how to know if a narcissist is finished with you

How To Know If a Narcissist Is Finished With You

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Have things seemingly settled down in your tumultuous relationship? Is the narcissist done with their awful, obnoxious tricks? Can you finally move on and heal? How to know if a narcissist is finished with you?

If you feel stuck in a vicious cycle of narcissistic abuse, it’s challenging to distinguish when a narcissist has really moved on for good. It may seem like they are done, only for them to continue reemerging when you least expect it. You may feel like you’re dragged around, at the mercy of whatever they want to do. 

So, how do you know when it’s over? And is it something that you can even control?

When Is A Narcissist Finished With Someone? 

Narcissists need excess attention and validation. When people no longer meet these needs, the narcissist often reacts by:

  • Becoming extremely demanding, hostile, or even violent.
  • Throwing emotional temper tantrums.
  • Faking or exaggerating emotional or physical ailments to try to reel you back in.
  • Gaslighting you into believing their truth.
  • Love bombing (trying to win you over with affection and love).
  • Pretending to ignore you altogether.
  • Smearing you by rallying other people against you.
  • Discarding you (trying to convince you of how wrong and flawed you are).

Narcissists don’t play by normal relationship rules. They play by whatever rules make the most sense to them, and these rules can change at any moment’s notice.

Furthermore, most narcissists will have you believe wholeheartedly that they’re finished with you during their devastating discard performance. Yet, you can never seem to get closure because they always find a reason to come stomping back into your life.


Do Narcissists Come Back To Relationships?

In a short answer, yes. Most of the time.

And if you’re with a narcissist, you may already know this answer. You may know it all too well. You’ve probably experienced the chaotic whirlwind of the stop-and-go relationship. You also know what it’s like to feel confused about their intentions and motives. 

Let’s be real. They come back because they’re restless or because they feel lonely or because it’s Tuesday. They come back because someone else isn’t giving them the attention they believe they deserve. Or, when they need to give the new supply a ‘good ole’ silent treatment.  They come back using whatever reason best suits them.

And usually, they spin their reasoning into a way that tries to flatter and appeal to you. 

Related:  10 Types of Hoovers and How to Powerfully Respond

Narcissists come back to relationships because they need people to feel validated. The moment they feel a lack of validation, they turn to extreme measures to restore that need. They also need people to fill in as emotional punching bags.

Therefore, if you keep giving them attention, they will keep coming back. It doesn’t matter if the attention is negative. In some ways, even negative attention can be flattering. It gives them more of an excuse to hang on to you.

Narcissists don’t perceive negative attention as a bad thing. Instead, it gives them ammo. They know how to spin it, exploit it, and ultimately use it against you. It may happen so quickly you don’t even realize it’s happening. 

What Are The Signs a Narcissist Is Done With You?

If you type this question into a search engine, you will stumble upon many thoughtful responses. You’ll read about how they will stop talking to you or ghost you altogether. You may come across some stories of narcissists replacing you with someone else.

At first glance, these answers may seem promising. But here’s the problem with these antidotes: most of them just aren’t helpful. Because most of them aren’t really addressing the truly dark nature of narcissistic behavior. 

The only real indication that a narcissist is finished is when you no longer leave a crack open for them to weasel their way in. Narcissists rarely let people go- at least not in the conventional sense. 

Even if they seemingly move onto someone or something else, they still want power and control over you. They still want to know that you’ll come running back at a moment’s notice.

How Many Times Will A Narcissist Come Back?

They will come back to you as many times as they want, if you allow it.

Even after months (or sometimes years) of no contact, many narcissists will test their supply’s loyalty time and time again. In other words, they want to lure you back into the drama. They need to restore their powerful, superior identity, and that need keeps them coming back for more and more.

Narcissists don’t have their own identity. They create fantasies of who they are, and they depend on other people to enable that fantasy. When that fantasy feels threatened, they do whatever they can to restore their homeostasis.

Of course, this pattern can be incredibly confusing. Narcissists might make a dramatic scene about how they’re done with you forever- only to come pathetically crawling back at a moment’s notice. 

You may find yourself feeling flattered or special with this kind of treatment. The narcissist knows this because they understand the concept of cognitive empathy. And so, they’ll know how to lure you back into the dangerous cycle by:

  • Bombarding you with fake apologies about their behavior.
  • Making empty promises to change.
  • Declaring their willingness to give you something you really want (marriage, a baby, a new house, etc.)
  • Trying to convince you that nobody else would want you.
  • Pretending as if the breakup never actually happened.
  • Rallying other people to convince you why you should give them another chance.


What Happens When The Narcissist Can’t Control You?

Once the narcissist can no longer control you, they lose almost all of their power. Suddenly, they don’t appear any different than the rambunctious toddler throwing a temper tantrum at the playground. Their extreme displays of behavior may even seem funny, although they also feel frustrating, confusing, and embarrassing. 

Keep in mind that you need to change if you want the narcissist to stop controlling you. They will make plenty of promises and halfhearted attempts to change. 

None of these efforts are sustainable in the long-term. Narcissists aren’t interested in making you happy. They’re interested in keeping themselves happy. If you briefly bring them happiness, they may shower you with the illusion of affection, love, and kindness. But the moment their feelings change, it feels like an unexpected war. 

What Narcissists Don’t Want You To Know 

First and foremost, narcissists don’t want you to know exactly how much they depend on you for survival. It’s why they often act aloof, disinterested, or even angry most of the time. It’s all a cover-up to hide their blatant insecurities. But don’t start believing you can be a hero and show them the reasons why they don’t need to be insecure.  No one has ever successfully converted a narcissist after trying to be their hero.  Just ask anyone who’s ever tried.

Narcissists engage in all sorts of manipulative tactics to keep you engaged and desperate. They lean on betrayal trauma to keep you chained. Just like they know how to make you feel guilty and ashamed, they also know how to make you feel flattered and loved. During these times, it’s important to remember that because someone is acting nice doesn’t mean it’s genuine, especially if there’s a history of emotional abuse and manipulation.

They Don’t Want You To Know Your Self-Worth

Narcissists don’t want you to know your own self-worth. They don’t want you to realize that you can do better than them. 

That’s why they often put you down, make fun of your victories, or even sabotage your success. They can’t tolerate you considering a life without them.

Narcissists don’t see people as real people with emotions and thoughts. They see them as objects designed to satisfy their needs. They want you to see yourself that way, too. 

They Don’t Want You To Know They Constantly Need Their Supply

Narcissists are never truly satisfied. Their souls often feel profoundly empty, and that’s why they abuse people to fill that bottomless void.

Narcissistic supply comes in many forms, including:

  • Accomplishments and winning.
  • Attention (the most common form of narcissistic supply)
  • Feeling powerful and superior over others
  • Having a sense of authority
  • Emotional energy
  • Sex 
  • Compliments, praise, and flattery
  • Opportunities to tear people down emotionally

The more you fill this supply, the more they will rely on you for their fix. Most narcissistic relationships rotate through a pattern of love bombing, devaluation, perceived discard, and hoovering. This pattern tends to persist for as long as people remain in a relationship with them.

They Don’t Want You To Know They Don’t Know How to Say Goodbye

Narcissists don’t know how to be finished with you. Of course, they won’t ever let you in on this secret. Instead, they’ll convince you that they never needed you in the first place. They’ll seemingly move onto the next relationship with ease. They’ll act as if you never existed, or they’ll smear you to your family and friends.

But make no mistake: they need you far more than you ever needed them. Their inability to give or accept closure solidifies that reality.  However, it’s important to understand that a narcissist “needing you” doesn’t imply any feelings of love and devotion on their part.  They need you so they can unleash their deepest abuse on you.  They can’t do that with many of the other people they know.

Think of it like a criminal giving a lollipop to a child before committing an unspeakable act.

Here’s The Real Answer to How to Know if a Narcissist is Finished With You

Even if the narcissist is finished with you, are you finished with them? 

It’s important to reflect on your answer to this question. Many times, people find themselves immersed in narcissistic abuse. They hold onto hope that things will change. They convince themselves that they just need to be more patient and tolerant.

What will it take for you to draw the conclusion that enough is enough? How many more months or years will you waste by continuing this awful game? Narcissism is a persistent and clinical mental illness. Most narcissists have little to absolutely no interest in changing their tactics.  And if they do, you can bet they’re up to something, and it’s not anything that’s in your favor.

How to Get Help

If you constantly find yourself wondering how to know if a narcissist is finished with you, understand that this is not normal in a healthy relationship. Consider whether or not the relationship is doing you more harm than good.

Don’t blame yourself. A person’s choice to be abusive isn’t because of anything you’re doing or not doing. You’re not the cause for their behavior, no matter what they say.

Taking care of yourself is the biggest priority, which may include breaking off the relationship. 

Here are some helpful tips and resources:  

1 – The Beginner’s Healing Toolkit is a free resource that includes everything you need to get started on healing your life after narcissistic abuse.

2 – The Essential Break Free Bootcamp – Explore techniques derived from behavioral therapy (vetted by the psychological and neuro-psychological communities) to finally heal your life.

3 – The THRIVE program – Rediscover your lost self after narcissistic abuse (and prepare yourself for true love).

4 – Personalized guidance – I will answer your request via a short, raw, offline video.

The Bottom Line

Everyone has the innate capacity to heal themselves. But, it’s likely you will need external support to heal the traumas that get in the way of your ability to tune into this gift.⠀Helpful tools and resources can assist you in developing effective ways to break free from narcissistic abuse. 


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18 comments
Shannon R. says October 8, 2021

So here I am. In a particularly tough and challenging time in my life. Seems I’ve lived a lifetime of getting stuck between a rock and a hard spot. In past times of my life I’ve always been able to crawl out and start over and get over literal mountains of issues and trials and tribulations that have been put before me. This time is different. Although I’ve lived with and dealt with narc. abuse on some level all my life. I didn’t know it for many many years. It’s been over the past 5 that this light has turned on for me. When I stumbled upon someone explaining what this is on YouTube I was floored! I had heard of narcissism but didn’t really know exactly what it was until I watch this persons videos on YouTube. So I became obsessed with learning about it. I have watched countless hours of video from everyone or anyone I can find. I’ve read more article and tips tricks ideas and self help programs than I think is humanly possible! It’s helped me to realize and come to terms with so much hurt and trauma that I’ve went through! Amazing. I can recognize what I need to. I know what to do and how to do it. I know how to protect myself in situations until I can safely get out of them. It’s just that I seem to be in a spot that I’m unable to free myself from. So my life changed very quickly and traumatically in 2014. My son just 23 years old at the time was very tragically and horrifically killed in an extremely negligent and avoidable accident at work. (That’s a whole different story) This is getting long so I will try to shorten it up. Since then I have struggled to say the least. Also I have had many unrelated health problems arise. I’ve had 3 surgeries, one if which I developed a MRSA infection in. I broke my foot, had a scare with possible breast cancer. Found out I have bone Spurs between my vertebrae in my back along with bulging discs and lower back pain that at times is crippling. My eyesight is slowly failing. Besides blurred vision in both eyes I’m beginning to get cataracts and also glaucoma. Most recently I fell while I was trying to roller skate with my daughter and broke my wrist. Which resulted in surgery and left me in worse shape than when it was actually broken. That’s due to a dislocated wrist that no one bothered to address or even tell me about. I only found out when I demanded my medical records and s rays. So I’m still trying to find a solution to that. Mean while, I have an extremely narcissistic ex. who keeps coming in and out of my life while he keeps going in and out of jail. So at some point during all these health issues and narc ex. Me and my daughter moved back in with her dad. I never caught on before but it’s so obvious to me now that I have knowledge that he is a very deceitful man and a covert narc. So then my brother just shows up on my doorstep 1 year ago. He has been living on the property in his camper, uninvited ever since. Also a narc with paranoid delusions and bipolar, anti social and filled with rage at times. So me and my now 12 year old daughter are stuck right in the middle. I’ve been unable to work. Apparently my problems aren’t enough to get any type of disability assistance. Grateful to have Medicade at this time. I had been on a waiting list to receive housing assistance and finally it paid off. Affordable housing is extremely hard to find in my area but I did it. I found a little house and everything was fine and I had a move in date. Then out of the blue the home owner changed his mind and rented to someone else. It was a devastating blow that I wasn’t expecting. What happened that I didn’t know, I made the mistake of telling my brother about the house and who I was renting from thinking I was safe. It was a done deal. WRONG! He got a hold of the home owner and I don’t know exactly what he said but he completely sabotaged me because if I moved out then he lost his free boat ride. So we are now just super stuck in this horrible and very dysfunctional and unhealthy situation. I try not to let my daughter see my despair and I do everything I possibly can to shield her from the narc abuse etc. REALITY , we are living a nightmare! It’s as bad as you can imagine. I’m so at a loss of ideas and possible solutions that I’m desperately at the end of my rope. I have never ever been In this bad of a spot before. I’m trying very hard to keep a positive attitude and outlook on my life, her life and our situation. This is the first time I have ever truly had to say I need help because I cannot do this on my own or by myself. We are not thriving very well or at all. I have no resources and no-one to ask for help. This is awful. I’m the one who helps people, they don’t help me. I’m not mad or ungrateful at all. I do not expect handouts from anyone nor am I on a “ oh poor pitiful me” act that just wants someone else to take care of me. There is so much more if my story but this comment is like a novel! I just saw the opportunity to tap into others who would understand what I’m going through and maybe get some ideas of things I had not tried or looked into. I’m holding onto hope that someone will have a brilliant idea that just may help me turn a corner or shine a light at the end of my tunnel! Please, someone shine a light for me!

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Becky says September 21, 2021

Its hard for me to go on without my ex miss him like crazy I considered him my rock my missing puzzle piece and he just basically walked away from me this break up ID harder than when I left my husband I know my ex is no good for me but I cant help but love care and wonder about him everyday will it ever stop its killing me inside and effecting my outside

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Curtis Scott says August 27, 2021

God bless our wisdom about this issue

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Ann M Alred says July 11, 2021

I’m drowning in it today but tomorrow I will dust myself off and again realize I’m bigger and stronger than he will ever be your information is a life saver thanks so much

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Karen says June 11, 2021

I feel sick to my stomach. Found out from my sons best friend exactly what his partner was doing. Playing with his head one minute she wanted the next she didn’t. I myself witnessed her emotional break downs and our son agreeing with her just calm her down. She sent our son best friend sexy emails then errased them so no trace. She done this to our daughter as well. Dear me so many things coming out from so many people . Our son has now no family no friends. His friend told me when she moved in with my son ohotos of our son and friends started to disapper until only one left yet she had surrounded herself with photos of her and all her friends and family. His best friend said he started to see a change in our son. His clothes dirty he was dirty he became withdrawn and sad. We saw the same change heartbreaking. There are worse things but I can’t print them but all sexual and disgusting in nature by her no filter.

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Linda Love says February 18, 2021

Thank you for the very helpful video. But, I think it is a shame that every coach wants money at the end of a Free talk. Leaving an abusive relationship a lot of times leaves the victim broke, without a lot of extra money as I am now. So there is no way I could put money like you ask for into this. I will just find free information as I learn to deal with my recovery. Linda

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    Phyllis says March 5, 2021

    Same here, I do think a lot of us are in the same boat. My one took all the money I had, up and left.

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Gwen M Barnes says January 12, 2021

I need all the help I can get

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Ruth Hall says January 10, 2021

Yes I know one , 32 years on , actually getting worse !

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Anonymous says December 29, 2020

Wow, thank you! Your articles are very insightful, and my family’s response to a lot of ‘small things’ hurting me in the past makes much more sense now!

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    Anonymous says May 14, 2021

    Thanks so much

    Reply
nikki says November 10, 2020

im in therapy i was at a good place befre being sucked back in anywho i guess the narc has a new supply and discarded me but he always resurfaces unfortunately we have four kids together weve been on n off for thirteen yrs i know he is no good but i cant move past the pain i blocked him and went no contact and changed my number but its still painful any advice should i allow him to still see the kids but at what expense or cut him out even they want a relationship because i feel the hurt is unavoidable either way

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    Nakia says January 1, 2021

    No, he’ll cause the same pain or worse for the children. I have 3 children by a narcissist. I don’t submit my children to such abuse

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    Fiona Strain says April 7, 2021

    To Nikki , Be strong , never get sucked in again . It’s is difficult when you have children . The choice is yours . Join the local library take up new interests . Your hurt is past pain , don’t be powerless seek good advice Snd make new friends .

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S says November 2, 2020

This is such an important article for me. I’ve only been separated from the narc for four months after 37+ years together. It is the hardest thing I have done and I have had some very tough times. The cycle of abuse has really taken a toll on me so now I feel so much grief at the loss of what I had hoped I would have, at the loss of the love bombing times (when he treated me so well and was loving and kind), and grief at the time I lost staying with him and trying over and over again to make him happy. I honestly believed the problem was me and did everything I could to figure out why I wasn’t the way I was supposed to be. So much mental manipulation, it’s so ingrained in me that healing from this seems impossible. I keep putting one foot in front of the other, strongly hoping I can create a new life for myself. Thanks so much for your work and for telling the truth!!!

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    Jeanne Charlson says June 10, 2021

    Your post is a mirror of mine, except I have now been divorced from my narc ex-husband for 18 months. Like you, this has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Please stay strong. If you let your weakness takeover and he becomes a part of your life again, you will be back to living a very toxic life because of living with a toxic person. I know they say to try to forget all of the horrible things they did to you, you need to keep them fresh in your head so that you NEVER forget what a horrible selfish person they are and that you deserve to have a much better life without them. I still struggle at times—usually when something reminds me of the good times we had together—but if I continue to think back, the bad times always pop up and push the good times out of my thoughts.
    Hang in there. Please know that there are people out in the world rooting for you to have the good life you deserve!

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Peacebrother says November 2, 2020

I have been discarded by the narcissistic former wife for over five years now and would desperately like to get divorced from her. However I am extremely anxious that if I initiate a divorce by serving divorce papers on her that she is going to revert to type and seek revenge. Does anyone have any suggestions? I am stuck!

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    Kim Saeed says November 2, 2020

    Hi Peter, generally all narcissists will seek revenge and/or become hostile when served with divorce papers. However, if you want to be free, it’s a necessary step on your path to freedom. I don’t think it’s ever been peaceful for anyone, but it can be done. Contact an attorney and seek guidance according to the laws of your state. Document any and all revenge-type behaviors she might engage in. Wait for your divorce to become final and then celebrate your freedom and new life.

    Kim

    Reply
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