How Do Narcissists Feel When You Move On?

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If you’ve finally made the decision to end a relationship with a narcissist and move on, it’s normal to worry about them to some degree. At the very least, you’ll likely wonder how they feel when you move on. 

It’s common for narcissists to strongly resist ending a relationship with you. They are externally validated and need people around them to adore and admire them. When you first announce you’re leaving, they might respond by love bombing you, promising to change, and trying everything they can to convince you to change your mind. 

If you stick to your guns, however, it might seem like they aren’t even hurt by the loss of your relationship. You might even wonder why he or she doesn’t seem to be hurting like you are. Is that really what they’re experiencing? Read on to discover some common ways they react to the end of your relationship and what the truth is about how they’re feeling. 

What the Narcissist Feels

It’s not uncommon for a narcissist to act like everything’s fine or even like they’re on top of the world after you’ve broken off your relationship with them. Meanwhile, you might feel like you’re really struggling to get your life back together and move on. 

Why the apparent difference in responses, particularly when you might be feeling that the two of you were very close and suffering from the loss? 

  • The False Self

A narcissist’s personality is constructed around a false image of self. This false image requires almost constant external validation from loved ones, but it has some advantages. 

Because the false self is not real, there is no need to take responsibility for any actions; rather, it helps the narcissist avoid dealing with pain. In that way, the false self becomes real to the narcissist. 

The false self has no use for self-reflection, and it doesn’t fall prey to self-pity, pain or hopelessness. That keeps the narcissist from reflecting on what they might have done wrong in a relationship. 

This also means that  a narcissist cannot experience personal growth once a relationship ends. While the avoidance may help them to not feel the pain, they also never properly deal with the feelings of loss. 

It’s also true that at some point, the true self will reveal itself. Usually this occurs when the pain becomes so agonizing that it can no longer be ignored. Thus, while the narcissist seems to go about his or her happy-go-lucky way, you’re really doing the hard work to achieve personal growth. 

Sooner or later, the narcissist will have to deal with their real feelings, and it will cause a true crisis for them. That’s why your path is the better one in the long run. 

  • False Happiness

While the narcissist may be projecting happiness and fulfillment after you’ve moved on, the reality is their lack of self-awareness and unwillingness to accept responsibility prevents them from creating durable love or happiness. They are simply doomed to repeat the same mistakes. 

Their life will be full of complications and pain with multiple relationships ending just like the one with you. They use people to the point where they can’t take it anymore, and they leave. 

Additionally, since the narcissist never truly processes their feelings of loss or pain, they are left feeling hollow inside from their self-doubt, self-loathing, and shame. The only thing that alleviates those feelings is when they are able to get more attention and attach to someone else. 

They will attempt to create feelings of fulfillment with material items — the best cars, nicest clothes, and latest gadgets — but these will never be able to fill the void. They need to connect with their real internal self for that, and therein lies the narcissist’s challenge. 

In contrast, by connecting with your true feelings, you can both learn from your experiences, adopt new coping strategies, and grow on a personal level so that you can achieve true happiness and fulfillment. This is denied the narcissist. 

  • When Truth Wins Out

It might not happen as a result of your breakup, but eventually the narcissist will have to come face-to-face with their true self. They have spent their lifetime avoiding that because of their underlying self-loathing. 

the narcissist will have to come face-to-face with their true self

Eventually, however, as they begin to lose those things in life that they have used as a measure of their success, including you, they must come to terms with their own inner turmoil. 

They have to face the fact that their real, tortured self is nothing like the false self they so carefully crafted and maintained. When that happens, there is nothing to save them, no loving memories, satisfaction from past contributions, or feelings of pride one gets from living a life of integrity. 

The narcissist has lived their life as an endlessly hungry, tortured soul, and when that reality hits home, it can have devastating effects for them. 

Final Thoughts

While the narcissist may seem like they don’t care, the truth is they are endlessly tortured with self-doubt and loathing. Their self-esteem and self-image is nothing more than a facade created to project a happy, confident person

The truth is far different, however, and as they lose those people and things in life that have propped them up, they eventually must face what they fear the most: their inner self. That’s why they struggle so hard at first to keep you in their life. 

When they see that you’ve moved on, it brings them one step closer to the reality they have spent a lifetime avoiding. Though they may project an image of happiness and act as though the breakup with you didn’t matter, the reality is that it is torturing them on the inside. 

There’s no comfort in that for you, because you don’t want to hurt someone you love. There comes a time, however, when you have to take care of yourself so that you don’t become the dependent sycophant they want you to be. You deserve better, and that may mean leaving behind someone you cannot help

To move on, you’ll want to know how to tell the narcissist in your life no. Let me help by sending you a free copy of “5 Must-Know Techniques to Effectively Reject a Narcissist.” Click on the link below this blog post and I’ll send it directly to your inbox. 


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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