This documentation can be vital if you must involve legal authorities or obtain a restraining order.
Remember, there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to dealing with narcissistic abuse; what works for one person might not work for another. It’s crucial to find strategies that work for you and remember that asking for help is okay. You’re not alone, and resources and support are available to help you through this challenging time.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder can create a turbulent, emotionally draining environment for those involved with a narcissist. Going ‘no contact’ or ceasing to engage with the narcissist can be a challenging but often necessary step towards recovery and healing.
Narcissists’ reactions to these changes are about their inability to handle the loss of control and attention. These reactions do not reflect your worth or the validity of your decision to protect your well-being.
While maintaining ‘no contact’ can be challenging due to a narcissist’s manipulative tactics, several strategies can support you during this time. From seeking professional help and building a support network to focusing on self-care and empowerment, these approaches can help manage the stress and emotional turmoil that often accompany the decision to cease contact.
It’s important to remember that healing from narcissistic abuse takes time and patience. Every step you take to reclaim your life and mental health is a victory. By establishing and maintaining your boundaries, seeking support, and prioritizing your well-being, you’re demonstrating immense strength and resilience. It’s a journey, and you’re moving closer each day toward a healthier, happier, and more peaceful life.