Inevitably this hope disintegrates. Narcissists can’t stop trying to control you, and they can’t seem to control their own behaviors for any length of time. For a while, you think things are getting better. However, when the narcissist gets comfortable in the relationship again, (s)he’ll go back to being self-absorbed, inconsiderate, arrogant, insensitive, and be blaming. And invariably if things don’t go his/her way, (s)he’s instantly back to the same defensive and antagonistic patterns. How many times you’re willing to believe the narcissist’s false promises is up to you.
6. Social attacks and gossip
It is hard to keep the end of your relationship with a narcissist out of the public eye because the narcissist demands that everyone you know choose sides. As soon as possible (s)he will tell your friends, neighbors, church members, and club acquaintances in person and on social media his/her version of the story of your breakup. That is very distressful for most caretakers.
During your entire relationship, the narcissist insisted on extreme privacy about your interactions together, and now (s)he is spreading all kinds of misinformation and slander and trying to ruin your good name. Too often caretakers continue to keep their promises not to talk about the relationship, which means the narcissist’s lies stand without challenge.
Gossip is a manipulative tactic designed to make you the bad guy and to garner the narcissist as much sympathy as possible. It can also work effectively to re-engage you with him and bring you under control.
Although stalking is usually not blatant or threatening by narcissists, it is not uncommon for narcissists to fortuitously be at the grocery store when you are, to suddenly appear at a community or social event you attend, or change their running schedule so they go down your street every morning. Be prepared ahead of time that these unexpected meetings might occur. They’re designed to keep you aware of the narcissist’s presence and emotionally off balance.
Narcissists appear to be strong and independent, but they are actually extremely needy. You may find it hard to let go of taking care of the narcissist. You may get calls to come fix her car, or he may still expect you to keep doing the accounting for his business, or she wants you to take down the Christmas lights on her house, or he expects you to still make his dentist appointments. It can be exhausting and difficult for you to say no to these persistent requests. Too often you get pulled back into interactions with the narcissist that really don’t benefit you.
Written by Margalis Fjelstad, Ph.D., LMFT
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