What happens when a narcissist loses control

When the precarious world of a narcissist starts to crumble, you will be caught in the fallout. Recognizing the signs of what happens when a narcissist loses control – the anger, the blame-shifting, and their tactics of manipulation – is crucial for your psychological defense. This article provides clear, practical insights into what happens when a narcissist loses control.

It will equip you with the knowledge to navigate the narcissistic storm while safeguarding your own mental health.

Key Takeaways

  • When narcissists starts to lose control they experience intense emotional distress and behavioral changes, including narcissistic rage and erratic actions that can harm others around them.

  • Their loss of control leads to visible shifts from charm to harm, employing strategies such as projection, passive-aggression, and intermittent reinforcement to regain dominance over others.

  • Self-preservation is key; establishing emotional boundaries, seeking therapy, and focusing on personal growth are vital for protecting your mental health against a narcissist’s negative impact. These are much easier when you know what happens when a narcissist loses control.

The Unseen Turmoil: What Happens Inside The Mind When a Narcissist Loses Control

A blurred figure with a frustrated expression, representing the internal turmoil of a narcissist losing control

When a narcissist loses control, it’s like a volcano erupting after centuries of dormancy, spewing out destructive emotions that lay hidden beneath their charismatic exterior.

A narcissistic will feel…

  • anger

  • frustration

  • shame

  • self-doubt

  • depression

This is known as a narcissistic injury, a term that paints a vivid picture of the internal chaos experienced by those with pathological narcissistic personality disorder.

Even more unsettling are the erratic behavioral shifts. The charming, charismatic individual you thought you knew can transform into an unrecognizable entity. Their once predictable behavior becomes volatile.

Some narcissists, in a rare moment of self-awareness, might even contemplate seeking help to alleviate their emotional distress. However, this is unlikely as a narcissist does not believe anything is wrong with him.

The narcissist I know, says he will seek help. However, it is his way of giving hope to draw us back in. He never follows through.

Most people fail to see the inner maelstrom of turmoil within a narcissist. However, grasping this internal chaos is crucial as it paves the way to anticipate the inevitable external fallout when a narcissist loses control.

I wish I had know what happens when a narcissist loses control, both in his mind and action, it would have made my life much easier.

The Onset of Narcissistic Rage

Narcissistic rage is one of the most explosive repercussions of a narcissist losing control. This is not typical anger, but an intense and often irrational reaction to threats against their self-esteem.

Narcissistic rage, a term coined by psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut in the 1970s, is the narcissist’s defense mechanism against feelings of inferiority, criticism, or neglect. These trigger an intense anger that they direct outwards.

Some key characteristics of narcissistic rage include…

  • Explosive and disproportionate anger

  • Verbal and physical aggression

  • Blaming others for their own shortcomings

  • Seeking revenge or retaliation

  • Difficulty controlling emotions

It is important to note that narcissistic rage can be extremely damaging and harmful to those around the narcissist.

The narcissist, who was once charming and composed, transforms into an unrecognizable entity, spewing intense anger and aggression. The narcissist’s fear of being exposed and vulnerable is their kryptonite.

Grasping this facet of a narcissist’s behavior aids you in dealing with their sudden outbursts, which is how a narcissist react.

Keep in mind, their reactions are not a reflection of you. It’s their way of defending against perceived threats. The key is to stay calm, disengage, and protect yourself from their emotional onslaught.

What I found is that when I stayed calm it did not matter what I said. The narcissist in my life would have no hook to continue. I realised quickly he needed my emotions to feed of of.

From Charm to Harm: The Shift in Behavior

A narcissist losing control is like a magician suddenly losing their powers. The charm and charisma that once enchanted you are replaced by a darker, more sinister behavior.

The narcissistic person employs tactics such as projection, where they project their insecurities onto others.

In their desperate bid to regain control, they resort to passive-aggression, a subtle form of manipulation designed to make you second-guess your actions.

Another disturbing tactic is intermittent reinforcement, where they mix affectionate behavior with devaluation, keeping their victims in a constant state of confusion.

My narcissist friend would say he treats people like using a cool wet cloth to wipe their face in the summer and then slapping them with it.

The Descent into Narcissistic Collapse

When a narcissist’s attempts to regain control fail, they may descend into a state known as narcissistic collapse. This emotional implosion is triggered by significant losses or failures that shatter the narcissist’s grandiose self-image.

During a narcissistic collapse, the narcissist’s emotional state resembles a roller coaster ride – intense anger peaks and deep valleys of embarrassment, all concealed beneath a defensive and aggressive exterior. Triggers can range from personal failures to perceived criticism or rejection.

Unlike the usual coping mechanisms that most people employ in dealing with loss or failure, a narcissistic collapse brings on a torrent of intense emotions that lead to erratic behavior.

The External Fallout: How a Narcissist Acts Out

A person standing alone, representing the external fallout of a narcissist's loss of control

The internal turmoil of a narcissist losing control generates a tidal wave of external consequences. These consequences can range from launching smear campaigns to giving the silent treatment and seeking new sources of validation.

During this period, the narcissist’s behavior swings like a pendulum, from being overly aggressive to completely ignoring their victims. The ultimate goal is to regain control over their dwindling power and protect their inflated ego.

The external fallout can inflict harm, both to the narcissist and to those ensnared in their web of manipulation.

Launching a Smear Campaign

One of the external manifestations of a narcissist losing control is the launch of a smear campaign. This is a calculated attack aimed at discrediting the reputation of their target.

To protect their image and dominate the narrative they put out rumors and lies, ingeniously reversing roles with their victims and portraying themselves as the victim.

They employ ‘flying monkeys,’ a term coined from the Wizard of Oz, referring to individuals who unwittingly help the narcissist in their smear campaign.

My friends narcissistic father would use his wife as the flying monkey. he only stopped when she got dementia and he memory started to get worse. not because he cared but she could no longer help him in his manipulation.

When you understand these tactics you can defend yourself and importantly gain emotional distance from what they are saying, as it is not about you. It will still hurt but you will deal with it better when you know the reason for it.

The Silent Treatment and Passive Aggressive Behavior

The silent treatment and passive-aggressive behavior are two common tactics narcissists employ when they lose control. These behaviors serve as a tool for them to manipulate their victims without resorting to overt aggression.

The silent treatment, a form of emotional abuse, involves the narcissist ignoring their victim, making them feel insignificant. Conversely, passive-aggressive behavior is a subtle form of manipulation where the narcissist expresses their anger indirectly.

These behaviors can have a detrimental impact on the victim, leading to feelings of anxiety, fear, and even depression.

If you feel insignificant understand it’s how they want you to feel. It’s not true.

Seeking New Supply

When a narcissist loses control, they will seek a new source of narcissistic supply – a term used to describe the attention and admiration that narcissists crave. They will try to replace their current partner or show interest in someone new to regain control.

In the initial phase, they inundate their new target with affection and attention (love bombing), only to devalue and discard them later and then try to get them back. A continuous cycle. The speed at which they find a new supply can be astonishing, often within days of losing control.

Understanding this behavior can help you prepare for the possibility of being replaced and remind you that it’s not about your worth but the narcissist’s need for control.

Strategies Narcissists Employ to Regain Dominance

A person receiving excessive attention and affection, illustrating the concept of love bombing

When a narcissist loses control, they don’t passively accept defeat. They instead resort to an array of strategies crafted to re-establish dominance. These strategies can range from love bombing to employing covert tactics and countering, what is known as, the the Gray Rock method.

Understanding these strategies can help you anticipate the narcissist’s next move and equip you with the tools to protect yourself. Remember, their actions are not about you, but about their desperate need to regain control.

Love Bombing Revisited

When a narcissist loses control, they revert to a tactic known as love bombing. This involves showering their target with affection and attention to create an emotional connection. They will do this with their current partner or someone new.

The objective is to make the victim feel loved and special, thereby fabricating an illusion of a perfect relationship. The narcissist exploits this emotional bond to manipulate their victim and sustain control.

However, the love bombing phase is temporary and is soon replaced by devaluation and discard phases. Recognizing this pattern can protect you from falling into the love bombing trap and remain grounded in reality.

Covert Tactics of a Malignant Narcissist

Malignant narcissists employ a variety of covert tactics to manipulate and regain control over their victims. These tactics include gaslighting, projection, and the use of flying monkeys, among others.

These tactics are designed to confuse their victims, manipulate their perceptions, and chip away at their self-esteem.

The Gray Rock Method Counter

The Gray Rock method is a technique used by victims of narcissistic abuse to protect themselves. It involves becoming emotionally non-responsive and boring to the narcissist, thus discouraging their manipulative behavior.

I have used this, it works. I found it uncomfortable originally, as i did not feel being cold towards another human being. However I found it is the only way not to get caught in a cycle of crazy making talk.

Nonetheless, narcissists might try to counteract this method by inciting emotional reactions and re-establishing control. As narcissists react, they will resort to increased aggression and manipulation to provoke a response from their victim.

The grey rock method works, be mindful when you first use it the narcissistic will try to provoke you. They will eventually stop and will you will stop their attempts before they get out of hand.

Navigating Life Post-Control: The Narcissist’s Perspective

A person wearing a mask, symbolizing the facade and coercion used by narcissists to regain control

It’s hard to imagine a narcissist’s life post-control. Their entire existence revolves around maintaining control over others. When they lose it, how do they navigate their new reality? The truth is, they don’t take it well.

Remember, the narcissistic needs to control you because they have an internal image of what you SHOULD be. If you deviate from that image, the narcissistic gets anxious..

How they choose to act largely depends on their personality traits and the severity of their narcissistic injury.

Here are the ways the try to get back control…

Rebuilding the Facade

When a narcissist loses control, they will try to rebuild their facade. They present a false image of themselves to the world, often playing the victim to gain sympathy and attention.

As discussed earlier. they use a variety of tactics, including gaslighting, projection and manipulation of past and present events to maintain their false image. This makes it difficult for their victims to differentiate between reality and the narcissist’s distorted version of events.

This was one the hardest things I found when dealing with a narcissist, his constant reframing of events. even those that happens a few minutes ago. This was the main reason I used the grey rock technique,

By rebuilding their facade, narcissists can regain control and protect their false ego. This can be a confusing and challenging time for their victims who may struggle with the disparity between the narcissist’s public persona and their private behavior.

Coercion and Manipulative Tactics

Narcissists frequently turn to coercion and manipulative tactics to recover control over their victims.

Remember, These tactics can include…

  • Gaslighting

  • Projection

  • Personal attacks

  • Launching smear campaigns

Victims of this manipulative behavior often experience a range of negative emotions, including anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.

Acceptance or Escalation?

Facing a loss of control, a narcissist stands at a critical juncture: accept the loss of control and move on, or intensify their endeavors to recapture dominance?

This decision largely depends on their need for respect and how the dynamics of narcissistic admiration and rivalry play out.

Some narcissists may choose to accept their loss of control, adopting a more benign demeanor and stepping back from their manipulative behaviors. Others may choose to escalate their tactics, becoming more aggressive and manipulative in their bid to regain control.

Impact on Relationships: When a Narcissist Loses Grip

A tangled web of relationships, representing the impact of a narcissist's loss of control

The impact of a narcissist’s loss of control extends beyond their own emotional turmoil. It also wreaks havoc on their relationships, creating a toxic environment that can be damaging for everyone involved not just their partner.

The Dynamics of a Toxic Relationship

What happens when a narcissist loses control? The dynamics of their relationship can become increasingly toxic. Especially when a narcissistic person loses control, their desperate attempts to regain it can lead to increased manipulation and abuse,

Narcissists utilize a host of manipulative tactics, including…

  • Gaslighting

  • Emotional blackmail

  • Manipulative guilt trips

  • Silent treatment

  • Playing the victim

  • Blaming others

  • Manipulative flattery

  • Withholding affection or love

These tactics are used to keep a firm grip on their victims and maintain power and control in the relationship.

Recognizing these toxic dynamics can help you protect yourself from the narcissist’s manipulative tactics and maintain your emotional health.

Family Members and Mutual Friends Caught in the Crossfire

When a narcissist loses control, their manipulation is not limited to their primary target. Family members and mutual friends can also be caught in the crossfire.

Narcissists can turn family members and friends against their primary target, using manipulation and alienating tactics to isolate their victim. This can create a hostile and stressful environment for everyone involved.

Moving Forward: Building Healthy Relationships

Progressing from a narcissist’s control necessitates fostering healthy relationships rooted in trust, respect and transparent communication. This can be a challenging process after experiencing the manipulative tactics of a narcissist.

Whether it’s learning to trust again after narcissistic abuse or recognizing the signs of a healthy relationship, understanding these concepts can help you build stronger, healthier connections.

Open and honest communication is a cornerstone of a healthy relationship. Being able to express your feelings, needs and expectations without fear of retaliation or manipulation is crucial for maintaining a strong and healthy relationship.

Self Preservation: Protecting Your Mental Health

In dealing with a narcissist who has lost control, self-preservation takes precedence. Safeguarding your mental health is vital for surviving and advancing beyond the emotional turmoil that a narcissist can trigger.

From setting emotional boundaries to seeking professional help, there are several strategies you can employ to protect your mental health and maintain your emotional well-being.

Establishing Boundaries for Emotional Safety

Setting up emotional boundaries is a critical measure in preserving your emotional safety when confronted with a narcissist. These boundaries help separate your emotions from the narcissist’s and protect you from their manipulation.

Setting clear boundaries and enforcing consequences when they are crossed can send a powerful message to the narcissist that their manipulative behavior is unacceptable.

The Role of Therapy and Support Groups

Therapy and support groups can offer invaluable resources for managing the aftermath of a narcissist’s loss of control. These platforms provide a safe space for sharing experiences, learning coping strategies and receiving validation and support.

Whether it’s a one-on-one session with a therapist or a group meeting with individuals who have shared similar experiences, these resources can provide the necessary tools to navigate the emotional turmoil caused by a narcissist’s loss of control.

Self Affirmations and Personal Growth

When dealing with a narcissist, practicing self-affirmations and concentrating on personal growth will help you tremendously. Self-affirmations can boost your self-esteem and remind you of your worth, especially in the face of narcissistic manipulation.


Navigating the stormy seas of a narcissist’s loss of control can be a daunting journey. From understanding the internal turmoil that a narcissist experiences to the external fallout that follows. Recognizing the signs can help protect your mental health and maintain your emotional well-being.

Once you know what happens when a narcissist loses control, you can anticpate his or her behaviour and deal with with wisely when it catches you out.

Remember, you have the strength and resilience to navigate through this storm. By setting boundaries, seeking professional help, and focusing on personal growth, you can emerge from the chaos stronger and more empowered.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens when a narcissist loses control over you?

When a narcissist loses control over you, it threatens their self-image and can lead to extreme reactions, such as anger or narcissistic rage. It’s important to prioritize your own well-being in these situations.

Does a narcissist stay obsessed with the one who got away?

Yes, a narcissist will stay obsessed with the one who got away, but it’s usually driven by a need to maintain their self-image rather than a deep emotional connection. Their fixation is about themselves, not the other person.

What do narcissists do when they can’t control you anymore?

When narcissists can’t control you anymore, they may lash out, smear your reputation, or ignore you. Their aim is to regain power by provoking a reaction from you.

What are the symptoms of narcissistic abuse brain damage?

Long-term narcissistic abuse can lead to cognitive decline, memory loss, chronic stress, PTSD, and symptoms of self-sabotage in the victim. It’s important to seek support and therapy to address these effects.

What is love bombing?

Love bombing is a manipulative tactic used by narcissists to build an emotional connection by showering their target with affection and attention. Be cautious if someone’s showing excessive affection, it might be a red flag.

See also Narcissist Body Language, Narcissistic World Salad and do narcissists like receiving gifts and 12 Traits of a Narcissist Also you might like 7 Love Languages