Narcissists and other manipulators can try to win you back even after you cut them out of your life. In fact, they can do that even if they were the one who ended the relationship.
So, why does the narcissist return? Is it because they love you or miss you? Neither. Narcissistic people return because they’re suffering from malnutrition. What do I mean by nutrition? Attention, affection, sex, money… Perhaps they were able to fill the hole you left behind with new relationships, new friends and places for a while. But the hole inside their heart is so large that they can never truly fill it. So they feel the need to include you once again. After all, you were once a resource that offered them whatever they needed to a certain extent.
On the other hand, perhaps the narcissist doesn’t even want you back. They may be pretending like they want you back just to get a reaction out of you, just to see if they still have some power over you, if they can still control you. Seeing that they’re still able to control your emotions will make them feel powerful.
And when it comes to getting you back, they have dozens of methods. Here are some of them:
· Begging and crying: They can tell you that they’ve been crying all the time ever since you left them, they couldn’t enjoy life without you and that they didn’t know what to do with themselves anymore.
· Apologizing: As I mentioned in my previous article, narcissistic people don’t like to apologize and some of them never do it. But ‘covert narcissists’ can apologize if it serves them well in the long run, so they can apologize to win you back and guarantee that the same things will not happen again if you accept them back into your life.
· Using your need for intimacy: They can tell you how much they missed holding you, sleeping with you.
· Telling you that they need help: They can tell you that they’re unwell and that they need you by their side or they’re in trouble and you’re the only person who can help them. Whatever they’re supposedly going through, they make sure to highlight that only you can help them with it. For example; I had a huge fight with my family and you’re the only person I can talk to about this because only you could understand.
· Telling you that they’re worried about you: They try to make it look like they’re concerned about your well-being and not their own. You can hear things like I’m so worried about you, I have a bad feeling inside me as if something bad is going to happen to you, I want to be there for you and protect you.
· Saying that they wish to remain friends: Even if this is a genuine request -which probably isn’t- why would you want to be friends with a narcissist?
· Dragging your friends, your family and even your children into it: They can try to reach you by using someone who could side with them. Even if that person is your child.
· Pretending like the relationship isn’t over: I know this one sounds absurd but this really is something narcissists do in order to win people back. If they were the one who ended the relationship, they can claim that they actually didn’t leave you for good, you’re exaggerating things, they just thought giving each other some space might be a good idea and that’s why they left. If you were the one who ended it, they can completely ignore your decision and continue texting and calling you like nothing happened. When you try to explain that you’re serious about this, they can tell you that this is just a phase, there’s no need to break up and that they think you just want to take a break. A narcissist is very good at ignoring the word ‘no’.
· Sending random texts and calling you ‘accidentally’: The main purpose is to remind you of themselves every once in a while. They can send you texts on special occasions like the Valentine’s, birthdays, religious festivals and so on in an attempt to stay in touch. It’s also possible for them to send you texts just to try and make you jealous. For example, you can receive a text message saying something like ‘we’re meeting tonight, right?’ followed by ‘sorry, that was meant for someone else’. Their purpose is to get a reaction from you, either positive or negative. For a narcissist, there’s no difference at all. Both possibilities show that they’re not completely forgotten and that they can still make you feel something.
· Making promises: They can make so many promises and tell you things like this time, everything will be different and so much better. They can do this in a theatrical and exaggerated manner. If the narcissist is a man, this promise can also be a marriage proposal.
· Giving presents: As I mentioned in my article about the idealization phase, sometimes a narcissist chooses to spoil you with gifts. They can do the same thing while trying to win you back. After all, all those gifts and sweet talk were enough to sweep you off your feet once. Why wouldn’t it work now? In fact, perhaps they’re waiting for the Valentine’s to do just that.
· Guilt tripping you: The narcissist can say that they would never do this to you. They can accuse you of being selfish and only thinking about yourself. Narcissists are quite good at making you feel like the flaws in their characters are actually the flaws in yours.
· Emotional blackmail: “You hurt me so much.You broke my heart. You left me alone. I know I was wrong but you abandoned me. If you truly loved me, you would give me another chance.” By saying things like that, they can try to use your feelings against you to win you back.
· Accusing you of something you never did: For instance, they can accuse you of being unfaithful. If you try to clear your name by explaining the truth, they win. Because they’ve already received the reaction they wanted.
· Yelling and threatening: If the other methods don’t work, the narcissist can lose control. They can yell at you, and even threaten you. Try to frighten you by saying things like if you don’t come back to me, there will be consequences. Don’t expect to see your children ever again. I’ll tell everyone what kind of person you are.
What happens once you accept them back?
It starts with the idealization phase again. You go back to the good old days. They tell you everything you ever wanted to hear. The arguments are over, the peaceful days have begun. By the time you feel like everything is finally perfect; they’ve already started getting bored and their dark side slowly returns.
And then while history is repeating itself, you find yourself trying to understand where you went wrong. Actually, nothing has to be wrong. You left and now you’re back, and you must be punished for that.
Especially if you were the one who ended the relationship the first time; now they have to end it themselves. They can’t let you have the upper hand. Even if you were not the one who ended it the first time, thing won’t be much different. After all, they can leave you anytime and then come back when they feel like it. Since you let it happen once, why wouldn’t you let it happen again? They know that they can win you back if they ever need you again. But there’s a third possibility. They never leave you. They keep you in an abusive cycle of idealization and then humiliation. That’s the worst thing to do.
Why would you return to them?
Now it’s time to be honest with ourselves because we may not like the answers.
· Maybe you didn’t want to be alone. So you chose an emotionally abusive relationship to loneliness.
· Maybe you were a victim of your own ego. You ignored their dark side by telling yourself things like, so they didn’t forget about me, they still love me.
· Maybe you genuinely believed that they have changed, and that you didn’t want everything you’ve done to save this relationship to go to waste.
· You’ve been hopelessly waiting for an apology from them or for them to admit that they were wrong.
· You can try to minimize your ordeal, try to justify the emotional abuse or deny it. Admitting that you’ve been used by a manipulator is quite hard; sometimes you can’t admit it even to yourself.
· You can feel responsible. You can try to save them and fix them. (Unfortunately, that’s not possible.)
· You could be worried about what other people might say. In a toxic relationship, majority of the abuse takes place within the house, away from prying eyes. So even your inner circle might be unable to see the problems in your relationship and accuse you of exaggerating things. You can choose to remain silent because you’re afraid of others’ reactions or because you don’t want to look like the bad guy.
Did you somehow convince yourself and decide to give them another chance? Then welcome back to the emotional and psychological abuse.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
You can also find the articles on https://medium.com/@narsistsiz:
Psych Central. “Research Finds That Narcissists Try To Remain Friends With Their Exes For Darker Reasons”. Access 9 August, 2018. https://blogs.psychcentral.com/recovering-narcissist/2018/08/research-finds-that-narcissists-try-to-remain-friends-with-their-exes-for-darker-reasons/.
Elephant Journal. “How to Know if Someone is Hoovering You”. Access 12 January, 2016. https://www.elephantjournal.com/2016/01/how-to-know-if-someone-is-hoovering-you/.