Narcissists jump from relationship to relationship. In fact, in our article Is Cheating Actually a Part of Narcissism? we found that the romantic relationships that narcissists have usually overlap with one another. This suggests that narcissists often have another romantic relationship lined up while they’re still in a relationship with their soon to be ex.

Narcissists jump from relationship to relationship for narcissistic supply. They use manipulation tactics such as mirroring, future faking, and love bombing, to turn their new relationship into a reliable source of narcissistic supply that they use to construct a positive self-perception.

This article is going to help you grasp a comprehensive understanding of why jumping from relationship to relationship is so beneficial for a narcissist. This article has information for all types of relationships but if you are going through a divorce with a narcissist, we believe that you’ll find our article Why Do Narcissists Remarry So Quickly? helpful.

Starting a New Relationship Gives Narcissists a Massive Amount of Narcissistic Supply

If you didn’t know already, the term “narcissistic supply” refers to the validation, admiration, reassurance, power, and control that narcissists get from their surrounding environments.

If you want to protect yourself from narcissistic abuse, you have to grasp a comprehensive understanding of narcissistic supply. Our article How Are Narcissists Made? explains why narcissists need supply so badly, but for this article it is important to know that narcissists use narcissistic supply to suppress all of their painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

Some simple examples of narcissistic supply are awards, money, having a well paying job, being famous, sex, appearances, and so on. However, the largest sources of supply that narcissists can get are the people they abuse.

When a narcissist has full control of the thoughts, feelings, and emotions of someone else, they feel emotionally stable. In our article “Can You Fix a Marriage With a Narcissist?” there’s a lot of information about this but having this level of control over someone and seeing how it destroys them is emotionally stabilizing for a narcissist.

Why?

Well, because it allows them to project all of their suppressed painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions onto someone else. By seeing someone completely and utterly destroyed by their behavior, narcissists are able to figuratively point their finger at them and think to themselves, “I am not the weak, inadequate, worthless, unlovable, and unwanted one… they are!”

We wanted to bring this up because when a narcissist destroys someone, that person usually emotionally and/or physically checks out of the relationship.

When this happens, the narcissist no longer considers them a viable source of narcissistic supply because they aren't engaging with them in the same way as they once did.

We spoke about this a lot in our article What Happens When a Narcissist Runs Out of Narcissistic Supply? but a lack of narcissistic supply triggers the painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions that narcissists have and compromises their emotional stability. This is the driving force of a narcissist’s tendency to jump from relationship to relationship.

We are going to dive into the different manipulation tactics that narcissists use to turn their new relationships into big sources of narcissistic supply shortly, but one thing that is worth mentioning to help you understand this article a little bit better is that narcissist’s don’t value the relationships they have with others the same way that non-narcissistic people do.

What do we mean by this?

We spoke about this a lot in our article What Do Narcissists Want In a Relationship? but narcissists couldn’t care less about your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs. They only care about the narcissistic supply that you give them.

So while it may seem crazy that the narcissist in your life can effortlessly jump from relationship to relationship, it isn't.

Narcissists don’t value the relationships that they have with other people. They lack empathy, they are selfish, and they are immature. They abuse and manipulate you until you have nothing left and then they jump into another relationship like nothing ever happened.

In a short video (see below)  Dr. Karen Kuemerle-Pinillos, a PhD Level Clinician and Licensed Clinical Social Worker, speaks about how narcissists crave a deep connection with other people but lack the skills needed to have one. This leads to the gravitating towards superficial relationships which explains why they are able to jump from relationship to relationship so easily!

 Dr. Karen Kuemerle-Pinillos, a PhD Level Clinician and Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Speaks About a Narcissist’s Need for a Deep Connection With Others

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Narcissists Use Mirroring, Future Faking, and Love Bombing to Turn Their New Relationships Into Massive Sources of Narcissistic Supply

In order to be in full control of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions, narcissists have to trick you into believing that you can safely attach yourself to them.

They typically do this through mirroring and future faking, but we will also walk you through love bombing because it is a very common pattern to see in a narcissistic relationship even though not everyone who have been in a relationship with a narcissist experiences it.

Mirroring

In the narcissistic realm, the term “mirroring” refers to a manipulative process that narcissists use to absorb information about the identity of others and use that information to create a falsified identity that portrays them as “perfect”. An example of this would be a man/woman is on a date with a narcissist and reveals that their sibling died in a car crash 20 years ago.

The narcissist says, “I don’t want to take away from what you just said, but my mother died in a motorcycle accident a few years ago so I just wanted you to know that I understand what you are going through.

Mirroring is a tactic that narcissists use to make you feel seen, heard, and understood. It is so powerful because it fills a void in your life. In our article How Do Narcissists Use Mirroring? we explain how it is used in all different types of relationships, but in romantic relationships, mirroring is used to target our desire for true love.

Future Faking

Future faking is when a narcissist makes a false promise in the future to get what they want in the present. 

For example, if a narcissist wanted you to give them a thousand dollars and knew that you wanted them to help with your student loans, they could future fake you by saying something like:

"Hey just loan me the money so I can start this business and help you pay off your student loans like you wanted. I already have 60 people saying they would buy from me. Trust me, just help me out today and we will be rich forever!"

The narcissist has no intention to help you with your student loans. They just want the thousand dollars and they are using future faking to manipulate you into giving it to them.

Our article How to Respond to Future Faking has a ton of information that you can use to protect yourself from future faking. It is important that you go check that article out because future faking is such a powerful technique. Narcissists often know exactly what they need to say for it to work because of all the information they gathered about you during the mirroring phase.

Love Bombing

The love bombing phase is an elite form of mirroring and future faking. It is a period of many narcissistic relationships where the narcissist is doing and saying everything that they need to say to trick you into thinking that you can have a happy, secure, and healthy relationship with them.

How are they able to do this?

With the information they gathered about you during the mirroring and future faking phases. They know exactly who they need to be to coax you into allowing them to grasp control of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. With that being said, the love bombing phase isn’t always sunshine and rainbows.

The type of love bombing phase that you experience is dependent on the void that you have in your life. In our articleHow Long Does the Love Bombing Phase Last? (Survey) there’s a lot of helpful information about the different types of love bombing, but here’s a quick look at what we are talking about (see below)

What Does the Love Bombing Phase Look Like With Different Types of Narcissistic Personalities?

Mirroring, Future Faking, and Love Bombing Trick People Into Attaching Themselves to the Narcissist

You may be wondering, how does all this manipulation give narcissists the supply that they are looking for when jumping from relationship to relationship?

Well, the answer lies within the impact these manipulation tactics have on those experiencing narcissistic abuse. Have you heard of a theory called cognitive dissonance?

It refers to a theory developed by ​​Leon Festinger that suggests when we experience an inconsistency among information, behavior, and belief it causes us to experience a tremendous amount of psychological tension. 

In an attempt to ease this tension, we will change one or more of the elements that are causing the inconsistency to make everything consistent. In narcissistic relationships, cognitive dissonance manifests in the form of the justification, rationalization, and normalization of abuse. 

When a narcissist uses mirroring, they are manipulating their way into your subconscious and feeding you information that causes you to think that you are on the same wavelength. 

“Hey! I have been dating this amazing man/woman named Jack/Amy for a few weeks now. Everything just feels so right. I have never felt so understood in my life. There is just something about him/her that I can’t put into words, but it feels right. I just hope he/she can handle a long distance relationship because I want to spend a year in Spain next summer!”

When a narcissist uses future faking, they are moving from your subconscious to your conscious by behaving in a manner that turns the thought of you two being on the same wavelength into something much more like a reality. 

“Last week we had a deep conversation about the future of our relationship and Jack/Amy said that he/she would move to Spain with me! It works out perfectly because he/she said that he/she has family there so I don’t have to worry about rent, food, or transportation. He/she is so supportive, he/she doesn’t want me to work while I am there so I can focus on my studies. I think that I am falling in love with him/her."

The combination of mirroring and future faking gives you the information that you need to have and shows you the behavior that you need to see to develop a belief that the narcissist is someone that you can connect your thoughts, feelings, emotions, needs, wishes, dreams, and aspirations to.

Once this happens, boom, the narcissist has control of your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs. You can check out our article What Is the Devaluation Phase? for more information about this but once this happens the narcissist will stop mirroring and future faking and begin to subject you to unfathomable levels of abuse.

"I don't know what happened... he/she just canceled our trip to Spain and screamed at me on the phone. I don't understand what is happening... we were so happy just a week ago. It is like everything changed when I told him/her that I loved him/her and wanted to spend my life with him/her. Now I don't have any money, I'm depressed, and feeling lost."

The devaluation phase is where a narcissist gets a large amount of narcissistic supply because they will invalidate, devalue, degrade, humiliate, abuse, and manipulate you until you are completely and utterly destroyed. Then they will collect all of their supply and jump into another relationship like nothing ever happened.

What Should You Take Away From This Article?

Narcissists jump from relationship to relationship to get narcissistic supply. They couldn’t care less about the thoughts, feelings, and emotions of others. All they want is to do whatever they want, whenever they want. They lack empathy, they are selfish, they lack the skills needed to have a meaningful connection with someone, and they are abusive.

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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:

MacDonald, Pat. “Narcissism in the modern world.” Psychodynamic practice 20.2 (2014): 144-153.

Perrotta, Giulio. “Narcissism and psychopathological profiles: definitions, clinical contexts, neurobiological aspects and clinical treatments.” J Clin Cases Rep 4.85 (2020): 12-25.