The Come-back narcissist

If you have read about narcissism or narcissistic personality disorder you will have read that one way to deal with narcissism in your life is through no contact or low contact.  In some cases this can be a lot simpler but in others it may involve a family member.  If you have decided to not have contact with this person then the next question becomes do they come back into your life?  The answer for me, unfortunately, is YES.

I have gone no contact with my mother and low contact with my friend, Marian.  Cutting out my mother was difficult and Marian was a friend for about one and half years when I cut her out.  Both have tried to resurface into my life.  And not in a normal way but in a manipulative way…very, very manipulative.  Never once have the two asked me why I cut them out or what is wrong or if they did anything wrong…somehow I hope that this happens with my Mom but I know that the reality is that it won’t.  However, the manner in which they resurface is weird.

Marian has just tried to resurface into my life this week (7 feb 2011).  In June of 2010 I began low contact with Marian - I stopped carpooling with her to work, having lunch breaks with her at work, and stopped emailing/talking to her.  I had not removed her as a friend on Facebook yet because we were still colleagues and having read about narcissism I decided against the removal from Facebook because it might set off her anger (rage).  During this time of low contact I had moved to the city about 30 minutes from the village that Marian lived in.  I was excited to be out of the village where you are assured to run into someone you know on the street.  By the end of 2010 I had left the company and I had then decided to remove her from Facebook.

Since June 2010 Marian has made 3 come-back attempts and we did see each other through a mutual friend (I call it the low contact lapse) – so in total 3 come-backs and 1 lapse (in my judgement):

1.  After 4 months since low contact from me began: She stops me in the hallway at work and says to me (as I am trying to walk faster than her to get away from her) – ‘I heard you moved.’  And as I picked up my already fast pace I responded, ‘Yes, that’ s right.’.  Walked away.

2.  After 5 months since low contact from me began:  The day it was announced at the company that I was leaving I get an email from Marian saying:  I heard you moved and that she wished me luck.  I simply wrote back ‘Thanks’.

3.  After 8 months since low contact from me began: Through a mutual friend she proposed all of us getting together (which I was not on copy on this email).  The mutual friend, Lois, sent an email to us saying that Marian had suggested we get together.  I did not respond to this email at all due to my last lapse.

My lapse: After 2 months of me initiating low contact I felt bad because I felt that I was being mean to someone.  And I haven’t really ever treated a friend like that before.  So through our mutual friend, Lois, we went on a shopping trip together.  Marian never once mentioned the fact that we hadn’t spoken to each other in 2 months.  Throughout the day she insulted the things I like to do and ignored me whenever I told a story.  It felt like she was punishing me for not giving her narcissistic supply for the last 2 months.  She even tried to use me (because I was driving) to go get her lamps that she ordered that had just come in…it didn’t happen.  And of course she has to show us her house (although I had been there several times) but this time she wanted to show off her new dining room table.  She never once asked me how I was doing even though I had asked her.  She was punishing me.  And from all her behaviors I decided that I had made a bad lapse in judgement…that you can’t just have a normal friendship with someone who behaves like this.

What was manipulative?

Attempt 1 – She acted like nothing had changed when in fact my behaviours had.

Attempt 2 – She contacted me to feel good about herself; I was leaving the company without going to another job (my work permit expired) so I had to leave my current job and find another one in the country I currently reside in.

Attempt 3 – She is probably looking for some supply to feel better about herself through the fact that I am jobless and that maybe my new place sucks.

Narcissists come back when they need you to feel better about themselves, they come back for the supply.  It is not over yet with Marian.

9 thoughts on “The Come-back narcissist

  1. Oh my goodness. Looks like I am not the only person in this world who had a frenemy (a former flatmate from hell) that my close friend and I to this day suspect she may have NPD. I want you to know that you’re not alone.

    From what you listed about the three attempts, they all rang a bell back to few years ago ( I won’t go in detail but maybe next time). Lastly, be strong okay? Don’t let Marian get to you by all means. There may come a time that Marian will get her comeuppance when she least expects it in life (maybe a co-worker she rubs the wrong way or better, making another enemy out of a good person in her own backyard)

  2. Thank you for the support. NPD is a difficult thing…I think much of the academic literature is vague…each person if they have the disorder express it in different ways but in the end the people around them feel the same.

    I hope that your flatmate does not make those attempts in the future. Stay strong as well.

    • Thanks but just to clarify the matter by the way, I no longer have a flatmate from hell (who made flatting unglamourous for the first and last time for me) and it has been nearly six years since I got myself free and told her that I won’t take her nonsense anymore. But rumour has it that she got her comeuppance, which is quite minor, but I get the feeling now and then that a bigger comeuppance may come and bite her when she least expects it.

      • My apologies. It is very strong that you got rid of a flatmate. Thank you for sharing…you actually inspired my next post…when is a frenemy a narcissist…gave me some reflection. Thanks!

    • Hi Carmen,

      I am sorry to hear that you are dealing with someone with NPD. Confrontation…That choice is personal and it is difficult to give advice…I think you should in the end do what is best for you. If confronting the narcissist may lead you to question your safety then that may not be in one’s best interest and health to do so.

      I, personally, have never confronted the person with NPD with regard to telling them about the disorder. I have confronted them on their narcissistic behavior. I believe that confronting a behavior when it happens is an indicator of their
      temperament. But I have only done this when I didn’t fear that I would be physically attacked. My mother with NPD beat me and I would never confront her for fear of my life. Instead it was healthier for me to get out and never talk / see her again.

      I think deciding what is best for you is something each person answers on their own. I hope you find the right answers for you and your situation.

      T Reddy

    • Carmen, my experience with my narc was that when I told him that I knew the truth of who he was I was blocked on fb and skype–he lives in Australia and I in the US so I ahve not seen him since..and i have sent a link to him about NPD–my guess is that if he and I were face to face and alone I would get some of the rage that is associated with NPD and he does have a temper……

  3. The having to show off her house thing reminded me of my narc GC sister. A few years back, family came out to surprise & celebrate my NM’s 80th b-day. They were only going to be here a few days and it really irritated my GC that they contacted me instead of her about the trip(no surprise). I told her that I was going to have a dinner at my house so they could surprise my mom. Well, she shouts out on the phone, “well, they are going to come to my house too while they are here!” I stated that we’d have to wait and see because they were only to be here like 3 days. She then stated “well, I think they should see my house too!”. It was all about showing off and not about having them over for a meal. Her house is much bigger than mine and I could care less about it. It was all about getting her narc supply to feel important because she is so insecure and feels so insignificant. I didn’t realize this till my cousin who came on this trip pointed it out to me. Anyway, your blog helps to reveal more to me about my situation…thank you!

    • Showing off, instead of sharing, is so difficult to deal with. It is something you feel, not so tangible. If your GC sister wanted to have them over, there are so many ways she could have chosen to go about it. And the words she choose were evident of something deeper in her wanting them to come over to her place.

      I’m glad it has been helpful, you’re welcome! xxTR

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