The Danger of a Returning Narcissist
Narcissists are like horror movie psychopaths — no matter how chill things may appear — you’re not safe from their emotional manipulation until their interest in you is dead and buried.
Narcissists have a nasty habit of coming back into your life.
Both narcissists and murders are resilient and determined to get what they want from you. If that means playing a waiting game before they strike again, then that’s what they’ll do.
According to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders, six percent of the U.S. population has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which is why most of us have encountered at least one in our lives.
As the child of a narcissist parent, you’d think I’d know better than to get involved emotionally with a narcissist. The truth is, I’ve had several relationships with narcissists and learned the hard way on how to protect myself emotionally from them.
You took your power back.
By managing to get out from under their control, you bruised the narcissist’s ego. They see you aren’t as captivated with them as you once were, and even worse, you might not think they’re a good person. The narcissist no longer has any influence over you, which is unacceptable for them.
There are many tools in the narcissist’s box of manipulation.
Whatever worked on you before, such as sweet talk, praise, criticism, or coldness, the narcissist believes will work again.
It’s been a while since you’ve had any contact with your narcissist. You’re in a new relationship, and you’ve heard they are too. With no prompting from you, you get a text from them saying “Hello,” or maybe, it’s a D.M. mentioning something you care about — a heads up about a new book from an author you like or a recipe to make your favorite take-out peanut noodles.
You’re touched; they’d remember such a small detail about your personal tastes. Watch out! Whatever their instrument of contact is, it’s not an innocent gesture, but a way to endear them to you and cause you to be more vulnerable and open to them.
Hoovering is one of the narcissist’s techniques.
Hoovering named after the vacuum cleaner company, Hoover, is one technique narcissists use to suck their victims back into their lives. The narcissist may be between relationships or may not be getting the attention they need from their current partner, so they hoover you to make them feel better.
Like the horror movie psychopath, the narcissist acts when your defenses down.
They’re not going to contact you immediately following a disengagement or breakup. A narcissist will wait months or even years until you’ve almost forgotten them and can think of them without fear.
If the narcissist in your life is an ex, they may wait until the relationship you had after them has ended to strike. The narcissist wants you to be desperate enough to give them a second chance.
They always have a plan.
Narcissists don’t do things because they’re kind or thoughtful; they do them to manipulate you. They bought a gift for you not because they were thinking of you, but to have an excuse to give it to you and hopefully make some headway in getting you back.
The threat is real.
When a narcissist reaches out, it’s as dangerous to your emotional well-being as a machete is to the horror-movie character who insists on finding out what that noise was in the basement.
The narcissist pretends to have your best interest at heart, but it’s not about you at all — it’s always about their needs.
Your good opinion matters to the narcissist.
Narcissists need ego boosts the same way vampires need blood, and if you’re no longer part of their fan club, they’re going to try to win you back.
There were so many times, after finally feeling neutral toward a narcissistic ex, that they’d try to pop back into my life. It’s as if they instinctively know when I’m 98 percent over them.
Narcissists only need 2 percent doubt to get a stranglehold on you again.
The narcissist can’t see how someone could choose not to engage with them, so letting them go without putting up a fight is never an option.
The best thing you can do is not react at all.
While the narcissist prefers praise and worship, they can still feed off a negative reaction. Don’t rise to their bait and start an argument with them. You may be smarter than the narcissist, but they’re sneakier, and they know how to fight dirty.
Never assume the narcissist is out of your life. If you’re aware of them and their manipulative tools, you’ll be better able to face them down and show them you’re stronger emotionally than they think, and you’re no longer their victim.