How to Avoid the Trap of the Collapsed Narcissist

Updated on June 17, 2019
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The Little Shaman is a spiritual coach & specialist in cluster B personality disorders, with a popular YouTube show and clients worldwide.

A collapsing or compensating narcissist is a narcissist that is unable, for whatever reason, to get or have something they want, so they become unhinged because of it. People who are familiar with the horrors of living with a narcissist every day will understand this phenomenon very well. The terminology may be rather new, but the behavior easily recognizable.

Narcissists Construct Fictions About Themselves

This happens because the fiction the narcissist has constructed about themselves and their life is very fragile. It is not really a very good defense against the unrelenting self-hatred and self-abuse the narcissist piles on themselves nonstop. When this defensive shield becomes fractured in any way, all of that self-hatred, all of the pathological shame, all of the narcissist's true feelings for themselves come pouring in and they can't take it. They crack. Their facade is gone, the shield comes down and we see the disorder as it really is: terrified, hysterical, needy, psychotic, paranoid, delusional and consumed with need. A burn victim with no protective skin. And it's ugly. It's pitiful. It's sad. It's scary. This is where people get trapped back in to trying again with the narcissist. They feel sorry for this poor, pathetic creature. And who wouldn't? It's a very dramatic situation.

Narcissists Create a Fictional Image of Themselves

However manipulative narcissists are, the collapsed narcissist is feeling very real feelings. They are not faking it. They have a brutal and abusive superego that spits hate and insults at them 24 hours a day.

"Nobody likes you. You're worthless. You're stupid. You're ugly. You're nothing."

All day long. They get no rest from this.

Because of the abuse and self-hatred narcissists feel from this, they have created a fictional image of themselves that they project onto the world. Their sadistic, abusive superego says to them, "You deserve nothing" so the narcissist defends against this by saying, "I deserve everything!" Their very lives depend on keeping up this fiction, so when it does not play out that way, it validates the self-hatred and the abusive things the superego says. They really do deserve nothing and that's why they can't get what they want. This causes their facade to crack and let all those negative feelings in. This causes a downward spiral where they lash out at and abuse the people around them to get some relief from their poisonous self-hatred. These people then decide they've had enough of being treated badly and abandon the narcissist. This creates a situation where the narcissist has no one to carry the load for them and no one to prop them up. They are forced to bear the weight of their self-hatred and smothering negative feelings along. And they collapse beneath it.

Collapsed Narcissists May Become Suicidal

Collapsed narcissists may become suicidal, they may engage in self-mutiliation, such as cutting behaviors or other violence toward themselves. They may refuse to get out of bed or be unable to stop crying. They may become violent. They can even have a psychotic break or hallucinations. This is how great the stress is for the narcissist when their imaginary world does not remain intact. This is how devastating and poisonous their reality is. Collapsed narcissists can be very dangerous, as well. These are people with no empathy who are angry, upset and feel they have nothing to lose. That's a dangerous combination. They are also dangerous in another way.

People Often Believe the Narcissist's Hysteria

As stated earlier, this is the stage where many people are convinced to try again with the narcissist. They believe in the narcissist's hysteria and neediness. And why shouldn't they? It's real. People's internal lie detectors don't go off in these situations because there is no lie to detect. The problem is that even though it's true, this is still another manipulation. The narcissist is still a narcissist. There has been no change, and this behavior should never be taken as an indication that there has been. Yes, it looks dramatic and yes, it seems sincere. It is, in fact, both of these things. But it's temporary. A breakdown is not a breakthrough.

Narcissists Want You to Carry Their Emotions for Them

As soon as the narcissist has what they want again, the collapsed facade will be back in place and you will eventually be face to face with the same old thing again: an ungrateful, disrespectful, abusive, childish tyrant. These are the two faces of the narcissist, and that's all there is. They are as flat, predictable and one dimensional as the characters projected onto a movie screen, which is basically all they are anyway. The narcissist doesn't want the relationship back because they love you. They want the relationship back because they need you to carry their emotions for them, to prop them up when they are low and to be their punching bag when they can't take their internal struggles anymore. There is nothing for you here, there is certainly no love here. They may think that's love, and they may call it love but it isn't. It's narcissism

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2017 The Little Shaman


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    • profile image


      3 months ago

      3693 N Fernandez Way

    • profile image


      7 months ago

      Narcissism is real! They are like vampires sucking the life from you little by little. They have no remorse, they feel no regrets. They are monsters! I was marry to one for 30 years. She shame me, gaslighted me these are Narcissism terms I never knew before now I understand! My whole life has changed. Found out my wife was having an affair. She moved her lover in the house around our 4 small children!

    • profile image

      Kate Poole 

      13 months ago

      Perfectly put - I have very recently finally faced the truth of a 30 year old intense friendship with an N woman. Now that she is approaching 60, career has ended, along with relationship, she came to stay with us for 4 weeks, during which time, my husband and I acted as if we were the parents of a very vulnerable and damaged child ... she was hysterical, self-doubting, apparently traumatized ..... 4 weeks later she moved into her own little flat, and the first time I saw reverted back to a condescending, devaluing, nasty person .... it was so Jekyl and Hyde I could no longer not face the fact that she is a narcissist ..... she got what she wanted, pulled herself together, then moved on, defences up, and attacking the very people who had opened their lives and hearts to her. The most telling thing is that she has absolutely no idea she has done anything wrong .... telling me I need therapy, and, to tidy my cupboards, have my kitchen floor ' professionally cleaned', give up aspirations of ever being a gardener, and putting my dog and husband on a diet ..... no awareness that any of this could be rude, condescending, or hurtful in the slightest. I'm finally done, and it is liberating ... but sad

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      Narcissistic Victim 

      16 months ago

      Every word is true. I experienced it. Always stay away from Narcissistic. If possible pack your bags and run away and never look back.

    • profile image

      Narc survivor 

      16 months ago

      Beautiful explained

    • profile image


      18 months ago

      there are always women out there that will chat online and send pics to prop them up, no worries there

    • profile image


      20 months ago

      I’m 42 yrs old and I’ve been in an on and off relationship for 3 years. With a 50 yrs old guy who lives with his mother because he can’t afford his own place. He has insecurity issues because his ex wife and ex girlfriend prior to me both cheated on him.

      On 11/2...he saw that I had written “your peeps are creative” to someone’s group Halloween photo. He freaked out and said I was hitting on other men. When I tried to hug him to calm him down, he pushed me off. He then deleted all my photos from his IG and FB. That same night his sister in law called and asked if he and I broke up. I told her what happened and she went and did a blast text message to his entire family about him being an abuser. She said she is purposely pushing me out for my own good.

      He then text me that night extremely angry and told me he’s breaking up with me. He then blocked me from everything without even hearing my side of the story.

      He has blocked me many times before when he had dumped me in the past (he usually breaks up with me every 4 months or so). But this is the longest he has ever blocked me (7 weeks).

      On Thanksgiving, he was hitting on one of my friend (he doesn’t know she knows me). He told her that he dumped me because I burned and betrayed him. He also said he blocked me on everything because our relationship is cancer to his heart and that I shredded his heart to pieces.

      Do you think what happened with the family knowing he’s an abuser is consider a bad enough injury that he discard me permanently?

      i know he’s actively pursuing women on FB, IG and dating sites :(. He’s telling these women that he’s done with me and wants nothing to do with me. Now he told another girl he’s not ready to date yet and will shut off his dating account, but I can see it’s still active. What should I do? I don’t want to be out of sight out of mind.

      His daughter and his sister in law still follows me on Instagram and watches everything I post.

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      John of Indiana 

      21 months ago

      And here we have one with access to the launch codes. Frightening times for us.

      Oh, and personally, I was married to one for 9 years. Took 20 years to get my sense of self worth back.

    • profile image

      Peter the cheater 

      24 months ago

      I was married for 30 years before being abandoned. After being compulsively lied to, found out he had been living a double life with Telstra co-worker. They show no empathy or remorse, verbally abuse family members, totally irrational behaviour and hold no accountability for their actions.

      Our son had completed school just one week, his father left goodbye cards under our pillows.

      Our son, daughter and myself came home to abandonment. What sort of freak show does this?

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I have been in an 8 year hidden relationship with a narcissist. We were in hiding due to him being an in-law. His wife divorced him about a year ago but we still stayed hidden. He convinced me to quit my 20 year job so he could take care of me, but I was really taking care of him. Even tho his supply never ran out in me, he left me for his new supply about a month ago. Needless to say my rock bottom came very quickly and I began to educate myself on narcissism after a friend told me to "look it up online". I have had a crash course on all of the above and it has been very eye opening and sad. To think I could have stopped this years ago before I got so trapped in this situation. So... with much prayer and seeking God, I am moving forward slowly. Confident that I will find a good codependent support group and get another job. Just a thank you for being part of my internet education! This and other sources are a big help to those that have been discarded. Hold tight to your soul!

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I was married to one for 49 years and was discarded. I became an alcoholic I guess it was my coping skills. Now I have been going to AA with 10 months of sobriety. Your videos have been educating me and I am so grateful for the knowledge that what I was going thru was not my fault. Thank You Very much!!


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