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When The Narcissist Can No Longer Control You: 12 Things That Happen

What can you expect when a narcissist loses control over you? Will they finally come to their senses and act fairly? Will they handle the division of your assets justly? Understanding what a narcissist is thinking and how they’ll react is crucial.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to manage a narcissist losing control over you with the skill of a kung fu master. We’ll cover:

– What’s happening in the narcissist’s mind during this time

– The twelve most common reactions from a narcissist

– Real-life examples of narcissists gaining the upper hand and how to avoid these situations

– Tips for sharing custody with a narcissist

Let’s dive in and unpack what you can expect.

Creating Dependency

As the narcissist realizes they’re losing control, they may attempt to make you feel helpless or dependent on them, especially by threatening to take away your children if applicable. While these threats might hold some truth, it’s essential to start planning your exit strategy.

Even if you can’t leave immediately, taking steps to free yourself from the relationship is crucial. These are among the most common tactics narcissists use when they sense their control slipping.

Despite their manipulative nature, you can still regain control and turn the tables on them, though it requires resilience.

Remember, narcissists rarely change their behavior in the long run. They hop from one career to another, one relationship to another, and from one drama to the next. Being aware of these tactics beforehand can empower you in the future.

Hoovering on Steroids

When a narcissist loses control over you, they’ll often go through a phase of intense “hoovering.” This means they’ll make persistent attempts to pull you back in.

Expect calls from unknown numbers, emails from new accounts, and messages on social media from fake profiles. They might even reach out to your family to get to you.

At first, it might seem like they genuinely want to reconcile. You could be led to believe they feel remorseful and realize the value of your relationship. You’ll be caught in a storm of attention as they try to convince you that your relationship is extraordinary and worth saving.

But beware—once they see that you’re not falling for their tactics anymore, things can turn ugly. And remember, while they’re trying to hoover you back in, they’re likely doing the same with other exes too.

Reinforcing the Trauma Bond

When all other tactics fail, the narcissist will try to reinforce the trauma bond you have with them. It’s important to note that narcissists themselves don’t experience trauma bonds; only we do, as their victims or targets.

Because narcissists don’t form emotional attachments, not even with their own children, they don’t undergo any attachment trauma when relationships end.

This lack of emotional attachment also enables them to “monkey branch” to new relationships while still in committed ones. They’re constantly seeking new sources of supply because they understand that their relationships are ultimately doomed to fail.

Smear Campaign on Steroids

You need to realize that the smear campaign against you has likely been underway for some time. In the narcissist’s view, relationships are fleeting and aren’t genuine connections—at least not as you understand them. For them, it’s all about how well they can control you, your actions, and your thoughts.

Part of this control involves shaping how others perceive you. The narcissist will do everything they can to paint you in a negative light to everyone you know.

Using social media, text messages, and emails, they’ll spread false narratives about you, claiming you’re evil, manipulative, and abusive. Their goal is to turn everyone against you.

Manipulating Through Fear

When the narcissist senses they’re losing control over you, they’ll resort to using fear as a means of control. Their anger and manipulation tactics will escalate to levels you’ve never seen before. Unfortunately, this tactic often proves effective, especially in legal proceedings. But don’t lose hope.

It’s crucial to stand firm, protect yourself, and take whatever steps necessary to prevent the narcissist from gaining control over you again. Your resilience and determination are your greatest assets in this battle. Stay strong and refuse to be manipulated by their fear tactics.

Sabotage on Steroids

Ending a relationship with a narcissist inflicts a significant narcissistic injury, and they’ll seek revenge. They may reach out to your employer, your church community, and your friends to tarnish your reputation.

With their control over you gone, their primary goal becomes altering how others see you, including your own children. They’ll go to great lengths to bring you down and disrupt your life as much as possible.

Protecting Your Privacy

Refusing the narcissist’s access to your new home is crucial for another reason: they often install spyware on your devices and electronics. Shockingly, about half of my coaching clients have experienced this. Don’t let the narcissist put you in such a vulnerable position.

Once the narcissist loses control over you, prioritizing your safety becomes paramount. You must take proactive steps to keep them out of your life, whatever that entails. This might involve obtaining a protective or restraining order.

Installing security cameras around your residence, such as those from ADT, can provide added protection and alert you to any attempted break-ins. If necessary, don’t hesitate to involve the authorities, even if it feels unsettling. Your safety and privacy are non-negotiable.

Parental Alienation on Steroids

When you share children with a narcissist and notice them siding with the narcissist or growing distant from you, it’s crucial to understand that children are affected by toxic environments too.

They go through the same manipulative tactics like trauma bonding, hoovering, and love bombing that you do. Meanwhile, the narcissist continues spreading lies about you.

This period is incredibly painful to endure. When you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, their expectations, even in parenthood, differ vastly from yours.

If you’re co-parenting with a narcissist, seek legal advice if possible and prioritize getting your children into therapy. If the narcissist opposes therapy, try arranging sessions through their school with counselors. This is a critical time because the narcissist will stop at nothing to turn your children against you.

They’ll invest significant time, effort, and money to win your children’s favor and portray themselves as the superior parent. They’ll fill your children’s heads with lies about you, painting you as the villain. Remember, it’s all nonsense, but whether your children believe it or not can feel like a gamble.

Property Damage

As a last resort to regain control, the narcissist might resort to damaging your property or attempting to break into your home. If they succeed, they might steal items that hold sentimental value, even if they’re not worth much monetarily.

That’s why it’s crucial never to let the narcissist into your new home if you’ve separated from them and moved elsewhere. You’re under no obligation to grant them access to your new residence. Keep your boundaries firm to protect yourself and your belongings from further harm.


Narcissists don’t engage in relationships for mutual affection or support; they expect you to serve them. This self-centered attitude is a telltale sign of dealing with a narcissist.

In typical breakups, both parties understand they’re moving on separate paths. But narcissists don’t see it this way. They often revisit past sources of supply, including you, pretending to be remorseful or hinting at regrets about their decisions or new relationships. Remember, they’re doing the same with other exes too.

For narcissists, no one person is more special than another, and they don’t miss one person more than another. When their latest relationship starts unraveling, they circle back. But when their new supply starts seeing the red flags, the narcissist resorts to triangulation.

This manipulation tactic isn’t limited to romantic relationships; it can also occur in other settings like work or within families.

Oscar-Worthy Apology

You might find yourself facing an apology from the narcissist. They might even shed a few tears, but remember, narcissists are exceptional actors. You’ve seen it before—the charming, life-of-the-party persona they put on in public doesn’t match the reality you experience behind closed doors.

Their ability to switch between personas should make it clear that they’re fully aware of their actions. When they apologize, you’ll soon realize it’s not genuine. Narcissists never truly feel remorse for how they treat you; instead, they’re sorry for the consequences they might face.

For instance, if you share children, they’ll worry about child support, alimony, and splitting assets. To avoid these responsibilities, they might attempt reconciliation. It’s crucial not to fall for their manipulation.

One of my clients shared a heartbreaking story of how her narcissistic husband convinced her to consider reconciliation right before a custody hearing. She believed they were working towards a civil agreement for the sake of their kids, only to be blindsided when he manipulated the court and gained custody.

Such scenarios highlight why it’s vital not to be swayed by narcissists’ tactics when they feel their control slipping. Things can turn ugly quickly, and they’ll stay that way for a long time. When the narcissist realizes they can’t control you, stay strong. Don’t succumb to their tricks, their false promises, or their gaslighting.

Deep Cruelty

While many believe narcissists are cruel to avoid their deep internal shame, their main concern is maintaining power and control over you. They’ll become vindictive, coercive, and bullies when they realize they’re losing their grip on you.

They take it as a personal affront when you refuse to be their servant anymore. In their twisted view, they’ve spent significant time brainwashing and programming you to think like them.

This manipulation affects how you see yourself, both during and after the relationship. You might start believing everything is your fault and that you didn’t try hard enough, even though your rational mind knows otherwise.

Unlike normal breakups, where there’s grieving and a desire for a fresh start, narcissistic breakups are marked by smear campaigns and unfair treatment. The narcissist won’t be civil; they’ll be hateful, nasty, and even do seemingly evil things.

It’s crucial not to convince yourself that the narcissist is unaware of their actions or their impact on you. They’re very intentional and strategic in their interactions.

If they were truly oblivious to their behavior, they’d act the same in all relationships and situations. But narcissists choose to abuse those they see as safe to abuse, especially once they’ve hooked us after the love-bombing phase.


Dealing with a narcissist who has lost control over you can be incredibly challenging. Understanding their mindset and anticipating their reactions can help you prepare and protect yourself. Always prioritize your well-being and seek professional advice when necessary. Remember, you deserve to be in a relationship where respect, love, and fairness are mutual.