Unabashed Emotions

Find out if Your Ex Was a Narcissist: 11 Common Ways Narcissists Treat Their Exes and How to Deal

By asmitaverma09


Man and woman having fight.

Table of Contents

In the words of Maya Angelou, ‘When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.’ Have you ever wondered if your ex displayed signs of narcissism? Such signs can include a persistent need for admiration, manipulation, a lack of empathy, and a penchant for love bombing. Recognizing these traits can be a significant step towards self-reflection and personal growth, enabling you to make more informed choices in future relationships and prioritize your well-being.

Keep scrolling down to learn more about narcissistic exes and how narcissists treat their exes  and discover how to find closure and healing after a challenging relationship. Read on to learn if your ex was indeed a narcissist and how to effectively deal with the aftermath.

Do Narcissists Miss Their Exes?

A study suggests that narcissistic exes can experience complicated emotions toward their exes. While they might claim to miss or love them, it’s often more about missing the attention and admiration they received. True emotional connection and love may not be the driving force. 

Narcissists tend to prioritize their own needs and desires over others, and any affection they show might be a manipulation tactic. So, their “missing” an ex is often more about self-interest than genuine love or longing.

7 Signs Your Ex is a Narcissist? 

Identifying whether your ex is a narcissist can be crucial for healing and moving forward. Explore seven telltale signs that may indicate narcissistic traits in your former partner.

1. Excessive Self-Centeredness

  • The first sign is that they’re excessively self-centered. Basically, they tend to put their own needs and desires above everything else. It’s like they have this me-first attitude that can make it really hard to have a balanced and healthy relationship with them. It’s all about them.
  • For instance, when planning a romantic date night, they consistently choose activities and restaurants solely based on their preferences, disregarding their partner’s interests and desires, highlighting their excessive self-centeredness.

2. Lack of Empathy 

  • Another big one is their lack of empathy. They find it challenging to step into your shoes and understand your feelings or experiences. Instead, they’re more focused on their own needs and wants. Your feelings might not even register on their radar.
  • For instance, when planning a romantic date night, they consistently choose activities and restaurants solely based on their preferences, disregarding their partner’s interests and desires, highlighting their excessive self-centeredness.

3. Manipulative Behavior

  • Now, when it comes to dealing with others, narcissists can be quite the manipulators. They might use charm or emotional manipulation to get what they want. It can be tricky because they seem so charming initially, but it’s often a means to an end for them.
  • For instance, in a romantic relationship, a narcissistic partner might use their charm and emotional manipulation to constantly seek attention and validation, making their partner feel responsible for their happiness.

4. Grandiose Self-Image

  • These folks tend to think very highly of themselves. They’ve got this inflated sense of self-importance and a constant need for admiration. It’s like they’re always seeking validation and recognition.
  • For instance, in a romantic relationship, a partner with a grandiose self-image may consistently expect praise and admiration from their significant other, often making their partner feel pressured to boost their ego and provide constant validation.

5. Difficulty Accepting Blame

  •  Here’s a tough one – they struggle with accepting blame or admitting when they’re wrong. If something goes awry, they’re more likely to shift the blame onto someone else, maybe even you. Taking responsibility is not their strong suit.
  • For instance, in a relationship, a narcissistic partner may find it challenging to admit fault or accept blame, often deflecting responsibility onto their significant other, causing tension and frustration as they avoid taking accountability for their actions or mistakes.

6. Intermittent Positive Reinforcement

  •  Sometimes, they’ll be incredibly affectionate and loving, but then, just as quickly, they can become neglectful or distant. It creates this rollercoaster of emotions where you never quite know where you stand with them. It can be really confusing and emotionally draining.
  • For instance, in a romantic relationship, a narcissistic partner may employ intermittent positive reinforcement, showering their significant other with affection one moment and then abruptly becoming neglectful or distant. This inconsistent behavior creates emotional turmoil, leaving their partner in a constant state of confusion and emotional exhaustion, never knowing where they truly stand.

7. Boundary Violations

  • Lastly, narcissists have a habit of disregarding your boundaries. They might invade your emotional or physical space without your consent. It’s like they don’t respect your need for space or autonomy.
  • For instance, in a relationship, a narcissistic partner may frequently disregard their significant other’s boundaries by invading their emotional or physical space without consent. This lack of respect for personal boundaries can lead to feelings of intrusion and a diminished sense of autonomy, causing strain in the relationship.

11 Common Ways Narcissists Treat Their Exes

Navigating life after a relationship with a narcissist can be challenging. Understanding how narcissists treat their exes is essential for healing and self-preservation. Learn these 11 common behaviors.

1. Idealization and Devaluation

 Narcissists often have a pattern of initially idealizing their ex-partner, seeing them as perfect. However, as the relationship progresses, they tend to devalue their partner, finding faults and flaws in them. This can create emotional turmoil for their ex.

2. Hoovering

Hoovering is when a narcissist attempts to “suck” their ex back into the relationship or maintain control. They might use various tactics like love bombing, promises of change, or even guilt-tripping to reestablish contact.

3. Character Assassination

 Narcissists may engage in character assassination by spreading rumors, lies, or negative information about their ex. This can damage their ex’s reputation and self-esteem.

4. Gaslighting

 Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic where the narcissist distorts reality, making their ex question their own perceptions and sanity. This can create self-doubt and confusion.

5. Triangulation

Triangulation involves introducing a third party, like a new romantic interest, to create jealousy or confusion in their ex-partner’s mind. This is meant to control and manipulate their emotions.

6. Silent Treatment

 Narcissists often use the silent treatment as a form of punishment or control. They may withdraw emotionally and stop communicating, leaving their ex feeling abandoned and anxious.

7. Exploitation

Some narcissists continue to exploit their ex-partner even after the relationship has ended. This can be through financial manipulation, emotional manipulation, or using them for their own gain.

8. Playing the Victim

Narcissists frequently cast themselves as victims in the relationship, shifting blame onto their ex for the problems and challenges they faced. This tactic can make their ex feel guilty or responsible for the relationship’s failures.

9. Interfering with Coparenting

 In cases where children are involved, narcissists may use them as pawns in power struggles. They might engage in parental alienation, attempting to turn the children against their ex-partner to maintain control.

10. Stalking or Harassment

In extreme cases, some narcissists resort to stalking or harassment to maintain control over their ex. This behavior can be illegal and cause significant distress to the victim.

11. Love-Bombing New Partners

 Narcissists often enter new relationships with intensity and affection, known as love-bombing. This can be hurtful to their ex-partner, as it highlights how they were treated in a less desirable manner during the previous relationship.

Watch this video on Ruminating About Your Narcissistic Ex

7 Ways to Deal With a Narcissistic Ex

Dealing with narcissistic exes can be challenging, but there are ways to protect your well-being and find closure. Here are 7 tips on how to handle a narcissistic ex:

1. Establish and Maintain Boundaries:

  •  Set clear and firm boundaries with your ex. Clearly communicate what behaviors are unacceptable and enforce consequences if those boundaries are crossed. This is essential for protecting yourself from manipulation and emotional harm.
  • Be consistent in enforcing your boundaries. If you set a boundary, make sure to follow through with the consequences if it’s violated. Consistency sends a clear message.

2. Limit Contact:

  •  Minimize contact with your ex as much as possible. This can reduce their opportunities to engage in manipulative or hurtful behavior. If you have children together, establish a structured and minimal-contact method for co-parenting.
  • Communicate with your ex primarily through written channels like email or text messages. This provides a written record of your interactions and minimizes the risk of emotional manipulation during conversations.

3. Seek Support:

  •  Confide in trusted friends, family, or a therapist who can provide emotional support and guidance. Narcissistic relationships can be emotionally draining, and having a support system can be immensely helpful in coping with the aftermath.
  • Open up about your experiences in the relationship. Share your feelings, thoughts, and concerns with your support system. Sometimes, just talking about what you’ve been through can be therapeutic.

4. Stay Grounded:

  •  Remember your self-worth and focus on your personal growth and well-being. A narcissistic ex may have undermined your self-esteem, so work on rebuilding your confidence and sense of self. Self-care and self-love are crucial in this process.
  • Be kind to yourself and recognize that it’s okay to have been in a difficult situation. Self-compassion involves treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer to a friend in a similar situation.

5. Document Interactions:

  •  If necessary, keep records of interactions and communications with your ex, especially if they engage in harassment or manipulation. These records can be useful for legal or safety purposes.
  • Designate a specific notebook or digital document for recording interactions. This will help you keep everything in one place for easy reference.

6. Consider Legal Options:

  • If your ex’s behavior escalates to harassment, stalking, or threats, consult with an attorney to explore your legal options, such as obtaining a restraining order or pursuing legal action to protect yourself.
  • Prioritize your safety. Inform close friends and family about the situation, and consider taking precautions such as changing locks, varying your daily routines, and installing security measures if needed.

7. Move On 

  • Ultimately, focus on healing and moving forward with your life. Let go of the need for validation or closure from your narcissistic ex. Rebuilding your life without their influence is a powerful way to regain control and find happiness.
  • Consider therapy or counseling to address the emotional trauma and baggage from the relationship. A trained professional can provide you with strategies to overcome the emotional impact and build resilience.


  • Will narcissists go back to their exes?

Narcissists might go back to their exes, but it’s often not driven by genuine love or remorse. They may return for various reasons, such as seeking control, attention, or to manipulate their ex. 

Their ex needs to be cautious, set strong boundaries, and consider the true motivations behind the narcissist’s return. In many cases, it’s healthier for the ex to prioritize their own well-being and healing rather than rekindling the relationship.

Why do narcissists only connect with certain exes?

Narcissists tend to connect with certain exes if they see potential benefits, like a source of admiration, control, or manipulation. They choose those who they believe can serve their self-interests. This selective connection is primarily driven by the narcissist’s selfish desires.

  • Do narcissists care about their exes?

Narcissists often prioritize their own needs and desires above caring for their exes. They may show superficial concern or claim to care, but it’s usually self-serving and lacks genuine empathy. Their actions are typically motivated by personal gain, control, or maintaining an appearance of care rather than authentic concern for their exes’ well-being.

  • Why are narcissists obsessed with their exes?

Narcissists may become obsessed with their exes because they see them as a potential source of validation, control, or admiration. Their obsession often serves their ego and self-interest, rather than genuine emotional attachment or care.

  • What do narcissists say about their ex?

Narcissists often say negative and derogatory things about their exes to portray themselves as victims and deflect blame. They may engage in character assassination, spreading rumors, and exaggerating their exes’ faults to maintain their self-image as the “good” ones in the relationship. These comments are part of their manipulative tactics to manipulate perceptions and control narratives.

So, we’ve been talking about what it’s like to deal with a narcissistic ex. It’s not easy, but we’ve got some tips to help you out. First, it’s important to set clear boundaries. Let your ex know what’s not okay, and be ready to follow through with consequences if they cross those boundaries. If things get tough, keep records of your interactions with your ex. It can be useful, especially if things get legal. And if it gets really bad, consider legal options. Consult with an attorney if necessary to protect yourself. Lastly, focus on moving forward and healing. It might be a tough journey, but you deserve happiness and peace. You can also think about going for counseling or taking a course to help you recover from the emotional impact of the relationship. Remember, you’re not alone, and there are ways to heal and find a happier future.


Default title

Did you like our Posts?