Narcissists tend to manipulate their romantic partners emotionally.
They don’t always do so on purpose – some narcissists are not entirely conscious of their behavior. Still, on purpose or not, manipulative behavior is a major red flag for any relationship.
Dealing with narcissistic abuse can be exhausting. It’s also incredibly toxic to your mental and physical health. Such is why it’s crucial to understand narcissistic behavior patterns.
Knowledge is power and helps you avoid wasting too much time of your life under a narcissist’s control.
This article will explore common signs a narcissist is done with you. These are signs that they no longer want to control you, but probably because they moved on to a new person to feed their narcissistic supply.
Before we explore the signs, let’s learn a little more about narcissistic relationships.
Narcissists are typically insecure people. They’re known for their sense of entitlement and grandiose self-image, but beneath the surface, they usually experience low self esteem and self-worth and fear rejection and abandonment.
Narcissists are typically averse to open and constructive communication. They want to avoid shame or judgment, so they struggle to communicate healthily in their relationships.
Deep down, they expect a partner or friend to abandon them, so they experience a sense of urgency and importance in controlling their behavior.
Behaviors of a narcissistic partner
Instead of healthy communication, many narcissists opt for manipulative tactics to get what they want.
They don’t believe honesty, kindness, vulnerability, and authenticity will get them anywhere. Those positive qualities may have been shunned in the person’s past by a narcissistic parent or an abusive ex, so instead, they opt for manipulation and control.
Some use physical abuse to gain control, but many narcissists are covert, using subtle psychological tactics instead of physical aggression.
Common manipulative tactics employed in romantic relationships include love bombing, devaluing, gaslighting, and ghosting, which we’ll explore later.
It’s easy to villainize narcissists. They have a terrible reputation, and their behavior doesn’t help. Still, as exhausting and frustrating as dealing with a narcissist is, they ultimately have to deal with the consequences of their behavior.
They typically push people to the point that boundaries have to be set, and the person ultimately has to cut the narcissist out of their life – that is, if the narcissist doesn’t cut them out first.
Narcissistic people face a high risk of loneliness and isolation due to their manipulative behavior, but many are skilled at always having at least someone around to cater to their needs, Narcissists can make others feel guilty if their needs are not met.
6 Clear signs a narcissist is done with you
So, how do you know when a narcissist is finally done with you?
Why don’t they want to play the same game anymore? And how do you know they will not come back again to confuse and mislead you?
The following are some of the most common signs that a narcissistic partner has left behind the initial love-bombing stage and is starting to go on with their lives without you.
1. You no longer get love-bombed
Narcissists love attention. Consciously or subconsciously, they thrive on it.
However, they’re quick to tire of one person’s attention when it’s consistent. As mentioned earlier, narcissists are typically insecure, and that insecurity blinds them to genuine love and affection.
Once they have you hooked with love-bombing, they grow bored of your attention and start to play games with you instead.
The first sign that a narcissist has started to lose interest in you is that you no longer get showered with the love and attention that was so intense at the start of the relationship.
Instead, they start to act cold, even nasty toward you, causing confusion and doubt and subtly weaving a trauma bond that keeps you under their influence.
2. They devalue you
Narcissists play by their own rules, so don’t expect consistency. One day you’re the center of their universe, and the next, you feel worthless around them.
A narcissist who is almost done with you will criticize you for minor things, blame you for situations that are not your fault, and use manipulative, emotionally abusive behaviors.
They’ll gaslight you (make you question your beliefs and even your own identity), offer backhanded compliments, and give you the silent treatment to make you feel bad about yourself or something you’ve done. The narcissist is not entirely done with you at this stage, but they’re getting there.
3. They ignore you
Ignoring someone with who you were once close and intimate with is an incredibly hurtful behavior. Narcissists are known for their lack of empathy, which shows when they completely discard their romantic partners without much explanation.
The narcissist ignores you by ghosting you, disappearing as though you two never knew each other.
Alternatively, they may lie about their schedule, telling you they’re working when they’re not or making up an excuse not to see you, such as feigning illness or a hospital visit.
4. They’ve got a new favorite person
The narcissist is all about you when you feed them their narcissistic supply. However, once that ego boost is taken away (perhaps you’ve been busy, or the honeymoon stage of the relationship has passed), they become frustrated.
They feel hard done by you, that you’re acting against them by not giving them all the love and attention they think they need. They may try to control you again to regain their supply, but they may also discard you completely and find a new person to feed them.
5. They ignore your friends and family
Your close friends and family are the way to your heart. Someone who makes friends with those you love usually does so because that’s a great way to get closer and learn more about you.
The narcissist understands the importance of friends and family to you, so they try their best to make a good impression. That is until they’re finished with you, at which point they’ll discard your friends and family as much as they dump you.
They no longer care about making a good impression and ignore and even insult you and yours.
6. They don’t pretend anymore
As mentioned, the narcissist wants to make a good first impression.
During the love-bombing stage, they convince you (and even themselves) that you’re the best person. They want to give you all their love.
However, once that initial stage has passed and the narcissist no longer gets the same high from your narcissistic supply, they’ll stop pretending you’re the one. They’ll stop trying to look successful, happy, and loving and let their true colors show.
Now comes the insults, the gaslighting, and the hurtful comments.
The narcissist’s abuse cycle
Narcissistic relationships tend to follow a similar pattern – love-bombing (attention), devaluing (insults and criticism), and discarding (ignoring, cutting contact).
At first, they idealize you. You have all of their attention and admiration, and they make their interest in you known through love-bombing.
Love-bombing is the act of showering you with love, attention, and affection to make you feel loved and wanted. It is a manipulative tactic that often happens subconsciously and serves to secure the relationship.
Love-bombing is the first stage of a typical narcissistic relationship.
Once the narcissist feels they have you in their grip post-love-bombing, something changes. The chase is over, and they have you.
The next stage is devaluing. This usually happens when the partner upsets or offends the narcissist.
A narcissist will devalue with insults, backhanded compliments, and gaslighting to maintain the control they initially experienced through love bombing. Often, the victim feels confused.
They are unsure why the narcissist has done a complete 180 and will likely try to make things better by changing their behavior or paying even closer attention to the narcissist, feeding their narcissistic supply.
Once a narcissist feels like they’ve gotten the bulk of your narcissistic supply and see no more gain in being with you, they’ll discard you.
They may ghost you – disappearing without an explanation or find even the most minor reasons to blame you for something and break up with you.
At this stage, the narcissist may not be finished with you.
They have discarded you, but if they lose their narcissistic supply from their latest source and feel like you may still be hooked on them, they’ll hoover you back and start the narcissist relationship cycle all over again.
How narcissists treat their exes
Most narcissists do not remain friends with their exes. An ex is often a threat to the narcissist’s current image or personality.
Narcissists discard their partners when they grow tired or bored of that person’s attention and affection.
Instead of leaving the relationship maturely, they use abusive, manipulative tactics to devalue their partner. This causes emotional turmoil for the partner and can last for months, even years.
However, with the right help and emotional support, the partner eventually sees through the narcissist’s behavior and reconnects with themselves, re-cultivating the self-confidence and self esteem lost or damaged during this toxic relationship.
Typically, narcissists ignore their exes. They can’t remain friends with them because they may have caused irreparable damage to the relationship by discarding that person.
If a narcissist doesn’t completely ignore an ex, they’re likely to seek revenge by speaking about them in a negative light.
The ex may be a wonderful person, but the narcissist knows that if that ex shares details about the relationship with others, the narcissist will be seen negatively. Being regarded as such is unpleasant for the narcissist, who thrives on respect and admiration.
By speaking negatively about one’s ex, one can control how others see and hear that person, ultimately serving to protect that narcissist’s fragile self-image.
Recovering from narcissistic abuse
If you’ve been a victim of narcissistic abuse, you’re not alone.
Narcissists are skilled manipulators who can challenge even the most secure and grounded people regarding romantic relationships.
The back and forth, hot and cold nature of a narcissistic, abusive relationship is toxic to your mental health, so it’s wise to take stock and assess your relationship if you believe someone’s narcissism is affecting you.
Again, you’re not alone. Many people have fallen into the trap of a narcissist’s abusive behavior and have lived to tell the tale. As such, it’s wise to reach out to trusted friends and family for support.
Those who love you will be concerned for your well-being and want to keep an eye on you. They may even be able to share their own experiences to help you gain insight into your situation.
Moreover, a narcissist continuously takes advantage of those without support because they sense that person’s vulnerability, which is why a strong support system is crucial.
Narcissists aren’t always aware of their behavior. They can become so consumed by their insecurities, projections, and self-doubt that their need to overcome those feelings blinds them to empathy and compassion.
It’s normal to want to call out the narcissist for their behavior and seek justice. However, a narcissist will rarely own up and admit their own toxic traits. You can try all you like, but challenging a narcissist is often a losing game.
Instead, and if possible, it’s wiser to cut out that person completely out of your life, or at least set firm boundaries with them.
Some relationships are complicated, especially when children and other responsibilities are involved, but you must prioritize your own mental health before looking after anyone else.
You can care for and look after others more effectively when you prioritize your own well-being.
Finally, if you believe that a narcissist’s behavior has negatively impacted your mental health, please don’t hesitate to reach out for professional support.
A licensed therapist or counselor can help you make sense of the narcissist’s behavior and help you cultivate a sense of wholeness, groundedness, clarity, and a healthy relationship with yourself, qualities that often get lost in the throes of narcissist abuse.