By Chris Seiter

Published on December 8th, 2023

Dealing with a narcissistic ex-partner who’s trying to recapture your attention can be a challenging and emotionally draining experience. Narcissists often exhibit behaviors designed to manipulate or control, and understanding these dynamics is crucial for maintaining your emotional health and well-being.

So what’s the quick answer for the issue of a narcissist ex who’s all up in your space again? They’re probably just looking for attention or trying to mess with you. Best to ignore them and keep doing your thing. Don’t let their drama drag you down.  That is what they thrive on.  Take that away from them.

So now that you have the gist of what to do, let’s take a deeper dive.

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Why Your Narcissist Ex Wants Your Attention Again

So, your ex, who’s got those classic narcissist vibes, is suddenly popping up everywhere in your life again, and you’re wondering, “What’s up with that?” Well, let’s break it down. Dealing with a narcissist ex can feel like you’re stuck in some sort of twisted world, minus the happy ending. Here’s the lowdown on why they might be trying to snag your attention again:

  1. They Miss the Spotlight: Narcissists love being the center of attention. When you guys broke up, they lost their main audience – you. They might be hitting you up because they miss having someone around who constantly hypes them up and feeds their ego.
  2. Control Freaks: Narcissists often need to feel in control. When you split, they lost some of that control over you. Now, they might be trying to slide back into your life to regain it, even if it’s just messing with your head.
  3. The Good Ol’ Ego Boost: Seeing that they can still affect you, get a reaction out of you, or better yet, get you to chase after them? That’s a major ego boost. It’s like they’re proving to themselves, “Yeah, I’ve still got it.”
  4. Jealous Much?: If they see you moving on, doing great without them, or – the horror – dating someone new, it could trigger their jealousy. They might start orbiting you again to remind you (and themselves) of their presence in your life.
  5. Boredom Strikes: Sometimes, it’s just boredom. They might not have anything else going on, so they circle back to their old relationships for entertainment – kind of like re-watching an old show because there’s nothing else on Netflix.
  6. The Challenge: For some narcissists, winning you back is like a game. It’s not about love or missing you; it’s about the challenge and the satisfaction of knowing they can still pull your strings.
  7. Genuine Feelings? Maybe…: And hey, it’s not impossible (though rare) that they genuinely miss you and are reflecting on the relationship. But with narcissists, you gotta be careful – it’s often more about their needs than a balanced relationship.

What You Can Do?

If your narcissist ex is trying to wiggle their way back into your life, remember to protect your space and emotions. Reflect on why the relationship ended in the first place and whether re-engaging with them aligns with your personal growth and happiness.

Sometimes the best response is no response. Keep focusing on you, your goals, and surround yourself with people who genuinely support and uplift you.

Handling the Tactics of a Narcissistic Ex Seeking Attention

Why You Should Avoid Your Narcissist Ex

  1. Emotional Manipulation: Narcissists are skilled at emotional manipulation. Re-engaging with them often leads to a cycle of emotional highs and lows, impacting your mental health.
  2. False Promises of Change: Narcissists may promise change to lure you back, but these promises are often superficial. Real change requires self-awareness and commitment, which is typically lacking in narcissistic personalities.
  3. Self-Esteem Erosion: Continual interactions with a narcissistic ex can erode your self-esteem. Their tendency to belittle or devalue others can leave you feeling unworthy and insecure.
  4. Gaslighting: Narcissists often use gaslighting, a form of psychological manipulation that makes you question your reality. This can lead to confusion and self-doubt, making it hard to trust your judgment.
  5. Repeating Toxic Patterns: Reconnecting with a narcissistic ex often means repeating the same toxic relationship patterns. Without fundamental changes, the same issues are likely to resurface.
  6. Hindrance to Personal Growth: Engaging with a narcissistic ex can hinder your personal growth and development. It can keep you emotionally tied to the past, preventing you from moving forward.
  7. Impact on Future Relationships: Ongoing communication with a narcissistic ex can negatively impact future relationships. It can create trust issues and prevent you from fully committing to new relationships.
  8. Stress and Anxiety: Dealing with a narcissist can be incredibly stressful, often leading to anxiety and depression. Preserving your mental health means maintaining distance.
  9. Exploitation of Vulnerabilities: Narcissists are adept at exploiting vulnerabilities. By staying away, you protect yourself from being taken advantage of emotionally or otherwise.
  10. Distorted Sense of Reality: Prolonged exposure to narcissistic behavior can distort your sense of reality, leading to an acceptance of unhealthy relationship dynamics as normal.

Exceptions to the Rule

  1. Co-parenting Responsibilities: If you share children, limited and structured communication focused solely on co-parenting may be necessary. In such cases, setting clear boundaries and possibly involving a mediator can be beneficial.
  2. Professional Interactions: If you must interact professionally, keep communications strictly business. Establish firm boundaries and stick to them.
  3. Legal Obligations: In cases involving legal matters such as divorce proceedings or financial settlements, some level of interaction might be unavoidable. Here, direct all communication through legal representatives to minimize personal contact.


Navigating the attention-seeking behavior of a narcissistic ex requires a clear understanding of narcissism and its impacts.

While there are few exceptions where some form of communication is unavoidable, in most cases, maintaining distance is crucial for preserving your emotional and mental well-being.

Remember, prioritizing your health and happiness is not just your right, but your responsibility. By recognizing the signs and taking steps to protect yourself, you can avoid falling into the trap of a narcissist’s manipulative behaviors and focus on building a healthier, happier life post-breakup.

The Expert’s Corner: 14 FAQs on Dealing with a Narcissistic Ex Trying to Get Your Attention

  1. Why is my narcissistic ex trying to get my attention again?
    • They might be seeking validation, control, or an ego boost. Narcissists thrive on attention and may return to previous relationships to fulfill these needs.
  2. How should I respond to their attempts to contact me?
    • It’s often best to maintain no contact. Responding can encourage further communication and give them the attention they seek.
  3. Is it possible they genuinely miss me?
    • While it’s possible, with narcissists, it’s often more about their needs than genuine affection. Be cautious and consider their past behavior.
  4. Why do I feel tempted to respond?
    • It’s natural to feel curious or hopeful about reconciliation. However, remember the reasons why the relationship ended and the nature of their behavior.
  5. What if they seem to have changed?
    • Narcissists can be quite persuasive. Observe if there are consistent, long-term changes in their behavior before considering any form of communication.
  6. Can a narcissist ever really change?
    • Change is possible but requires self-awareness and a willingness to seek help, which is often challenging for narcissists.
  7. Why do I feel guilty for ignoring them?
    • This guilt is often a result of the emotional manipulation you may have experienced during the relationship. Recognize this as a manipulation tactic and not a reflection of your responsibility.
  8. Should I tell them off?
    • While it might be tempting, confronting them usually doesn’t help and can escalate the situation. Narcissists often thrive on conflict.
  9. How do I deal with mutual friends during this time?
    • Be honest with mutual friends if necessary but avoid speaking negatively about your ex. Focus on maintaining healthy relationships with your friends.
  10. What if we have to communicate, like for co-parenting?
    • Keep communication strictly about the necessary topics. Set clear boundaries and consider using communication tools designed for co-parenting.
  11. How can I stop thinking about them?
    • Engage in activities that you enjoy and focus on your personal growth. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family.
  12. Is it normal to still have feelings for them?
    • Yes, it’s normal. Healing from any relationship takes time, especially one involving a narcissist. Acknowledge your feelings but also recognize the need for emotional distance.
  13. How can I strengthen my resolve to maintain no contact?
    • Remind yourself of the reasons why the relationship ended. Writing down these reasons can reinforce your decision. Seek support from friends, family, or a therapist.  If you have not done so yet, take a good look at our Coaching Services as we have dealt with this before!
  14. Can therapy help me in this situation?
    • Absolutely. Therapy can provide valuable insights, coping strategies, and emotional support as you navigate post-breakup challenges with a narcissistic ex.	

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