5 Dirty Ways Narcissists Treat Their Ex (How To Handle It)

Do narcissists treat their ex like a stinky bag of trash?

Do they erase you and move on, or do they hang on in the hopes of your return? Or do they go all out to win your heart and bring you back?

What narcissists do to their exes originates from their basic nature. And the basic traits of a narcissist are grandiosity, a lack of empathy, a sense of entitlement, a need for validation, and extreme self-centeredness.

Let’s dive in to know more.

How do narcissists treat their ex-partners?

A narcissist can go to any length to bring their ex back into their life. You’ll see them in pitiful states, crying rivers, apologizing as none can, buying you expensive gifts, and chasing you relentlessly. Their manipulative tactics may even convince you to give in to them.

How do Narcissists Treat Their Ex

These are the five most common ways they treat their ex-partners:

1. Love-bombing

Narcissists are known to love-bomb during the early phase of an affair, as well as around a breakup. The idea is to flood the other person with gestures of love and regain control over them.

Love-bombing is an unhealthy form of over-affectionate behavior. It means showering the victim with unnaturally high levels of love, praise, and care.

Love-bombing weaves a pretense of trust and intimacy around you.

The constant stream of gifts and attention may seem like a great gesture, but actually, it is emotional abuse. They want to secretly manipulate you into moral obligation and emotional debt.

A narcissist’s love is often too overpowering for comfort. You can see through it and understand that it is an unhealthy show, not real love.

Some experts, like Ramani Durvasula (who co-authored A Brief Review of Intimate Partner Violence in the United States, 2015), call this second love-bombing phase “hoovering” — a term inspired by the vacuum cleaner — since the narcissist is trying to siphon you back into their lives.

2. Discarding.

At the breaking up of some narcissistic relationships, the narcissist can cast their victim aside and quickly move on to a new relationship. This is the discarding phase of the narcissistic abuse cycle.

The narcissist in the discarding stage is likely to be cold, contemptuous, and entirely inaccessible.

In fact, they may not even go through the mourning phase of a breakup. They may not be the least surprised when you announce the breakup.

They may have sensed you are about to leave them, and may have already had someone on their radar around that time.

If they suspect you are about to split up with them, they may abruptly ghost you and never give you closure. They will leave you hanging, to suffer the pain of ambiguity.

They may immediately open themselves up for partnership on social match-making apps. They may even resurrect an old relationship to replace you.

Their discarding behavior may be motivated by a sense that they have lost all control over you, or by a desire to make you feel like you are nothing more than garbage to them.

3. Manipulation.

Narcissists crave control, so they will continue to emotionally manipulate and control their ex.

They may persuade you to remain friends with them after the breakup. Their intention here is to linger around and pepper your life with their dominating acts and timely abuse.

The narcissist will likely accuse you of being the main reason for the breakup.

They may blame you for being ungrateful, self-obsessed, and “narcissistic” for abandoning them after receiving so much from them.

They may hold you responsible for their failures because “you were always giving your needs a priority over mine.”

Their mental manipulation may make you accept their accusations and stay back. You might even hope to make things right in the relationship. Of course, you’d be wrong to do any of those because they’ll never change their nefarious ways.

4. Condemnation.

The narcissist may take advantage of their position as your friend to damage your existing and future relationships.

They will use their dirtiest means to tarnish your public image and undermine your self-esteem.

They will condemn your actions and nature to everyone they know, even if they are not common acquaintances.

They will criticize you, your habits, and your personal and professional behavior.

They will gossip to your friends about your despicable attitude and the horrible things you did while you were with them. They might pass information to your workplace colleagues and bosses about how unfair and untrustworthy you are.

This has two motives: one, to isolate you from supportive people, and two, to hamper your employability.

If other people in your life start looking down upon you, they feel they have succeeded in making you feel insecure and lowering your self-esteem.

Their ultimate plan is to assure you that they will make all that “bad press” go away if you are back with them.

5. Intimidation.

Your narcissistic ex may try to coerce you into staying back or coming back by attempting to intimidate you in any way they can.

They could threaten you with spilling your secrets, making your compromising pictures public, or posting your private videos on inappropriate websites.

Narcissists, particularly the malignant type, are highly revengeful and capable of erupting into a murderous rage. They may physically harm you irreparably if they perceive you will never return to the relationship.

All of their intimidating tactics are designed to tell you that if you want to feel safe and stay protected, you must retain your relationship with them.

The cruel narcissist is fully capable of terrorizing you with fatal threats like “Only I can shield you from my vengeance; no one else.”


Why does the narcissist want you back?

The narcissist’s desire to have you back stems from their sense of power over you. The narcissist wants you back because they want to feel powerful again.

If you were ever been in a relationship with a narcissist, they will want you back if you break up. The reason is that narcissists score high on attention-seeking behaviors.

Love is an addiction for them, not just feelings or beliefs in the other person. Narcissists are addicted to narcissistic supply, which is the attention you give them.

After a breakup, they crave the narcissistic supply they were addicted to, so they want to woo you back to get your attention.

How to handle a narcissist ex?

No Contact is the only way to protect yourself from your narcissist ex. Keep yourself out of their sight and mind to help them forget you.

And it’s just not enough to make yourself unavailable in the same area, but you must also become inaccessible on social media.

Realize clearly that a narcissist is willing to go to extreme lengths to obtain their narcissistic supply. Staying away from your narcissistic ex will minimize the main risk to your safety.

It is a real danger being around this person, especially after you broke up. They are vengeful and readily violate boundaries, so you don’t need to offer closure to your controlling, abusive narcissistic ex.

Final Words

Relationships with narcissists go through the narcissistic abuse cycle:

Idealization ⇾ Devaluation ⇾ Discarding.

It may be hard to break free from a narcissist’s grip, but once you do, make clean break. Do not keep any relationship with them, in any form.

If you think you might be feeling unsafe, having disturbing thoughts about your ex, or experiencing love-bombing tactics, you may contact your local police.

Talking with a therapist after breaking up a narcissistic relationship can be helpful.

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Author Bio: Written and reviewed by Sandip Roy — medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher. Founder and Chief Editor of The Happiness Blog. Writes on mental health, happiness, mindfulness, positive psychology, and philosophy (especially Stoicism).

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