A narcissist is often described as a person who is in love with themselves and loves themselves very much.
This is based on the Greek mythical figure Narcissus. In reality, however, a narcissist is primarily in love with an ideal image of himself.
A narcissist definitely does not want to feel like a failure, but rather feel superior over others.
He pretends to be better than he is, over the backs of others. But a narcissist will dismiss the qualities of others as less so that he or she becomes better himself.
Annoying situations can arise when you are in a relationship with a narcissist and decide to leave the narcissist. Find out how to deal with this here.
Purpose of this article: First, let’s briefly discuss what narcissism is exactly and how you can recognize it. You will also learn why it is quite difficult to answer the question: “What does a narcissist do if you ignore or leave him?”.
What is narcissism?
Narcissism can be described as the pursuit of satisfaction in vanity and the selfish admiration of oneself. It should not be confused with selfishness .
Narcissists are not consciously narcissistic. You have to see it as a psychological disturbance in their head.
Narcissism takes place in the social. It only comes to light in social relationships, for example among friends, colleagues or in a relationship.
When something happens that does not fit within the ideal image of a narcissist, various effects are conceivable. Different scenarios and effects can be envisaged in every situation.
Often a narcissist’s action is not so much a personal attack, but more of a convulsion to ensure his own superiority.
It is increasingly seen as a psychic-medical disorder: Narcissistic Personality Disorder, in which a person has an exaggerated sense of self-importance; he or she considers himself extremely important.
Narcissists have a great hunger for admiration from other people, but at the same time have no awareness of the feelings of others.
Narcissists are often looking for power and success. They often take advantage of other people without acknowledging others for it. Finally, a narcissist pays a lot of attention to his appearance and appearance.
Narcissism is the pursuit of satisfaction in vanity and the selfish admiration of oneself .
A narcissist goes very far in this. As a result, narcissism cannot always be recognized as such at first glance.
Yet there is always a deep sense of self-importance, even if this may be glossed over or argued by the narcissist at high and low that it is not so.
Narcissists themselves do not think there is a problem and will absolutely not recognize that they are a narcissist.
Narcissism is a social and cultural phenomenon, where problems arise in social groups and the narcissist’s social relationships with others.
What is a narcissist?
The term “narcissism” comes from ancient Greek mythology. It refers to the person named Narcissus.
You are sitting on a square in ancient Greece. In the background you can see the impressive Mount Olympus.
The Olympics were played last week, where muscular men from all over Greece came to compete naked.
In the square where you sit, the men walk in long, white robes.
In the middle of the square, a group of Greeks listens attentively to a man who stands on a stone and speaks intriguingly.
He has a wreath of green leaves on his head and a thick book in his left hand.
His right hand makes violent movements to the tone of his story. His eyes are especially stern.
He talks about philosophy, a serious subject. His audience is listening intently in a circle around him.
Narcissus fits into this scene.
He was a handsome young man. Tall, muscular and very attractive. He walks proudly across the square, chest out and nose up.
Narcissus was handsome, but arrogant, selfish and most of all concerned with himself. He loved himself and his beautiful appearance.
He had no interest in others and even turned down the desperate nymph Echo. His whole life revolved around himself.
Therefore he was punished by the gods: he fell in love with himself.
He liked to look at himself in the reflection of the water, at his own reflection. He sighed with love for himself.
The infatuation for himself was so overwhelming that he jumped into the water and spent hours there on his own reflection.
This eventually became his death. The flower called daffodil still reminds of him.
Today, in our time, a narcissist is someone who is arrogant, selfish, thinks especially of himself. He or she only loves himself.
A narcissist feels superior to the rest and acts dominant. At the same time, a narcissist cannot empathize with another person and the feelings of another.
How do you recognize a narcissist?
David Thomas describes in his 2012 book Behind the mask how to recognize a narcissist. He gives a list of features.
A narcissist often fulfills a large part of these characteristics and sometimes even all of them.
According to David Thomas, these are the characteristics of a narcissist:
Do you recognize (some of) these characteristics in yourself or in people in your own social environment?
With this list it is important to realize that with a narcissist there is no conscious intention to meet one or more of these characteristics. Narcissism is a psychological disorder.
You now have a picture of the characteristics of a narcissist.
To better recognize narcissism in yourself or another person, read The 7 Deadly Sins of a Narcissist by Sandy Hotchkiss and James F. Masterson (2003). These give an even better picture of narcissism.
According to Hotchkiss and Mastereson (2003), the 7 characteristics of narcissism are:
A narcissist himself often sees no problem, because in order to recognize a problem in his behavior he has to cross the line of self-importance.
A narcissist would never do that, because a narcissist sees himself as superior to others.
Why should he worry about what others think of him? He is successful… and then he makes good on his behavior.
As you can see, the characteristics of narcissism are often not immediately obvious because they also come across as very sensitive and vulnerable.
The problem with narcissism arises in the social sphere. Every person is social in some way, because we interact and interact.
The social relationship between a narcissist and another person is disrupted by the narcissist’s high self-esteem combined with the narcissist’s disinterest in the other person.
Narcissism is primarily a social problem. For the narcissist it is totally irrelevant whether he should change his behavior or not, because this is the other person’s perspective on him.
Narcissists are often very bad at empathizing with others and in the perspective of others.
Often the narcissistic personality disorder is accompanied by the fact that narcissists do not see their behavior as inappropriate or problematic because of their positive self-image .
A relationship with a narcissist
In many cases, a relationship with a narcissist can be problematic.
A narcissist wants to feel superior to other people. A partner is no exception. In a ‘relationship’, a narcissist does not see the two partners as equals.
There are people who, initially, are actually attracted to some of the narcissistic traits.
A narcissist often has good charisma, is charming (albeit a superficial way of charm, but that only becomes clear later) and likes to draw attention to himself.
These traits can certainly be seen as attractive. Initially, it is not clear that a narcissistic person can be behind these attractive qualities.
Watch the video below to learn more about identifying a narcissistic partner:
A person who is in a relationship with a narcissist will quickly discover the negative side of these apparently attractive traits. The negative side has two dimensions:
Admiration, a narcissist always wants to be admired by others, including his or her partner.
Rivalry, a narcissist always wants to be better than others, so also better than his or her partner. A narcissist must do this to protect themselves from a negative self-image.
As you can see, dimension 1 is still quite acceptable, especially when it is not yet apparent that the partner is narcissistic. At dimension 2, a relationship is already difficult, but it is not inconceivable.
As mentioned earlier in this article, a narcissist is not consciously a narcissist. It’s a psychological disturbance.
When you are in a relationship with a narcissist, you will initially be totally blind to it.
Now you may be thinking, how can someone fall in love with the one who is using violence against you and holding you against your will?
This is called the Stockholm Syndrome . Something that often occurs in a relationship with a narcissist.
The qualities that may indicate possible narcissism are initially correctly valued. For example, think of his charm and charisma. Moreover, at the beginning of a relationship it is not clear what the true nature of a narcissist is.
So there are three possible scenarios in a relationship with a narcissist:
The relationship lasts in the long run. In this case, as explained, there is a relationship between a narcissist and a partner with traits that fit well with it, such as insecurity, sensitivity, caring, and the tendency to forgive and forget.
The relationship is broken by the non-narcissist.
The relationship is broken by the narcissist.
The last two scenarios will now be discussed.
What does a narcissist do when you leave him?
The narcissist’s premise is the sense of superiority over others and a relationship based on an ideal image. This crumbles when you leave him/her.
By maintaining control over a situation, the narcissist can maintain these assumptions. When you leave your narcissistic partner, the narcissist will never be able to put the blame on themselves.
The blame will always be placed on you. You suddenly no longer meet the ideal image that the narcissist had/has of you and the relationship.
The narcissist may initially be very negative about you and put the blame for everything on you in order to elevate themselves and get rid of all the blame. The narcissist feels like a cat in a corner and makes strange jumps.
Protecting yourself and stopping narcissistic abuse for good
Annoying situations can arise when you are in a relationship with a narcissist and decide to leave the narcissist. To prevent the narcissist from still making your life hell, it is important that you take the right steps.
Want to take it a step further with the help of a professional?
Be prepared for the narcissist’s unpredictable behavior and enlist the help of a professional. This is the only real solution to do something about it. You pay a high price for staying in a relationship with a narcissist.
You will get a wealth of information and the best tips and techniques for dealing with even the worst cases of narcissism.
I recommend that you really think about yourself in this. It is your quest for happiness in life (and that of your children).
Stage #1 Debt
When you leave your narcissistic partner, the narcissist will never be able to put the blame on themselves.
The blame will always be placed on you. You suddenly no longer meet the ideal image that the narcissist had/has of you and the relationship.
The narcissist may initially be very negative about you and put the blame for everything on you in order to elevate themselves and get rid of all the blame.
For example, you are fat, too demanding or you cannot appreciate what the narcissist has done for you. This can only get worse until the narcissist no longer wants to see or speak to you. It leads to a negative self-image .
Phase #2 Convince you you made a mistake
Several months after the relationship is broken, the narcissist may suddenly come back. You have not disappeared from the narcissist’s mind. He/she has always thought of you.
You had such a good time together. The non-narcissist does not always agree on that. This image the narcissist has of the relationship is based on a nostalgic feeling.
You have misinterpreted the narcissist’s actions or words. Or the narcissist had a stressful period because of… blah blah. So you shouldn’t have taken things so personally.
The core of this narcissist’s message is to convince you that you made a mistake in breaking up.
The reasons the narcissist gives in this phase are actually negative aspects about you, your behavior and actions. You will notice that there is no excuse in it, but that it is precisely a reproach to you.
So don’t be alarmed if the narcissist uses manipulation techniques such as gaslighting on you.
Phase #3 Making you feel guilty
This is what a narcissist does to make you feel guilty. Maybe you’ve been a little too hard on your ex.
He also had a busy period. He also had his sweet moments. With this, the narcissist tries to take you into the nostalgic image of the relationship.
Phase #4 The narcissist asks for attention
Even when you’re apart, the narcissist will eventually demand attention. He will contact you, send a message, have a coffee with you and do things together.
Stage #5 The narcissist promises he/she will change
At some point, the narcissist realizes that the previous methods do not have the desired result.
The narcissist will persuade you to get back together anyway by making all kinds of promises. For example: He understands why you are angry; he promises to go to therapy; and he regrets that he hurt you.
The narcissist creates a nostalgic image of the relationship in his head. But beware: When the relationship is broken, it can seem like the narcissist is sincere and really wants to change. This will not be the case. When you are together again, it will appear that the narcissist will fall back into his old pattern.
What should you do if a narcissist breaks up with you?
A narcissist is very fond of an ideal image of himself.
This ideal image that a narcissist has of himself is maintained by him through feeling superior and bringing others down. It’s basically the same in a relationship.
The narcissist’s partner will always be subordinate and both the partner and the relationship are always within the boundaries of the narcissist’s perfect ideal of the relationship and the partner.
Realize: the narcissist is not consciously narcissistic. However, the narcissist is not performing a play. In the eyes of the narcissist, he or she is superior and better. So the narcissist is not consciously narcissistic.
The ideal image that the narcissist has of the relationship and the partner is not the realistic image. As a result, this bubble will explode sooner or later.
Sooner or later, the relationship reaches a stage where the narcissist’s partner too often shows a side that does not fit within the ideal image that the narcissist has set up for the partner.
From that point on, the narcissist will realize that the partner is not the person the narcissist thought they were.
As a result, the blame lies not with the narcissist himself, but with the partner.
It’s the other person’s fault that the relationship “didn’t work.” Because the partner no longer meets the ideal, there is room to recognize the partner’s shortcomings.
During a silent treatment, the narcissist will ignore you for a period of time. This can be a few hours to a few days.
To a narcissist, shortcomings equal being a loser. In other words, in the eyes of the narcissist, the partner is a loser, so that there is absolutely no reason for the narcissist to maintain the relationship.
What is real in this relationship? You can assume that the narcissist never really loved the partner.
No, the narcissist liked the ideal image he/she created of the partner. The narcissist was in love with the perfect relationship and the perfect couple that he created in his head.
The emphasis here is on ‘perfect’. Nothing but perfection is good enough for the narcissist.
How do you deal with a narcissist’s silent treatment?
In order to keep control over the relationship and the partner, a narcissist creates a certain ideal in his or her head. This ideal image is of course not correct and this can cause stress in the narcissist’s head.
As a result, angry outbursts can occur. These eruptions can be divided into two phases.
The 2 stages in a narcissist’s anger outburst are:
During the silent treatment, the narcissist rebuilds himself by rebuilding the arguments for superiority in his head in order to put the blame on the other.
What can you do to break through a silent treatment?
With all these points the following applies: Hold on, persevere and don’t give in. Of course, you have to be careful not to let the situation get out of hand.
A narcissist’s aggression can get completely out of hand. In this case, seek professional help or call the police.
Dealing with a narcissist is difficult, because you will automatically lose out.
You can accept the narcissistic behavior for the sake of the relationship, but is it worth it?
The psychological disorder will not heal or disappear.
Ultimately, you no longer meet the ideal image of your narcissistic partner or you have had enough.
In this article, you have been given the knowledge and tools to protect yourself from the narcissistic person in your environment.
What are your experiences with a narcissist if you ignore him or her? Share your questions and experiences with us so we can help each other.