How does a narcissist react when they can't control you

How Does A Narcissist React When They Can’t Control You

Being around a narcissist who tries to control you can be stressful and difficult. When they lose control, they behave in frustrating and difficult-to-understand ways. Figuring out these actions is important for creating better limits and taking charge of your own life. This article explores the behavior of narcissists when they lose control over you and provides practical methods to regain your independence their influence.


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Dealing with a narcissist trying to control you can be really tough on your emotions. This article talks about how narcissists act when they can’t control you and gives ideas to help you take your independence back. They might get super mad, use tricks more, swing between love and hate, involve others, act like victims, or try to get you back. To regain control, you can set clear limits, talk confidently, not let their actions affect you, take care of yourself, and get help from professionals. Recent studies look at their explosive anger, how they react after being rejected, and how they cope when rejected by others. These studies give us useful tips for handling the challenges of dealing with narcissistic behavior.

Top Questions

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Narcissists often react with anger, manipulation, and emotional turmoil. They might switch between love and hate, involve others, act as victims, or try to lure you back. Their attempts to regain control can be intense and complex.
Yes, narcissists often become furious when they lose control. Their need for dominance can trigger explosive anger, leading to shouting, insults, and even aggression as they feel threatened by their inability to manipulate.
Narcissists may exhibit impatience and annoyance whenever situations don’t go according to their plans. They might engage in manipulation, blame others, or throw tantrums. Their reactions stem from an unwillingness to accept anything that challenges their desired outcome.

How Narcissists React When They Can’t Control You

1. Explosive Emotions

Explosive Emotions

When a narcissist realizes they can’t control someone, they often become very angry and frustrated. Their strong need for control makes them feel threatened when they can’t dominate, leading to outbursts of rage. This might involve shouting, insulting words, or even physical abuse. It’s crucial to prioritize your safety and well-being if you ever encounter such behavior.

2. Escalating Tricks

Escalating Tricks

Narcissists might increase their tricky behaviors when they can’t control someone. They could use tactics like making the person feel guilty, smearing their reputation, messing with their perception of reality, or giving them the silent treatment. These tactics are meant to regain their control by making the person doubt their thoughts and feelings.

3. Love-Hate Roller Coaster

Love-Hate Roller Coaster

When control slips away, a narcissist might switch between love bombing and devaluation. At first, they might give lots of compliments and affection to regain control. But if that doesn’t work, they might quickly start saying hurtful things to make the person feel bad about themselves and regain control.

4. Pulling Others In

Pulling Others In

Narcissists might involve another person, often referred to as “flying monkeys,” to try and control the situation indirectly. By bringing someone else into it, they aim to manipulate feelings, create jealousy, and control things from the shadows. This can confuse the person they’re targeting and cause emotional turmoil.

5. Acting Like the Victim

Acting Like the Victim

When a narcissist can’t control someone, they might play the victim. They do this to manipulate emotions and make the person feel guilty, hoping they’ll give in. This strategy takes attention away from their control problems and focuses it on the supposed harm done to them.

6. Trying to Reel You In

If the person tries to distance themselves, a narcissist might use a tactic called “hoovering.” This means they’ll do things to pull the person back under their control. They could suddenly act affectionate, promise to change, or do big things to tempt the person back.

7. Finding New Targets

 Finding New Targets

When they can’t control one person, narcissists might look for new people to manipulate. They’re often attracted to those who seem easy to control, and they might make new connections to feel powerful again.

8. Doubting Themselves

Doubting Themselves

Facing resistance from someone they can’t control can make narcissists doubt themselves a lot. Even though they hardly ever admit it, inside they might struggle with feeling not good enough and worry about losing their sense of superiority.

Ways to Recover Control from a Narcissist in an Effective Way

1. Set Clear Limits

Set Clear Limits

When dealing with a narcissist, it’s important to create strong boundaries. Clearly express your personal limits and stick to them. This helps protect your emotional well-being and gives you the power to manage your own life.

2. Be Confident in Communication

Be Confident in Communication

Practice speaking up confidently and calmly without being aggressive. This helps you stay in control during conversations, making it harder for the narcissist to manipulate or dominate the discussion.

3. Separate Your Emotions

Distance yourself emotionally from the narcissist’s manipulative actions. Recognize their patterns and avoid getting caught up in their tactics. This gives you the freedom to make choices based on what’s best for you, rather than falling under their influence.

4. Prioritize Self-Care and Growth

Prioritize Self-Care and Growth

Invest your time and energy in activities that boost your confidence and self-esteem. Engage in hobbies you love, spend time with supportive friends and family, and work towards your personal goals. Strengthening your sense of self-worth makes it more difficult for the narcissist to undermine your confidence.

5. Get Professional Help

Get Professional Help

Reach out to therapists or counselors who have experience dealing with narcissistic behavior. They can provide you with effective strategies and tools to navigate the challenges. Their guidance empowers you to regain control over your life in a healthy and positive way.


Getting through interactions with a narcissist takes feeling confident and understanding yourself. Knowing their tricks and how much they can affect your feelings is the first step toward getting your power back. You can break free from their manipulation by using techniques like setting clear boundaries, talking with confidence, giving yourself space from their actions, focusing on self-care, and getting advice from professionals.

Recent research talks about things like narcissistic rage, getting frustrated after being rejected, and dealing with rejection from others. These studies give us useful information for handling and eventually overcoming the challenges that come with dealing with narcissistic behavior. Remember, you have the strength to regain control of your life and protect your mental health from narcissistic influence.


“The Phenomenon of Narcissistic Rage: A Survey of Existing Literature” (2021) authored by Stephanie P. Storch and her research team, and published in the journal Clinical Psychology Review. This comprehensive study examined existing research regarding narcissistic rage, an intense form of anger exhibited by narcissistic individuals in response to perceived threats or challenges. The research highlighted various ways in which narcissistic rage can manifest, including instances of verbal abuse, physical aggression, and even instances of homicide.

“Unpacking Narcissistic Reactance Following Rejection” (2020) authored by Emily A. Roberts and her collaborators, published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. This study delved into the concept of reactance experienced by narcissistic individuals when they face rejection. Reactance refers to the negative emotions that arise when someone’s freedom is restricted. The study discovered that narcissists tend to feel reactance more strongly when rejected, leading to potential negative actions such as aggressive behaviors.


How does a narcissist feel when you don’t react?
If you don’t react, a narcissist can feel frustrated and confused. They thrive on attention and control, so your lack of response undermines their efforts. This may lead them to intensify their tactics to regain your attention and influence.

How do you confuse a narcissist?
Confusing a narcissist involves setting clear boundaries, not playing into their manipulation, and staying emotionally detached. By not reacting predictably to their tactics, you disrupt their control and make it harder for them to manipulate your emotions.

Is ignoring a narcissist the best way to deal with them?
Ignoring a narcissist can be an effective strategy. It denies them the attention they crave and disrupts their control. However, it might also trigger more aggressive behavior initially. Balancing ignoring with setting boundaries and seeking professional guidance can be a comprehensive approach.


The information in this article is not intended to be medical advice. If you are concerned about narcissism or infidelity, please consult with a qualified mental health professional.

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