Before we dive into the ways a Narcissist treats their ex, lets first get some information just in case you aren’t aware of who or what they are.

How do people become Narcissists?

When researching for this post, this was a very interesting question on finding out. For many people, a narcissist is a narcissist regardless of the type and whether or not they have good intentions. Out of the many mental illnesses people face and admit to having, a narcissist will never confess they are one. One of the biggest problems people have with them is their persistent selfishness and treating people as objects to exploit for their personal gains. The burning question is why do they act this way? Research shows that narcissism is linked to several factors such as:

  • Environment: Overprotectiveness or receiving excessive compliments or criticism as a child that does not measure up to their achievements or mistakes helps create the monster
  • Parental neglect: Attention-seeking behaviors and an ongoing search for validation seen in narcissists could result from neglect or abandonment as a child. The child feels inferior and develops low self-esteem. Thus, they may exhibit risky behavior or become defiant to gain the attention. This can happen a lot more when there are multiple siblings who often fight for their parents’ attention

What is Narcissist supply? describes Narcissistic supply as a form of psychological addiction where the narcissist requires and even demands limitless special treatment, admiration, importance, or any kind validation to feed their sense of entitlement and self-centeredness. Narcissistic supply is how individuals with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) cope with the world and make it a place for them to thrive.

Wanting attention, accolades, gifts, handouts and validation are not inherently narcissistic. We all need to feel heard and accepted, but narcissists crave this attention constantly and in unhealthy ways. They will deliberately find or create situations in which they are regularly at the center of attention, often to stave off their underlying narcissistic depression. Narcissists are never satisfied no matter how much validation they receive, it will never be enough.

Their Targets

Narcissists target the following types of people:

  • Individuals who are easily lured by their charm and naive to manipulation and exploitation
  • People fresh out of a troubled relationship
  • Highly Empathetic
  • Overly Accommodating
  • People with low self-esteem about themselves and or their appearance
  • and overall, genuinely nice people

Once the supply is received and topped, the narcissist will soon become low or empty, always needing more. Feeding narcissistic supply is like trying to fill a bottomless pit and when they don’t get it, they may react with narcissistic rage. They prey on the weak and vulnerable often finding ones who seem less desirable to others making their prey feel on top of the world.

Treating their Exe’s

Narcissists are known for their controlling and abusive behavior towards their targets. They often use tactics such as gaslighting, blame-shifting and denial to maintain their power and control over their victims. They will make you question everything about yourself, even your mental state as if you are the one that is crazy. After my relationship ended, I had to look up the term gaslighting and came across some interesting reads which included phrases a narcissist will use on you. Some of the ones I got during my relationship were:

That never happened“, “You’re being paranoid“, “It’s your fault“, “I told you about this already, don’t you remember?” and my favorite “You’re acting crazy”.

In a relationship with a narcissist, the victim is often blamed for everything that goes wrong, while the narcissist takes no responsibility for their actions…ever! Narcissists lack empathy and compassion, and they often exploit their victim’s weaknesses and fears to maintain their control over them. They may even use their victim’s insecurities to make them feel dependent on them, or they may use their victim’s strengths to make themselves look better.

Here are the ways they treat you and how you can respond

#1. Try to maintain control over you

Regardless of how you twist and turn it, a relationship with a narcissist has a high likelihood of turning toxic no matter what you do. You will forever be in the wrong. Their controlling and manipulative behavior quickly takes a toll on you pre and post relationship. After the breakup, she or he will still seek to exert control over you. Watch out for sneaky ways like saying she wants to remain friends or will be around if you need anything. Unfortunately, if you have kids together, they will be around for some time and unfortunately, they are unavoidable.

This so-called “friendship” allows her to know what’s going on in your life or keep you as backup during or in between new supply’s. It will also be used as a medium to continue the gaslighting, manipulation, and emotional abuse down the line.

Action plan: Have boundaries in place. Normally this is a little easier when you don’t have kids together but unfortunately, I do, so regular contact with a narcissist will always be present. For the rest of you, try to stick to them.

#2. Paint you as the evil or bad parent

Narcissists are experts at using what you love most to hurt you. More than likely, it will be your children you have together. They will paint you as the evil one of everything. “Your dad did this to me, he did that, this is the reason for…”. Every story the narcissist tells the children, or anyone will always be a one-sided exploit to any real truth. My ex has constantly told the children “Daddy hurt his head, that’s why he was in the hospital”, and not the physically “I hurt my head” reason. Another evil way I was painted to my kids as being a bad parent was “daddy took the lawnmower” when truth is that I purchased this on my own. Being that we were never married and anything I purchased myself was my property. I had to constantly tell them “I did not take it from mommy, daddy bought this on his own and it is daddy’s”.

Action plan: Keep your cool. As much as you would like to tell off the hostile co-parent, maintaining a dignified attitude will prevent intense disagreements. You also won’t want your children to be emotionally affected by overhearing you and mom/dad arguing. Sometimes this is hard to do depending on physical situations. Something I am currently working on with a therapist as this type of trigger has been tough to manage.

#3. Playing the victim card

This one is my favorite because it’s one of the most common tactics used by narcissists. This involves portraying themselves as the wronged party in the breakup, often exaggerating or fabricating stories to gain sympathy from others. They might tell tales of how they were mistreated, neglected, or misunderstood, painting you as the sole reason for everything wrong. This tactic serves to garner attention and sympathy while simultaneously discrediting you.

Playing the victim is a strategic move to shift the narrative in their favor. It allows them to evade responsibility for their actions and to manipulate those around them into offering support and reassurance. This behavior can be particularly frustrating and damaging as it not only distorts the truth but can also affect your relationships with mutual friends and family.

As strong, self-aware individuals, it’s important to maintain your truth and not get pulled into their distorted narrative. While it’s tempting to defend yourself and set the record straight, engaging in this type of drama often only fuels their fire. Instead, focus on surrounding yourself with people who know and trust you, and who understand the situation for what it is. Even people who were discarded by your now ex will understand. These have been some who have told me, I wish I would have told you sooner. Remember, there are always two sides to every story and your ex will constantly portray as their story being the only one that exists as true one.

Action plan: Detaching emotionally. Avoid getting involved or feeling responsible for their alleged problems. Avoid feeding their ego. Do not offer exaggerated praise or sympathy. Seek the support to help you. Contact friends, family, or a therapist to discuss your experiences and gain additional insights. They are not the only victim!

#4. They Use Children as Leverage

When your children are involved, narcissists can take manipulation to a whole new level. First, they think of their children as property and not people. They are used in an entirely different way. Narcissists will secretly use the children to their advantage only when it suits their needs and not the children’s. They might use your kids as leverage to hurt you or to maintain control over your decisions. This can also mean that any co-parenting you share be a complete nightmare. On a personal level, this has happened many times to me. This type of manipulation can be subtle or direct, but either way, it’s about using the children to maintain control over you and the situation. Remember, if it doesn’t benefit the narcissist then it hurts everyone else.

Action plan: Stay your ground. Keep the kids out of harm’s way. Remind the narcissist that using the children is not healthy and they will ultimately resist the parent doing so. The focus should be on giving the kids the best they can from each parent and ensuring them that between both, they come first especially when they are in your care.

One Final Thought

The treatment you’re getting is all part of a giant manipulation strategy by your ex to create further emotional harm, so that they can continue exploiting and abusing you. You’ll most likely see the pattern of behaviors if you discarded them first since they were the ones discarding you when you were no longer a benefit to them due to the strong need for control.

The road to recovery from narcissistic abuse, even after the relationship no longer exists, can seem daunting. Persistently rejecting your ex and establishing strong boundaries can make them give up and move on faster. Therapy and support will always be your ally in helping you deal with a narcissistic ex.

My personal experience is that a narcissist will usually only go away when they found someone who provides prime narcissistic supply, e.g., more attention, sex, money, or validation. Basically, someone who is easily blinded by their facade. Down the line, their current supply ultimately figures out who they really are and thus ends the relationship forcing them to be right in front of you again causing the same pain and disturbance in your life from before. Stay strong and remember why you are here. You may not be perfect, but you are capable to admit your flaws in a way they can never.