Ghosting is the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly withdrawing from all communication without an explanation and it is one of the most annoying manipulation tactics that narcissists use.
There are five reasons that a narcissist would ghost you. First, they want to confuse you. Second, they want to make you doubt yourself. Third, they want to manipulate you into giving them attention. Fourth, they are stonewalling you. Fifth, they have discarded you for someone else.
This article is going to guide you through the different reasons that narcissists ghost the people that they abuse so that you can grasp a better understanding of the reason why the narcissist in your life has ghosted you.
They Want to Confuse You
For narcissists, the people that they abuse are nothing more than sources of narcissistic supply.
Narcissistic supply is the validation, admiration, reassurance, power, and control that narcissists get from their surrounding environment.
In order for a narcissist to turn you into a reliable source of narcissistic supply, they need to be in a position of power and control in your life.
One of the most common ways that they do this is by using ghosting to confuse you.
Confusion is the inability to think as clearly or quickly as you normally do.
When someone is struggling with confusion, they often feel disoriented and have difficulty paying attention, remembering, and/or making decisions.
Narcissists want to keep you confused for as long as possible because it allows them to gain the power and control over you that they need to turn you into a source of narcissistic supply.
In a survey we conducted among 100 survivors of narcissistic abuse, we found that the devaluation phase is the most common phase that narcissists ghost the people that they are abusing.
There’s a very good reason for this.
You see, before a narcissist initiates the devaluation phase, they frequently drag the person that they are abusing through a mirroring and future faking phase.
In this context, mirroring refers to a narcissist’s ability to absorb the identity of the person that they are abusing and use the information that they gather to create a falsified identity that the person they are abusing can relate to.
For example, if you said to the narcissist, “I’m going through a really tough time right now. Last night I found out that my dad has six months left to live.”
They could mirror you by saying, “I don’t want to take away from anything you just said, but I lost a close family member a few years ago. I just wanted you to know that I understand what you are going through.”
Over time, mirroring makes the person that the narcissist is abusing feel heard, understood, and valued.
Now, future faking is a manipulation tactic that occurs when a narcissist makes a false promise for the future to get what they want in the present.
For example, if a narcissistic parent said “Hey. I will buy you an ice cream on the way home if you tell this waitress that you are 10 instead of 12 so you can eat for free” but had no intention of buying the ice cream, this would be future faking.
This was a very simple example of future faking, but on a larger scale (i.e marriage, promotions, vacations, goals, etc.) a future fake can manipulate the person being abused into believing that they have a bright future with the narcissist.
Over time, mirroring and future faking manipulates those being abused into believing that the narcissist is someone who can help them become the best versions of themselves.
When this happens, people often attach their thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs to the narcissist.
This is exactly what the narcissist wanted to happen.
You see, when the narcissist senses that you’ve attached your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs to them, they begin the devaluation phase.
The devaluation phase is their abusive pursuit of narcissistic supply.
They do this because they know that you most likely won’t leave them because you have attached yourself to them.
One of the ways that they can initiate the devaluation phase is by ghosting you.
When it has been weeks or months of nothing but mirroring and future faking, their ghosting can cause a tremendous amount of confusion for you.
This confusion will prevent you from thinking clearly, paying attention, remembering things, and making decisions.
Narcissists love this because it allows them to get away with more evident forms of abuse and manipulation such as narcissistic rage, baiting, and gaslighting simply because you are not thinking clearly, or paying attention.
So, one of the reasons that narcissists ghost the people that they abuse is because they want to confuse them.
They Want to Make You Doubt Yourself
It is very common for narcissists to ghost you to manipulate you into doubting yourself.
The reason that a narcissist would want you to doubt yourself is because it gives them a tremendous amount of narcissistic supply.
You see, narcissists have many painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions that they struggle with.
Deep down, they feel unlovable, unwanted, insecure, inadequate, and weak.
Unfortunately, they have such low emotional intelligence that they are incapable of managing these thoughts, feelings, and emotions on their own.
Instead, they project them onto the people they abuse.
Projection is when someone takes parts of their identity that they find unacceptable and places them onto someone else.
For example, a man who is feeling insecure about his acne mocking his brother for having acne instead of acknowledging his own feelings.
For narcissists, the parts of their identity that they find unacceptable are their painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
When a narcissist can get you to doubt yourself, projecting their painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions onto you is much easier.
You see, when you get ghosted out of the blue, it is very common for you to start doubting yourself and try to get back in touch with the person who ghosted you for reassurance.
This could be by sending them a message, calling them, asking mutual friends about them, or something along those lines.
When you try to get back in touch with the narcissist who ghosted you, they could use this opportunity to invalidate, devalue, and degrade you in their own mind.
They could be thinking to themselves, “Look how hard they are trying, it is pathetic. They want me in their life so badly. I am clearly not the unlovable, unwanted, inadequate, worthless, and weak one, they are.”
This is projection.
By ghosting you, the narcissist is able to make you doubt yourself. Naturally, you try to get back in touch with them for reassurance.
They then use this opportunity to invalidate, devalue, and degrade you, which allows them to project all of their painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions onto you.
Our article “Why Do Narcissists Use Projection?“ has a ton of helpful information that you can use to learn more about projection and narcissistic abuse.
They Want You to Give Them Attention
Narcissists have a fragile high self-esteem.
Their feelings of self-worth are unstable, uncertain, and based on unrealistically positive self-views.
You see, narcissists have a grandiose sense of self-importance, they believe that they are special and unique, they have a sense of entitlement, and they believe that others are envious of them.
These are the unrealistically positive self-views that we mentioned before.
Now, to maintain these self-views, narcissists need external validation.
This external validation is narcissistic supply.
One of the reasons that a narcissist could ghost you is because they want you to give them narcissistic supply.
As we mentioned in the previous article, when you get ghosted by someone out of the blue, it is very common for you to doubt yourself and want to reach out to them for reassurance.
When you do that with a narcissist, the attention that you give them acts as narcissistic supply.
In the previous section we showed you how narcissists can turn your attention into a negative and project their painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions onto you.
But here something different is happening.
Instead of invalidating, devaluing, and degrading the attention that you are giving them, the narcissist is using that attention to tell themselves, “You see? I am not unlovable or unwanted. Look how hard they are trying to get back in touch.”
The attention that you give a narcissist when you try to get back in touch with them fuels their grandiose sense of self-importance, belief that they are special and unique, and belief that others are envious of them.
With that being said, the attention that narcissists are looking for when they ghost you can also be negative.
Have you heard of a manipulation tactic called baiting?
Baiting is when a narcissist says or does something manipulative to get you to engage in a negative interaction with them.
If the narcissist in your life said, “Woah, you look really fat in that outfit” even though they knew that you were self-conscious about your weight, this would be considered baiting.
They want you to have a negative response to their abusive behavior because it will allow them to portray you in a negative light to both themselves and others.
When narcissists are able to portray you in a negative light, it gives them an opportunity to project their painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions onto you.
There are six types of narcissistic baiting. You can click here to download our free guide that teaches you about all six types.
The attention that narcissists get when they ghost you is a huge source of narcissistic supply.
If you are experiencing narcissistic baiting, “How to Respond to Narcissistic Baiting“ will help you protect yourself from it.
They Are Stonewalling You
The term “stonewalling” refers to a narcissist’s refusal to participate in the communication and connection of the relationship.
Narcissists use stonewalling to avoid taking responsibility for their behavior and to stop you from expressing your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs.
Ghosting is definitely a form of stonewalling.
For example, imagine that you are calling the narcissist in your life to confront them about some money that they stole from you.
They pick up and you say, “Hey, I know that you stole money from me. I need you to give it back!”
They hang up. You try sending them a message, it doesn’t go through. You try calling a few hours later, nobody picks up.
They have stonewalled you through ghosting to avoid taking responsibility for their behavior.
They Have Discarded You for Someone Else
As you now know, narcissistic supply is a huge part of a narcissist’s life.
Now, the biggest sources of narcissistic supply that narcissists have access to are the people that they abuse.
When they feel like the person that they are abusing is no longer a viable source of narcissistic supply, it is very common for them to decide to discard them for a new source of narcissistic supply.
Discarding is when someone gets rid of someone or something that they no longer find useful or desirable.
In a narcissistic environment, discarding could manifest in the form of ghosting.
What Should You Take Away From This Article?
Generally speaking, narcissists ghost you because they want to confuse you, they want you to give them attention, they want you to doubt yourself, they are stonewalling you, or because they are discarding you.
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.