The No Contact rule is a widely prescribed strategy to break free from a narcissist. As the name suggests, it involves avoiding any contact with the narcissist, including
- Meeting with the narcissist in public or in private
- Phone calls — calling yourself or taking calls from the narcissist
- Blocking the narcissist’s text messages
- Blocking the narcissist on social media or, even more extreme, deleting your social media profiles so that the narcissist can’t find you
- Carefully avoiding any other possibility of meeting with the narcissist or talking with them
If you have any common friends that the narcissist could use to reach you, you may need to apply the No Contact rule to these relationships as well.
While one may argue that this strategy isn’t always practical — the narcissist could still show up at your workplace or wait near your home — it may be very helpful in some cases and is worth considering.
The wrong reasons to go No Contact
People ask many questions regarding the No Contact Rule, but one common trend is that a lot of victims approach it with a wrong mindset. They view No Contact as a revenge of sorts; they want to hurt the narcissist, to make them miss them, regret everything they have done and come back crawling. While understandable, it is an immature thinking and a sign that the victim isn’t ready to heal. We go No Contact to finally break free from the narcissistic abuse, to regain our life and restore our mental and physical health.
- It is not meant to be used to manipulate the narcissist into changing his or her ways and being with you and you alone.
- It is not one of those relationship games people play in order to satisfy their ego.
Be honest with yourself because your future literally depends on it: If you are looking for a way to hurt your abuser or tame them, you are not ready to end your relationship with them and you are not ready to heal. Understand: You can’t out-manipulate the narcissist. You can’t beat them at their own game, nor should you even attempt it.
Here is a few possible scenarios of what can happen if you insist on seeking revenge:
- You will get back together and, after a honeymoon period, your relationship will return to the old patterns (most probably).
- You will become a hurtful and manipulative person yourself, which will negatively affect all your future relationships — obviously, not the answer as well.
We are not discouraging you from avoiding the narcissist if your intentions are less than pure. What we mean is be honest with yourself; and if you have some work to do, do so. Feelings of hurt pride and the desire for revenge are complex emotions, and you will definitely need to work with a professional to get past that.
How Does a narcissist feel during No Contact?
A narcissist is similar to a drug addict in a sense that they are addicted to attention, admiration, praise and control over other people — narcissistic supply as it’s called in psychology. While you were together, you were their source of narcissistic supply, and now that it’s taken away from them, they feel frustrated and restless.
- They want to regain their source of narcissistic supply.
- They feel challenged and want to prove themselves by forcing you to get back with them.
- They feel very bored because there is nothing to distract themselves with.
How does a narcissist react to No Contact?
There is no doubt that No Contact has a devastating effect on narcissists. Depending on the state of your relationship and presence of other sources of narcissistic supply (or lack of thereof), there are two possible reactions a narcissist may have:
- They will frantically pursue their victims in an attempt to get them back (most probable).
- They will announce that their victim doesn’t deserve them anyway. Generally, they will pretend that they were the ones to do the dumping.
While the second option seems like a less flattering alternative, it is, in fact, a much more fortunate outcome because now you are essentially free. Unfortunately, in most cases narcissists don’t let their victims off the hook very easily and will do whatever it takes to win them back.
- They will stalk you.
- They will call you and text you.
- They will try to interact with you on social media.
- They will send you emails.
- They will show up at your workplace embarrassing you in front of your colleagues.
- They will wait for you in the parking lot.
- They will wait for you near your home or your gym.
- They will contact your friends and relatives.
Once they manage to get hold of you, they will try to manipulate your emotions by reminding how happy you were together — those sweet memories of the days when you were in the initial stages of the relationship and very much in love. Expect gifts, beautiful promises, tears — they know you well and know exactly what you want to hear. Think of your favorite romantic drama character: This is their response.
Will a narcissist come back after No Contact?
In most cases, the answer is yes, if you let them. Sometimes they will get back with you only to break up with you (or discard you) later — it’s important for them that if a breakup takes place, they are the ones to initiate it. More worrisome, they may seek revenge because ignoring them is one of the worst things you can do to a narcissist — in their mind, anyway.
Another question is for how long do you do No Contact. No Contact is not something you do for two weeks or a month — it’s indefinite. If the narcissist has a way of contacting you, they will continue bugging you for years to come. This is why it’s so important that you heal yourself first so you can stay strong and resist the temptation to get back together.
Do narcissists miss their ex after No Contact?
Now you might be thinking that the narcissist really misses you and the answer is yes, he does but not the way you hope. As we explained above, you were their source of narcissistic supply — a source of love, admiration and praise — and now that you are gone, there is a sense of emptiness and dissatisfaction. At this stage, the narcissist is eager to fill that empty space, which is why they keep contacting you. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that they really love you or miss you in a way that most people understand.
And finally one last note: Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the clinical kind, is incredibly rare and most people we refer to as narcissists do not have NPD. In its non-clinical form, narcissism is more of a spectrum with some people falling closer towards the end, hence displaying more narcissistic traits. This means that along with narcissistic traits, they can also have other more desirable traits. In other words, there could be good things about them. This may sound confusing and it is; but if you are unsure what to do about this particular relationship, a good question to ask is not whether or not your partner has NPD, but how does it feel like to be in a relationship with them as described here.
More on narcissism:
5 Signs They Are a Somatic Narcissist
Narcissism vs Assertiveness [QUIZ]
Raised by a Narcissistic Mother
10 Signs You Are Dating a Narcissist or Narcissistic Sociopath
Well-wisher or Narcissist? People Who Feed Off Drama
Dealing with a narcissist (self-hypnosis download)
…and even more on narcissism here (continuously updated).
Image source: @mrsiraphol via Freepik
Online CBT Platform to Help Deal with Relationship Problems, Anxiety, Depression, Addiction and More. Includes professional follow-up by a CBT therapist. Click here to get started.
Follow the author Follow @elgorsvan