What Triggers a Narcissist?

Partners spend a great deal of time walking on eggshells around their narcissist partners to avoid triggering the narcissist’s rage. This creates a constant flow of stress and anxiety due to the fact that narcissists are easily triggered. Some of the common triggers are:

(Perceived) lack of attention

If the partner does not show the narcissist the level of intense focus, time and attention he wants, he gets angry, and punitive, suspicious, accuses the partner of being selfish, having an affair, or lying about her feelings for him.


Narcissists hate boundaries. Any time the partner attempts to establish and maintain boundaries, the narcissist sees this as an attempt to control him, and he will react with hostility, immediately attempting to demolish them. He may use guilt, shame, hostility, the silent treatment, threats of abandonment, raging anger, or other forms of manipulation to break his partner down.


If the partner exhibits a level of confidence and independence, expresses opinions that differ from the narcissist, and is not at his beck-and-call, particularly in the presence of others, the narcissist becomes angry and will devalue the partner, make her jealous by eyeing or flirting with other women, or disappearing.


If the partner shows any expectation of sympathy, of being a priority, of the narcissist honoring his commitments, fidelity, consistency, compassion, devotion, thoughtfulness – the narcissist views it as an attempt to control him, treats her with contempt and pushes her away.

Being emotional

If the partner reacts emotionally to anything – positive or negative – the narcissist responds with: “you’re too sensitive”, “you react to things too emotionally”, “why are you so emotional about this?” “I don’t do drama – if you keep being so dramatic, I can’t handle this relationship” “you are too needy” and such.

Excelling at something, being praised by others for accomplishments

The narcissist gets angry because it takes the focus off of him, and he feels threatened by the partner’s competence; he will devalue his partner, treat her with contempt, and make her jealous in order to restore the controlling dynamic.

Living and breathing

Basically, everything is a trigger for the narcissist, unless he feels he is in absolute control, anything the partner does will trigger his rage, envy, contempt, and escalate his abuse in order to beat the partner into submission.

Being in a relationship with a narcissist is dreadful and traumatic.

It is exhausting, explosive, abnormal, disorienting, crazy-making, incredibly abusive, physically, emotionally and spiritually damaging, wholly destructive and toxic.

For the partner, nothing good comes of a relationship with a narcissist, except for when she leaves, permanently, and forges her own path ahead.

Dangling The Carrot: The Narcissist’s Promise To Change

(Read time: 1-2 mins)

Your relationship with the narcissist is over. Maybe you were able to get away from him; or he did the discard. However it happened, it’s over… but, not really.

It’s never over with a narcissist until the partner goes, and maintains No Contact. It’s a straightforward solution, but by no means simple. Staying disentangled from a narcissist is made even more complicated and difficult by his hoovering and carrot-dangling – his convincing promises of changing, in order to secure a second chance, or third, or fourth, and so on, with his partner.

The narcissist has no intention of changing, and he knows it. A narcissist will do whatever he/she needs to do to get his needs met. The narcissist wants what he wants, and he will say whatever he has to, in order to get it. If he has to promise to change, he will. However, the promise has no meaning to him, whatsoever.

It is very common, however, for the narcissist’s partner to believe that the narcissist will change. The narcissist is an expert in luring his partner back into the web. He stages grand hoovering campaigns, manipulates family members and friends to advocate for him, make all sorts of promises – going to therapy, respecting boundaries, stopping abuse, screaming and yelling, etc. etc. He proclaims his undying love, manipulating his partner through the trauma bond, calling it a soulmate connection.

In addition to the trauma bond, and her own deep desire and hope for him change and be the man she fell in love with; the partner is subconsciously biased in favor of the narcissist, because during the relationship her ability to trust her own feelings has been nearly, if not totally destroyed from the narcissist’s gaslighting, criticism, invalidation, and devaluing. She has become conditioned through abuse, invalidation, and being “made wrong” – to automatically disregard her own feelings and reactions as wrong and worthless.

So, she gives him a second chance. After weeks, or months, or longer, the narcissist’s mask falls off. There has been no change, just the illusion of it. The toxic abuse is again unleashed – the gaslighting, control, screaming, manipulation, devaluing, dehumanizing, lying, threatening infidelity; all of the harm that the narcissist inflicted the first time, except in many cases it is worse the second time around.

If the partner leaves again, the narcissist will stage yet another grand hoovering campaign, with more future-faking and grand promises. This is why No Contact is so critically important. Every time the partner opens herself up to contact with the narcissist, she adds another link in the trauma bond chain. If she keeps believing the narcissist’s promises to change, it can progress to the point where she is permanently trapped and cannot, and will not leave him.

The only way out is through; a horribly painful reality, but true. Every step of the healing path is painful, sometimes excruciatingly so. The partner must must fight very powerful feelings of hope that the narcissist will change, love (for the mirage man she fell in love with), feelings of obligation and guilt, as well as endure the painful biochemical withdrawal. She must accept the fact that the narcissist, and the soulmate relationship was a grand illusion, and let it go. It is a very challenging process, but it can be achieved, step-by-step; and every day of No Contact adds more strength, clarity, and resolve.


What is Something a Narcissist Can’t Fake?

The narcissist will fake his way into your life, and hang out your heart to dry.

Narcissists put the “art” in artifice. Narcissists fake a lot. They are masters of faking…fake love, fake remorse, fake honesty, fake feelings, fake promises of a fake future.

But a narcissist can’t fake everything.

A narcissist can’t fake genuine compassion or empathy. He will go through the motions, often with dramatic displays of emotion.

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