It is common for victims of narcissistic abuse to struggle with successfully going no contact with their abuser the first few times that they try. It is completely understandable because going no contact with a narcissist is insanely difficult, and it leaves many victims of abuse wondering what happens if they break no contact with their narcissist. 

When you break no contact with a narcissist they are going to manipulate you into a false sense of security. Once they sense that they’ve regained power and control over you, they are going to invalidate, devalue, degrade and punish you for being courageous enough to seek out a happier and healthier life by leaving them.

This article is going to give you the information that you need to make a decision that keeps you safe when going no contact with a narcissist. We’ve also created a short video below that outlines our article How to Deal With the Emotions of Going No Contact With a Narcissist to give you some coping techniques and strategies if you feel like you’re going to break no contact. 

A Short Video That Helps You Deal With the Emotions of Going No Contact With a Narcissist

When You Break No Contact With a Narcissist They Are Going to Manipulate You Into a False Sense of Security

The first thing that is going to happen when you break no contact with a narcissist is that they are going to manipulate you into a false sense of security so that they can regain power and control over your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs. This phase could last a few hours, or it could last a few weeks. However long it may be, narcissists will show uncharacteristic levels of “empathy” and “compassion” to manipulate you into a false sense of security.

The reason this works so well is because victims of narcissistic abuse generally break no contact because of hoovering, rumination, and an overwhelming sense of emptiness. Hoovering is when a narcissist will say or do exactly what the victim needs to hear or see to give them another chance. Rumination is when someone continuously thinks about the same thoughts that are usually centered around a negative experience. 

The overwhelming sense of emptiness comes from the victim removing the narcissist from their lives because after months, years, and sometimes even decades of narcissistic abuse, the victim has been manipulated into living vicariously through the narcissist. Their thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs have been intertwined with the narcissist so going no contact can feel extremely destabilizing.

The reunion between you and the narcissist in your life after no contact is broken is most likely going to be centered around change. It’s likely that the narcissist will be promising to change, apologizing, telling you how much they care about you, telling you how scared they were when they thought they were going to lose you, and professing their love for you.

This is true for all different types of narcissistic relationships. Mirroring is when a narcissist absorbs a ton of information about the victim’s identity and uses that information to create a falsified identity that is designed to fill a void in the victim’s life. 

a narcissist mirroring her victim

Mirroring is all about the narcissist being exactly who the victim needs them to be. We highly recommend that you read our article How Do Narcissists Use Mirroring for more context but mirroring often manipulates the victim into believing that the narcissist is the “perfect” person for them. It is for this reason that narcissists are very, very, good at manipulating you into a false sense of security after no contact has been broken. 

In our articles How to Stop Ruminating After Narcissistic Abuse and How to Deal With a Hoovering Narcissist you can get all the information that you need to help you stay away from the narcissist after going no contact!

Once a Narcissist Regains Power and Control Over You After No Contact Has Been Broken They Are Going to Abuse You

Once the narcissist senses that they’ve regained power and control over you, they are going to begin abusing you again, it is as simple as that. They are going to begin their insecure pursuit of validation, admiration, and reassurance, and they will expect you to neglect your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs.

You are going to experience the same narcissistic behavior patterns that they used to invalidate, devalue, humiliate, dehumanize, and degrade you prior to going no contact. You are going to be thrown right back into the narcissistic abuse cycle. 

It is going to make you feel really bad about yourself which is why it is really important to remember that there is no shame in breaking no contact with a narcissist. Going no contact is extremely hard to do so breaking it shouldn’t feel like a failure. In life you don’t fail when you get knocked down, you fail when you get knocked down and don’t get back up. 

The good news is that the easiest part about going no contact after you’ve broken no contact is going no contact. You have all of the information that you need to acknowledge that what you’re experiencing is abuse. The hard part that you have to watch out for is cognitive dissonance and an overwhelming amount of negative emotions controlling your decision making. 

Cognitive dissonance is a theory that suggests that when we experience an inconsistency among belief, behavior, and information, it causes a tremendous amount of psychological tension. To ease this tension we will change one or more of the elements that are causing the inconsistency to make everything consistent. 

In abusive relationships, cognitive dissonance manifests in the justification, rationalization, and normalization of abuse. When a victim of narcissistic abuse goes no contact with the narcissist, they have given themselves the information and shown themselves the behavior that they need to develop the belief that they can live a happier and healthier life without the narcissist. 

When they break no contact with the narcissist, they change the behavior that they need to exhibit to maintain the belief that they can live a happier and healthier life without the narcissist. This leaves them with only the information that they need to pick themselves back up and go no contact again. 

The problem is that this is a very vulnerable position for victims of narcissistic abuse because oftentimes they themselves aren’t 100% sure that what they are experiencing is abuse so by breaking no contact, it causes a tremendous amount of psychological tension. 

When this is combined with the fact that the narcissist will be shaming, mocking, humiliating, blaming, and punishing them for going no contact, it could throw them into a very dark place where they completely shut down and are consumed with rumination, depression, and confusion until they are able to summon the courage to go no contact again. 

a victim of narcissistic abuse who broke no contact

What Should You Do If You Break No Contact With a Narcissist?

If you break no contact with a narcissist you have to treat yourself with empathy and compassion. Remember, you don’t fail when you get knocked down, you fail when you get knocked down and don’t work hard to get back up. It is so common for victims of all types of abuse to break no contact.

In fact, the National Domestic Violence Hotline states that on average it takes victims of abuse seven attempts before they’re able to leave for good. There is nothing to be hard on yourself about. The abuse that you are experiencing is not your fault, but grasping for a happier and healthier life without the narcissist is your responsibility.

You should start by setting very firm boundaries with yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this without cause, the first time that the narcissist is even remotely abusive you should pack your things and leave the environment for good. We highly recommend that those in this situation click here to visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s resources for creating a safety/exit plan.

You should also find a solid support group. If you can’t rely on friends and family, there are thousands of groups of people who have experienced the same abuse that you’ve experienced all over social media and forums on the internet.

Sometimes all you need is little validation and reassurance to feel comfortable with owning your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs and communicating with people who have experienced the same abuse that you have will definitely do that. It doesn’t matter how hard you work in therapy or by yourself, there are going to be days were you need a support group to lean on, don’t hesitate to find one!

Finally, we highly recommend that you seek out the guidance of a qualified professional. A good professional who understands narcissistic abuse is going to be able to help you develop healthy trauma responses and a plan to prevent you from slipping further and further into the narcissistic abuse cycle.

What Should You Take Away From This Article?

Breaking no contact with a narcissist is dangerous. They are going to manipulate you into a false sense of security until they sense that they’ve regained power and control over you. Once this happens, they are going to begin their abusive pursuit of validation, admiration, and reassurance. You are going to be subjected to the same abusive patterns that you experienced prior to going no contact.

Remember, we don’t fail when we get knocked down, we fail when we get knocked down and don’t get back up. The abuse that you experienced that knocked you down is not your fault. But it is your responsibility to get back up and chase the happy and healthy life that you deserve.


All of the content that Unfilteredd creates is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for clinical care — please visit here for qualified organizations and here for qualified professionals that you can reach out to for help. This article has been reviewed by our editorial board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policies.

References:

Shalansky, Catriona, Janet Ericksen, and Angela Henderson. “Abused women and child custody: the ongoing exposure to abusive ex‐partners.” Journal of Advanced Nursing 29.2 (1999): 416-426.

Brownridge, Douglas A. “Violence against women post-separation.” Aggression and Violent Behavior 11.5 (2006): 514-530