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What makes a narcissist want you?

When the Narcissist Reaches Out

Hi friends! This is a follow-up to a previous podcast episode about how to escape a relationship with a narcissist. If you would like to check that out, here is that episode and one other.

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This episode is a request from a listener who suggested that I do a follow-up episode to the other episode about escaping a narcissistic relationship – I have another that is for how to tell if you are dating a narcissist. I will put links to those in the show notes if you are going through either of these situations.

For those of you who have gotten out of the relationship, high fives it takes a LOT to get out of one. Many get stuck in them for years – it can take 7 or 8 tries to get out of one. And that is because you really have a squatter in your soul when you are in this kind of relationship.

They take over your value scale for happiness and your entire life becomes about sustaining the relationship. As you abandon your own self-respect, you give over more power to someone who doesn’t stick to what they say they’re going to do and makes you feel like you can’t trust your instincts. Everything is your fault. Managing the flow of the intoxicating relationship becomes like your full-time job – and with that, you start to abandon relationships.

Here’s a little tune-up I wanted to post for anyone who might be facing a call from said narcissist. If this was a romantic relationship, then they usually reach out at exactly the 9-month mark. It’s uncanny but it’s some deep biological instinct to check in once there could be no baby involved.

When this reach out happens – you likely feel as if you’ve been punched in the stomach. It gives you waves of fear, dread, panic – all of which might feel a bit irrational. And that’s because you are being revisited by a drug that took over your life and disempowered you for a long time. That dread and fear feeling of sickness is your body recognizing the real inherent danger to your safety and autonomy brought about by this person. Never forget! They had power over you to make you feel things you didn’t want to feel. To abandon yourself and your goals in life despite your own intelligence and wherewithal. That sickness is your self-protective gut – it speaks the truth. This person is dangerous and you cannot under any circumstances respond or allow even the slightest bit of contact. Why? Your greatest form of strength and protection is distance. You control proximity to yourself. Right now they are looking for ANY in whatsoever to reach you. To get to you. To see where it is you are. They are poking at your person in as many ways as they possibly can. Trying to find the angle in. Will this approach get you? What about this one?

Along those lines, the reach out itself might be super random and even insulting in how it disregards the previous communications you have had together.

It might inspire reactions like “What?! Do they honestly mean this? What about everything I said and did?!”

This is bait. This is them attempting to engage you. By any means necessary. It is a reach out meant to illicit you divulging information about where it is you stand in terms of them. They are attempting to get you to respond – period. It has nothing to do with the content of what they said.

This reach out might be extreme. It might make you feel guilty. I have heard stories ranging from a person faking cancer to a person demanding a gift they gave, back.

This reach out might tip you off balance. Whereas a minute ago you were doing awesomely, now you feel enraged, confused, and fill in the blank emotion that matches the hook they were able to latch onto – in you – from your personal baggage. What I mean by that is whatever it is you felt while in the relationship – whatever weakness addicted you to them and made you vulnerable to them is likely what will be triggered by this reach out.

Your brain might go through several rationalizations and replays from different angles of what they said. Did they mean this? Maybe they meant this. Or that.

You might even feel guilty for not responding, or feel bad for them. When we feel bad that they are hurt: this is in our head. The image of them is one created by our baggage – it is not accurate. After all, they created a version of themselves that is shaped to our ideals. They project according to what attracts and keeps you – their game in life is obtaining worshippers and sources of dedication and adoration. As soon as they have you back in this place, they stop trying. As soon as you are gone – they give chase.

Whatever emotions come up I want you to write them down and draw a yellow circle around them. This is why you cannot have contact with them: you are still from this distance getting hooked by them. The mind melt is working!

The response you would have if you are completely invulnerable is mild amusement but nothing more. It would also be easy not to open or read or listen to the message. If that’s how they communicated with you. As an aside you should have blocked their number if you haven’t already I strongly recommend you do so!

If you are wondering why they reached out now, it’s likely because they ran out of adorers and are tapping on this wall that was once locked to see if they can open it. Just in case you are weak once again and they can gain access. Like maybe you are lonely enough that they can take over once again and use your resources.

It’s just like someone walking through an alley and trying all the cars to see if they’re locked. Maybe there’s some money inside. And there is very much the same mentality. It’s about getting something out of you that gives them amusement, resources like sex, and most of all — power.

TOOL: Big Ass Mote

There is only one tool I want you to use no matter what — in this episode because I want you to use it and not risk anything else happening to you. Your greatest and best tool is protecting your proximity – you cannot under any circumstances allow them to gain access to you via creating contact. Do not engage. Repeat. Do not engage. Do not respond even with an “I told you not to contact me.”

All actions are also messages – so in responding, it says in your action “I still care. I am still vulnerable.” You open a window for them to climb in and with whatever you say you reveal more about yourself.

If you can successfully ignore this reach out, there will be another one – between a week and a month later, most likely. This will be them attempting contact with a totally different tactic – most often something very sweet or very aggressive/hostile. So for example one might be “I just want you to know I always loved you.” Or alternately, “I knew you were too self-involved to care about me. I just wanted to wish you well.”

This second attempt will be more provocative and emotionally affecting. Your job at this juncture is to do the same: ignore. Ignore. Ignore.

TOOL: Driver #3

This is the credits – there’s a guy driving a van in one scene. They get a credit that is simply “Driver #3.” I want you to nominate someone who can act as your hands if need be – if this person is going to engage you in any physical realm that requires your presence. For example, let’s say you actually DO have something that is theirs that you cannot mail back or return and there is some reason you NEED to give it to them. I think this is rare but there are circumstances. For example, a car. That will be returned to them by your nominated “guy #3.” That person will deliver the item with no exchange of information about you. They will simply shrug because this is not a speaking role after all!

Whoever they are in your life – I want you to make them aware of your situation now and let them know you might need help. Let them know they are your proximity protector. They will be the only one who has any contact whatsoever with the narcissist. They will divulge no messages from you whatsoever. The end.

TOOL: Go Clear

Last, if this person is giving you anxiety by coming back into your life – I want you to clear out any and all everything you have of them. Hopefully you already did this but by that I mean notify any overlapping friends that you will not have any contact with them – ever. Block them on your phone. Have their emails automatically sent to trash – I know you can do this on gmail. Change your locks. Change all your passwords and update any shared accounts. Make sure you have nothing in common including any memberships etc. Nothing can be shared – even if it’s a financial perk. It’s not worth it. This represents a window that remains open – they can access you in the future.

In closing…

Lean into the anger you might have. Try to lean into it. Tell yourself to embrace it. Do not allow yourself to entertain the what-if’s. What if it’s true? What if they changed? Or the idea that you are over them and therefore you CAN engage.

Never forget – this is your drug. Your vice. They took you down hard, against your will. And you got out alive. Think of this like that movie “Room” – you just got out of a hostage situation and your job is just to keep running and never look back. As soon as you look back you risk tripping and falling. Run like your life depends on it and trust that fear in your gut.

This is your drug and you kicked it. Never forget what you went through and never underestimate their power to manipulate you. Do not permit access. Do not engage. Stay safe.

I am thinking of you. If you need more info about this situation I am putting the two other episodes on this topic in the show notes.

I send you my love and don’t forget to smile!

Why does the narcissist want you back?

Narcissists and other manipulators can try to win you back even after you cut them out of your life. In fact, they can do that even if they were the one who ended the relationship.

So, why does the narcissist return? Is it because they love you or miss you? Neither. Narcissistic people return because they’re suffering from malnutrition. What do I mean by nutrition? Attention, affection, sex, money… Perhaps they were able to fill the hole you left behind with new relationships, new friends and places for a while. But the hole inside their heart is so large that they can never truly fill it. So they feel the need to include you once again. After all, you were once a resource that offered them whatever they needed to a certain extent.

On the other hand, perhaps the narcissist doesn’t even want you back. They may be pretending like they want you back just to get a reaction out of you, just to see if they still have some power over you, if they can still control you. Seeing that they’re still able to control your emotions will make them feel powerful.

And when it comes to getting you back, they have dozens of methods. Here are some of them:

· Begging and crying: They can tell you that they’ve been crying all the time ever since you left them, they couldn’t enjoy life without you and that they didn’t know what to do with themselves anymore.

· Apologizing: As I mentioned in my previous article, narcissistic people don’t like to apologize and some of them never do it. But ‘covert narcissists’ can apologize if it serves them well in the long run, so they can apologize to win you back and guarantee that the same things will not happen again if you accept them back into your life.

· Using your need for intimacy: They can tell you how much they missed holding you, sleeping with you.

· Telling you that they need help: They can tell you that they’re unwell and that they need you by their side or they’re in trouble and you’re the only person who can help them. Whatever they’re supposedly going through, they make sure to highlight that only you can help them with it. For example; I had a huge fight with my family and you’re the only person I can talk to about this because only you could understand.

· Telling you that they’re worried about you: They try to make it look like they’re concerned about your well-being and not their own. You can hear things like I’m so worried about you, I have a bad feeling inside me as if something bad is going to happen to you, I want to be there for you and protect you.

· Saying that they wish to remain friends: Even if this is a genuine request -which probably isn’t- why would you want to be friends with a narcissist?

· Dragging your friends, your family and even your children into it: They can try to reach you by using someone who could side with them. Even if that person is your child.

· Pretending like the relationship isn’t over: I know this one sounds absurd but this really is something narcissists do in order to win people back. If they were the one who ended the relationship, they can claim that they actually didn’t leave you for good, you’re exaggerating things, they just thought giving each other some space might be a good idea and that’s why they left. If you were the one who ended it, they can completely ignore your decision and continue texting and calling you like nothing happened. When you try to explain that you’re serious about this, they can tell you that this is just a phase, there’s no need to break up and that they think you just want to take a break. A narcissist is very good at ignoring the word ‘no’.

· Sending random texts and calling you ‘accidentally’: The main purpose is to remind you of themselves every once in a while. They can send you texts on special occasions like the Valentine’s, birthdays, religious festivals and so on in an attempt to stay in touch. It’s also possible for them to send you texts just to try and make you jealous. For example, you can receive a text message saying something like ‘we’re meeting tonight, right?’ followed by ‘sorry, that was meant for someone else’. Their purpose is to get a reaction from you, either positive or negative. For a narcissist, there’s no difference at all. Both possibilities show that they’re not completely forgotten and that they can still make you feel something.

· Making promises: They can make so many promises and tell you things like this time, everything will be different and so much better. They can do this in a theatrical and exaggerated manner. If the narcissist is a man, this promise can also be a marriage proposal.

· Giving presents: As I mentioned in my article about the idealization phase, sometimes a narcissist chooses to spoil you with gifts. They can do the same thing while trying to win you back. After all, all those gifts and sweet talk were enough to sweep you off your feet once. Why wouldn’t it work now? In fact, perhaps they’re waiting for the Valentine’s to do just that.

· Guilt tripping you: The narcissist can say that they would never do this to you. They can accuse you of being selfish and only thinking about yourself. Narcissists are quite good at making you feel like the flaws in their characters are actually the flaws in yours.

· Emotional blackmail: “You hurt me so much.You broke my heart. You left me alone. I know I was wrong but you abandoned me. If you truly loved me, you would give me another chance.” By saying things like that, they can try to use your feelings against you to win you back.

· Accusing you of something you never did: For instance, they can accuse you of being unfaithful. If you try to clear your name by explaining the truth, they win. Because they’ve already received the reaction they wanted.

· Yelling and threatening: If the other methods don’t work, the narcissist can lose control. They can yell at you, and even threaten you. Try to frighten you by saying things like if you don’t come back to me, there will be consequences. Don’t expect to see your children ever again. I’ll tell everyone what kind of person you are.

What happens once you accept them back?

It starts with the idealization phase again. You go back to the good old days. They tell you everything you ever wanted to hear. The arguments are over, the peaceful days have begun. By the time you feel like everything is finally perfect; they’ve already started getting bored and their dark side slowly returns.

And then while history is repeating itself, you find yourself trying to understand where you went wrong. Actually, nothing has to be wrong. You left and now you’re back, and you must be punished for that.

Especially if you were the one who ended the relationship the first time; now they have to end it themselves. They can’t let you have the upper hand. Even if you were not the one who ended it the first time, thing won’t be much different. After all, they can leave you anytime and then come back when they feel like it. Since you let it happen once, why wouldn’t you let it happen again? They know that they can win you back if they ever need you again. But there’s a third possibility. They never leave you. They keep you in an abusive cycle of idealization and then humiliation. That’s the worst thing to do.

Why would you return to them?

Now it’s time to be honest with ourselves because we may not like the answers.

· Maybe you didn’t want to be alone. So you chose an emotionally abusive relationship to loneliness.

· Maybe you were a victim of your own ego. You ignored their dark side by telling yourself things like, so they didn’t forget about me, they still love me.

· Maybe you genuinely believed that they have changed, and that you didn’t want everything you’ve done to save this relationship to go to waste.

· You’ve been hopelessly waiting for an apology from them or for them to admit that they were wrong.

· You can try to minimize your ordeal, try to justify the emotional abuse or deny it. Admitting that you’ve been used by a manipulator is quite hard; sometimes you can’t admit it even to yourself.

· You can feel responsible. You can try to save them and fix them. (Unfortunately, that’s not possible.)

· You could be worried about what other people might say. In a toxic relationship, majority of the abuse takes place within the house, away from prying eyes. So even your inner circle might be unable to see the problems in your relationship and accuse you of exaggerating things. You can choose to remain silent because you’re afraid of others’ reactions or because you don’t want to look like the bad guy.

Did you somehow convince yourself and decide to give them another chance? Then welcome back to the emotional and psychological abuse.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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10 Subtle Ways To Outsmart A Narcissist That Should Know


If you’ve ever encountered a narcissist or have a loved one with narcissistic traits or even a narcissistic personality disorder, then you know that understanding the ways how a narcissist’s brain works are challenging.

They are smart yet manipulative and would do anything to get what they want, even if it comes at others’ expense.

We’ve learned how manipulation can harm a relationship or even a person’s health but can we use manipulation to outsmart a manipulator? We can try!

Outsmarting a narcissist isn’t easy and needs more than just book smarts. You can’t use rationality to manipulate a narcissist as the brain of a narcissistic person doesn’t quite work the way ours do.

To outsmart a narcissist, you need to understand their weaknesses and what makes them “tick”. Here, I’ve compiled a list of ways you can outsmart or subtly manipulate a narcissist. Check them out!

10 Ways To Manipulate A Narcissist

1. Keep Up The Image

One of the best ways to subtly outsmart a narcissistic person is to keep up your image as a straightforward person who doesn’t take any nonsense from anyone.

No narcissist likes tackling this kind of person as they are harder to manipulate and fall into the charm trap, they like setting. Avoid making yourself seem gullible, and this scare tactic might just work in your favor.

2. Sincerely Compliment Them

Narcissists have a grand sense of self and believe themselves to be extra special and deserve special treatment. You need to bring their inflated sense of self down to protect yourself.

For that, you need to be sincere (at least for show) in your compliments. Fake ‘em till you make ‘em! However, you need to play this type of narcissism. A grandiose narcissist may fall easily into the compliment trap.

3. Go “No Contact”

This is another way you can manipulate a narcissist. Going “no contact” means breaking free of the narcissistic abuse on your terms. You cut ties with the narcissist and no longer interact with them the way you used to.

This means, not meeting them, not responding to their texts, not answering their calls, etc. This could be a little harsh way to treat a narcissist, but if you’ve been emotionally manipulated for a long time by one, then it’s a step you need to take.

4. Feed Their Ego

It’s all about gaining the respect you deserve. A narcissist may not treat you with respect as they believe themselves to be special above all, but they might respect you when you treat them as your king.

So, keep feeding their ego. Keep asking for their advice, if need be. After all, fire cuts fire. Narcissists need validation and to get that, they create an impression. However, they don’t like listening to criticism. They love hearing compliments.

Try, “You’re amazing! Only if you could do more!” and see how a narcissist relinquishes power.

5. Keep The Fear Alive

Narcissistic behaviors are often driven by fear, especially the fear of being publicly embarrassed. So, to outsmart and manipulate a narcissist, you need to keep this fear alive.

If you want them to do something your way, ask them in a public setting. They fear that they may be shamed for false promises and want to keep their image intact. And, you can use their words against them too to avoid being exposed.

6. Agree With Them

Okay, hear me out. Narcissists love making others feel inferior. For example, a narcissistic parent might shame their child for being less hard on their children. If it happens to you, agree with them. When you do this, they won’t know how to react and will back down. Mirror their words to them and disarm them that easily.

7. Don’t Give In

If a narcissist says anything, make them agree with your conditions first. Ask them for their consent in writing and don’t commit to anything they ask you to do.

It can be hard to escape if the narcissist uses their charm to convince you, but don’t give in to their charms. If they force you, then be strong and walk away from them.

8. Remain Calm And Patient

Narcissists are master manipulators and will do anything to break down your barriers. They hone in on your weaknesses and exploit them for their gain. Now, to avoid this, you need to remain calm and patient. Keep your cards close to your chest. Don’t snap at them, but move away from the conversation.

9. Take Their Side When They’re Upset

An upset narcissist is a dangerous one. They take their upset out on anyone so whether you’re tired of the narcissist or not, make sure you take their side when they’re upset. Don’t become their next target.

Try being sympathetic and say, “You are OK to feel upset. I would also be upset!” This way, you’ll also avoid any unnecessary conflicts.

10. Refuse To Play Their Games

If you have a narcissistic loved one in your life then you’re automatically a fair target of their game. Narcissists lack empathy and have a hard time forming emotional attachments so they won’t care if you get hurt in their game.

But you can control the situation by taking yourself out and refusing to play their games. Sometimes, this can be the best way to outsmart and manipulate a narcissist.

Final Words

It can be hard to live and love a narcissist, but if you have one in your life, then there are ways to protect yourself against their manipulation. Sometimes, we might need to use an ethical form of manipulation to defend ourselves, so it’s OK.

If you need help with dealing with a narcissist, you can always reach out to a professional for advice and support. I hope this article helped you understand how to subtly manipulate a narcissist to protect yourself.

For more, you can write to us at or DM us on social media. You can also share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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About The Author

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

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