7 Things Narcissists Do When You Go No Contact: Recognizing Retaliatory Behaviors

When individuals decide to implement the no contact rule with someone displaying traits consistent with narcissism, they often face unexpected behaviors and patterns that are typical of such personalities. Breaking off communication with a narcissist is a significant step towards healing and reclaiming one’s sense of self, but it typically prompts a range of reactions from the narcissist affected by this loss of contact. These actions are usually rooted in their need for control, attention, and validation.

The no contact strategy is often advised in situations where a person may need to distance themselves from a toxic relationship with a narcissistic individual. It involves completely cutting off all forms of communication to protect one’s emotional well-being. This boundary can trigger various tactics from the narcissist, as they attempt to maintain their influence and presence in the person’s life. Understanding these potential responses can equip individuals with the knowledge to remain firm in their decision and to anticipate the challenging behaviors they might encounter.

Here 7 things narcissists do when you go no contact.

Understanding the Narcissistic Personality

Before delving into specific behaviors narcissists may exhibit during a no-contact period, it is vital to establish a clear understanding of what narcissism entails and the typical attributes that delineate narcissistic abuse.

Defining Narcissism

Narcissism is characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. Behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

Characteristics of Narcissistic Abuse

Narcissistic abuse, usually a power play for control and manipulation, can take many forms. The abuser typically uses emotional leverage to assert dominance and superiority. This abuse incorporates tactics like gaslighting, which makes the victim question their reality, and triangulation, creating rivalries to elevate their perceived status. They exploit the victim’s emotions to maintain control and affirm their supremacy, often leaving deep psychological scars.

What Is the ‘No Contact’ Rule

The ‘No Contact’ Rule is a self-imposed boundary aimed at initiating healing and gaining freedom from a narcissist’s influence. It requires a firm commitment to sever all forms of communication.

The Purpose of Implementing No Contact

No Contact is implemented as a strategy to promote mental health and foster healing after a relationship with a narcissist. The purpose is twofold; first, it creates a boundary that protects the individual from further emotional and psychological harm. Second, it allows for space and time necessary for the individual to recover and regain a sense of self, free from manipulation and control.

  • Protects Mental Health: Prevents further psychological damage from continuous interaction with a narcissist
  • Facilitates Healing: Enables the individual to heal by distancing them from the source of trauma

How to Execute the No Contact Strategy

Executing the No Contact rule effectively requires a clear plan and a firm resolve. The individual must:

  1. Cease all direct communication with the narcissist, including phone calls and texting
  2. Avoid indirect contact through third parties or mutual acquaintances
  3. Block or unfollow the narcissist across all social media platforms to prevent digital encounters
  4. Resign from social obligations and shared spaces where they might encounter the narcissist
  5. Remain steadfast and refuse any gifts or attempts at re-establishment of contact by the narcissist
  • Consistency: Maintain the strategy without exceptions or allowances for contact
  • Support System: Build a support system through friends, family, or mental health professionals to reinforce the commitment to No Contact

Narcissists’ Behaviors Post-Breakup

When initiating no contact with a narcissistic person, one can expect a range of behaviors that typically revolve around manipulation tactics and efforts to regain control or influence over the situation.

Initial Reactions to No Contact

Upon the implementation of a no-contact boundary, narcissists may exhibit extreme reactions. They may employ harassment or overt manipulation tactics as a way to elicit a response. Their responses can vary from denial of the breakup to aggressive attempts to re-establish communication. Emotionally charged actions, such as expressing outrage or pretending indifference, are common. Narcissists might also make grand promises of change, or overflow the individual with gifts and apologies, a technique referred to as hoovering designed to suck the person back into the relationship.

Attempts to Regain Control

If initial contact is ignored, the narcissistic person might escalate their attempts to regain control. They might employ a mix of harassment and revenge, especially if they perceive the no-contact boundary as a personal slight. These efforts can include:

  • Public defamation: Spreading rumors or making disparaging comments in social circles
  • Stalking: Monitoring the individual’s movements either in-person or through digital means
  • Legal manipulation: Using legal threats or proceedings to compel the person to engage
  • Fake emergencies or crises: Fabricating situations that demand immediate attention to force communication

Consistently, these behaviors stem from a profound need to not lose the upper hand and are executed with a confident belief in their efficacy to sway the person’s decision to maintain no contact.

Typical Emotional Responses of the Narcissist

When cutting off contact with a narcissist, their emotional responses can range from seeking further attention to attempting manipulative tactics. Understanding these reactions is critical for anticipating and dealing with the fallout.

Feeling Rejected and the Pursuit of Attention

A narcissist often feels a deep sense of rejection when someone goes no contact, leading to a relentless pursuit of attention. They may exhibit behaviors indicative of hurt and confusion, as they struggle to reconcile the loss of a source of admiration and attention. Typically, they will:

  • Engage in love-bombing: Attempts to sway the person with extravagant expressions of affection
  • Increase communication efforts: Frequent calls, messages, or unexpected appearances to regain attention

Guilt-Tripping and Emotional Manipulation

In the face of no contact, narcissists frequently employ emotional manipulation to maintain control. They might use:

  • Guilt: Leveraging past shared experiences to evoke feelings of obligation or remorse
  • Gaslighting: Distorting reality to make the other person doubt their decisions and feelings

Through these tactics, they aim to destabilize the person’s resolve and draw them back into the relationship.

Coping with the Aftermath of Going No Contact

In the aftermath of going no contact with a narcissist, individuals embark on a journey of healing from narcissistic abuse and maintaining the commitment to personal growth and no contact. The process is multi-faceted, including emotional recovery, building resilience, and fostering a supportive environment for sustainable change.

Healing from Narcissistic Abuse

After leaving a relationship with a narcissist, therapy can serve as a cornerstone in the healing process. Mental health professionals provide a structured approach to uncover the emotional impact of narcissistic abuse. Therapy facilitates the identification and management of complex feelings, guiding individuals through the stages of grief and loss associated with the end of such relationships.

Key practices in the healing journey involve:

  • Journaling: A tool for self-reflection and processing emotions
  • Seeking support from friends, family, or support groups who understand the nature of narcissistic abuse
  • Reinforcing feelings of self-worth and empowerment, counteracting the damage to one’s self-esteem

Maintaining No Contact and Personal Growth

The commitment to no contact is crucial for protecting one’s mental health and fostering personal growth. To maintain no contact:

  • Be vigilant against hoovering attempts — when the narcissist tries to reestablish communication
  • Build and stick to clear boundaries, proactively avoiding potential triggers that might lead to breaking no contact

Personal growth after such a traumatic experience involves:

  • Recognizing and celebrating positive changes in one’s life without the influence of the narcissist
  • Practicing self-care and setting goals that align with one’s values and aspirations, stepping stones towards a fulfilling life post-narcissist

By focusing on these actions, individuals create a strong foundation for a healthier, more empowered future.

Strategies for Moving Forward

Engaging in no contact with a narcissist is a decisive step towards reclaiming one’s sense of self and establishing a healthier life. The journey ahead involves rebuilding self-esteem and relationships as well as creating and enforcing boundaries.

Rebuilding Self-Esteem and Relationships

One regains their sense of freedom and empowerment by actively working on self-esteem post no-contact. It involves recognizing the impact of past abuse and consciously detaching self-worth from the narcissist’s opinions. Therapy or support groups can be beneficial, providing a source of validation and strategies for healing. They should make it a priority to:

  • Engage in activities that reinforce their value and capabilities
  • Spend time with people who affirm their worth and contribute to happy, healthy relationships

Creating and Upholding Boundaries

Boundaries are fundamental for one’s safety and protection from future emotional harm. Asserting and upholding these boundaries instills a sense of peace and control. They may:

  • Clearly define what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior from others
  • Communicate these boundaries assertively, without room for negotiation or guilt

By sticking to these strategies, one fortifies their personal well-being and enhances their ability to foster safe, empowering, and rewarding connections.

Dealing with Narcissists’ Extended Influence

When an individual chooses to cease contact with a narcissist, it’s crucial to be aware of the narcissist’s potential reactions through indirect means. These often involve manipulative tactics aimed at exerting control or sowing confusion within the individual’s wider social circle.

Navigating Social Media and Smear Campaigns

After initiating no contact, one’s presence on social media can become a battleground. Narcissists may use smear campaigns to distort the truth and undermine the individual’s reputation. Protecting oneself involves:

  • Adjusting Privacy Settings: Limit the narcissist’s ability to view and contact through various platforms
  • Creating Boundaries: Be selective about who is trusted with personal information on these networks

Stalking behavior might manifest through false accounts or mutual friends. A steadfast approach entails documenting any incidents that border on harassment and considering formal communication to the platform’s support system if incidents escalate.

Handling Flying Monkeys and Mutual Connections

The term “flying monkeys” refers to individuals who might be unwittingly recruited by the narcissist to apply pressure or convey messages.

Identify and Categorize Connections: Understand which mutual connections might be influenced by the narcissist. Categories may include:

  • Trusted allies
  • Neutral parties
  • Potential flying monkeys

Communication Channels: Establish clear guidelines for engagement with these connections, preferring:

Communication Method Use Case
Direct Messaging Trusted allies only
Group Settings Neutral parties in controlled environments
Public Posting General updates with information control

Within these dynamics, it’s essential for the individual to support their truth without engaging in direct conflict, staying above the fray of misinformation that might include lying or misrepresentation of past events. This supports maintaining integrity while also nurturing a support system free from the narcissist’s direct or indirect interference.


When an individual initiates no contact with a narcissist, they can expect several reactions. Narcissists may initially engage in love bombing, which involves excessive communication, affection, and praise to persuade the individual to remain within their sphere of influence. However, going no contact is a crucial step in breaking free from the cycle of manipulation.

Individuals may need to grieve the relationship as part of the healing process. They should acknowledge that it’s natural to feel a loss, even when the relationship was harmful. This period allows one to process emotions and gradually detach from the narcissist’s influence.

The journey to empowerment begins once the initial shockwaves settle. By maintaining no contact, individuals reclaim their agency and set boundaries that protect their well-being. This empowerment is essential for personal growth and recovery.

  • Strategies to Sustain No Contact:
    • Maintain strict boundaries to avoid manipulation
    • Engage in self-care activities to support emotional recovery
    • Seek supportive networks that provide understanding and guidance

In summary, going no contact is not an end, but a beginning to a path of self-discovery and healing. The individual gains strength, clarity, and the ability to rebuild a life free from the constraints of a toxic relationship with a narcissist.

Written by Alexander

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