When the Narcissist Wants to Take a Break

By Kim Saeed | Contemplating No Contact

Jun 28

If you’re involved with someone whom you suspect is a narcissist, you’ve probably heard the “I think we need to take a break” spiel. 

It’s supposed to be just “temporary” … to sort their thoughts and get some breathing room.

BUT …

What does it mean when the narcissist wants to take a break?

This means two very different things between narcissistic people and their partners.

No matter how innocent and genuine it seems in the moment, the narcissist has very different motives when they suggest taking a break.

In your mind, you might believe things HAVE been a little chaotic, so taking a break could give you both time to breathe and reflect on ways to improve the relationship… maybe even time to miss each other.

But in the narcissist’s mind, it’s not like that at all.

Generally, when the narcissist wants to take a break, it means they have new supply to groom and they don’t want to be bothered with your phone calls, texts, or the possibility that you might ask to see them.

Or, if they don’t yet have another person to groom behind your back, it’s another way of saying, “I want to go out and have a look around, but, I’ll come back and resume where we left off if I don’t find someone better.”

And during this self-created perk to live like a single person, they don’t want to deal with damage control.

If they are grooming new supply, they’ll use the “break” to ponder ways they can begin triangulating between you and the new person…and they don’t want to deal with your “I miss you” texts in-between because that means you’d expect them to respond.

They’d probably ignore you, anyway, just to make sure your abandonment triggers stay nice and fresh to pave the way for their return.

Or, they’ll throw you the proverbial bone, “I miss you, too”, and then go dark for three days straight.

So how should you respond when the person you think is a narcissist asks for a break?

It’s important to understand that this generally means they want to actively groom someone behind your back.

Please note that I’m generalizing. Not every situation, not every breakup is the same, but if your partner meets the criteria of being a narcissist, then this is the most likely scenario.

narcissist wants to take a break

So, what should you do when the narcissist asks for a “break”?

The best thing you can do is agree to everything and enforce strict No Contact immediately…but, don’t tell them you plan to do it. Just do it once you’ve agreed you need a break.

You see, because of their past silent treatments and the fact that you’ve always taken them back, they believe you’ll be waiting patiently for them to return like they always do.

But, unlike their typical performance of withdrawing from your life only to return later, they don’t want to take the risk of your calling or texting them while they’re out with potential new supply.

They want to groom freely, without any interruptions.

So, you agree to take a break and then go into stealth-mode No Contact.  This will serve in the following ways:

It will save you from the constant obsession about whether you are together or broken up. Plus, you will come out the victor when they later return to the sound of crickets.

It prepares you for the work of starting your healing journey.  This is the perfect chance to start detaching emotionally and begin withdrawing from your biochemical addiction.

If your partner is a malicious narcissist, they will reveal their true colors and you will know what extra measures you might need to enforce to preserve your future and sanity.

Stealth No Contact protects you and acts as a catalyst to begin the grieving and withdrawal cycles that are a necessary part of detaching from emotionally destructive relationships.

The physical withdrawal itself typically lasts between 30-90 days.

In any way, if you persevere through the first 60 days, you will know more about why you’ve felt helpless to leave the relationship and have the opportunity to work on the inner wounding and addiction that’s kept you stuck up to this point.

No matter if your breakup happened today or months ago.

Following No Contact is NOT simply keeping your Ex away from you, it’s also a personal commitment to self-discovery and healing from emotional trauma.

Because no matter how determined you may feel in forging ahead with your life, it’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to move forward while keeping a window open for the narcissist’s return.

There’s no closure, no sense of finality.  You’ll be left in a state of limbo, and may even begin to experience triggers when they don’t reach out to you…which is the whole point of going No Contact in the first place!

If you agree to “take a break” with the narcissist, it will be a break with no deadline.  Narcissists use “breaks” as openings and opportunities to look around and see if they can do better. Or, they use it to groom new supply.

With no designated time, it’s simply code for “I’ll come back around for ego snacks and booty calls”.  Why would you agree to let the narcissist take a break when they clearly aren’t committed?

It’s likely you care about them deeply, but, it is more likely that you believe their coming back would validate you. You don’t need their validation, you need it from yourself.

Copyright 2017 – Kim Saeed and Let Me Reach
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About the Author

Kim Saeed is a narcissistic abuse recovery expert on a mission to help abuse survivors to heal, find purpose, and live joyfully after No Contact. She also hosts a podcast called Heal, Grow, Evolve, where she aims to help people create meaningful lives and relationships after emotional abuse. Listen and subscribe at www.healgrowevolvewithkim.com

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(11) comments

Anonymous November 15, 2017

I recalled a time a few years ago when the ex wanted a break, but we’ll stay good friends. I didn’t realise this was their code for “I’m off with new supply or grooming someone as new supply or even looking for better supply”!

During that time though I recall thinking “ok, so it’s off we are just friends and I’m going to go out with other new friends, which was a man for lunch”.

So I met with the new friend and we went for Sunday lunch, and I couldn’t walk far at the time so we went to the local pub and I knew that quite possibly the ex would be there with his friends and thought well he decided he wanted a break and just be friends so it was no concern of his etc.

The ex was there with his friends and I was noticed with this new male friend and it was all appropriate behaviours – there was nothing inside to raise my suspicion about the man… and he did behave very honourably.

Later in the evening the ex turned up, just dropping in for a cuppa and chat and see how I was doing. And a little into the chat and the cuppa he brought up how he saw me with this other man…

Talk about triggering jealousy without the intention or the wherewithal, just genuine meeting new friends!

Reply

M husband the narc, they do and will get to a point of hurting you. He knocked me out coal.. last year.. the state prosecuted him.. and put a no contact order, he would not abide by it… so I got TPO on top of it…still didn’t keep him away.. and we were married last year in May.. the very day we married he totally changed….he would hit me with something and look dead at me and say I didn’t hit you..
The gas lighting.. and the daily silent treaments.
He has hurt me so much and more than I can put in her .. it’s devastating..
I moved my daughter and I 2 hours away from him. And changed my number. So far, he hasn’t found me and I’ve been gone for over a month..
I want to heal, I do not trust..all the many unnecessary lies.. I do not trust him at all.
Now could I still love jim. He could habe killed me last year. My daughter cried saying that. She is 15 and thank God he is not her daddy..

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Anna July 8, 2017

Hi there
I am completely a newbie feeling extremely vulnerable, hurt, used, betrayed, in shock, scared, confused still madly in love and love this woman and its my first week and many more to come of being free, perplexed and feeling like a yo-yo.
My narc ex girlfriend of 3 years kicked me out again for the 4th time within the last 2months since she got her own place. I made sure I took all my belongings with me. On the night of the argument (what’s crazy on that morning she told me she loved me etc ))what triggered it all is for the first time I’ve booked an apartment for me and my boys over the school holidays to lap it up and freely be ourselves. My ex girlfriend doesn’t see her kids as she has no access to them for nearly 2years and still is going through legal custody. Of course the 1 time I decided to make my kids a priority and to top it off I have a brilliant relationship with my exb(to whom I had the kids with)…we never involved the courts and we share the kids equally where we both get to see/spend time with our kids daily. I could also state that me and my ex have become best of mates, there is nothing more to it.
Of course world war 3 started my narc ex girlfriend went into a rage. Hurls of abuse, degrading name calling about my kids and my ex and to me Blamed me for her fall out with her kids BC they didn’t accept sane sex, blamed me BC she lost her job BC she needed to go to rehab blames for her missing appointments list goes on Accused me of cheating and having an affair with my ex (BC I crashed there 2 times as its closer to my work and I can get public transport To work BC my narc ex girlfriend as she calls it ‘you lost your licence that’s your problem I don’t have to wake up take u to work). And thru some real venomous words at me that still shock me. For me she crossed the line by calling my kids names, I have never called her kids names despite of their appalling behaviour since day dot to all of us inc families.
On that night she treated to go back to this guy who would provide her with Monday etc
There’s nothing I have not done for this women never helped her set up home and her kids room.
In between 2015-2016 I resorted to drinking heavily and becoming more and mire like her (vindictive and spiteful which is not me at all) )BC she wash living in my house at the time and Iwould leave the house and she would be on the couch and id find her there after 13 hours.
I had had enough by then I kicked her and made a
Promise that in 2017 I will give up alcohol and get myself back and start placing boundaries that neither of us are disadvantage from.
I have tried to break free for a while now is Nd every single time I did she lured me back in.
Finally this Thursday that’s just past I blocked my phone she was using (that’s in my name) ) and disconnected the phone number. So I actually did myself a favour as I have no means of contacting her and neither can she other than thru family and friends.
I still have her key to her house and she has some of her belongings in my house.
Its been tough NO CONTACT actually a killer
I know there will be contact at some point but truth be said I miss her deeply but I am also afraid and need all the help I can get.
😪
Sorry for a long message

Reply
    Mandy October 16, 2017

    I am in a similar battle but without kids.

    Reply
Beth June 30, 2017

This is exactly what happened to me. After 13 years of marriage and while I had an infant! Turns out he was grooming a new supply. We are now divorced. I am happier to be free of the narcissist, but he ruined me financially because of unethical dealings during divorce.

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Lynne gillham June 30, 2017

I have reached one year totally no contact after a bitter breakup my narssistic boyfriend was truly unhappy in life and nearly cost me my family and friends but no control and him slaying my name I got him ghost 👻 happy and now sure I’m on the road to happiness

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Sarah June 29, 2017

My narc did give a time limits of sorts. He said he needed a month to “sort” things out(a close family member is dying). IF he decides to contact me, it will be on 7/19 and if I want even the remotest chance of a relationship with him in the future, I’ll abide by his wishes. If I contact him before he contacts me, then we are done. 12 hours before said edict, he sent me a meme that said “tonight I will sleep with you in my heart”. I was shocked to say the least and the last two weeks have been awful. I can’t eat, sleeping is hard, it just feels worse than before. I don’t know if can feel like his for 3 months?!?!

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    Kim Saeed July 1, 2017

    Sarah,

    I wish I had better news, but this is one of the blueprint tricks narcissists play when they need time for extracurricular activities. The meme was simply to string you along. It’s part of the ‘hurt and rescue’ mission. Effectively abandoning you (while he does what he wants), only to sweep in on the 19th like a knight in shining tin foil. You’ll be so happy to see him, you won’t remember the utter cruelty of his request.

    No one…and I sincerely mean no one, who truly cares about you would ever ask for such a thing…what with forbidding you to contact him and all. You should use this time to go stealth No Contact. Believe me, whatever he’s up to right now would devastate you deeply.

    Kim

    Reply
Ring June 29, 2017

Kim, closure is such a huge deal. Closure and validation.

I would love to see a post that addresses these two issues as far as creating them for oneself.

For example, I can find some sense of closure in acknowledging to myself (validating) that I did everything possible to reach out to this individual. But there are always nagging “what ifs”.

I really think that problem solving as far as closure and validation is a crucial component of what it will take to get to the point of truly moving past being left dangling.

Advice and guidance on hammering that home would be of great help. Maybe that is documented somewhere in the bootcamp or a blog post that I haven’t yet seen.

These head games are just utter torment.

As an aside, I previously mentioned in the Father’s Day blog post comment section that I was discarded by my Dad. This was a year after he had continually been making threats of abandonment which he had already executed when I was much younger. So when he started in with those threats again my guard immediately went up and things were never the same – my trust just bottomed out. So his discard this time around didn’t come as a surprise whatsoever and I had already put up a wall.

Now this narc I’m dealing with is a different animal and I find myself unable to detach to the extent that I was able to with my Dad….I am truly just crazy in love. But I don’t follow him around. I don’t ever, ever visit his Facebook page. I don’t WANT to know what’s he’s up to.

I’m rambling, but I’m so super introverted that I don’t have anyone to talk to, and I couldn’t imagine blabbing my business all over Facebook (not to mention my account has been inactive for 7 years)…..

….. but I do read every single one of your emails, and sometimes I feel like they were written just for me which is hugely validating (and I’m sure many of your readers would agree :).

Thanks so much for all that you do.

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anita June 28, 2017

This is 100% exactly what happen to me. The key is no contact. Once you are able to do, you will start the healing process. He still tries to contact me. I don’t even response, unless it has something to do with my daughter. It will take time, you probably won’t heal 100%, but you will get there.

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Janice June 28, 2017

This just happened to me and my BFF. She need a break. We’re going to grow apart. You’re not normal. I told her imagining her having sex with anyone is like imagining my grandparents have sex. She goes well I can have sex. And she said you know you can have sex before marriage. Then she told me to go find another friend. Cold as Ice and blocked me all over. Then to make matters worse my brother who is also a narc I live with who won’t clean his room. So started a big argument with me. And now we have to be out either by August 1st or the end of lease with nowhere to go. I’m so down

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