As we have discussed the stages of a relationship with someone with NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) for the past few weeks, we have been able to see the stages that happen during the relationship. How it begins, what it looks like to be love bombed, the middle when we are devalued. And the discard, where we think the end, the period lands. However, when dealing with a Narc, the relationship doesn’t stop at the break-up.
A Narc has to have a supply. Narcissists lack empathy and have a desire to win above all else so much so they do not care about the consequences of their behavior. They will behave in a way after the break-up that will still be a form of abuse. The Narc views themselves as the victim, every time. They can’t be exposed; can’t have the real face behind the mask revealed. And they can not have someone leave them, they cannot be without a source of supply.
So when you break up with them or even they with you, there will be another stage; more cycles to this toxic relationship. This is a whole new level of abuse tactics they will use to keep you as a source of supply. Even if they no longer want a relationship with you, they still want to control you. The Narc still sees you as someone who belongs to them, they will do many things to attempt to keep that control.
These are the stages I have researched and many I have experienced myself. My Narc followed these, in a textbook fashion. It’s a shame I had not recognized or known about NPD prior to this; it may not have taken close to a year to finally accept the truth and be able to recover and heal.
The Post Break-up Narc Game:
- Hoovering or Boomeranging– “a technique that is named after the Hoover vacuum cleaner and is used by Narcs in order to “suck” their victims back into a relationship with them.”
This can come at any time, even months or years later. The Narc does not care about any boundaries you may have set, or if you have a new life, they need to see if they can still use you as a source of supply.
In my Narc experience, this would happen when I would go silent or not reply to any messages for quite some time (really only about 6weeks) and he would attempt to suck me back in. He was often successful. Even after meeting the newest source of supply, even after “re-committing” to her after each time of seeking me out to clear the air, say goodbye or be civil, even when he would create issues in his home, he would still attempt to Hoover! The latest being 6 weeks ago.
Thankfully this time, I finally realized exactly what was happening, he had hoovered me yet again. After weeks of no contact, coming back to work, he used some of the same old tired lines to reel me back in. And because of my caring nature, who I am, the affection I had, I started to fall for it. But because of educating myself and researching NPD, I was able to see that once he thought he had me “back”, he had won again and his usual behavior returned. Just about instantly. He didn’t even waste time to pretend, we had done this cycle so many, many times.
And once he thought he had me back under his control, he was able to devalue and discard, threaten and just continue the same cycles of abuse. Having educated myself though, I was able to stop the cycle and go no contact. Finally!
Read this article, it lists common ways in which hoovering is accomplished; EVERY SINGLE one on this list, he did, multiple times: http://www.thriveafterabuse.com/narcissists-hoovering-techniques/
- Triangulation— is the act of bringing another person or a group of people into the dynamic of a relationship or interaction to belittle the victim and make the victim “vie” for the attention of the narcissist.
Good article about this: https://thoughtcatalog.com/shahida-arabi/2017/05/3-powerful-ways-to-heal-from-the-toxic-triangulation-of-narcissists/ This is often done once the Narc has secured a committed new source of supply. Once he has sealed that attention he still wants to make sure that his old sources are available as well. You know, just in case the new source says no, isn’t available or they are bored. This also creates a triangle where the Narc is at the center, allowing for even more of an ego fix.
I recall one of the times we were in the middle of a hoover moment, around 8 months ago now, when the new supply was relatively new. When he had me back where he wanted me and I was wanting to believe all the “I love you” lies. I was back to showing him love, that he said: “it seems that she wants me more, knowing that you still want me.” He enjoyed the attention. He enjoyed attempting to pit me and the new supply against each other. This was not the first nor the last time he would do this.
He had done this to me as well when I was the fiance~. He had been involved with another woman right after one of our breakups, of course, he had to get a new source of supply within a week or two. But once he and I were back together, he ended it with her, or so I thought. She was suddenly pregnant and contacting me, telling me he was still sleeping with her, that he loved her, etc.
In my experience, the Narc really likes to use triangulation. By having more than one person “fighting” over him, he was able to get a fix from all sources of supply. And reaffirm his narcissistic views.
- Slander or Smear campaign—it is an intense campaign designed to humiliate an opponent while simultaneously elevating the narcissist
Article with definition and examples: https://pro.psychcentral.com/exhausted-woman/2017/03/5-ways-narcissists-smear-others/ Oh, how this one can blindside you. If you are not the Narc and just going through a “typical” breakup you might tell your close friends what happened between the two of you. You will have your side of the story and if being honest, you can admit your own faults as well.
But when a Narc feels rejected, their supply has left them, gone no contact or exposes them, they will become vicious and make up all sorts of lies to attempt to smear the victim to make them look bad and the Narc good.
What I find so amazing about smear campaigns, the Narc often attempts this with folks who know the victim really well. So they usually know the truth and are able to see right through the made up stories.
When the Narc I was involved with tried this, he contacted family and friends who have known me for so many years, they could see right through it. They have a loyalty he couldn’t understand because Narcs are only loyal to themselves. And the lies are often times so outrageous, no one who knows the victim usually believes them.
During these moments, these cycles, one other way the Narc will cause abuse and harm to the old and new supply (in my opinion), the Narc will often also use their new source of supply to attempt to smear, devalue or threaten the old supply as well. They will get the new supply to do their “dirty work” for them. He has had the latest supply and even had me do it to the aforementioned ex-girlfriend.
By hoovering, triangulating, and smearing, the Narc is able to still keep you are as a supply source. Those with NPD do not have nor care about boundaries that you may set for yourself to heal and recover from the abuse they have put you through. They just continue with new ways to cause you harm.
In order to heal, we must not participate in the post break up game. We have to become educated and learn to apply the information. With knowledge and boundaries, we can heal, we can move forward and can find healthy relationships again.
Next time we will explore ways to heal and how to create a No Contact plan to keep on the road to recovery. And we will take an honest look at how breaking no contact makes you feel and how you can use that to fuel you to reset those boundaries.