If you’ve ever had an ex who suffered from narcissistic personality disorder, you may have been surprised by how cold they were after the break up. In fact, it may have appeared as if they didn’t care at all.
Understanding Narcissistic Supply
Those struggling with narcissistic personality disorder generally have a strong need to be admired by others. Due to this, people with NPD often fill their lives with people who satisfy their need for validation and boost their self-esteem. This validation is normally referred to as narcissistic supply, and it’s a driving force for a person with NPD to seek out relationships. If a relationship meeting the NPD person’s needs, the person with NPD may distance themselves from the relationship, or cut the other person out completely. The point is that those with NPD generally have relationships in order to meet their needs. When the relationship ends, a person with NPD can sometimes find a replacement quickly because the person with NPD was never attached to their significant other; instead, they were attached to what their significant other did for them.
When They’re Never Wrong
In most cases, narcissistic traits are developed in order to protect a person’s ego from crippling amounts of shame. While it’s probably not hard to believe, those with narcissistic personality disorder generally haven’t had grand childhoods. Usually, many of those who developed NPD were subjected to a lot of shame during their childhoods when they did not have the coping skills necessary to process the shame. Thus, they’ve grown into adults who feel deeply ashamed and are unable to cope with those feelings. The narcissistic traits help the person with NPD avoid shame and protect their self-esteem. Therefore, it can be difficult for them to admit that they were wrong, and contributed to the failure of their relationships.
It’s Not Them, It’s You
Because those with narcissistic personality disorder need narcissistic supply and struggle to come to terms with their failures, they don’t generally feel bad when their relationships end. First things first: they struggle to admit fault. While they may understand that both parties generally contribute to the breakdown of a relationship, they probably cannot tell you exactly where they went wrong. This may be due to the fact that, deep down inside, they cannot accept the idea that they did something wrong in the first place. Or it may be because they’re not ready to face their mistakes. Also, those with NPD have become professionals in obtaining narcissistic supply. Those with NPD don’t generally get attached to people; instead they get attached to what people do for them. For people with NPD, it’s never difficult to find someone else who will be impressed with the façade they put up—even if that somebody else is only impressed for a moment.
Fantasies of Grandeur and Power
It’s common for people with narcissistic personality disorder to fantasize about revenge in a way that’s a little bit different than others. Generally, people with narcissistic personality disorder fantasize about their exes coming back to them, realizing their mistake. While that may seem like a common fantasy, the reasons for this is different for those with narcissistic personality disorder. People with narcissistic personality disorder don’t generally want their exes back. Instead, they fantasize about their exes coming to the realization that the person with NPD was truly great. They fantasize about their exes feeling stupid for letting them go, and unworthy of them in the present. The person with NPD cannot fathom a world in which their exes wouldn’t do anything to get back with them—even though the reality is that their exes probably don’t want them back.
It’s a Lonely Life
Many people with narcissistic personality disorder feel lonely and struggle with losing so many relationships. These people are prone to feeling like outsiders and as if they cannot maintain relationships or keep partners who don’t have significant issues of their own. People with narcissistic personality disorder are quick to blame the relationship failings on their partners, and may even end relationships if they no longer meet their needs. If you have an ex with narcissistic personality disorder, their cold attitude may be extremely hurtful since you probably did genuinely care about them as a person. While you may be hurting now, it’s important to know that it wasn’t anything you did. If your ex has NPD, chances are that they’ll struggle to care about anyone, regardless of how amazing that person is. While a narcissistic ex may cause pain, it’s important to take care of yourself and find ways to cope with the pain, and move on to bigger and better things.