A common question that many people who have experienced narcissistic abuse have is, “How can the narcissist move on so quickly?”

A narcissist’s ability to move on from their relationships quickly is a combination of their lack of empathy, superficial view of relationships, need for a new source of narcissistic supply, and dire need to not be perceived to lose face. 

In this article, I will guide you through each of these reasons and provide you with resources that you can use to manage the painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions that often arise after experiencing a narcissist quickly moving on.

1.) They Lack of Empathy

The first reason that narcissists can move on so quickly is that they lack empathy.

The term “empathy” refers to the ability to understand and share another person’s feelings. It is a fundamental aspect of human relationships. 

It is what allows us to understand and respond appropriately to the thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs of others.

Narcissists lack empathy. It is one of their core characteristics. 

This means that they struggle to understand and/or connect with the thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs of others. 

A narcissist asking someone why she is crying.

Because of this, they don’t typically consider the emotional cost of their actions on the people around them. 

This allows them to exit relationships with little emotional turmoil because they don’t fully comprehend and/or care about the pain they’ve inflicted. 

A narcissist’s lack of empathy is a big reason they can move on quickly, but it is only a small piece of the puzzle. 

Let’s move on to the next section to learn more about this.

2.) They View Others Objects Rather than People with Emotions and Needs of Their Own

The second reason narcissists can move on so quickly is that they view others as tools and objects rather than people with emotions and needs. 

I know this can be hard to hear, but narcissists don’t care about your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs,

They only care about whether or not you’re a reliable source of validation, admiration, reassurance, power, and control, which is commonly referred to as narcissistic supply.

Suggested Reading: What Do Narcissists Want In a Relationship?

This depersonalization allows them to sever connections more easily. 

In other words, since they view relationships from a transactional lens, it’s easier for them to exchange one relationship for another because they are essentially replacing an object that no longer serves its purpose.

Again, I know that this can be hard to hear.

But I want to remind you that a narcissist’s ability to move on so quickly has nothing to do with who you are. It is simply a manifestation of their insecurities and their emotional immaturity. 

3.) They Need a New Source of Narcissistic Supply

The third reason that narcissists can move on so quickly is that they need a new source of narcissistic supply. As mentioned, narcissistic supply is validation, admiration, reassurance, power, and control.

If you didn’t know already, narcissists use narcissistic supply to suppress all the painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions they have about themselves.

A narcissist with many painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions about himself.

That’s right; you read that correctly. 

Despite their grandiosity, narcissists struggle with feelings of being unlovable, unwanted, worthless, inadequate, and weak.

Suggested Reading: How Do Narcissists See Themselves?

But unfortunately, they don’t possess the emotional skills required to use healthy forms of emotional regulation to manage these thoughts, feelings, and emotions. 

Because of this, they rely on narcissistic supply to suppress these painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions to construct a positive self-image.

Generally speaking, the biggest sources of narcissistic supply that narcissists have access to are the people they abuse.

So when the relationship that a narcissist has with someone ends, it is common for them to move on very quickly because they need to find a new source of supply before they become consumed by their painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

4.) They Can’t Be Perceived to Lose Face

The fourth reason a narcissist can move on so quickly is that they can’t be perceived as losing face. 

The phrase “can’t be perceived to lose face” refers to a situation where someone is concerned about maintaining their reputation, dignity, and/or social standing.

It implies that the individual is unwilling or unable to accept a situation that might make them appear weak, incompetent, or inferior in the eyes of others.

Believe it or not, when a relationship that a narcissist has with someone ends, it is very common for them to be terrified of the possibility of losing face.

A narcissist worried about losing face.

How?

Well, generally speaking, the people that narcissists abuse are the only ones who know how abusive the narcissist really is.

Everyone else just sees the charming, charismatic, and relatively pleasant public persona that narcissists maintain to hide their abusive tendencies. 

And to a degree, narcissists know this. So they convince themselves and others that the relationship ended due to the other person’s shortcomings, not their own. 

They try to move on as quickly as possible to find a new relationship that reinforces their desired self-image so that everyone can see how “great” they are doing. 

What Should You Take Away from This Article?

While learning about the reasons narcissists can move on quickly can be painful, I believe it is important for you to know that just because a narcissist has moved on doesn’t mean they won’t come back. 

Suggested Reading: 6 Reasons a Narcissist Will Come Back After Discarding You

To be clear, I am not encouraging you to wait around for them. I am saying this because I was hoping you could take this time to learn how to protect yourself. 

Suggested Reading: How to Protect Yourself From a Narcissist (6 Strategies)

As I mentioned, narcissists only view the people they abuse as sources of narcissistic supply. But something that I didn’t mention is that narcissists typically feel entitled to maintain power and control over you.

Why? 

Well, because they view you as an object rather than a person with thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs of your own.

If you have recently ended a relationship with a narcissist, you should expect them to try to come back into your life whenever they need more supply.

Please remember that they don’t care about your well-being if or when this happens. They only care about the narcissistic supply that you can provide them.

About the Author

Hey, I’m Elijah.

I experienced narcissistic abuse for three years. 

I create these articles to help you understand and validate your experiences.

Thank you for reading, and remember, healing is possible even when it feels impossible.

If you’re ready to heal, visit The Institute of Healing from Narcissistic Abuse to get started.
Share this post to help others trust their experiences.

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About This Article

We used Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create parts of this article to enhance its accuracy and readability. It underwent a strict human editorial process before being published. See additional information.

2 Comments

  1. Just split up
    From a narcissist . Every characteristic a narcissist has my ex had , it is scary . Unfortunately we owned a business together and she is enjoying the control whilst I find away of finding a solution to paying her .
    The point that you make that I found the most poignant was that narcissistic abuse is truly dreadful but the outside world doesn’t appreciate how bad it is . Their Charing exterior makes people question the fact that the break up may have been partly your fault . I used to get criticised for things that made no sense . When I said I was hurt by her comments I was always gas lighted , saying being hurt was a tactic I was using to deflect the conversation to myself . It was incredible and scary . Thanks fir a well written article , I am learning more each day why I went through what I did .

    1. Hey Paul,

      Thank you for this comment.

      I am happy you’ve found the article helpful, but at the same time, sad that you needed to read it.

      Based on some of the things you’ve said, I have a few resources I think you might want to check:

      1.) Building a Healthy Support Network: Insights from a Therapist​
      2.) How to Stop a Narcissist from Gaslighting You (3 Steps)
      3.) How to Regain Your Sanity After Gaslighting (5 Ways)

      I hope this helps; I’m always an email away (elijah@unfilteredd.net) if you ever need to talk to someone.

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