The turmoil of a topsy-turvy (read: toxic) relationship can hamper your mental state, sometimes even leading you to a state of burnout. When you decide to cut ties and initiate no contact with a narcissist, they may react in extreme ways that you may not be prepared for.
As you can probably guess, how narcissists react to no contact borders on toxicity, often even crossing that line. When the source of their validation and admiration is challenged, they find it extremely difficult to accept and cope with the loss.
If you’ve decided to establish no contact with a narcissist, knowing what’s in store can help you figure out what your next steps need to look like. In a nutshell, you’ve got to make sure you follow the no-contact rule religiously, not even breaking it to reinforce it. Let’s take a look at all you need to know.
Narcissists And The No Contact Rule
First things first, let’s understand what the no-contact rule is. As the name suggests, it’s when you completely cut off all communication with a person, with the intent to move on and begin your journey toward healing.
Though the definition is fairly simple, the execution is not. Cutting off contact with someone you care deeply about may seem impossible but it’s pretty much the only way to learn how to live without the person you now want to leave behind.
When you use no contact, narcissists react in unfavorable ways. They’ll use toxic coercion techniques, desperately begging or trying anything that helps them get their fix of adoration back. Speaking on the subject, psychologist Devaleena Ghosh previously told Bonobology about the damaging way narcissists think.
“They have a peculiar sense of entitlement and believe that the world owes them something. It can also come as a disguise where they oscillate between blatant self-importance and victim-playing when they think they’re helpless souls who have got a raw deal in life. They need constant praise and adoration from their spouse at all times. They expect special treatment everywhere they go, and they expect their partners to cater to all their needs.”
And when someone with an outlandishly grandiose sense of self-importance (while also self-victimizing) is denied the care and attention they grew used to, it’s clear why the things narcissists do when no contact is initiated can border on toxic and can damage your mental health.
It’s also extremely important to make sure that you use the no-contact rule for the right reasons. It is not a tactic to be used for manipulation, or for some sort of revenge. You mustn’t cut them off with the hope of inciting a scarcity mindset to win them back, and you mustn’t let them back when the begging eventually begins.
If you give in, you’re giving them another opportunity to walk all over you, as you know they will. Psychologist Pragati Sureka previously told Bonobology, “Someone who takes in any kind of misbehavior actually fans it. The prosecutor isn’t necessarily as tough or strong as they think. It’s just that they’re allowed to get away with a lot of things. As a result, the victim carries their weakness.”
Related Reading: 9 Expert Tips On How To Deal With A Narcissist Spouse
The things narcissists do when no contact is initiated might even stir up the empath in you, since seeing your former partner hurting isn’t easy to deal with. At the end of the day, you’ve got to remind yourself of what they are. A former partner.
If there were ever a no-contact narcissist rulebook, the first step would be to get yourself acquainted with what’s potentially in store. Let’s take a look at the 7 things narcissists do when you go no contact, so you can begin your journey toward healing and move on from a toxic relationship.
7 Things Narcissists Do When You Go No Contact
“Narcissists often react to criticism very badly. They’re absolutely closed to criticism in any form, even if it’s the most constructive one. That’s because they think they’re always right and superior to you,” Devaleena previously told Bonobology.
When their perceived superiority is questioned through indefinite no contact (yes, no contact is supposed to be forever), they start to act up. In this list of 7 things narcissists do when you go no contact, you’ll notice that their reaction is closely linked to the five stages of grief, just swinging in extremes. Let’s get into it:
1. Denial & harassment
When you decide to cut all ties with a narcissist, you’re essentially telling them, “You’re not important to me, and you’re not going to get your fix of attention from me.” That’s something a narcissist just cannot accept.
As a result, they’ll ignore your boundaries (as they have in the past) and completely disregard the possibility of not being in touch. The only way to combat this is to reinforce it by not contacting them and blocking them from all possible communication channels.
Unfortunately, the no-contact narcissist may resort to harassment when their denial of your rejection doesn’t bear fruit. They may show up at your workplace, the places you frequent or may even start bothering your friends and family to get in touch with you.
2. How narcissists react to no contact: Desperation ensues
In almost all cases, a no-contact narcissist will rely on love bombing and desperate attempts to win you back to get the dose of attention from you that they had grown so used to. If you’re wondering if they miss you, they do, but not in a healthy way. They want their fix of adoration, love and admiration back, not you. They were in love with the concept of being admired, not you. They miss the relationship, not you.
As a result, you may see them get obsessed with you and beg for you to come back. Expect lavish gifts, extremely desperate attempts at communication and bombarding you with so-called kindness.
It’s important to understand that if you budge, you’ll only be letting them back in to be used all over again. According to Psych Central, narcissists often do everything in their power to get you back, but disregard you the minute you show commitment again.
Related Reading: 21 Ways To Tell You Have A Narcissistic Husband
3. Violent anger is a very real possibility
Of all the things narcissists do when no contact is initiated, this one might be the most threatening to your safety. “When arguing with a narcissistic partner, expect them to say provocative and abusive things because they are wired to do so,” psychologist Ridhi Golechha previously told Bonobology.
In such situations, it becomes incredibly important to have a support system ready. Make sure someone around you who you can trust is made aware of the situation, so you can have someone to rely on if need be. No contact with a narcissist may well put you in danger, especially since it’s expected that they’re going to show up at your workplace. Be prepared for the worst, make sure you have a response ready.
In order to gain your sympathy and that of others, narcissists often tend to partake in self-victimizing behavior and mannerisms. They’ll make up emergencies to gain your sympathy. This is known as narcissistic hoovering and is a common manipulation tactic narcissists use to suck you back into the relationship.
As we mentioned, how narcissists react to no contact borders on toxicity. In such situations, it’s important to know that it’s okay to not respond when they make up emergencies or claim that they need you. Though it’s easy to see how sympathy may lead you to break no contact, narcissists often thrive on this technique so they can lure you back in. Sympathy wasn’t what they were after in the first place.
5. Manipulation and gaslighting
Manipulation and gaslighting are common tactics you’ll see when you go no contact with narcissists. In an attempt to gain the superiority back over you again, they’ll try to turn the tables and convince you that you’re the one who did them wrong instead.
They’ll spread rumors about you, painting you as the villain. When given the chance, they’ll paint a new reality of the abuse that made you take this step, and their reality is often going to feature them as the victim.
When they invalidate your feelings and paint a new reality different than the one that took place, it’s what is known as gaslighting. A no-contact narcissist often resorts to this toxic manipulation method to suck you back in again.
Speaking on the subject, psychologist Anita Eliza previously told Bonobology, “Gaslighting in a relationship, simply put, means that your feelings and your reality are denied by the narcissistic person. Some of the typical statements they use are, “Stop being sensitive, you are making an issue out of nothing,” or, “You are exaggerating it, it didn’t happen that way,” “You are overreacting, you need help”.”
6. They may find someone else
According to Psychology Today, it doesn’t take too long for a narcissist to get over a breakup. It may not seem like it when they’re obsessed with you and bombarding you with their love, but at the end of the day, they need to get their fix from somewhere.
A no-contact narcissist seeks other people while they’re also out chasing what they once had with you. They don’t take much time to heal from a breakup, since their belief that they’re superior to you literally makes it impossible for them to take this as a rejection.
It’s also not a case of them moving on. They tend to look at relationships as a means to an end, and their goal is to have their need for attention and adoration met. They don’t care much where it’s coming from. As long as their ego is satisfied, their thirst is quenched.
7. They may give you no-contact as well
Since their inflated ego cannot stomach the fact that you were the one who rejected them, they may downplay your importance in their life and cut off communication with you as well. In such cases, you’ll see them tell people that you never really mattered in their life in the first place and that they don’t care much.
Such actions stem from the belief that they’re superior to you and that you don’t get to have control over your decisions. You might have seen their perceived superiority whilst arguing with a narcissist. The no-contact narcissist makes themselves believe that you snapped contact with them because they allowed you to do so, and that’s the reality they’ll choose to believe in.
Now that you know the things narcissists do when no contact is initiated, hopefully, you’re in a better position to weather the storm. Whatever happens, understand that this uphill battle leaves absolutely zero room for doubts. Once you’ve decided on what you must do, make sure you follow through.
If you’re currently breaking free of an abusive relationship with a narcissist and require help, Bonobology’s panel of experienced counselors can help paint a path toward recovery.
No contact with narcissists often puts them in a spiral of toxic behavior. They will resort to love bombing, begging, self-victimization and other toxic methods to gain back your attention. In other cases, they may just disregard you and find someone else. So, yes, no contact definitely works on narcissists.
When you stop talking to a narcissist, they’re unable to stomach the rejection and often act out in toxic ways. They may disregard your boundaries, contact your friends and family and react in violent anger. They may make up false emergencies and try to gain your sympathy. They’ll hoover with you in an attempt to suck you back in through manipulation and gaslighting.
When a narcissist can’t control you, they either double down or find someone else. They try harder to establish control and paint you as the weaker one in the relationship. In other cases, they may try to look elsewhere.