If you’re wondering how your narcissistic ex feels when they see you’ve moved on because you’re hoping it will make them want you back, stop right now. It took great strength to leave an abusive relationship that left a deep wound, so don’t let them injure you any further.
If they were the one who broke up with you, it’s even more important to stay away and not take the bait. There’s no such thing as an ex-narcissist, and the only thing you can expect from them is the same abuse you went through the last time.
On the other hand, if you’re worried that when the narcissist sees you with someone else, they’ll do something to hurt you again, and you want to avoid it, there are steps you can take to stop it from happening. You got rid of your abuser, and you have the power to keep them gone.
Let’s see what happens when your ex narcissist partner sees you’ve moved on and what you can do to protect yourself and your well-being.
What Happens When The Narcissist Sees You With Someone Else?
When the narcissist sees you with someone else, their reaction will be directly related to how your relationship ended. Only one thing makes a narcissist regret leaving you: seeing you happy. It has nothing to do with love and wishing to be happy alongside you but everything to do with their ego.
A narcissist wants to win – the relationship, the breakup, or whatever game they’re playing – and will only come back to destroy what’s left of you.
They have no use for you anymore, but they still want you to keep waiting for them. Do you really want to give them that satisfaction?
Depending on how things ended, this is how the narcissist you escaped from might react when they see you with someone new:
1. They’ll ignore you
If the narcissist feels like they’ve already ‘won’ the breakup, they might pretend they didn’t see you to prove how unimportant you are to them. They believe that, in some way, you’re already defeated, so their work is done.
You must keep in mind that this is someone who only values people by what they can get from them, not as human beings or loved ones. They’ll only leave you alone if they think there’s nothing left for you to give them.
The worst part is, they teach you to understand your worth through their eyes so that when they consider you worthless, so will you. This is an abusive tactic they use to justify their behavior to themselves and paint you in a negative light.
All things considered, this is the best reaction you can get when the narcissist sees you with someone else. This results in the least meddling in your life or disturbing your peace.
You should ignore the narcissist right back and go on with your life, hoping you don’t run into them again. Let them think what they want, as long as they stay away. Don’t try to prove to them that you’ve moved on – just be happy, healthy, and safe.
2. They’ll try to trap you again
When your narcissist ex learns that you’re in a new relationship, they might also react by trying to restart the cycle of abuse to regain control over you.
They’re not doing it because they’ve changed their mind about how they feel about you – a narcissist hates seeing you happy because they must prove you wrong. They must get in your head again to show you that you don’t deserve anything good.
There are three stages of the narcissistic relationship pattern: idealization, devaluation, and discarding.
First, the narcissist hooks you by being the perfect partner, creating a special world only the two of you share. They give you emotions that get you addicted to them while you provide them with the validation and adoration they need.
Next, their true self starts to show. Their goal becomes having complete power over you. They control you through abuse and manipulation interspersed with love-bombing, making you clingy and dependent on them. You become a source of negative narcissist supply, which still gives them a sense of superiority.
Finally, when they decide they’re done with you, you’re over. They discard you because you’re not needed anymore and move on to a new supply. Seeing you with a new person can make them realize that you still have something to give, and they’ll try to put you through the whole cycle once again.
3. They’ll go straight to cruelty
A healthy relationship is based on connection and care. To a narcissist, relationships serve the purpose of fulfilling their need to feel superior, and people are just tools they use to achieve this. A narcissist invalidates their victim because, in their perspective, they lose their usefulness.
The underlying issue of narcissists is that they see everything as good or bad. It’s all black and white, and there is no in-between. You’re either their soulmate and the most amazing person in the world or trash that deserves humiliation and contempt.
A narcissist believes they are superior to others, and they pick a partner they believe is on the same level. So the reason they started a relationship with you is because of your objective good qualities but also their idealization and projection. In their eyes, you could do no wrong.
But because you’re human and they can’t see anything or anyone as being complex, the moment you fail to comply with their imaginary picture of you, their undying love dies, and they decide you’re all bad. Now, you can’t do anything right.
Once they decide you’re bad, that’s it. They must prove to you once again that you’re worthless. You don’t deserve to be happy, so when the narcissist sees you with someone else, they become enraged.
They’ll skip the idealization stage and go straight to the abuse. You must be punished for daring to go against their decision by moving on. This reaction can have devastating consequences, so it’s important to protect yourself.
See also: 11 Explicit Reactions When Your Ex Sees You Looking Good
How To Resist Your Narcissist Ex
A narcissist’s specialty is combining abuse and love-bombing to make you dependent on them. This is called trauma bonding. It’s a coping mechanism in which a victim develops positive feelings for their abuser to make dealing with the abuse possible.
This is what makes it so difficult to get out. Leaving an abusive relationship is extremely difficult, and recovering from it even more so. Here are some tips that can help you.
1. No contact
Breaking up with a narcissist is difficult. Stopping all contact with them is even more so. Relationships with narcissists are turbulent and eventful, leaving a deep impact on you. They cause psychological and emotional damage that’s difficult to recover from.
Cutting all ties with someone who meant so much to you at some point can feel like you’re giving up something important, but it might be the only way to truly purge the abuse from your life. Keeping them around will considerably slow down your recovery.
It might not be possible to completely cut them out of your life – for example, if you have children together – but try to take it as far as you can to save yourself from continued abuse.
No contact includes:
• Blocking their phone.
• Ignoring it if they try to contact you using a different number.
• Deleting all their messages or leaving them unread.
• Unfollowing and blocking them on social media.
• Not answering the door if they come over.
• Going the other way if you run into them.
• Refusing to talk about them with others.
• Going no contact with everyone who tries to advocate for the narcissist.
The things narcissists do to control their victims make the relationship addictive, so you must go cold turkey. If you stumble in a moment of weakness, forgive yourself but go back to it as soon as possible. It’s difficult, but it gets easier; take it one day at a time.
Removing a narcissist from your life completely gives you time to heal and get used to a life without abuse. Their abuse tactics always leave you wishing they’ll go back to their ‘old self,’ but that doesn’t really exist. If you cut them off completely, it will be easier to stop hoping that they will change.
The road to self-love after abuse is long and difficult. When you’re constantly told to love yourself, put yourself first, and that you can’t do it, you feel shame and humiliation. This is common and makes leaving an abusive relationship even harder.
Surrounding yourself with support can be helpful, but if you feel judged, it can slow down your progress. So compassion for yourself must be the first step on your path to recovery. It’s okay to falter and fail, as long as you don’t give up completely.
Self-care after abuse is difficult. Self-care after you escape a narcissistic relationship can be especially challenging because they made you feel undeserving. Be patient with yourself and go slow, allowing yourself more each day.
Some ways to be kind to yourself include:
• Having compassion for yourself and allowing yourself weakness but not allowing yourself to give up completely.
• Surrounding yourself with people who genuinely want to help you.
• Practicing general self-care: choose to eat healthily, drink enough water, sleep eight hours every day, exercise, etc. You’ll be surprised how much easier it is to deal with emotional turmoil when your body is properly nourished.
• Practicing mindfulness and gratitude to remind yourself where you are.
• Avoiding everyone who wants to defend your ex.
• Avoiding emotionally difficult situations.
• Doing things that make you happy, such as a hobby or something you’ve been wanting to do.
• Working on your mental health honestly and without excuses.
Define your boundaries and be firm about enforcing them. Narcissistic manipulation makes you feel like you must do whatever it takes to make your abuser happy, so you must unlearn those habits.
Boundaries are a show of love and respect for yourself. It might take a while to figure out those things again, so you must be patient.
Your first task is to learn to say ‘no.’ Start by giving yourself permission not to respond to people’s requests immediately but first think about how you feel. Until you overcome the need to do whatever it takes that the narcissist bullied into your head, take your time to assess your feelings.
This is the beginning of taking ownership of your life.
4. Re-learn who you are
Narcissists use different methods to devalue you while making themselves seem like the better person. This is how they get sympathy and supporters and make you doubt your own judgment.
Each narcissist is different and uses what works best for them. Some prefer bullying, some use violence, most of them are well-versed in narcissistic gaslighting, and a lot of them like to play the victim and make you seem like the bad guy.
The narcissist wants to annihilate who you are and make you into a tool for their own use. This abuse leaves you confused, insecure, and feeling like you’re drifting. To fight against the effects of invalidation, you have to get to know yourself again and reclaim yourself.
• Forgive yourself. The abuse wasn’t your fault. Not leaving the relationship wasn’t your fault. Suffering the consequences wasn’t your fault. Even though you know this rationally, one of the effects of the abuse is that you don’t believe it. You must find a way to convince yourself of this.
• Reject the inner voice of the narcissist telling you you’re worthless. You’re done with this person. The poison they left inside you will take some time to leave, but if you’re determined and patient, you’ll be rid of it.
• Express your feelings. Through conversation, journaling or art, however you do it, just find a way that works for you. Don’t keep your hurt, confusion, and despair on the inside. If you need guidance, look into therapy.
• Allow yourself to process what you’ve been through. It was a lot. It will take time to get over. There’s no rushing recovery.
• Identify your needs. Your life was dedicated to meeting the narcissist’s needs, so you might not even be aware of your own.
• Figure out what’s holding you back. Fight back against the limiting beliefs keeping you stuck. End all toxic relationships.
• Heal without compromise. Don’t let anything or anyone discourage you.
You’ll work hard to gain the strength to resist your ex narcissist, but it won’t be as bad as what they put you through. However they try to tempt you, you must always stick to this one belief: you’re better off without them. Nothing they can offer you is better than being free of them.
‘Will My Narcissist Come Back To Me?’ Is A Dangerous Question
You might get back into a relationship with them, but they’re not really coming back to you. When someone with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) pursues you after a breakup, all they’re doing is coming to bring you under to make themselves feel better.
If you’re wondering how to get them back, you’re playing right into their hands. This line of thinking proves you’re still in their clutches. You must get out of it and learn your worth to reclaim your own life.
If you’re not truly over your narcissist ex, there are some harsh truths you must accept for the sake of your emotional and mental health.
1. Your narcissist never really loved you and never will
Early on in a relationship, a narcissist will give you the impression of love and passion. It feels real, it’s exciting, and you’re on top of the world. In reality, the narcissist is love bombing you so that they can control and manipulate you.
For narcissists, relationships are only about what they can get from you. Your function is to boost their egos and feed their self-esteem. It’s not about you as a person, as it would be with someone who really loved you, but about you as a narcissist supply.
When their victim wants the relationship to become more intimate, or they feel like you’re not a challenge anymore, a narcissist loses interest. When they stop being able to use you to meet their needs, you lose your appeal.
When you move on, the narcissist comes back to make sure you’re brought down. They’re done with you, but they can’t stand seeing you happy. They’ll try especially hard if you were the one to leave them because they were humiliated and want to make you feel the same.
2. You were a victim in an abusive relationship
Everything you went through in your relationship with your ex-partner was part of narcissistic abuse. Even the good times were part of it, which is a hard pill to swallow.
Learning to love yourself after abuse is difficult. If you loved them, it hurts deeply to know they never loved you. You might be blaming yourself for allowing them to do this to you, but you must know that it isn’t something that you allowed – it’s something that happened to you.
Stop listening to the voice in your head that they left behind. You must understand that none of this has anything to do with your worth. You’re lovable and valuable, but this person doesn’t love anyone. Don’t let them control you any further.
You must forgive yourself however you feel about your role in the relationship. Finding some kind of motivation helps – your family members can inspire you, you can choose to honor your childhood dreams or decide to be the person you want to be.
You can even choose self-love in spite of your narcissist abuser if you can’t think of anything else at the moment. They don’t deserve even an ounce of your energy, so only use this as an impetus and find something better – something worth it, such as your precious self – as soon as you can.
3. If your narcissist shows up to win you back, it’s just about their ego
If the narcissist sees you with your new partner and butts in with false promises, claiming they missed you, they’re not trying to win you back. They just want to ruin what you have to hurt you because of their unbearable sense of inferiority.
A narcissist can’t really love anyone, starting with themselves. They envy you, which is why they chose you as their victim in the first place. They need to put you down to feel superior because you’re so far above them.
Don’t let this make you pity them or think that they have any positive feelings about you. When a narcissist meets someone bright and beautiful, they don’t feel any admiration or love. They just want to bring you down to their level of self-hatred and disgust.
Becoming familiar with the narcissistic relationship pattern can help you understand how a narcissist works. The abuse, devaluation, and hurt they consciously choose can’t be justified. No one is worth more than another person, and their own hurt is not worth more than yours.
Remember this well: there is no excuse for abuse.
Stay Away From The Narc
When the narcissist sees you with someone else, the best outcome is if they ignore you. Count your blessings and be happy that you’re rid of them and that you’re out of the cycle of abuse.
If they try to worm their way back into your life and suck you in, all they want is to ruin your sense of self so that they can use you. Don’t do what they expect you to. Your best tool against a narcissist is boundaries and cutting them off from the supply they need.
Keep a cool head, don’t engage, and don’t explain yourself. The narc won’t like this because they expect you to play into their hands.
Protect yourself and only focus on your freedom and loving yourself instead of feeling responsible for their fragile ego and insecurities. You’re strong and valuable – don’t let the narc convince you otherwise.