My name is Sam Vaknin. I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.
Relationships with narcissists peter out slowly, tortuously.
Narcissists do not provide closure. They stalk, they cajole, they beg, promise, persuade, and ultimately they succeed in doing the impossible yet again. They sweep you off your feet. You know better than to succumb to the spurious and superficial charms, and yet you cannot resist yourself.
So, you go back to your so-called relationship and hope for a better ending this time.
You walk on eggshells, you become the epitome of submissiveness, the perfect source of narcissistic supply, the ideal mate or spouse or partner or colleague.
You keep your fingers crossed.
But how does a narcissist react to the resurrection of the world?
Well, this depends on whether you have reentered yourself from a position of strength or from a position of vulnerability and weakness.
The narcissist casts all interactions with other people in terms of conflicts or competitions to be won.
He does not regard you as a partner but is an adversary to be subjugated and defeated.
Thus, as far as he is concerned, your return to the fold is a triumph, proof of his superiority, irresistibility and omnipotence.
If he perceives you as autonomous, dangerously independent and capable of bailing out and abandoning him, the narcissist acts the part of the sensitive, loving, compassionate and empathic counterpart.
Narcissists respect strength. They are all followed by it.
As long as you maintain a non-nonsense attitude, placing the narcissist on probation, he is likely to behave himself.
But if, on the other hand, you have resumed contact because you have capitulated to his threats or because you are manifestly dependent on him financially or emotionally, the narcissist will pounce on your frailty. He will exploit your fragility to the maximum.
Following a pro-factorial honeymoon, he will immediately seek to control you and to abuse you yet again.
In both cases, the narcissist's thespian acting reserves are exhausted and his true nature and feelings emerge willy-nilly. The facade crumbles and beneath it lurks the same old heartless forcity that is the narcissist.
His gleeful, smugness that having bent you to his wishes and rules, his all-consuming sense of entitlement, his sexual depravity, his aggression, his pathological envy and rage, they all erupt uncontrollably.
The prognosis for the renewed affair is far worse if it follows a lengthy separation in which you have made a life for yourself with your own interests, pursuits, sets of friends, needs, wishes, plans and obligations.
The more independent you are of your narcissistic ex, the more unrelated you are to him, the more furious he is and the more likely the new relationship will fade.
The narcissist cannot tolerate your separateness. To him you are a mere instrument of gratification or an extension of his bloated, false self.
He resents your pecuniary wherewithal. He is insanely jealous of your friends. He refuses to accept your preferences or compromise his own incentives, dismissive of your accomplishments.
Ultimately the very fact that you have survived without his constant presence seems to deny him his much-needed narcissistic supply.
He writes the inevitable cycle of idealization and devaluation.
Now he berates you, humiliates you publicly, threatens you, destabilizes you by behaving unpredictably, fosters ambient abuse, gaslighting and uses others to intimidate and humble you, abused by proxy.
At this stage of rampant devaluation, you are faced with a tough choice.
To live again, to give up all the emotional and financial investments that went into your attempt to resurrect the relationship or maybe to go on trying, subject to daily abuse and worse.
It's a tough choice.
It is a well-known landscape though. You have been there before.
But this familiarity doesn't make it less nightmarish. You are in Lalaland.