It’s not at all unusual for narcissists to come back into your life after you’ve broken it off with them. You may have thought the relationship is over, but the reality is that many narcissists will come back time and again, sometimes even after years of separation. It’s also not uncommon that people who have been in a relationship with a narcissist might come to miss them and think that maybe things will be better the second time around, but will they?
While it is technically possible for a narcissist to change, the reality is that it doesn’t happen very often, and it takes a long-term commitment to therapy, which is something most narcissists cannot accomplish. If you’re considering giving a narcissist a second chance, you must protect yourself.
Read on to discover why you might miss your narcissistic abuser, why they will likely come back into your life at some point, and what you need to do if you give them a second chance.
Why Do I Miss My Narcissistic Ex?
There are a few reasons why you might miss your narcissistic ex. The first is that narcissists can sometimes be very charming. They are particularly charming early on in your relationship and when they are trying to get their way.
Many people who have been romantic partners with a narcissist often describe thinking that they had found the ‘love of their life.’ They frequently relate how they felt as though the narcissist was their soulmate. The narcissist seemed to understand everything about them and intuitively know what they needed.
But as retired psychologist Edward Tierney explains, “All the narc(issist) did was mirror you, reflecting back to you all your beliefs and preferences, so that when the narc(issist) told you you were soulmates you could easily believe it.” This is a tactic narcissists use frequently along with love-bombing.
The other reason you might miss your narcissistic ex is that you might be an empath who continues to feel as though you really want to help him or her with their self-esteem issues.
Empaths and narcissists are frequently attracted to one another because they have complementary traits; the narcissist wants someone who will focus on their needs and empaths are very sensitive to the needs of other people and they want to help. Empaths often focus on other people, and unfortunately, if they don’t carefully manage their abilities, they can sometimes do so at the expense of their own needs.
The final reason you might miss even an abusive narcissist is that you miss that familiarity. As the saying goes, better the devil you know than the one you don’t know. It can get lonely being single and even a narcissist can seem better than no one.
Why Will a Narcissist Come Back into My Life?
Narcissists have difficulty accepting failure, and while we can’t know what’s in anyone’s heart, to the narcissist, the issue is not likely that they miss you because they loved you, but that you represent a failure in their life. This is particularly true if you were the one who broke it off.
Even if the narcissist broke it off, however, they still are likely to come back. They like the feeling of being able to manipulate people. It makes them feel powerful, and they also need to believe that they can re-establish that narcissistic supply whenever they need to do so.
No matter who broke off contact, the narcissist likely immediately worked to find another source of narcissistic supply or they may even have had someone waiting in the wings. They need that adoration constantly, so if you’re gone, they will find someone else as quickly as possible.
But as with you, it’s likely any new relationship will end sooner or later, and the narcissist will often turn to an old flame to try to rekindle that supply source. If they are successfully able to do so, it also gives them a feeling of power which boosts their self-esteem.
How Long Will It Take for the Narcissist to Come Back?
While it’s not possible to set a specific time frame, you should know that even after several years have passed, it’s still possible for a narcissist to work their way back into your life and seek to start up where the two of you left off.
It’s vital to remember that the narcissist can’t go on with their narcissistic supply, and so, they will usually find someone to replace you right away. They have to do that or face their true self. That’s not something they can bring themselves to do, at least not without lots of professional help.
While the two of you are apart, it’s not unlikely that the narcissist will have cycled through at least one other relationship, if not many others. Since they aren’t capable of feeling empathy for other people, they can’t fully understand the impact of their actions.
That’s why they can come back and even act as though nothing had ever gone wrong in the first place. If they do acknowledge there were problems, they may promise they have changed, but you should consider that very carefully before letting them back in.
Will a Narcissist Change?
It is possible for a narcissist to change their ways, but it’s not likely. If the narcissist has genuinely seen the damage they are doing to themselves and others, and they decide to change, they will need to commit to long-term psychotherapy to truly be able to achieve that change.
Though they will assure you they have changed, the reality is that it’s not likely they have changed much. They might just know better where the line is, and though they might be reluctant to cross it again, they will still engage in abusive, manipulative tactics to try and control you.
Without that long-term, intensive psychotherapy, the narcissist will have difficulty truly changing even if they really seem to want to do so. You might desperately want to believe that they have changed, but you need to go into a renewed relationship with your eyes wide open.
What Should I Do If I Give the Narcissist a Second Chance?
If you do decide to take them back, and it’s evident they are not engaged in any kind of meaningful psychotherapy, then it’s more likely you will have to change. It is possible to have a long-term relationship with a narcissist, but you have to truly moderate your expectations.
You are the one who will have to understand that you’re dealing with someone who has profound problems, and you’ll need to understand that you won’t get the kind of fulfillment you might have with someone who is psychologically healthier.
You will have to set firm boundaries regarding what you will and will not tolerate, and among these should be the measures you need to take to practice good self-care. If you’re allowing this kind of toxicity back into your life, you’ll have to minimally establish the following:
- A strong support network of friends and family with whom you can process your feelings;
- Sufficient time away from the narcissist to clear your mind;
- Good self-care practices like meditation and exercise regimens to stay mentally and physically healthy;
- Firm boundaries regarding how you expect to be treated and what you will not tolerate.
If you don’t institute these changes yourself, you will likely end up being abused just like you were before in the relationship.
In the end, you have to decide whether you should give a narcissist a second chance or not, but unless you take the initiative to set firm boundaries and practice good self-care, you will likely end up being abused again. The narcissist is unlikely to change without years of professional help.
Letting a narcissist back into your life is a risky choice, but it’s not unusual to miss even a narcissistic abuser. If you do choose to let them back in, you should always remember that you deserve to be treated with respect, love, and kindness, most importantly of all by yourself.
Before you give a narcissist a second chance, you’ll want to get your own house in order. They often use your emotional triggers against you, but you don’t have to continue to let them do that. You can use my 5 Step Roadmap to Heal Emotional Triggers to help you get control over your own responses. That way, if you do give them a second chance, you’ll be ready for their manipulation tactics!
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