9 things a narcissist does when you realize they’ve lost their grip on you

Navigating a relationship with a narcissist can often feel like a tricky game of chess.

You see, when a narcissist senses they’re losing control over you, their behavior can take on a whole new level of manipulation.

But here’s the thing – recognizing their tactics is your first line of defense. It’s your move towards reclaiming your power and ending the game once and for all.

In this article, we’ll explore the 9 things that a narcissist does when they realize they’ve lost their grip on you.

It’s time to expose the playbook and flip the script.

1) They amp up their charm

When a narcissist notices they’re losing their hold on you, their first instinct is often to turn up their charm.

It’s a familiar tool in the narcissist’s arsenal. They’re masters at reading people and knowing just what to say to make themselves seem irresistible.

Suddenly, they’re showering you with compliments, remembering all your favorite things, and making grand gestures of affection. It’s all an attempt to reel you back in and reestablish their control.

But don’t be fooled. This sudden change in behavior is not about genuine affection or regret. It’s a calculated move to regain the upper hand.

2) They play the victim card

In my own experience, I’ve seen how quickly a narcissist can shift gears when they sense they’re losing control.

I remember a time when I started pulling away from a narcissistic friend. I’d picked up on their manipulative ways and decided to create some distance.

Before I knew it, they were turning the tables and playing the victim. They’d reach out to me with heartbreaking stories of how they were being mistreated by others or how they were struggling with personal issues.

It was hard not to feel sympathy for them. But then I realized, this was yet another tactic – a ploy to elicit my empathy and draw me back into their web.

The victim card is a common move in the playbook. Be aware of it, and remind yourself that you’re not responsible for their happiness or well-being.

3) They resort to gaslighting

When narcissists feel they’re losing grip, they may resort to a manipulation tactic known as gaslighting.

Gaslighting is designed to make you question your own perception of reality.

In real life, a narcissist might dismiss your feelings, deny things they’ve said or done, or twist the truth to suit their narrative.

By making you doubt your own memories or sanity, they aim to regain control and keep you within their sphere of influence. Remember, your experiences and feelings are valid. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

4) They give you the silent treatment

The silent treatment is another tactic commonly used when they feel they’re losing control.

Suddenly, they stop returning your calls, ignore your messages, or even act as if you don’t exist when you’re in the same room.

This kind of emotional withdrawal is a form of punishment designed to make you feel rejected and anxious. The goal? To make you chase after them, apologize, or do anything to regain their attention.

It’s crucial to remember that this is not about you or your actions. It’s about their need for control. Don’t let the silent treatment manipulate you into questioning your worth.

5) They start a smear campaign

When they’re afraid of losing their grip, they may attempt to ruin your reputation.

They might spread rumors, twist truths, or even outright lie about you to others.

This smear campaign is designed to isolate you and damage your relationships with mutual friends or family members.

Remember, those who truly know and care for you won’t be swayed by such tactics.

Stand strong in your truth.

6) They make grand promises

They may resort to making grand promises.

Suddenly, they’re assuring you that they’ve changed, that they’ve seen the error of their ways, and that things will be different this time. It can be incredibly tempting to believe them, especially if there’s a part of you that still cares for them.

But actions speak louder than words. Promises are easy to make but much harder to keep. Hold and wait to see consistent change over time before you consider giving them another chance.

7) They bring up your past

I recall a time when a narcissistic ex-partner would frequently remind me of past disagreements or times I had messed up.

It was as if they were trying to make me feel guilty about the past to regain their control over the present.

These attempts to dredge up the past often have nothing to do with the current situation and are simply a tactic to destabilize you and make you feel insecure.

Everyone makes mistakes, and growth is all about learning from them, not being constantly punished for them.

8) They threaten to leave

Another common tactic they may use when they feel they’re losing their grip is the threat of leaving.

They know that the fear of abandonment can be a powerful motivator, and they use this to their advantage.

By threatening to leave, they hope to provoke a reaction from you – typically, one of desperation to keep them in your life.

If they choose to leave, it’s not a reflection of your worth but rather their inability to appreciate it. Don’t allow threats of abandonment manipulate you into giving up your power.

9) They show their true colors

Lastly they may often drop their fake personality and show their true colors.

This can be shocking and painful, as you witness the depths of their selfishness, manipulation, and lack of empathy. But as hard as it is, this is a crucial moment of clarity.

This is who they really are – not the charming person they portrayed themselves to be. Hold firmly onto this truth, because recognizing and accepting it is a significant step towards freeing yourself from their control.

Embracing your empowerment

The journey of disentangling yourself from a narcissist’s grip is challenging, yet it is a crucial step towards embracing self-love, respect and empowerment.

In recognizing these behaviors, you’ve taken the first step towards reclaiming your power. The light has been shone on their tactics, and you are no longer in the dark.

Getting out is not impossible. It requires courage, strength, and most importantly, self-belief.

As you navigate this journey, remember that their actions and behaviors are a reflection of them, not you.

You are strong, deserving of respect and capable of setting boundaries.

Look within for validation rather than seeking it externally. This path isn’t an easy one, but it’s one worth walking for the freedom and peace that lie at the end.

Keep empowering yourself. You’re worth it.

Picture of Isabella Chase

Isabella Chase

Isabella Chase, a New York City native, writes about the complexities of modern life and relationships. Her articles draw from her experiences navigating the vibrant and diverse social landscape of the city. Isabella’s insights are about finding harmony in the chaos and building strong, authentic connections in a fast-paced world.

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