How Narcissists Deal With Breakup
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How Narcissists Deal With Breakup

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Breakups can be emotionally challenging for anyone, but for narcissists, the experience can be particularly intense. Narcissists have a unique way of navigating the aftermath of a breakup, driven by their self-centered nature and need for validation. Here is how narcissists deal with breakup.

What Narcissists Do After a Breakup

After a breakup, narcissists often experience a range of emotions, but their response may differ from that of emotionally healthy individuals. Instead of reflecting on the relationship and processing their feelings, narcissists tend to focus on preserving their ego and self-image. Here are some common behaviors narcissists exhibit after a breakup.

1. Seeking Validation from Others

Narcissists thrive on attention and validation, and a breakup can be a blow to their ego. To compensate for this loss, they actively seek validation from others. They might engage in attention-seeking behaviors, such as posting on social media or flirting with new potential partners. This external validation becomes essential for them to maintain their self-esteem.

2. Blaming Others

Narcissists rarely take responsibility for the end of a relationship. Instead, they often shift the blame onto their former partner or anyone else involved. They may engage in gaslighting, manipulation, and character assassination to protect their self-image and avoid facing their own flaws. By deflecting blame onto others, they can maintain their sense of superiority and avoid feelings of guilt or shame.

Related: How narcissists manipulate others

3. Idealizing and Devaluing

Narcissists often struggle with seeing people as complex individuals. Instead, they tend to idealize their partners during the early stages of a relationship, viewing them as perfect and putting them on a pedestal. However, once the relationship ends, the narcissist may quickly switch to devaluing their ex-partner. They may belittle their achievements, criticize their flaws, and paint them as the villain in the narrative. This behavior allows narcissists to protect their fragile egos and maintain a sense of superiority.

Related: How to deal with a narcissist

How Narcissists Deal with Breakup

1. Hoovering

One tactic narcissists employ after a breakup is hoovering. This refers to their attempt to suck their former partner back into the relationship by manipulating their emotions. They might send messages of regret, promise to change, or even resort to threats and intimidation. The goal is to regain control and feed their need for attention and validation.

Related: How narcissists try to win you back

2. Silent Treatment

Narcissists are known for their use of the silent treatment as a means of control. After a breakup, they may employ this tactic to punish their ex-partner and maintain a sense of power. By withdrawing communication and emotional support, they aim to make their former partner feel rejected and insignificant.

3. Smear Campaigns

To protect their self-image and ensure that others perceive them in a favorable light, narcissists often engage in smear campaigns after a breakup. They may spread false rumors, manipulate information, and tarnish their ex-partner’s reputation. This behavior serves to bolster their own ego while undermining the credibility and emotional well-being of their former partner.

Related: How narcissists react when you leave them

4. Love Bombing

Love bombing is a technique commonly used by narcissists during the early stages of a relationship, but they may also employ it after a breakup. By bombarding their ex-partner with affection, compliments, and promises of change, they aim to regain control and re-establish the relationship. Love bombing can be both enticing and manipulative, leaving the recipient confused and vulnerable.

5. Triangulation

Triangulation involves introducing a third person into the dynamics of the breakup. Narcissists may start dating someone new quickly after a breakup to provoke jealousy and insecurity in their ex-partner. By creating this triangulation, they hope to assert their desirability and maintain a sense of control over their former partner’s emotions.

6. Lack of Closure

Closure is essential for healing after a breakup, but narcissists often deny their former partners this opportunity. They may avoid conversations about the relationship’s end, refuse to answer questions or provide vague and dismissive responses. By withholding closure, narcissists can maintain a sense of power and control over their ex-partner’s emotions.

7. Emotional Manipulation

Narcissists are masters of emotional manipulation, and they may intensify these tactics after a breakup. They might guilt trip their former partner, play on their emotions, or use sentimental items as tools for manipulation. By keeping their ex-partner emotionally invested, they can continue to exert control and feed their need for attention.

8. Grandiose Display of Happiness

Narcissists often go to great lengths to project an image of happiness and success after a breakup. They may flaunt their new relationships, career achievements, or material possessions on social media. This grandiose display serves to mask their true emotions and create an illusion of superiority, making it seem like they are thriving while their ex-partner suffers.

9. Emotional Detachment

Narcissists are known for their emotional detachment, and this characteristic becomes more pronounced after a breakup. They may appear cold, indifferent, and unaffected by the end of the relationship. This emotional detachment serves as a defense mechanism, allowing them to avoid confronting their feelings of vulnerability and loss.

Related: What really happens when Narcissists lose control 

10. Repeating the Cycle

Unfortunately, narcissists often repeat the same patterns in subsequent relationships. They may rush into new relationships without taking the time to heal and self-reflect. By repeating the cycle, they can avoid facing their own shortcomings and maintain their self-image as flawless and desirable.


Breakups can be challenging for anyone, but narcissists navigate the aftermath in their own unique way. Seeking validation, blaming others, idealizing and devaluing, and engaging in control tactics are just some of the ways narcissists deal with breakups. Understanding these behaviors can provide insights into their mindset and help individuals protect themselves from further emotional harm. If you have experienced a breakup with a narcissist, it is crucial to focus on your healing and surround yourself with a support system that can help you rebuild your self-esteem and move forward in a healthy and fulfilling way.

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