• When a narcissist leaves his family, he may feel little to no remorse for the pain and damage caused.
Narcissists are known for their lack of empathy and inability to take responsibility for their actions. So when they leave their families, it’s not surprising that they don’t care about the emotional devastation they’ve left in their wake. They’re probably too busy admiring themselves in the mirror to even notice.
• The decision to leave is often made abruptly and without warning or explanation.
Narcissists love drama, so it’s not uncommon for them to make sudden exits from relationships. They want everyone around them on edge, wondering what will happen next. And if you try asking why they’re leaving? Good luck getting an answer – they’ll just stare at you with a blank expression until you go away.
• Narcissists are likely to blame others for their departure, rather than taking responsibility themselves.
The hallmark of any good narcissist is blaming everything on someone else. If they decide to pack up and leave, it won’t be because of anything THEY did wrong – oh no! It’ll be because YOU weren’t meeting THEIR needs or expectations. Classic projection at its finest!
• Children of narcissistic parents may struggle with feelings of abandonment and rejection when a parent leaves.
Growing up with a narcissistic parent can be tough enough as it is – but add in an abrupt exit from said parent? Oof. Kids may feel like there was something inherently wrong with THEM that caused Mommy/Daddy Dearest to hit the road. Rest assured kids: IT’S NOT YOU! It’s your self-obsessed parental unit who couldn’t handle being part of a team effort (aka “family”).
• In some cases, a narcissist may return to the family after leaving if it serves their own interests or ego.
Ah yes…the ol’ boomerang effect: where people come back into your life after you’ve already said “bye Felicia”. Narcissists are notorious for this move – they’ll leave without a word and then show up again when it suits them. Just remember: don’t let them fool you twice (or thrice, or…you get the point).
• Leaving can be part of a pattern of manipulation and control used by the narcissist in relationships.
Narcissists love to keep people guessing about their intentions and actions. So if they decide to leave a relationship, it’s usually because they want to maintain some sort of power over the other person(s). It’s like that scene from The Godfather where Michael Corleone says “Just when I thought I was out, THEY PULL ME BACK IN!” Except replace “they” with “narcissists”.
• A sudden departure from a relationship with a narcissist can also trigger feelings of relief and freedom for those left behind.
Let’s face it: being in any type of relationship with a narcissist is exhausting AF. So if they peace out on their own accord? You might feel like throwing an impromptu dance party in honor of your newfound independence! Go ahead – crank up Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” and strut around your living room like nobody’s watching.
• When a narcissist leaves his family, he may also leave behind financial burdens and debts for the remaining members to deal with.
Money talks…and unfortunately, so do debt collectors. If Mr./Ms. Self-Absorbed skips town without paying bills or contributing financially as promised? That burden falls onto everyone else still standing there going “…the hell just happened?”
• The departure of a narcissistic parent can lead to a shift in power dynamics within the family as other members take on new roles.
It’s amazing what happens when one domineering personality isn’t hogging all the attention anymore! Suddenly siblings who were always in the shadow of their narcissistic parent can step up and take on new responsibilities. It’s like a phoenix rising from the ashes…except with less fire and more “I got this”.
• Narcissists may use leaving as a way to punish or manipulate their family members into complying with their demands.
If you thought being in a relationship with a narcissist was bad, just wait until they leave! They’ll use that absence as leverage – making threats, withholding affection/attention/money/etc., all to get what they want. Think of it like when your cat walks away from its food bowl even though it’s not done eating yet…but instead of wet food, it’s emotional blackmail.
• Family therapy can be helpful for those left behind after a narcissist leaves, but it is unlikely that the narcissist will participate willingly.
Therapy: because sometimes you need an unbiased third party to help navigate life’s challenges (like dealing with someone who thinks the world revolves around them). Unfortunately, getting said self-absorbed person to attend therapy? About as likely as winning the lottery while riding on top of Bigfoot through downtown Manhattan during rush hour.
• A sudden departure from a relationship with a narcissist can cause trauma and emotional distress for those left behind, including symptoms such as anxiety and depression.
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that abruptly losing someone close to you would have some negative side effects (especially if said person is/was manipulative AF). Anxiety? Check. Depression? Double-check. But don’t worry – there are plenty of resources out there specifically designed for helping people cope after dealing with toxic individuals (and nope….narcissists aren’t invited).
P.S. You should check out these leaving narcissist books at Amazon. (affiliate link)