Will the Narcissist Come Back? Maybe…but then what?

will-narcissist-returnThe narcissist only returns again and again to ensure that you never move on from the pain he has caused you – and this is the ONLY reason. If you remember nothing else from what I tell you, you must remember that. The sociopath and narcissist will hoover for no other reason than to get another chance to hurt you. This is why it seems that the narcissist returns only to leave again – and this time quicker than the time before. He might even get up and leave after the great make-up sex, saying he’ll be right back or he’ll call you later and – POOF – he’s gone again. Make no mistake…all these “comings and goings” are intended to hurt you. It’s all by grande narcissistic design.

It’s important that we understand that the life of the narcissist’s target is nothing more than a massive playing field upon which the N can hone his evil skills. It’s a stomping ground where he can practice better ways to execute his game and plan for the attack. Knowing this, when we agonize over whether a narcissist will come back or if he will ever return after a silent treatment the answer, obviously, is maybe…but then what? Any time away from the narc is a step in the right direction so are you really ready to go back to square one after coming this far? Think about it.

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Narcissists, of course, do not miraculously fix themselves while they’re away although they certainly will try to tell you differently. Returns are usually prompted by the bad behaviors of whomever they left you for (and they did leave you for someone) or the ding of the bell as your name pops back up in the queue or by any one of a myriad of warped narratives dictated by the narcissist’s relationship agenda. And because the narcissist knows you as well as you think you know him, he is confident in the fact that he’s managed down your expectations to the point that you’ll take him back without significant repercussions or consequences. This is a highly dysfunctional dynamic, my friends, and you are settling for crumbs by allowing this behavior.

I receive so many letters from women and men who have succeeded with No Contact to the point that they are actually living life in the manner that they deserve. It makes me want to rejoice, it really does. I know how hard it is to stick to No Contact because I was never very good at it. What happens, though, inevitably, is that somewhere along the line I start receiving the question of whether or not the N will return from those who have been doing well. Why does this happen and why is it so fucking hard to let this bastard (or bitch) go? What is the “hold” and why is it so strong? Is this sudden, out-of-the-blue feeling of slight panic or desperation normal? My answer is yes…yes it is.

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When we start wondering if maybe…just maybe…the narcissist (our ex) will come back, hoover, or reappear after a disappearance, or start communicating after a silent treatment, we are falling back into the waiting pattern that kept us hostage for years. Seriously, think about the amount of time that you’ve spent waiting for your narcissist boyfriend or girlfriend or husband or wife over the course of your relationship.

When I look back on my life with the ex, there’s no doubt that we spent more time apart than together and he made sure of that! I talk about this at length in my book When Love Is a Lie. In this book, I tell you in detail what happened to me over thirteen years and how I finally mentally called it off even before we split up for good. I started making small choices that changed the way I behaved in reaction to his narcissistic behaviors and the result was amazing. It’s about changing your perspective and if I did it, you can do it too.

You must understand that none of this nonsense will ever change – ever. Not for you, not for the next person, and not for the ones that come after that. Get the irrational thought that this is even a possibility right out of your head.

The narcissist will continue to hurt you until the end of time because that’s what narcissists do and they enjoy it. Your suffering is actually the narcissist’s reward for a job well done and don’t you forget it. If he couldn’t mess with your head, he literally would have nothing to do. Letting go of the narcissist is about removing yourself from the mental anguish…from the perpetual waiting game that keeps you clinging to a false love. Co-dependency is a very real thing and so is trauma bonding and all of these things probably have happened to you over the course of your experience with a narcissistic partner.  There are so many reasons why we fall back after doing so well…after feeling stronger than ever for the first time in forever…and we must be gentle with ourselves and at the same time be sane in our response to it.

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You don’t have to give in to the feeling of missing this very bad person and you also don’t have to forgive a narcissist – not now or in the future. When you start asking yourself  if he will return, if you feel like you’re suddenly waiting again, if you don’t understand why you’ve taken ten steps back after moving five steps forward, understand that you are in recovery much like any other addict.

Look hard at your intention with everything you do, say, and think during this time. Deep down, you don’t want the narcissist back. Not really. I know you don’t. The good sex (when he obliged) or the funny joke (when he felt like entertaining you) or the “I love you” (when he was telling you what you needed to hear to give him what he wanted) or the tenderness (that he extended to everyone when duty called)…none of that is worth more your freedom and happiness, my friends.

Remember that throughout the relationship and during every break-up or silent treatment, our suffering changed nothing. If our suffering changes nothing, then we might as well try to be fucking happy!

Stay strong and be safe in the journey!


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  • Bruce pedersen

    December 3, 2017 at 9:30 pm Reply

    Unfortunately, a N (female) is charming & alluring to a fault. It’s the biggest tool in their toolbox and they know it. I’ve gotten away but the draw of the familiar and frankly…sex is very strong. As a man, I’ve tried to be decent in helping with things at the house which is for sale. But she uses things like that to try and reel me back in. I pray to keep my humanity..deserved or not, but it can be damn hard at times. I wish I we’re better at it myself but…After you are away from the N, become exceptionally selfish to protect yourself. I have had to resolve myself to almost a self protection mode because…make no mistake you are being emotionally attacked and it sucks big time and won’t stop until you completely free of this parasite.

  • Shalon

    November 25, 2017 at 7:01 pm Reply

    I broke up with Narcissist and l know l am at the point were l have accepted its over. I m depressed now and sad l and working towards being normal. I blocked him, I m just afraid that when l am happy again, he will appear and try to trick me. It’s not so much of falling the deception. I know what he is but having to revisit the sadness he caused and his attempt to deceive me is depressing. Just knowing he wants to hurt me again by trying to lie and trick me will cause me trauma. I don’t want to go thru that again once l m over that stage. When we l heal, l forget and that’s dangerous.l so afraid of forgetting he is a narcissist.

  • Bel

    September 16, 2017 at 3:32 am Reply

    Zari , I’ve been out of a narcissist relationship now 6 months , the relationship lasted 3 years . I endured cheating , lying ,control and everything else that comes with being with a narcissist. I was discarded in the end and he left only to 8 weeks later become engaged to a woman he met on a dating site . I’ve had the Hoover and I’m in no contact absolutely no contact . Trouble is though Zari intially I felt free and was making positive steps forward finding myself . Now all I want to do is run back I want him to want me back , I think about him day and night and even dream about him . I no nothing good can come from this I’m well aware he can’t change and my life would be unhappiness cheating , lying and misery . I’m heartbroken all over again and I don’t understand why . The dull ache never leaves . I read everything I can about narcissists and have educated myself . I don’t know what to do . I’m so sad 😭

    • Zari Ballard

      October 16, 2017 at 6:00 pm Reply

      Hi Bel,

      What you suffer from is what I call “emotional residue” and I have an article on this website about that very thing. I hope in the time it has taken me to respond, you have pushed through it and come out the other side. I know it’s not easy but as you can see by the stories told from all who visit here that you are not alone. There is nothing normal about the relationship with a narc so there is nothing normal about the break-up. You WILL come through this, sister, I promise. Please send me a new post with an update and I’ll be sure to look for it. You deserve to be happy…

      Zari xo

  • Angie

    August 11, 2017 at 8:35 am Reply

    Wow, what an article. Thank you so much for writing it. Sometimes it’s nice to know that I’m not a crazy person for feeling the way I do. I do miss my ex, and lately it’s been weighing on me heavily whether he misses me (albeit in a shallow way; the things I did for him, cooking, support, etc) or not. The end of September marks a year since he callously discarded me without warning, prompting me to move back across the country and I’ve been in therapy ever since.

    I’m 28 and he was my first serious relationship. We were together over three years, a short stint for him, and he carried on like nothing had happened. An interesting thing that my therapist (and mother, who was also once married to my N father) pointed out about the discard, was that he said one thing (‘I don’t want to be in this relationship anymore’) but then behaved in another by following me around frantically as I packed my bags, or staring at me creepily from his car as I continued to remove myself from his life. He continued to text me that whole weekend about when I’d be gone and how much moving would cost me (the sweetie offered me money to help get me out). I didn’t beg or grovel to stay like I had three times in the past. He sounds like a real winner, huh? And yet here I am, almost a full calendar year waiting to be hoovered. I know it won’t ever be like it was with him. But for some reason I’m relying on that text or email or call to validate what I’ve been feeling and I guess prove what he really is.

    I made the mistake of talking to one of his exes, probably the most significant one in his life until me. She let me know that she, and the others, had all left him (after he pushed them to the point of no other option) and he ended up reaching out/hoovering each and every one of them AND getting back together (or tried to). So NOW, I feel like this worthless clod of a woman who really actually meant zip and didn’t impact him or make his life mean anything in anyway, thus I’m lesser than these exes. I will say though, that each one of them left an opening for him. They all kept some kind of line open for him to reach out, whether it be posting to various forms of social media or commenting on his pictures or sending messages, you get the point. I haven’t done any of that. To me, that would be giving him the attention he so craves. Why would I ever give that to someone who so casually dropped the ‘love of his life’ out of an airplane and then wished her ‘a safe trip’ back across the country?

    So, after this very long post which I’m sure didn’t just confuse the hell out of me, my question/s is/are: will he reach out even though all this time has passed? Am I stupid for wanting him to reach out and stupid for feeling lesser if I don’t get that contact that all those other girls got? Why am I still so hung up on it? I was doing so well for awhile, but as I get closer to the one year anniversary of being thrown away like a used diaper I’m back to that first month where I don’t eat and can’t sleep without dreaming of him. Thanks so much to anyone who takes the time to read and respond to my novel.


    • Zari Ballard

      September 13, 2017 at 5:44 pm Reply

      Hi Angie,

      I am playing catch up right now and I apologize for the delay in responding. Look, this guy obviously has a history of driving women to the brink…what does it matter if he reaches out after? Consider yourself the lucky one. And you don’t REALLY know what happened in his past relationships…only what that one girl told you. Do you think she told you the absolute truth about everything…no, of course she didn’t. Is this really someone you want to go back and forth with, wasting your life away. Now, I don’t know your whole story so it seems that much was left out. I’d like to hear more and I can offer you more of a sound opinion. Except for the ending, I do not know how it all played out. I do know that he doesn’t sound like a life partner and that it’s time for you to move along so you can be happy. You’ve made it this long…it takes a while to shake the dirt out of our heads when we’re involved with these people.

      Please write again, girl, and let me know how you are doing….

      Zari xo

  • Babs

    July 31, 2017 at 7:26 pm Reply

    Hello Zari,

    I am so thankful I have reached this article. For the longest time I feared there was something wrong with me until I read about NPD. For almost a year I was involved with a man who definitely had NPD. In the beginning things were great but he quickly dismissed me after a few weeks. I tried harder to win him over and we had a strictly sexual relationship for months. He was possessive of me, jealous of the men near me(we sadly work together), egocentric, all characteristics of a narcissist. He blocked me on all social media and messaging systems and would only unblock me to get what he wanted. I was in denial throughout the time I was with him. I hoped he would change but at the time I didn’t know about NPD. 7 weeks ago he pushed me too far and I realized I was his backup supply. The whole time he was entertaining and sleeping with other women and lying to me. I have since been doing the silent treatment and no contact, to as much as I can in a work environment. However I noticed he unblocked me on a messaging app from the start of my no contact and silent treatment. He used to have me blocked while I was his supply. I wonder why he left that line of communication? Lately I’ve noticed he also hovers around me and coincidentally tries to run into me at work or check in. He doesn’t speak to me. Why would he do this? Is he trying to come back? Does he want me back? I’m starting to have second thoughts about leaving him. Please help.


    • Zari Ballard

      August 23, 2017 at 11:30 pm Reply

      Hi Babs,

      Keep in your mind that a narcissist doesn’t much care if they are with us physically as long as they are in our heads. Thus, the weird encounters where he says nothing. It’s all about giving you something to think about and guess what? It worked! Alas (sigh), it always does….Do not have second thoughts. In any relationship, this is NOT acceptable nor is it normal behavior.

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