10 things every narcissist will do at the end of a relationship

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I know how tough going through a breakup with a narcissist can be from first-hand experience. 

They often have a way of making everything feel like it’s your fault, and it can be hard to understand what went wrong and who is really to blame. 

But it’s important to remember that a narcissist’s behavior is not your fault! In fact, there are certain things that they tend to do at the end of a relationship that you should be aware of.

Here are 10 things to look out for:

1) They’ll blame you for the end of the relationship 

If you’ve recently broken up with a narcissist, there’s a good chance that right now they’re currently blaming you for EVERYTHING that went wrong.

Talk about playing the victim card!

You see, narcissists hate looking bad. So, even if they’re the main reason you guys broke up, they’ll do everything in their power to pin the blame on you.

This will feel super unfair. There’s no doubt you’re dying to share your version of the story, and you should. 

But you should also keep in mind that those who matter, the people that really love and care about you, will recognize your (now) ex-partner’s narcissistic tendencies anyway!

2) They won’t take any responsibility for their actions 

As if putting all the blame on you isn’t bad enough, a narcissist will often refuse to take any responsibility for their wrongdoings. 

Why?

Well, it goes back to not wanting to have a negative reputation!

The truth is, narcissists can take responsibility, but only when they deem it something worth attributing to their character (i.e, working really hard, helping others, etc etc). 

The end of a relationship?

That’s not something a narcissist wants to acknowledge, even though they may well have been the cause!

Here’s what you need to remember; in a narcissist’s eyes, they can’t do wrong. That’s why they find it so hard to take accountability for themselves!

3) They’ll try to manipulate you into coming back 

Another thing a narcissist will do at the end of a relationship is attempt to manipulate you into getting back together. 

This could be done in a number of ways:

  • Trying to guilt you into giving the relationship a second chance
  • Gaslighting you (see the following point for more info on gaslighting)
  • Isolating you by cutting you off from your support system (essentially, keeping you reliant on them)
  • Making false promises (“I’ve changed, I swear!)

Learn to recognize these signs and learn them well! The ugly truth is that a narcissist will go to long lengths just to “reconquer” you. 

But in reality, they won’t have changed. They aren’t trying to get back together for the right reasons. 

They just want to remain in control!

4) They’ll gaslight you

Now, I mentioned gaslighting earlier, so let’s explore that a little…

Has your ex ever denied things that were clearly true?

Or maybe they’ve told you you’re imagining things? 

That you’re being too sensitive? 

Or that people will find you crazy if you told them what was going on?

All of the above are signs of gaslighting and let me be clear, this is a form of ABUSE. 

Essentially, a narcissist will do this to make you question your memories and emotions. 

This is another way they hide from taking responsibility for their actions, but it can be incredibly confusing and hurtful to their victim (in this case, that’s you).

My advice would be to talk to someone you trust. Keep a clear record of things that happened between you and your ex (for your own sanity). And anytime they try to gaslight you, cut off the conversation. 

There’s no point calling them out on it because a narcissist will just keep denying it!

5) They’ll badmouth you around town

If your narcissist ex doesn’t manage to win you back over, be sure they’ll take to tarnishing your image.

As cruel as it is, a narcissist will go to many lengths to make you look bad – even contacting employers or family members. 

And in the world of social media?

You’ve gotta be careful. If you’re able to, limit the access your ex has to private conversations or photos. Revenge porn is real and it isn’t pleasant. 

So what can you do if your ex starts running their mouth around town?

If it’s harmless, petty comments, the best thing would be to ignore it. If it’s more serious, you might want to warn employers and family members so they’re aware of the situation. 

And if they don’t stop? You need to contact the police. 

Just because they have the nerve to act this way, it doesn’t mean you have to put up with it! 

6) They may threaten to hurt themselves

 If you haven’t realized it already, narcissists will go to extreme lengths to get what they want…even to the point of threatening to hurt themselves.

This is called emotional blackmailing – they’re trying to guilt you into doing what they want.

They might threaten to hurt themselves, or others.

But will they actually do it?

In most cases, no. 

You see, narcissists tend to have a high sense of self-importance and self-preservation – they’ve not got any real interest in inflicting pain on themselves, but they know that threatening to do so will have a huge emotional impact on you.

As I’ve mentioned before, if you are concerned and your ex keeps threatening self-harm, the best thing to do is call the police. 

Be frank about the situation, and allow them to deal with your ex. There’s not much you can do (except give in to their demands, which I don’t advise doing).

The after-effects of going through this can be very damaging to your mental health, so remove yourself from the situation as soon as possible!

7) They’ll hold onto your personal belongings

There’s one thing I haven’t mentioned much of yet but is very important:

Narcissists want to remain in control…

Of EVERYTHING. 

So, if needs be, they’ll keep hold of your personal belongings because gives them something to barter with, if you like.

“You’ll get your stuff back, IF….”

“I’m not giving you back your things until you do ___ for me.”

Want my advice?

If it’s replaceable, it’s not worth fighting for. Let it go and buy new things. The longer you allow a narcissist to control you, the more they’ll keep a tight grip! Especially if they see that their tactics are working.

On the other hand…

If it’s something significant, maybe a scarf your late grandma knitted you and you’re not prepared to say goodbye to it, you can always get in touch with law enforcement to arrange the return of your belongings! 

8) They might jump straight into a new relationship

Now, this point may seem contradictory; isn’t your narcissist ex trying to get you back?

Yes, but they may quickly enter into a new relationship in the hopes of making you jealous!

So, don’t be surprised if they’ve “moved on” a week after the breakup. 

The truth is, they haven’t really moved on. 

You see, narcissists, for as confident and charming as they come across in the beginning, are actually incredibly insecure. 

So, if they’re not trying to make you jealous, they may still entertain a new relationship simply so they don’t have to be alone. 

Maybe it’s to help repair their image, keep them warm at night, or in hopes of getting you back; whatever the reason, leave them to it!

The less attention they show you, the better. In fact, it may be in your best interests if they do move on and leave you alone!

If you’re breaking up with a narcissist now, then you may find the below video helpful on 7 things you need to know about breaking up with a narcissist. 

9) They may stalk you or keep tabs on where you go 

Remember how I mentioned control, earlier?

Well, another thing narcissists will do at the end of a relationship is to try to control your movements. In some extreme cases, this can turn into stalking.

So, if you notice them:

  • Showing up “coincidentally” wherever you are
  • Constantly texting or phoning to ask where you are
  • Asking friends or family about your whereabouts
  • Showing up at your place of work or home

It’s not a good sign!

So why might they do this?

Well, they could be worried that you’re moving on or meeting new people. But mainly they just want to remain in the driver’s seat; they want to be in control even if you’re not together anymore. 

And knowing where you are and what you’re doing at all times helps make them feel like they’ve still got a grip on the situation.

10) They’ll try to control how the relationship ends 

And on that note, a narcissist might also try to control the end of the relationship.

The easiest way to explain this is to give a personal example:

An ex of mine (total narcissist) wanted us to keep in touch on certain days after we had broken up (I believe he expected a phone call every Monday and Thursday).

He said that it would make him feel better if I contacted him on these days. He also wanted me to tell people that the end of the relationship was MY fault, even though it wasn’t.

Essentially, he wanted to shape things so it would make him look better in the eyes of everyone else.

He even wanted to put a time limit on how soon I could meet someone else!

Luckily I didn’t buy into his crap, but it was scary at the time.

So, I feel you if you’re in the process of (or have recently) broken up with a narcissist. No breakup is nice, but with this type of person, it’s even worse.

I hope the points above have given you an overview of what to expect. Remember to look out for the signs and always, always contact the police if things get serious. 

Confide in friends and family – they’ll be your savior. And whatever you do, don’t go back! 

Kiran Athar

Kiran is a foodie, writer and traveler. She considers herself a citizen of the world, who gets her inspiration from the people she meets along her journeys. She's currently living in Spain, where she spends her time writing, watching the shepherds and eating tapas in the mountains of Andalucía.

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