Khalif Barkhadle
8 min readFeb 12, 2024



BY: Khalif Barkhadle
Digital Journalist
Published On: 12th February 2024

1. A Faux Apology.
The first thing that you’ll see when they’re losing control but they think they might still be able to get to you is possibly a faux apology. Not all narcissists do this, but a lot of them do when you’re pulling away. But the faux apology is essentially fake.
So, they might say something that sounds a little bit like an apology, but it’s not an apology. Like, ‘I’m so sorry that you’re hurting.’ That’s not an apology. Also, ‘I’m sorry you feel that way.’ It can be used as a faux apology. But the most common one that you’ll see is an apology without changing behaviour. And we know that that’s not an apology at all, because if someone was sorry for the behaviour they’re apologizing for, they wouldn’t do it again and again and again.
So, when you get one of these faux apologies from a narcissist, really what they’re saying is, ‘I’m sorry I got caught,’ or ‘I’m sorry I have consequences.’ ‘I’m sorry that I can’t get to you in quite the same way that I did before. And so, if I say that maybe I can overturn all of these consequences. Maybe I can go back to getting what I want.’ From the faux apology, and sometimes alongside an apology is a hoover.

2. The Hoover and discard.
When a narcissist is hoovering, they’re going to be on their best behaviour, and it’s going to feel a lot as it did in the idealization phase. And that’s the draw. That’s what can get you because all along you’re kind of wondering where this person went. This person that you fell in love with or this person who made you feel so good about yourself, well, they’re back.
But if a narcissist believes that they’re losing control over you, let’s say maybe you discarded them first, this hoover is a stronger manipulation than any other. So, this will be a hoover to discard later. So, watch out for this. If you’ve discarded a narcissist or if you know that you’re mostly done, and they come back, and it seems like they’re giving you everything you’ve ever wanted, be cautious.
Now, this is only going to work if they do still have some control. If there’s a small part of you that wants them back in your life, this might work. And if it doesn’t work, they may move on to the third item on this list.

3. The chance encounter.
This chance encounter is when the narcissist plans to show up exactly where they know you’re going to be. So, this might be at church or the mosque when you make a daily routine of going to your farm. If you do the same thing at the same time every day, and the narcissist knows it, they know that they can get to you by just showing up. And regardless of how you feel about them, you’re going to have an emotional reaction when you see them.
And so, even if the narcissist knows that you’re not going to fall for their tricks, and they know that you’re not going to let them back in your life, they may still pop up with this chance encounter, just because they know that they can trigger you. That their mere presence will make you feel a certain way. And it’s not good.

4. Emotional manipulation.
The fourth thing a narcissist will do when they’re losing control is a whole lot of emotional manipulation and possibly emotional blackmail. Now, you’re going to deal with emotional manipulation throughout a relationship with a narcissist, let’s be real.
But it takes a very specific shape when they think they’re losing control. So, when they think they’re losing control, they’re going to try to play on your empathy. And they might play the victim. So, they’re going to do and say things that make you feel like you’ve done something wrong. Like you’ve hurt them in some way. And you may even start thinking that you’re a narcissist.
And if they can get you questioning yourself and get you thinking that you played a bigger role in this than you did because you’re willing and able to take responsibility for your stuff, and none of us are perfect, if they can get you to start questioning yourself, then you might be open to having conversations with them. And that’s their foot in the door.
So, this may come in the form of a pity party, like, ‘Oh, I don’t know what I could have possibly done to deserve this treatment from you.’ Or they may tell you about how much pain they’re in as a direct result of you not being in their life. They can’t eat. They can’t sleep. They may play under empathy in this way because if you start feeling bad, the solution is clear, right? You can fix their problems.
.All you have to do is just let the narcissist back in your life. Don’t fall for it. The important thing to remember here is that if you’re falling for it, it’s because you do have empathy, and you do care about this person. So, take all that kindness and compassion that you have, and direct it towards yourself. This is where it’s needed right now. Because if you let that person back in your life, they’re only going to hurt you again in the same ways that they have repeatedly hurt you in the past. So, to be very clear, having empathy for the narcissist in this case is going to hurt you. So, this is a choice you’re choosing for yourself. Take care

5. Make false accusations.
They will accuse you of things that you did not do. And this can come in a few different forms. So, the narcissist may accuse you of being a narcissist. They may accuse you of gaslighting. And they may overreact and exaggerate your behaviour to accuse you of something that you’re not doing. This one is hard to believe until you experience it. But it kind of reminds me of the scene in a movie where somebody starts screaming, ‘Why you’re touching me?’ when the other person isn’t touching them. It’s like they’re trying to make a scene and call attention to something that’s not happening.
But so, in a conversation, it might look a little something like this. Let’s say you’re divorcing a narcissist, and you’re having a conversation about custody. These conversations are never fun, no matter who you’re talking to. But when you’re talking to a narcissist, it is especially difficult. So, you’re trying to keep things civil. You’re trying to be fair because you don’t want to fight, and you want what’s best for the kids. So, you’re just discussing things. No decisions are being made. You’re just talking about what you want and what they want.
All of a sudden, they start screaming that you’re taking the kids away from them. You’re going to leave town, and they’re never going to see the kids again. It goes from here to there with no real explanation or input from you. They’ve just decided that you’re doing this thing, and now you have to defend yourself. Now you have to explain that you’re not doing this thing at all. If you’re dealing with a narcissist, this is a manipulation tactic, and it often leads to a smear campaign. False accusations are very much meant to intimidate you because you naturally start thinking about what other people would think if they believed this ridiculous lie.

6. The smear campaign.
The smear campaign very much can start with false accusations, but it doesn’t always. Sometimes there’s a kernel of truth in there. The purpose of the smear campaign is very much to discredit you so that anything you say about the narcissist, people won’t believe you. But it’s also to get a reaction out of you. This is one that I think people don’t always see right away because when someone’s smearing your name, your instant reaction is going to be to fight it, and that’s exactly what they want.
Because the more you fight, the guiltier you look. So, if you don’t have to fight, don’t give the narcissist what they want. And there are some times when it seems like what the narcissist wants is to shut you up. It seems like they want to keep you quiet and to get you out of their life. And that can make you want to be louder, and that can make you want to fight harder. And this, it’s all pure manipulation. They don’t want to keep you quiet. They want your fight. Don’t give it to them.

7. Threaten you.
The seventh thing a narcissist will do when they’re losing control or they’ve already completely lost control is to threaten you. And threats can take many different forms with the narcissist. And they will use whatever they can to get to you. And even if they don’t have anything, they will still threaten you. So, a narcissist might threaten you with something that happened years ago, but maybe you don’t want everyone to know about it. So, they’re going to threaten to expose you for this thing that isn’t even relevant anymore. But the narcissist knows you’d rather not have it dredged up again.
Another way that a narcissist will threaten you is essentially by just making something up. So, if they don’t have anything on you, they might just make vague threats. That’s what this kind of manipulation does. It gets you questioning, and it gets you thinking about all the things that they could be saying and all the ‘what-ifs.’
And if there is something that could get you into trouble if it comes to the surface, even if the narcissist doesn’t know it, a vague threat can strike fear in your heart. It can make you think that they know something that they don’t know. I’m not saying not to take threats seriously. In my opinion, it’s always best to be safe and prepared. So, think of the worst-case scenario and how you might handle it and use that to guide where you go next.

Another way a narcissist may threaten you is by taking something away from you. And this happens all the time in custody cases. A narcissist may threaten to fight for custody if they know that you can’t afford the battle or if they think there’s a chance they might win. And now a narcissist will do this, sadly, even if they have no interest in having custody, even if they’ve taken no interest in the children in the past.
And no matter what type of narcissist you’re dealing with, it could be a family member, it could be a friend, it could be a co-worker, it could be somebody you have kids with, but this illustrates the fact that this happens, illustrates how far a narcissist will go when they feel like they’ve lost control. Fortunately, narcissists also tend to get bored easily, and they’re going to go to the source of supply that is most fulfilling to them at the moment.
So, if you’re dealing with a narcissist who’s losing control, be sure to keep your emotional reactions in check because that is what’s going to be fueling them. That’s what’s going to give them the drive to go the extra mile. And remember that even though they think very highly of themselves, they are not untouchable. And usually, they end up getting exactly what they deserve, not what they think they deserve. So, throughout all of this, focus on doing what is best for you, and don’t fall into the narcissist’s trap.
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Khalif Barkhadle