Being discarded by a narcissist can be incredibly confusing. Even though they subjected you to so much abuse and manipulation, you could very well find yourself hoping that they will come back.

As a general rule, narcissists will come back after discarding you. But sadly, this isn’t because they love, care about, or miss you. It is because they want to maintain power and control over you for as long as possible.

This article is going to guide you through six different reasons that a narcissist will come back after discarding you.

Recovering from narcissistic abuse can be a difficult journey.

Our healing platform is here to support you by providing essential resources such as educational materials, personalized healing plans, access to experienced therapists, and a community of fellow survivors who understand what you’re going through.

They Need More Narcissistic Supply

Narcissistic supply is the validation, admiration, reassurance, power, and control that narcissists receive from their external environment.

In order for a narcissist to feel emotionally stable, they need a consistent flow of narcissistic supply.

This is because narcissists use narcissistic supply to suppress their painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

You see, deep down narcissists struggle with feelings of being unlovable, unwanted, worthless, weak, and inadequate.

A narcissist feeling badly about herself after a discard.

But unfortunately, they have such low emotional intelligence that they’re incapable of managing these thoughts, feelings, and emotions through healthy forms of emotional regulation.

So, as an alternative, narcissists use narcissistic supply to suppress their painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

Now, the people that narcissists abuse are their typically most valuable and most reliable sources of narcissistic supply.

They use manipulation tactics to get the people that they are abusing to validate, admire, and reassure them.

Then they satisfy their insecure need for power and control by subjecting the people that they abuse to various forms of physical and psychological abuse.

A narcissist screaming at someone.

If a narcissist were to discard you and have trouble getting a sufficient amount of narcissistic supply elsewhere, it wouldn’t be uncommon for them to come back to you to get more narcissistic supply.

Understanding the concept of narcissistic supply and how it affects your relationship with a narcissist is crucial for healing.

Our healing platform offers video lessons, masterclasses led by experienced therapists, and personalized healing plans that delve into this topic.

These resources empower you with the knowledge and tools you need to move forward towards a healthier future.

They Want to Keep Tabs On You

Narcissists feel entitled to maintaining power and control over the people that they abuse for as long as they see fit.

Because of this, it is very common for narcissists to find a way back into your life after they discarded you so that they can keep tabs on you.

The phrase “keep tabs” means to carefully watch (someone or something) in order to learn what that person or thing is doing.

A narcissist keeping tabs on someone after the discard.

Narcissists frequently keep tabs on the people that they’ve discarded because it allows them to gather the information that they need to maintain power and control.

For example, imagine that the narcissist discarded you six months ago and you have decided to move to another state for a fresh start.

Because the narcissist has been keeping tabs on you, they find out about your plan to move from one of their flying monkeys.

They don’t want you to move because they feel entitled to maintaining power and control over you.

So, they reach out and try to hoover their way back into your life.

They tell you, “I miss you so much. I can’t believe that we aren’t in each other’s lives anymore. Can we try to fix this?”

A narcissist trying to hoover their way back into someone's life.

Because you haven’t had time to process the abuse and manipulation that you’ve experienced, the hoovering works on you!

You decide not to move because you believe that you can fix things with the narcissist and the narcissist is able to maintain power and control over you.

It’s essential to protect yourself from a narcissist’s attempts to keep tabs on you after discarding.

Our healing platform provides resources, expert guidance, and personalized strategies to help you establish boundaries and maintain your privacy.

By joining our platform, you’ll have access to the support you need to break free from the cycle of abuse.

They Want to Control How Others See You

One of the biggest fears that a narcissist has is being caught.

They work really hard to hide their manipulation tactics and abusive tendencies from others.

Now, this isn’t because they care that they are being abusive and manipulative.

It is because they know that being abusive and manipulative will prevent them from getting narcissistic supply.

A narcissist losing his narcissistic supply.

It is for this reason that the people that narcissists abuse are often the only ones who know just how abusive and manipulative the narcissist really is.

Everyone else often only sees the narcissist’s public persona which usually portrays them as charming, charismatic, confident, articulate, and relatively pleasant.

One of the ways that narcissists protect their public persona is by controlling how others see you, especially after the discard.

They know that if they don’t maintain power and control over your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs, you could expose them to others.

To do this, narcissists almost always rely on flying monkeys to get the job done.

A flying monkey is a person who a narcissist manipulates into helping them abuse others.

To create a flying monkey, the narcissist in your life will spread lies and gossip about you to your support system.

A support system is a network of people that can provide you with practical or emotional support. 

Now, if you have a solid support system, they will see that the narcissist is spreading lies and gossip straight away.

But if you don’t, the narcissist’s lies and gossip may very well portray you as the abuser or the one with the problem and the narcissist as a victim of your behavior.

Creating flying monkeys gives narcissists a golden opportunity to prevent you from exposing them by controlling how others see you and is one of the many reasons that a narcissist will come back after discarding you.

Recommended Article:

Our article How Do Narcissists Get Flying Monkeys? will help you grasp a comprehensive understanding of how narcissists are able to turn your support system against you.

They Don’t Want You to Move On

A defining characteristic of narcissism is a grandiose sense of self-importance.

When someone has a grandiose sense of self-importance, it means that they have an unrealistic sense of specialness and superiority that causes them to truly believe that they are unique and better than others.

A narcissist's grandiose sense of self-importance.

Because of this, it is very, very, common for narcissists to wholeheartedly believe that you could never find someone better than them.

This delusional belief causes them to expect and demand that you are available for them at all times.

After discarding you, if a narcissist were to find out that you were actively taking steps to move on from them, they would most likely try to come back into your life to prevent you from moving on.

Now, this is true for all types of narcissistic relationships, not just romantic ones.

For example, imagine that you’ve recently quit a job because of the abuse that your narcissistic boss dragged you through.

You start looking for other jobs, but unfortunately, they all require references and you worked at the job that you just left for the past eight years.

So, you have no choice but to write them down as a reference.

When your ex narcissistic boss receives the call from the place you are trying to get hired at, they get furious because you are trying to move on from them.

An angry narcissistic boss.

To prevent this from happening, they say horrible things about you to ensure that you never get hired.

This is an example of a narcissist coming back into your life after discarding you to ensure that you don’t move on from them.

They Are Possessive and Jealous

Possessive means demanding someone’s total attention and love.

As a general rule, narcissists are possessive because they view you as their property.

They don’t see you as an individual with thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs of your own.

They see you as a tool that they are entitled to using to get the narcissistic supply that they need in order to feel emotionally stable.

A narcissist talking about narcissistic supply.

This belief could very well cause the narcissist in your life to try to come back into your life after discarding you simply because they believe that it is their right.

Jealousy is an envious resentment of someone or their achievements, possessions, or perceived advantages.

Narcissists possess several traits that have been linked to jealousy:1

  • Low self-esteem.
  • Feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, possessiveness.
  • An unhealthy dependence on the people they form relationships with.
  • Insecure attachment styles.
  • High levels of neuroticism.

After discarding you, if you moved on or did something to make the narcissist feel replaced, they could try to come back into your life simply because they are jealous.

Coping with a possessive and jealous narcissist can be draining and confusing.

Our healing platform is designed to help you navigate these challenges with features such as therapist-led lessons, personalized healing plans, and a supportive community.

We also offer resources on self-care, self-compassion, and self-empowerment to help you regain your sense of self and autonomy.

Recommend Article:

Our article Why Do Narcissists Get So Jealous?has a ton of helpful information that you can use to grasp a better understanding of the reason why narcissists can be so possessive and jealous.

They Have a Fear of Abandonment

Something that narcissists struggle with on a daily basis is a fear of abandonment.

Fear of abandonment is the overwhelming but unwarranted fear that people you love will leave you physically and/or emotionally.

Generally speaking, narcissists have a fear of abandonment because they have insecure attachment styles.

An attachment style is the characteristic way people relate to others in the context of intimate relationships, which is heavily influenced by self-worth and interpersonal trust.2

Insecure attachment styles.

Now, it is very common for a narcissist’s fear of abandonment to drive them to try to come back into your life after discarding you.

This is especially true if they don’t find a new source of supply that they can rely on.

For example, imagine that the narcissist discarded you a year ago.

Since then they’ve remarried but are now getting divorced again because the person that they married realized that he/she was a narcissist and left.

Someone leaving a narcissist.

This is a tough position to be in for the narcissist because they aren’t getting a sufficient amount of narcissistic supply.

It wouldn’t be uncommon for the lack of narcissistic supply to trigger their fear of abandonment and cause them to try to come back into your life even though they discarded 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.


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.

References:

[1] What’s Really Behind Jealousy, and What to Do About It

[2] Attachment Styles

Nelson, Cheryl. “Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Not Even a Diagnosis in 2013!.” The Journal of Psychohistory 40.4 (2013): 293.

 Dr. Sam Vaknin: Narcissists, Narcissistic Supply and Sources of Supply

2 Comments

  1. Hello,
    I was in a “relationship” for 22 years that turned out to be a lie. My soon to be ex husband was cheating on me. Looking back at the time spent together, I see the various traits of a narcissist. What is really damaging is that I thought I found someone who truly loved me. The problem was this other man is the exact same as my ex husband. A narcissist. He love bombed me, had me believing he was the one only to discard me. I have no idea if he will return. He “replaced” me months before he said he “moved on”. I had a gut feeling something was off but I did not want to face it. He did serve a purpose and got me out of an abusive relationship but it is cruel. I have a hard time with this and there are instances where I question “why am I even here?”

    1. Hey Rosanne,

      Thank you for leaving a comment.

      I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve gone through this heartbreak and betrayal not once but twice.

      I know from personal experience how painful it can be to invest so much time, love, and trust into relationships only to realize the person you’re with is manipulating and lying to you.

      You said that you’re having thoughts like, “Why am I even here?”

      It’s natural to feel a mix of emotions, from anger and betrayal to self-doubt and sadness.

      But airing on the side of caution, if you are referring to suicidal thoughts, please immediately reach out to the proper authorities for help.

      Here is a link that you can use to find suicide prevention hotlines:

      https://unfilteredd.net/domestic-violence-suicide-prevention-mental-health-hotlines-crisis-lines/

      Again, I don’t know if that is what you meant. But in case it was, please know that you’re not alone, and there are people who can help you.

      One last thing: when you’ve been with someone who has manipulated your emotions for a long time, it can challenge your self-worth and shake your confidence in your judgment.

      I want you to know that your feelings are valid, and it’s okay to grieve the end of these relationships and the loss of what you thought you had.

      However, it’s important to remember that your worth is not determined by how someone else treats you, especially someone incapable of genuine love and empathy, like a narcissist.

      I hope you continue to find our resources helpful; please don’t hesitate to contact us via email (elijah@unfilteredd.net) for more support.

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