What Happens When You Break Up With A Narcissist

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As the famous song says, “Breaking up is hard to do!” When you’re breaking up with a narcissist, however, it’s even more difficult. Narcissists are rarely the ones who end a relationship. It happens, but more often it’s their partner who decides they’ve had enough. Even when the narcissist is the one who decides it’s time to move on, you can expect to have a difficult road ahead. 

Narcissists are always in dire need of attention, and their romantic partner is usually the one who mostly fills this need for them. When the relationship ends, they lose their main source of attention and adoration. 

Even if they want to end the relationship, they can struggle with the loss of that focused attention. Discover what to expect when you’ve decided to leave your narcissistic partner. 

How Will They React?

When faced with the loss of adoration from a romantic partner, a narcissist will do a number of things to try and prevent that. Here are several ways they may react when you break it off with your narcissistic partner:

1. You’re Gonna Regret This!

Your narcissistic partner will use many techniques to convince you that you’ve made a huge mistake when deciding to end the relationship. They will tell you that you’ve misinterpreted what they said or that you’re being too sensitive. 

They’ll begin with charm and charisma to convince you. When that doesn’t work, they’ll move on to intimidation and even provocation. After a long time of being told that you’ve been misinterpreting their actions, you’re probably used to second-guessing your own view of reality, and your narcissistic partner will use that to their advantage. 

One of the things you’ll notice, however, is that even though they may be trying to be positive about why it’s important to save your relationship, the reasons they’re giving for why you shouldn’t leave are actually negative statements about you. It’s not really about encouraging you to stay with them for positive reasons, it’s really another way to manipulate you by lowering your self-esteem so you won’t feel like you can leave. 

2. It’s All Your Fault!

Narcissists are not capable of accepting responsibility for anything perceived as failure. That means they will put the blame for the loss of the relationship entirely on you. They will not spare your feelings when it comes to detailing all the reasons why the break up is your fault. 

They likely put you on a pedestal when the relationship started. They probably told you how lucky they were to have won your love. That initial seeming adoration won’t save you from receiving the blame when things fall apart. You will become one of the most despised people in the narcissist’s life as they perceive you to have been single-handedly responsible for the failed relationship. 

Nothing you can say will change their mind, so it’s really not worth your time to try and end things amicably. It’s better to get out as quickly as possible so that both of you can move on with your lives. 

3. Pay Attention to Me!

You might be planning on never seeing your ex again, but if he or she is a narcissist, that can be more difficult than you think. Narcissists are very adept at grabbing your attention, and they will continue to do so even after you’ve broken off the relationship. 

It’s not uncommon for a narcissist to call you in  the middle of the night intoxicated and angry. They might even break into your house with the excuse they are coming to get their belongings. It’s also not uncommon for a narcissist to send you hundreds of texts or emails a day pleading for you to tell them why you want to end the relationship. 

If you are tied to them by children or through other family members, this can go on for a long time. This can create an incredible amount of stress for you, and can even get to the point where you’ll need a restraining order to keep the narcissist off your back. 

4. The Verdict Is…Guilty!

Narcissists are always happy to try and make you feel guilty for your decisions, thoughts and actions. They won’t hesitate to use this manipulative technique when you’re threatening to end the relationship. They will usually begin by reminding you about how much they’ve done for you or all the great times you’ve had together. 

Once it’s clear that positive reminders aren’t working, they will likely then resort to attacks that devalue you. They will project any complaints you’ve made about them back onto you. If you have complained about their selfishness, they will accuse you of the same thing. 

If you give into these tactics, the narcissist will continue to make you feel powerless through your guilt. That can keep you in the relationship for a far longer time than you had wanted. 

5. I Promise I’ll Change!

narcissists promise to change

When persuasion, guilt, attention-getting behaviors and blaming don’t convince you to give the narcissist another chance, they’ll turn to promises to change. They will tell you that they do understand why you’re upset and they know they need to change. 

This can make you think they’re taking responsibility for their bad behavior. The reality is it’s just another way to manipulate you. If you do give your narcissistic partner another chance, you’ll soon find that they’re back to their old tricks. 

Once they’re comfortable again with the relationship, they will go back to the same old insensitive, selfish and arrogant ways. They will also never give up trying to manipulate and control you. 

Final Thoughts

It’s always hard to break up with someone you love and abandon a relationship for which you had high hopes. When your soon-to-be ex is a narcissist, however, it is even harder since they are unwilling to let go so easily. 

While narcissists often come off as arrogant, the reality is that they have an extremely undeveloped sense of self. That guides their behavior. They need the external validation they get from an adoring partner. 

Unfortunately for you, while you might have fallen in love with your narcissistic partner’s charming side, you can be destroyed by their dark side. It can be difficult to tell if they ever really loved you

Whether they loved you or not, what is clear is that breaking it off with your narcissistic partner will be a difficult task. In the end, however, it will be much better for your self-esteem if you go your separate ways. 

While these are some of the things that can happen when you break it off with a narcissist, you might also be wondering how they feel when you move on. Check out the post, “How Do Narcissists Feel When You Move On?” to learn some of the common ways narcissists react to your relationship ending, the truth about how they’re feeling and what you can expect.


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Narcissistic abuse takes a terrible toll on your life. I’m Patricia, and my mother is a narcissist, so I know what you’re going through. These blog posts will help you understand narcissism better and give you tips for dealing with the narcissists in your life. Healing starts here!

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