Narcissists: mysterious figures whose behavior is often dotted with baffling red flags. But, does a narcissist want you to chase them?
Do they see themselves as if they’re the final piece of a perplexing jigsaw that will complete your life?
Unpack the complexities of narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) in a simple way. And learn the truth behind their weird actions – like luring you to pursue them.
Let’s unmask and expose these narcissists so you may have better interactions with them.
Narcissism can be of six types, the main two forms are grandiose narcissism and vulnerable narcissism.
Does A Narcissist Want You To Chase Them?
Yes, indeed, narcissists often desire to be pursued. This tendency stems from their heightened need for validation and attention, hallmark traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). When others chase them, they interpret it as a clear sign of their worth and superiority.
The chase gives them a sense of security, power, and importance. It feeds their ego-needs and control needs, allowing them to manipulate relationships to their advantage.
That said, when you chase them, it also validates that they have trauma-bonded you.
Trauma bonding is a hidden bond that can make the chase seem almost irresistible to you, creating an on-again, off-again relationship pattern that’s hard to break.
The trauma bonding keeps you going to the narcissist to please them and get their approval. This makes the narcissist feel more secure in their position and power.
A narcissist wants you to chase them like our Earth orbiting the sun – neither too close not too far to be inhabitable.
This is because a narcissist’s desire to get chased by their admirers is not merely tied to their need for external validation, but also to their deep-seated fear of rejection and abandonment.
So, they remain just a little out of reach of their chasing fans, but never making themselves completely unavailable, to maintain the thrill of the chase.
Narcissists often hide their craving for attention and validation. This is why they often feign irk and annoyance when meeting people who seek them out.
Social Media Love
Did you know that narcissists spend more time on social networks than average users?
Social media provides an easy opportunity for the narcissist to receive validation from likes and shares, and it is an environment that they find especially alluring.
McCain & Campbell, 2018, found that people who score high on grandiose narcissism spend more time on social media, post more status updates, have more friends and followers, and post more pictures of themselves.
However, people who score high on vulnerable narcissism do not tend to use social media any more or less than others.
Positive comments and likes not just fuel a narcissist’s sense of superiority but also reward their manipulative tendencies.
So they are more likely to become addicted to social media, showing greater tendencies towards entitlement and exhibitionism, and craving validation.
Love-bombing is when narcissists bombard their romantic interest with intense devotion and affection, especially at the beginning of their relationships, and entice them to pursue the narcissist.
The trick they use is much like the movie teasers – giving a taste of the big things the narcissist will give them and do for them, and leaving breadcrumbs to follow.
This way, the narcissist subtly manipulates their pursuer’s emotions and asserts full control in time.
Narcissists get an addictive ego boost with this pursuit. It reinforces their belief that the partner values them and is willing to put in the effort to maintain the relationship.
They see their partner’s emotional investment and energy spent in chasing them as a measure of their “relevance.”
They also know that the pursuit won’t last forever and that validation will dry up. And feel the fear of becoming irrelevant when their partner stops chasing them.
So, they carefully collect data on which of their manipulations work, and use those over and over again to get new people to chase them.
We often hear of narcissist cheaters following a set pattern – taking their cheating partner to the same places, telling them the same stories, and giving them the same gifts.
Narcissists like power and control in relationships. When old partners stop chasing them, they realize the urgent need to keep the relationship in their favor.
This is the point when their narcissistic rage makes its debut.
When a narcissist feels threatened or perceives that their partner is pulling away, they often take to reacting with aggression or anger to regain control.
The chase now transforms into a reverse-chase when they realize their anger and aggression have no effect on stopping their partner from leaving them.
The ego-threatened narcissist is now chasing their partner to stay back in the relationship.
Unfortunately, if their partner gives in and reunites with the narcissist, it sets off the narcissistic abuse cycle once again, leading to emotional exhaustion and a sense of worthlessness.
In some cases, it can be useful to make a narcissist regret losing you to negate their control and anger, and reclaim one’s sense of stability and independence.
The Narcissist’s Need for Validation
The “need for validation” is defined as a person’s desire to have their feelings, thoughts, and actions acknowledged and affirmed by others. It’s a fundamental human drive that signals that we are seen, heard, and valued within our social environment.
Now, narcissism is an abnormal personality characterized by a pervasive sense of grandiosity and self-importance, a lack of empathy, and a high need to get continuous validation from others.
Narcissists often “bloom” or thrive in environments that feed their need for constant attention, praise, and validation.
Childhood Influences on Narcissism
A narcissist’s “holier-than-thou” attitudes often hide their deep insecurities and a fragile sense of self-worth. So, they are often pushed to chase validation from others constantly to protect their self-worth.
Narcissism often develops in individuals due to various factors in their childhood. Many experts feel that narcissism is actually a defense mechanism that a child develops.
They often experience parental neglect and learn to crave uncritical admiration from others, dominance in their relationships, and situations where they can showcase their superiority or achievements.
This continuous pursuit of external validation in the form of attention and admiration is actually a desperate craving for their much-needed narcissistic supply.
Emotional Manipulation Tactics
To maintain their narcissistic supply, narcissists resort to various emotional manipulation tactics.
One of these tactics is narcissistic projection, wherein they project their insecurities, blame, or negative traits onto others. So, the negative interpretations they have about themselves, they project onto others.
- “You’re so sensitive and overreacting,” they quip when they themselves can’t handle criticism.
- “You always need to be the center of attention,” while they continuously seek validation.
- “You’re not good at managing stress,” even as they struggle with their own stressors.
- “You’re incredibly selfish,” when they consistently prioritize their own needs.
- “You have trust issues,” when in truth, they battle with their own insecurities.
They use projection to prevent criticism from reflecting on them and maintain an idealized version of themselves.
Moreover, they manipulate others by making them feel guilty or by gaslighting them, making them doubt their own perspectives and beliefs.
Narcissistic Abuse in Relationships
Narcissists tend to be very skilled in manipulating their partners in relationships to meet their own needs for validation, attention, and admiration.
They create a narcissistic abuse cycle where they initially shower their partner with affection, only to later undermine their confidence and self-esteem through emotional abuse.
This toxic cycle of “use and throw” can leave the partner feeling constantly drained and walking on eggshells.
Narcissists are also skilled at preventing their partners from leaving the relationship by using tactics such as hoovering. They try to win back a partner with false promises of change, only to revert to their old behaviors once they’re assured the partner is hooked again.
So, narcissists rely heavily on their need for validation, leading them to chase it using various manipulative tactics and engaging in abusive behaviors.
Maintaining Boundaries with Narcissists
When dealing with a narcissist in any relationship, it is almost a “must” to set and maintain boundaries with them.
These are rules and expectations that help navigate your interactions with them, protect your mental health, and allow for fostering genuine connections with others.
A narcissist often thrives on manipulative tactics, such as lies and emotional abuse, to keep their partners in a constant state of chasing them. By setting healthy limits, individuals can minimize the harmful impacts associated with narcissistic behavior.
Narcissistic individuals may display a lack of empathy toward the needs and feelings of others, making it necessary for partners to prioritize their own well-being.
One useful approach is to practice assertiveness. This means communicating clearly and directly, refusing to cater to the narcissist’s excessive demands.
By standing their ground, non-narcissistic partners can reduce the likelihood of being swayed by the deception and manipulation that narcissists use to keep control.
An essential aspect of boundary-setting in relationships with narcissists is recognizing and avoiding their gaslighting tactics.
Gaslighting occurs when the narcissist denies or twists the truth to create doubt and confusion in their partner’s mind.
Maintaining a strong sense of self and staying grounded in reality will help combat this form of manipulation.
Documenting incidents, for example, can serve as a valuable reference to counter the lies and false claims that narcissists tend to propagate.
Another crucial factor in managing relationships with narcissists is seeking external support.
Building a network of understanding friends or family who can validate experiences and offer guidance when setting boundaries can lessen the feelings of social loneliness that narcissists often exploit.
Activities that foster personal growth and self-worth can also highly benefit in counteracting the negative impact of a narcissist’s presence.
Lastly, there may be situations in which the best course of action is to distance oneself from the narcissist.
If a narcissist consistently crosses boundaries, engages in emotionally abusive behavior, and shows no intention of changing or respecting others’ limits, it might be necessary to consider the option of cutting ties for the sake of emotional well-being.
Empathy and Emotion in Narcissistic Relationships
Narcissists often have a lack of emotional empathy, while also displaying heightened negative emotions, creating a complex dynamic in their relationships.
A study on the relationship between narcissism and emotional competency found that narcissists struggle with recognizing emotions in themselves and others, which consequently affects their ability to empathize.
Emotional abuse, a common feature in narcissistic relationships, arises from the narcissist’s need for validation and control.
High-empathy persons (commonly called “empaths”), who are highly sensitive to the emotions and feelings of others, can be easily drawn into these relationships.
These “empaths” (a term that the eminent researcher on narcissism and NPD, Sam Vaknin, hates), as they try to heal the narcissist’s emotional wounds.
However, they forget that narcissism cannot be cured.
What happens, instead is that a constant exposure to anger, guilt, and jealousy from the narcissist often proves detrimental to their mental and emotional well-being.
In situations where the narcissist feels threatened, they may resort to manipulation tactics involving guilt or anger to maintain power over their partner.
A dynamic self-regulatory processing model suggests that this behavior originates from the narcissist’s inherent need to protect their fragile self-esteem.
Jealousy is another manifestation of the narcissist’s emotional intensity, often resulting from their fear of being replaced or losing control.
This can lead to obsessive behavior and attempts to isolate their partner from friends and family, further consolidating their hold over the relationship.
Sex can be a particularly complicated aspect in narcissistic relationships.
While a narcissist may use sex to establish dominance, they may also use it as a tool to manipulate their partner’s emotions, catering to their own needs without displaying genuine empathy or regard for their partner’s feelings.
So, empathy and emotion greatly influence the dynamics within narcissistic relationships. The narcissist’s limited capacity for empathy, coupled with strong emotions like anger, guilt, and jealousy, can lead to unhealthy patterns of emotional abuse and manipulation in their relationships.
Narcissists and Communication
Narcissists use various communication styles to keep their targets engaged and under their control. Recognizing these can help reduce the narcissistic manipulation in your life.
- Text messages and phone calls from a narcissist may be filled with flattery, requests for attention, or demands for compliance. This is a mild case of love bombing.
- They may also use a manipulation technique called silent treatment, which involves ignoring someone to make them feel guilty or unimportant.
- One of the primary communication strategies narcissists use to keep their targets engaged is stonewalling. This tactic consists of shutting down communication channels and refusing to address concerns or issues raised by others.
- The narcissistic word salad is also a cunning tactic they use to leave their victims feeling confused, off-balanced, and questioning their perception of reality.
- Narcissists often use gaslighting and blatant lying to make it difficult for their target to gain clarity or resolution, leaving them feeling frustrated and isolated.
Narcissists often create a sense of urgency within their target, ultimately making them feel compelled to chase after them.
One proven-effective way to block narcissistic manipulative tactics in their communication is by using the gray rock method.
The gray rock technique involves remaining emotionally detached and unresponsive during interactions with a narcissist, gradually reducing their interest in controlling or manipulating the situation.
Understanding how narcissists communicate can help an individual better recognize and respond to their tactics.
For example, knowing how to argue with a narcissist can enable an individual to navigate through the maze of manipulative walls set up by a narcissist, ultimately asserting their position and getting the desired results.
Narcissistic Patterns in Relationships
Narcissistic individuals often exhibit certain patterns in relationships that can be toxic and harmful to their partners.
One of these patterns is the cycle of idealization, devaluation, and discard.
During the idealization phase, a narcissist might shower their partner with gifts, compliments, and adoration.
They may place their partner on a pedestal and maintain a powerful, charismatic appearance. However, this is often just a facade as they hide their true colors.
As time goes on, the narcissist starts to reveal some red flags, which can include manipulative behavior, gaslighting, and a lack of empathy.
In the devaluation phase, the narcissistic partner starts to show signs of rejection and criticism toward their significant other.
They start to exploit their partner’s vulnerabilities and use them as ammunition to maintain control.
This phase can manifest in a variety of ways, such as constant belittling, withholding affection, and invalidating their partner’s feelings.
The discard phase occurs when the narcissist decides they no longer need their partner.
In this stage, they may suddenly abandon their partner without any explanation or warning. This sudden detachment can leave the victim feeling emotionally shattered and questioning their self-worth.
Another common pattern of narcissistic people in relationships is an obsession with their appearance and maintaining an image of perfection.
They invest an extensive amount of time and effort into keeping up appearances, often neglecting the emotional needs of their partner.
This can lead to shallow connections, as the narcissist is more focused on maintaining their image than fostering a deep and meaningful relationship with their significant other.
There’s another stage, similar to the idealization phase, called hoovering.
Coping Strategies for Victims of Narcissistic Abuse
Narcissistic abuse can manifest in various types of relationships, ranging from a toxic partner in a romantic relationship to a manipulative colleague in a business transaction.
Victims often feel trapped, confused, and intimidated by the narcissist’s tactics. In this section, we will explore coping strategies that can empower victims to regain control and move toward recovery.
First, seeking professional therapy is a powerful step for victims to process their emotions and gain insight into narcissistic patterns.
A mental health professional will provide guidance, resources, and coping mechanisms that can help them navigate the complexities of their situation.
Moreover, therapy sessions can contribute to building self-esteem and assertiveness, key elements in breaking free from the narcissist’s control.
Second, establishing and maintaining firm boundaries are instrumental in protecting oneself against the narcissist’s manipulations.
These boundaries might include setting limits on communication, refusing to engage in the narcissist’s attempts to bait or provoke, and standing up for oneself when the narcissist tries to blame or belittle.
Third, self-care is another crucial component in the healing journey of a victim.
Investing time and effort into personal well-being, such as engaging in hobbies or seeking support from friends and family, allows victims to strengthen their resilience and regain a sense of identity outside the toxic relationship.
Also, self-care practices can provide a safe haven from the narcissist’s constant demands and emotional roller coaster.
In cases where the relationship is beyond repair, considering divorce or severing ties with the narcissist might be the best course of action.
While this decision can be difficult and emotionally draining, it often marks the beginning of the healing process for victims.
Legal guidance, professional counseling, and a supportive network can help victims navigate this transition and mitigate complications related to custody, finances, or other shared responsibilities.
Finally, equipping oneself with knowledge about narcissism will help victims recognize the destructive patterns and tactics employed by their abuser.
Understanding the narcissist’s motivations can demystify their behavior, making it easier to respond effectively and avoid falling into the narcissist’s traps. This awareness can also empower victims to detach from the narcissist’s attempts to destroy their well-being and paint them as the enemy.
By engaging in therapy, considering divorce or severing ties when necessary, and educating themselves about narcissism, victims take important steps toward healing and recovery.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does a narcissist react when you stop pursuing them?
When you cease pursuing a narcissist, they may feel threatened and become irritated. As they crave attention and validation, the absence of your attention can lead to frustration and anxiety. They might attempt to regain control by reaching out to you or trying to make you feel responsible for their emotional state.
What are the signs that a narcissist is interested in you?
A narcissist may demonstrate various behaviors when they take an interest in someone. Some signs include excessive praise, showering you with compliments, and displaying a keen interest in your accomplishments. They may also engage in flirtatious behavior and manipulate situations to ensure they spend more time with you. Narcissists tend to be charming and charismatic when they want something from someone.
How do narcissists behave after discarding someone?
Post-discard, narcissists may act cold and indifferent, seemingly unaffected by the emotional turmoil their actions have caused. This behavior stems from a lack of empathy and an unwillingness to take responsibility for their actions. They might move on quickly to a new source of attention and admiration. In some cases, they may even attempt to reestablish contact with the person they discarded, seeking to maintain control or stoke their ego.
Can you make a narcissist chase you and how?
While it might be tempting to try and make a narcissist chase you, focusing on yourself and your well-being is likely a better strategy. Narcissists are unlikely to change their behavior without significant self-reflection and personal growth. Engaging in a power struggle with a narcissist could ultimately prove detrimental to your mental and emotional health.
Does it affect a narcissist if you are indifferent toward them?
Indifference can be challenging for a narcissist, as they thrive on being the center of attention. When they are met with indifference, their self-esteem may take a hit, and they may respond by pursuing you more aggressively or seeking out a new source of affirmation. It’s essential to prioritize your well-being and maintain healthy boundaries when dealing with narcissistic individuals.
What can make a narcissist become obsessed with someone?
A narcissist may become obsessed with someone who possesses qualities they admire or find lacking in themselves. This could include physical attractiveness, social status, or specific talents. Additionally, if a potential target provides the narcissist with constant admiration and validation, the obsession may intensify. Remember that a narcissist’s obsession stems from their need for self-gratification rather than genuine affection or love.
In relationships, a narcissist often wants their partner to pursue them, validating their importance and superiority.
Becoming aware of the ways narcissists may manipulate or exploit others for personal gain is critical to find a balanced relationship with them.
However, not all narcissists have the same level of toxicity in their relationship behaviors, so it is helpful to gain authoritative knowledge of these people from a neutral perspective to truly understand the implications of this behavior.
While the pursuit of a narcissist may temporarily satisfy their ego, it is essential for the person chasing them to prioritize their own mental and emotional well-being.
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To know more, find out How To Break A Trauma Bond With An Abuser In Your Life?
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Author Bio: Researched and reviewed by Dr. Sandip Roy — a medical doctor and psychology writer, with a unique focus on mental well-being, positive psychology, narcissism, and Stoicism.
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