If you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, it can be hard to assess their volatile emotions. One minute you’re together, and then suddenly they discard you for some unknown reason.
You may start to wonder if they’ve really ended the relationship or if it’s just temporary.
So, how do you know if a narcissist is finally done with you?
Let’s find out.
Table of Contents
- For starters, narcissists are finished with you once your narcissistic supply gets stale
- When they show more interest in those outsides of your relationship as they seek validation, your opinion is becoming less valuable to them
- They start to devalue you
- They finally ignore you for good
- You will know when a narcissist is finished with you because they suddenly go no contact
- Narcissists leave relationships when their needs aren’t being met
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Is it possible to have a healthy relationship with a narcissist?
- How should I handle being rejected by a narcissist?
- Can a narcissist really change for the better?
- What is the difference between a narcissist losing interest and a regular relationship ending?
- How can I help a friend or family member who may be in a relationship with a narcissist?
- What are the long-term effects of a relationship with a narcissist?
- How can I recognize if I am in a relationship with a covert narcissist?
Licensed Clinical Psychologist | Professor of Psychology, California State University | Author, Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving a Relationship With a Narcissist
For starters, narcissists are finished with you once your narcissistic supply gets stale
At some level, I do believe that the inherent insecurity of a narcissist means that once you actually love them, because they are incapable of loving themselves, they actually have some contempt for people who do love them (it’s twisted but true).
The architecture of a narcissistic relationship: love bombing –> devaluation –> discard –> hoovering (sucking you back in) means that it can take a few turns at-bat for them to really be done. Some signs are:
- They no longer even have the energy to hold you in contempt or anger or lust. They just look right through you and don’t show you any strong emotion.
- Complete loss of interest in sex (with them it’s sex – it’s never about intimacy).
- Ghosting. This relates to my first point, they just can’t even muster up the energy to keep you around for a little bit of narcissistic supply.
- True replacement. If they find a partner they really deem more superficially better than you (younger, more attractive, wealthier, more powerful, more famous), then the excitement of such a sparkly new source of supply and the validation that comes with it means that they will be done (though once the new supply rejects them, they may come around again – hopefully, you are nowhere to be found).
- Your validation and supply don’t get you anywhere. Usually, narcissists can be relatively easy to manipulate through empty and inane compliments and flattery, but if even that isn’t working, they may really have run through you.
The narcissist may be a male or female, a boss, a spouse, a partner, or a co-worker. I hesitate to say a friend because narcissists have trouble making friends because they don’t dialogue or empathize, but expect to be listened to extensively and with admiration.
There are early sometimes subtle signs the narcissist may be finished with you and more obvious absolute signals.
Early signs the narcissist is finished with you
- The narcissist often ignores what you say almost as if you never spoke.
- The narcissist stops texting back to you or delays for days.
- The narcissist does not make eye contact with you.
- If it is a group setting, the narcissist never acknowledges you although he or she may acknowledge others.
- The narcissist broods or scowls and pouts most of the time when with you.
- The narcissist starts accusing you of being envious of him or her when the reverse is probably true.
- They start accusing you of lying or being disloyal.
- They feel easily slighted or criticized even if it’s constructive.
- They act vengeful for no apparent reason but if you look a bit deeper it is probably because they feel rebuked, slighted, or denied and aren’t getting their way.
- Their frequent silent treatment gets more often.
Absolute signals the narcissist is finished with you
- The silent treatment is daily until you are totally ignored like you are a piece of furniture.
- You are accused of lying, cheating, being disloyal frequently with no clear explanation or reason.
- A spouse or partner is unfaithful to you and has frequent sexual affairs that are kept secret until by chance you learn of this and the narcissist denies it or is clearly caught and can’t hide the truth any longer. This could go on for decades before you know but when you do know, he or she blatantly says he or she is through.
- The narcissist has affairs and says he feels ashamed, but continues doing so.
- The narcissist fires you if you are under his or her employ with barely an explanation and absolutely no empathy for your reactions or
- There is never an answer to any of your texts, emails, calls, or letters with perhaps one initial explanation and then never again.
- The narcissist continuously takes advantage of you and exploits you with no let-up.
- No admiration is ever enough. The narcissist is always in a rage at you
- You receive notification that you are being sued for a divorce unexpectedly (maybe because you didn’t pick up subtle signs, but it is not your fault that you are surprised.
Personal Power Coach | Author, The Soul Child Within | Founder, Sound Reiki Institute
Often people who are in a relationship with a narcissist are what I call “People Pleasers”. I know because I was a People Pleaser. In his book, Complex PTSD, Pete Walker quoted a client, “Narcissists don’t have relationships, they take prisoners.”
Narcissists are charming bullies who are often motivated by a deep fear of abandonment, something they experienced in childhood. Now they punish the rest of the world for it, especially with their close personal relationships because emotional support was something they were often denied during childhood.
To make it even trickier, their behavior in front of others can be very different than when they are at home with their partner. It can be tough for others to validate that you were being abused by them at all because others experience them as charming and invested. Narcissists tend to attract those they perceive as weaker and they use shame to intimidate, controlling them through anger and disgust.
Their partners are often co-dependent “people pleasers” or those emotionally frozen. They tie their happiness to the happiness of their partner and are willing to self sacrifice for Love. That’s a lot of power to give someone over your own happiness.
Narcissists will take full advantage of the over-giving of their partner while giving back 20%. In my coaching experience, people pleasers and those who are emotionally frozen are the most common types of personalities that are attracted to narcissists.
When are narcissists done with you? Narcissists thrive on validation.
When they show more interest in those outsides of your relationship as they seek validation, your opinion is becoming less valuable to them
They get more critical and demanding because they know your triggers and what will get them the reaction they seek. Nothing fully pleases them and they continuously look for opportunities to criticize and diminish you.
Get ready for a lot of fights, obvious lies, mysterious calls, and meetings as they draw further away from you.
Narcissists always look outside of their relationships for validation and can be charming for a short period of time, which is why they are usually quite popular with their friends.
It’s interesting, I’ve had clients whose husbands went out and had an affair because they were competitive and so afraid of abandonment, they convinced themselves that their spouse was the one having an affair when this was the furthest thing from the truth.
For me, the biggest question is why did the narcissist show up in your life? What about you attracted to this?
To heal from a relationship with a narcissist is to first heal your insecurities about being good enough and shifting your attitude about relationships.
It’s the big reason why the attraction to each other happens in the first place – you both resonate with the same low vibrational frequency of low self-esteem. In the world of energy, like attracts like, opposites do not attract. Our relationships are mirrors of how we feel about ourselves.
Often, I see co-dependent people trying to create the love they missed from a parent in childhood by attracting partners that create similar situations to those they experienced in their home life. More times than not, they will attract a similar personality to the parent that denied them, Love.
They often think that “if I couldn’t win the love of my mother/father, then I will with my partner so I know that I am OK.” Hence the continuous over-giving. The challenge is that narcissists lack empathy because they are so self-absorbed. It’s always all about them so any expectation for them to relate to how you are feeling got shut down before they met you.
And hey, they love personal slaves, why would they ever ask you to stop hand and footing them? This can become a depressing cycle of unfulfilling relationships for everyone.
What needs to change to attract more loving relationships?
Shift your vibration and your world will shift with it.
How do you shift your vibration? Vibration is affected by the way you think and more importantly how you feel. The biggest lie we tell ourselves is that we are not good enough. The truth is we are enough for anything we want to manifest.
Switch to love-based thinking and let go of fear-based thinking.
One thing an over-giver knows is that nothing changes if you stay the same. Over-giving does not develop a healthy relationship. All healthy relationships are 50/50 and are based on mutual respect and equality in how much each gives to the other.
Happy people decide to be happy, it is not something that just happens. Know that your safety comes from love, not the fear of not being good enough and the incredible energy wasted on trying to prove it to someone who doesn’t want you to be strong and independent.
The narcissist and their partners, the people pleasers and those emotionally frozen have one thing in common that connects them….low self-esteem. The behavior that is born of this limiting belief along with the vibration is sent out magnetically attracts someone with a different version of the same feeling of “I am not good enough” and the cycle begins again. This is the biggest lie we tell ourselves and it gets us into all kinds of messes.
Find new ways to feel safe because trying to change others or accepting bad behavior from them because you are used to it, is not good enough for you. Set the bar high, love yourself more and so will everyone else that deserves your magnificence.
Dr. Sherrie Campbell
Clinical Psychologist | Author, But It’s Your Family…Cutting Ties with TOXIC FAMILY Members & Loving Yourself in the Aftermath
It’s really impossible to predict when a narcissist is done with you because in most cases a narcissist never considers them done with you.
They may discard you for years but they often reappear. To anyone that they’ve been able to manipulate, they may view you as someone that they still own. They will come back at any time that they want and manipulate you again.
It’s wise to always know that the narcissist just might be lurking around the corner and to be aware of it so that you’re ready if they come back and try to start manipulating their way back into your life, if only so that they can discard you again.
Entrepreneur | Certified Transformational Life Coach | Author, Get What You Want from Your Man
A narcissist doesn’t enter a relationship out of love for someone. They enter a relationship out of need. So when their partner is no longer filling that need, they may choose to be done.
But are they really? A narcissist doesn’t give closure. They are never really done.
If for some reason in the future, you become an asset to them, they won’t think twice about luring you back into a relationship. So how do you know if they are done, at least for now?
Here are some telltale signs that he/she is through:
- Devalues you constantly, by putting you down, even at times when they used to be kind.
- Seems visually irritated at all times with you.
- They become intolerant of most everything you do.
- Starts to not show up or come home, without any excuses
- Shuts down and/or quits talking to you.
- Leaves with no warning signs.
- Starts showing heavier interest in someone else.
Truth is, some of these actions may already be in place when dealing with a narcissist. But when you notice an increase and complete apathy towards anything you feel/need/want, there’s probably more going on.
And the only way to know if they’re actually totally finished with you is time. Because it’s not in their best interest to give closure or break ties completely. It’s really up to you to make that decision.
Certified Mental Health Consultant, Enlightened Reality | Relationship Expert, Maple Holistics
They start to devalue you
You were once their everything. They put you on the highest pedestal and made you feel so important and valued. When they start to compliment you less and instead start to insult you, you know the tide is turning.
It may not always be the case, but as humans, many times we can feel in our gut when we are being disrespected. Listen to that gut feeling.
The narcissist is starting to turn on you and all the good days are behind you. If this person is saying and doing things to make you feel undervalued, they are done with you and are preparing to exit the scene.
They finally ignore you for good
In the early stages of a relationship with a narcissist, you will experience love bombing unlike you’ve ever experienced, so when they start to go in the complete opposite direction, it can be shocking.
When a narcissist gets bored with you, they will start to get distant and ignore you. However, you should know that a narcissist will likely come back and return to their charming and lovely facade that you fell in love with. Stand your ground and don’t let them back in. Eventually, they will accept the hint and finally leave you alone, and ignore you for good.
Clinical Hypnotherapist, Hypnobusters
You will know when a narcissist is finished with you because they suddenly go no contact
They won’t initiate contact, and they will probably stop responding to your messages, and ignore your calls. There are usually two reasons for this. They either realize that you’ve sussed them and they can’t get what they want from you anymore.
Or they have found themselves a shiny new supply that they perceive as superior to you. They might be younger, better looking, more successful, etc. Or it may just be that they can manipulate them more.
But a narcissist is rarely truly finished with you.
It might be months or years down the line that they might try and “hover” you. This could be a blank message “accidentally” sent to you. Or it might even be a “Hi, how are you doing”.
They do this because they have run out of attention. Narcissists need plenty of attention, and if their new supply ends, then they will look for someone else. If they can’t quickly find anyone else, then they will fall back on someone from their past.
Psychotherapist | Founder, Let’s Talk Divorce
Narcissists leave relationships when their needs aren’t being met
These are needs at the expense of their partner, not healthy reciprocity that’s necessary for a relationship. Narcissist’s needs include financial gain, attention, praise, control, sex, and anything that makes the narcissist look superior.
They tend to leave the relationship abruptly, with much chaos, and without regard for their partner’s feelings of disposability. Often, they come back again and again, which means that they may never be done with you. Only when they have a steady “supply” elsewhere will they stay away.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it possible to have a healthy relationship with a narcissist?
A healthy relationship with a narcissist is challenging due to their manipulative behavior, lack of empathy, and constant need for attention and admiration. While some narcissists can change with professional help, it is often a long and challenging process.
It is important to prioritize your well-being and consider whether the relationship is healthy and fulfilling for both parties. Establishing and maintaining strong boundaries is essential if you continue a relationship with a narcissist.
How should I handle being rejected by a narcissist?
Dealing with being rejected by a narcissist can be incredibly difficult, as it can cause feelings of confusion, betrayal, and low self-esteem. It is important to prioritize self-care and seek support from friends, family members, or a mental health professional to help you work through your feelings.
Remember that narcissists’ actions reflect their own problems, not your worth. Focus on healing and rebuilding your self-esteem through positive self-talk, enjoyable activities, and interacting with supportive people.
Can a narcissist really change for the better?
While it is difficult for a narcissist to change, it is not impossible. Change usually requires a deep self-awareness, a willingness to take responsibility for one’s actions, and a long-term commitment to therapy.
However, it’s essential to approach the possibility of change cautiously and realize that not all narcissists are willing or able to commit to the process. In some cases, the narcissist may use the promise of change as a manipulative tactic to maintain control over their partner.
What is the difference between a narcissist losing interest and a regular relationship ending?
In a normal relationship, both partners typically communicate openly about their feelings, and the end of the relationship is usually the result of mutual understanding or irreconcilable differences.
In contrast, when a narcissist loses interest, the end often happens suddenly and for no apparent reason. The narcissist may not offer closure or a clear explanation for their behavior, leaving the partner confused and hurt.
Narcissists tend to focus on their own emotional needs. They may quickly turn their attention to a new person. In contrast, in a normal relationship, both partners tend to prioritize the well-being of the other.
How can I help a friend or family member who may be in a relationship with a narcissist?
If you suspect that a friend or family member is in a relationship with a narcissist, it’s crucial to approach the situation with sensitivity and empathy.
Offer your support without judgment, and encourage them to communicate openly about their feelings and experiences. Share your concerns gently and provide them with information about narcissistic behavior so they can better understand their situation.
Encourage your loved one to prioritize their well-being and seek professional help if necessary.
What are the long-term effects of a relationship with a narcissist?
The long-term effects of a relationship with a narcissist can vary, but many people suffer emotional and psychological consequences such as low self-esteem, trust issues, anxiety, and depression.
It’s essential to recognize these effects and seek professional help, as therapy can help process the experience and rebuild emotional resilience.
Over time, with support and self-care, many people can recover from the effects of a narcissistic relationship and live fulfilling lives.
How can I recognize if I am in a relationship with a covert narcissist?
Recognizing a covert narcissist can be more challenging than identifying an overt narcissist because their behavior may be more subtle and less noticeable.
Signs to watch for include passive-aggressive behavior, a hidden sense of entitlement, a tendency to play the victim, and an underlying lack of empathy.
Covert narcissists may also use manipulative and controlling tactics that are less obvious but still damaging to your emotional well-being.
If you suspect you are in a relationship with a covert narcissist, consider consulting a mental health professional to help you navigate the situation.
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