If your ex did these 8 things during the breakup, they might be a narcissist

There are breakups, and then there are BREAKUPS. 

You know, the type that gets ugly. The breakups that leave you confused, broken, and utterly shocked that someone you once loved could behave this way.

Those types of breakups tend to happen when you’ve unknowingly found yourself with a narcissist.

But during the emotional ordeal, it’s hard to know what you’re dealing with. Time gives us perspective and a chance to piece together the puzzles.

So, if your ex did these 10 things during the breakup, they might be a narcissist. 

1) Lack of empathy

Most of us don’t feel great about breaking up with someone. It’s shitty for both people involved, but the “dumper” often feels a sense of guilt.

And this guilt generally makes us try to find ways to soften the blow, when the time comes to call it quits. 

But a narcissist doesn’t operate this way. 

To them, when they’re done, they’re done. They’re not thinking about your feelings or considering your needs. 

In fact, they’re the type who wouldn’t think twice about dumping you via text, or worse, on a special day like your anniversary or birthday. 

So, if you found your ex to be incredibly cold, uncaring, and unbothered by the entire breakup, there’s a possibility they could be a narcissist (and you’ve dodged a bullet there). 

2) Manipulation

Now, another thing narcissists do during a breakup is play the manipulation game

They know exactly how to get through to you, after all, they’ve been looking for your weak spots the entire relationship. 

And here’s the thing, it doesn’t matter if they were the dumper or the dumpee. If they’ve got controlling tendencies, then they’ll do things like:

I remember breaking up with a guy I’d been dating for a year after university. When I told him it was over, he demanded that I still keep in touch, even though I wanted a clean break.

But let’s be clear – “keeping in touch” was his way of monitoring exactly what I was doing and who I was meeting. 

He even had the nerve to suggest that every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday I should call him. 

If not, he’d be sending our private messages out to everyone I knew.

I didn’t give in, and I was lucky that he didn’t follow through on his threat, but this is a clear example of how a narcissist acts during a breakup. 

3) Blaming you

It doesn’t matter if they were 100% to blame for the failure of the relationship. 

A narcissist will always turn the tables around and blame everyone but themselves. 

A friend of mine recently ended her 6-year marriage with a narcissist – he had cheated on her for over a year, impregnating his mistress (it was a whole, big mess).

But, unsurprisingly, NONE of it was his fault. If anything, he claimed my friend was “too sensitive” and “jealous”….Completely ignoring his role in the breakdown of the marriage. 

The audacity!

Essentially, this comes down to a narcissist’s inability to take responsibility. But we’ll get to that later on in the article…

So, if your ex went all in on the blame game and did their best to frame you as the culprit for things going wrong, you may have unknowingly been dating a narcissist. 

4) Grandiosity

“You’ll never find someone as good as me.”

“Do you know how lucky you were to find me?”

“I was only with you because I felt sorry for you – no one else would want you.” 

Narcissists have an inflated self-image. They see themselves as better than everyone else. They’ll go as far as to think they were doing you a favor just by being with you. 

But the funny (and sad) thing about this is that narcissists are actually incredibly insecure. They suffer from very low self-esteem. 

So all of this grandiosity is just a defense mechanism. A show. A way to keep up their mask of confidence. 

And there’s no better time to cling to this fake perception than when going through something emotional and vulnerable, like a breakup. 

5) Refusal to accept responsibility

I mentioned earlier that narcissists refuse to accept responsibility, and that leads to them blaming everyone else for, well, pretty much everything!

If this was the case with your ex, you probably felt like bashing your head against a wall. 

Everything you’d say would be deflected. They’d never be able to fully take accountability for the things they did wrong. 

And even when they did, they’d somehow manage to twist it back around to you. 

I remember my ex saying:

“I only got violent because you pissed me off.” 

“I know I shouldn’t have called you that, but let’s be honest, you really pushed my buttons.” (I didn’t, by the way, I just wore an off-the-shoulder jumper that he disliked.)

What’s worse is that there’s always an element of gaslighting involved in this – manipulating the narrative to make you question whether things were actually your fault or not. 

6) Need for admiration

Another sign your ex might be a narcissist is if they tried super hard to keep their reputation looking good throughout the entire ordeal.

This might have looked like them trying to get their side of the breakup story out to family and friends first (again, so they could control the narrative and make you look like the bad one). 

Or, they may have moved on very quickly, flaunting a new relationship on social media just weeks after your breakup. 

Put simply, a narcissist always needs to feed their ego. 

They need admiration and validation from everyone around them (this goes back to their deep insecurities and low self-esteem). 

So while you were at home licking your wounds and healing your heart, your ex was most likely running around, doing reputation damage control.

7) Exploiting the situation

Following on from the previous point, while a narcissist tries to control the breakup narrative, they’ll also exploit the situation. 

They might try to get sympathy from others by making you look like the cold, heartless one. They’ll definitely play the victim, that’s for sure. 

But unfortunately for you, this means that most of their stories are going to be wildly exaggerated, or completely untrue. 

And I get how frustrating that is – my ex did the same. 

I realized that stooping to his level wasn’t worth it. I left it and moved on with my life, and you know what I found out?

The people that truly love and care for you will see through your ex’s bullshit. Time reveals all, eventually. 

8) Triangulation

When my friend finally left her cheating husband, he used his mistress to make the situation worse. 

My friend and her ex have a child together, and he’d insist on bringing the new girlfriend whenever he went around to pick up their son for the weekend. 

The sole purpose was to try and make my friend jealous. 

And this is a common thing narcissists do. It’s called triangulation because they bring a third person into the situation. It might not be a new partner. 

Sometimes, they’ll get a friend or family member involved, someone who is essentially “on their side” so that they can feel validated in their behavior and make you feel isolated and at fault.  

So, if you relate to the signs above, there’s a good chance your ex was a narcissist. And an even bigger chance you’re still dealing with the effects of that relationship and breakup. 

Because let’s be honest, narcissists are cruel in relationships but they can be even crueler when things break down. 

I’ve been where you are, and my only advice is to give yourself plenty of time to heal. 

Lots and lots of self-love and rediscovering your worth (that your ex probably tried hard to break down), and one day, you’ll be able to look back and be glad you didn’t get stuck with this person for the rest of your life! 

Picture of Kiran Athar

Kiran Athar

Kiran is a freelance writer with a degree in multimedia journalism. She enjoys exploring spirituality, psychology, and love in her writing. As she continues blazing ahead on her journey of self-discovery, she hopes to help her readers do the same. She thrives on building a sense of community and bridging the gaps between people. You can reach out to Kiran on Twitter: @KiranAthar1

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