How Does a Narcissist React When They Can't Control You?

by Ryan Hart | Updated on October 4, 2023 | Post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

When you are in a relationship with a narcissist, it can feel like you are constantly walking on eggshells. Narcissists make you feel like you are the problem, even when you know deep down that you are not.

One of the most challenging things about being in a relationship with a narcissist is when you start to pull away and take control of your own life. This is when a narcissist’s true colors start to show.

So, how does a narcissist react when they can’t control you? The answer is not simple, as every narcissist is different. However, there are some common ways that narcissists tend to react when they feel like they are losing control.

They may lash out in anger, use manipulation tactics to try to regain control, or even try to turn others against you. In this article, we explain why understanding these behaviors can help you protect yourself and take steps to regain control of your life.

Why Do Narcissists Need to Be in Control?

The experience of dealing with a narcissist can be a very trying one. Understanding what narcissism is and how it affects a person’s behavior can help you deal with a narcissistic person effectively.

Generally speaking, narcissism is characterized by grandiosity, a desire for admiration, and an absence of empathy. Narcissistic individuals have an inflated sense of self-importance and believe that they are superior to others. They often have a sense of entitlement and demand special treatment.

Dealing with a narcissistic person can be frustrating, but it is important to remember that their behavior is a result of their personality disorder. They may be unable to control their behavior, which is not your fault. It is important to set boundaries and protect yourself from their manipulative behavior.

Narcissistic Control Tactics

When a narcissist realizes they can no longer control you, they may resort to a variety of manipulative tactics to regain power and influence over you. Here are some common tactics they may use:

Gaslighting and Manipulation

Gaslighting is a tactic that involves manipulating someone into doubting their own perception of reality.

Narcissists may use gaslighting to make you question your own memory, perception, or sanity. They may also use manipulation to twist your words and make you doubt your own thoughts and feelings.

Verbal Abuse and Insults

Narcissists may resort to verbal abuse and insults in an attempt to control you. They may belittle, criticize, or blame you for their shortcomings. They may also use name-calling, shaming, and labeling to undermine your self-esteem and make you feel inferior.

Love-Bombing and Hoovering

Love-bombing is a tactic that involves showering you with attention and affection in order to gain your trust and loyalty. Narcissists may use love-bombing to manipulate you into doing what they want.

They may also use hoovering, which involves trying to suck you back into a relationship after you’ve tried to leave.

Stonewalling and Silent Treatment

Stonewalling and silent treatment are tactics that involve ignoring you or refusing to communicate with you.

Narcissists may use these tactics to punish you for not doing what they want or to gain control over a situation. They may also use stonewalling and silent treatment to avoid taking responsibility for their own actions.

Smear Campaigns and Stalking

Narcissists may engage in smear campaigns and stalking in order to control you and damage your reputation.

They may spread rumors about you, lie about you, or try to isolate you from your friends and family. They may also stalk you online or in person in an attempt to monitor your activities and control your behavior.

Narcissist’s Reaction When They Lose Control

When a narcissist realizes they can no longer control you, they are likely to react in a variety of ways. Below are some of the common reactions you may see when a narcissist loses control:

Anger and Tantrums

Narcissists often have a low tolerance for frustration and failure. When they lose control, they may become angry and throw tantrums.

They may yell, scream, or even physically lash out at you. This is their way of trying to regain control and assert their dominance over you.

Denial and Blame

Another common reaction from a narcissist when they lose control is denial and blame. They may deny that they have lost control or that anything is wrong.

Instead, they may blame you for the situation, saying that you are the one who is causing the problems. This is a way for them to avoid taking responsibility for their actions and shift the blame.

Passive-Aggressive Behavior

Narcissists may also exhibit passive-aggressive behavior when they lose control. You may receive the silent treatment, be treated snidely, or have them withhold affection.

his is their way of punishing you for not being under their control anymore. They may also try to manipulate you by playing the victim and making you feel guilty for not giving them what they want.

Hot and Cold Games

Finally, narcissists may play hot and cold games when they lose control. They may alternate between being affectionate and distant, loving and critical.

This is how they keep you off balance and try to regain control. They may also try to lure you back in with promises of change or affection, only to pull away again when they feel they have regained some control.

Establishing Boundaries with a Narcissist

It can be challenging to establish boundaries if you’re dealing with a narcissist. However, setting boundaries is essential to protect your safety and maintain a healthy relationship with the narcissist. Here are some tips to help you establish boundaries with a narcissist:

No-Contact Rule

The no-contact rule is the best option if the narcissist is toxic and poses a significant threat to your safety.

This rule involves cutting off all contact with the narcissist, including blocking them on social media, phone, and email. The no-contact rule can be challenging, but protecting yourself from further abuse is necessary.

Recognizing Red Flags

Recognizing red flags is essential when dealing with a narcissist. Here are some red flags to look out for:

  • The narcissist is always right, and you’re always wrong.
  • They constantly criticize and belittle you.
  • They don’t take responsibility for their actions and always blame others.
  • They manipulate and gaslight you.
  • They exhibit controlling and possessive behavior.

If you notice these red flags, it’s time to establish boundaries with the narcissist. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Clearly communicate your boundaries and be firm.
  • Don’t engage in arguments or try to justify yourself.
  • Don’t take the narcissist’s behavior personally.
  • Stay calm and composed.
  • Seek support from friends, family, or a therapist.

Remember, establishing boundaries with a narcissist is challenging, but protecting your safety and maintaining a healthy relationship is necessary.

Impact of Narcissistic Behavior

The behavior of a narcissist can have a significant impact on those around the narcissist.

The effects can be long-lasting and damaging, whether it’s a personal relationship or a parent-child dynamic. Here are some of the ways narcissistic behavior can impact those around them.

On Children

Growing up with a narcissistic parent can profoundly impact a child’s self-esteem and self-worth. It is common for narcissistic parents to prioritize their own wants and needs over their children’s, leading to feelings of neglect and abandonment. This can result in low self-esteem, anxiety, and a lack of trust in others.

Children of narcissistic parents may also be subject to emotional abuse, including manipulation and gaslighting. They may be made to feel responsible for their parent’s emotions and actions, leading to feelings of guilt and shame.

On Relationships

In personal relationships, narcissistic behavior can be equally damaging. Narcissists may use manipulation tactics to control their partners, including love-bombing, gaslighting, and intermittent reinforcement. They may belittle their partner, make lofty promises, and use passive-aggressive behavior to maintain control.

Over time, this can lead to a breakdown in the relationship, as the non-narcissistic partner may feel trapped and powerless. They may struggle with anxiety and low self-esteem, feeling like they are constantly walking on eggshells to avoid triggering their partner’s rage.

It’s important to recognize the signs of narcissistic behavior and seek help if you are in a relationship with a narcissist.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are common signs of narcissistic collapse?

A narcissistic collapse occurs when a narcissist realizes they are losing control over their victim. Some common signs of narcissistic collapse include intense anger, depression, and anxiety. The narcissist may also become withdrawn and stop engaging in their usual manipulative behaviors.

How do narcissists react when they realize they have lost control?

When a narcissist realizes they have lost control, they may react in a number of ways. Some may become angry and lash out, while others may become depressed and withdrawn. They may also try to regain control by using different tactics, such as love bombing or gaslighting.

What do narcissists do when they know they have lost you forever?

When a narcissist knows they have lost you forever, they may become extremely angry and vindictive. They may try to ruin your reputation or spread lies about you. They may also try to hoover you back in by using guilt or manipulation.

Do narcissists get angry when they can’t control you?

Yes, narcissists often become angry when they can’t control their victim. This anger can manifest in different ways, such as yelling, belittling, or even physical violence. It’s important to remember that this anger is not your fault and that you have the right to set boundaries and protect yourself.

What happens when a narcissist sees you no longer care?

When a narcissist sees that you no longer care, they may try to regain control by using different tactics, such as love bombing or hoovering. They may also become angry and vindictive, trying to ruin your reputation or spread lies about you. It’s important to stay strong and maintain your boundaries.

How can you make a narcissist fear you?

Making a narcissist fear you is not recommended, as it can be dangerous and may escalate their abusive behavior. It’s important to prioritize your safety and well-being and to seek help from a professional if necessary. Remember that you have the right to set boundaries and protect yourself from abuse.

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About the Author:
Ryan Hart

Ryan Hart is a certified relationship coach and writer. His mission is to help make connections between people better, stronger, more meaningful, and longer lasting using technology.

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