Do Narcissists End Relationships Abruptly?

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A relationship with a narcissist is often a tumultuous ride full of rage and redemption. It can leave you feeling exhausted and confused. You may know you love that person, but the emotional abuse they dole out takes a heavy toll. Most of the time, it’s the partner that leaves the narcissist rather than the other way around. Occasionally, however, the narcissist is the one who ends the relationship, and they don’t do it very well. 

When a narcissist ends a relationship, it is often very abrupt. They have usually set up someone to take your place so that they won’t miss out on any of their vital narcissistic supply. They frequently end things without any explanation, but they don’t usually stay away forever. They will be back.

If you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, you have probably experienced their threats to leave you on more than one occasion. The narcissist likes to make this threat to avoid appearing vulnerable. Let’s explore the reasons behind why they would actually choose to leave and examine how they often say goodbye. It’s vital information for anyone in a relationship with a narcissist. 

How Do Narcissists End Their Relationships?

How Do Narcissists End Their Relationships

When you first enter a relationship with a narcissist, they are incredibly interested in everything about you. They want to know your hopes, your dreams, and of course, your fears. They are learning. 

The thing is that they will use what they learn about you against you. They will use your fears and hopes to manipulate you into giving them what they want. They want a steady supply of admiration, something called narcissistic supply. 

They end the relationship when one of two things happens: either you stop giving them their much-needed narcissistic supply or they have gotten everything they wanted from you. 

In the first case, it’s usually the partner of the narcissist who actually ends the relationship. Once you see through their facade, it becomes difficult to provide them with that narcissistic supply, and it also becomes difficult to stay with them. 

In the second case, the narcissist may feel they have gotten everything they want from you and they are now bored or they feel that you have become a liability that might expose their true self. As Phyllis Antebi, who has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, points out, “Narcissists are by definition, shallow, detached, and insincere. At first, your appeal is your novelty. Narcissists are like children, they like to play “Let’s pretend.” After a while, however, they become bored. 

Typically, when they discard you, they have already moved on. They usually get a new source of narcissistic supply in place before discarding someone. That way they never miss a beat, but they tend to end the relationship abruptly. 

They don’t give you an explanation or any sense of closure. This is due in part to the fact that they can’t empathize with you, and it’s also possible they might want to come back someday. 

Why Would a Narcissist Come Back into Your Life?

Why Would a Narcissist Come Back into Your Life

Narcissists cycle through the people in their life. They learn early in life that people will tire of their manipulation after a while, and they have learned to move from one person to the next in their relationships. 

This is true of their friendships too. They will discard one friend for a while and focus on another one. Then when that one becomes boring or gets tired of the narcissist, they go back to the other one. 

They believe they can do the same thing with their romantic relationships too. It can work since by not giving you a sense of closure when they abruptly ended the relationship, you may have tried to keep contacting them. 

You’re trying to understand what happened and they’re ghosting you. That ghosting, however, keeps you hanging on which feeds right into their ego. If they can keep that going for long enough, when they decide to discard their new victim, they have a better chance of coming back to you. 

If you let them come back, they won’t have changed, however, but it’s normal that you would hope they would. Healthy people reflect on failed relationships and look for ways they can improve in the next one

Unfortunately, that is not something a narcissist is capable of doing. They can’t ever admit to mistakes as that undermine their grandiose ideas of superiority. They can’t even internally examine their own behavior and admit to themselves that they made a mistake. 

How Long After Discarding You Will a Narcissist Come Back?

How Long After Discarding You Will a Narcissist Come Back

To the narcissist, the amount of time that has passed doesn’t register. They only know that they are in need of narcissistic supply and they remember that you were a good source at one time. 

They believe it’s reasonable to assume that if they can get you back, you’ll be a good source once again. It can sometimes even be years after a breakup that a narcissist will attempt to come back into your life. 

You may have long forgotten them, but suddenly you see them or someone you know is a friend of theirs in your supermarket or gym or some other place you frequent. You’re surprised, and like most healthy people, you try to be civil, but they are after something. 

They might also try to re-enter your life by texting you or sending you a message on social media. It may be as simple as, “Hey, just wanted to know how you’re doing,” but there’s nothing simple about what they’re trying to do. 

Can a Narcissist Change after a Breakup?

Can a Narcissist Change after a Breakup

It’s very unlikely that a narcissist will change as the result of a breakup, particularly if they are the one who ended the relationship. Make no mistake about it, you cannot change a narcissist. There is nothing you can say or do that will make them change. 

The only way a narcissist will change is if they want to change. Even then, it usually takes years of intense and ongoing psychotherapy to reduce their narcissistic tendencies. With that kind of therapy, they can make significant changes, but they usually don’t engage in therapy. 

Narcissists can’t admit any wrongdoing. It’s devastating for them because it undermines the grandiose ideas they infused into their false sense of self when they constructed it in childhood. That makes it difficult for them to see they are the one with the problem. It’s much easier for them to externalize blame and move on to the next victim. 

What Can You Do to Move On After Being Discarded Abruptly?

What Can You Do to Move On After Being Discarded Abruptly

It can be very hard for the victim of a narcissistic discard to move on because they don’t get a sense of closure. The abrupt way the relationship ended leaves them trying to understand what happened. They can also suffer from a form of complex PTSD as a result of the emotional abuse the narcissist heaped on them during their relationship. 

If you’ve been discarded like this and are having trouble moving on, it’s wise to seek help from a professional therapist. If you’re unwilling to do that for any reason, it can help to find a good friend who knows your true value to support your healing. 

You can also use several good self-help techniques, like inner child work, to help heal the wounds left behind. The most important thing to help you move on is to realize that it wasn’t you, it was the narcissist. 

If you look inside, you will see that though they tried to make you believe you were the one at fault, it was their mental disorder that truly caused the problems in your relationship. That is an important step in the healing journey, and it is a journey. It will take time, but you will be okay again. 

Final Thoughts

Narcissists are well-known for ending their relationships abruptly. They don’t have the ability to empathize with their partners, and so, when they are ready to move on, they do so in a terrible way. The first thing you need to do is realize it is them, not you, and then you can start healing. 

If you’ve suffered narcissistic abuse at the hands of a narcissist, this article is an absolute must to help start you on that healing journey. It has great tips on how you can start healing your inner child for a bright future free of toxic people.


If you want more tips for dealing with narcissists, setting boundaries, and managing emotional triggers, make sure you subscribe to my youtube channel


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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