Why You Should Not Remain “Friends” With a Narcissistic Ex After A Breakup

When the relationship with the narcissist in your life is over, we often thank our lucky stars that we got off the rollercoaster in one piece. You began to take the steps of getting your newfound single life back, which seems so foreign to you. It can be rather shocking when that same person who was a nightmare to be with, circles back around and says, “let’s be friends.” You entertain the idea. “Should we, could we, be friends?” Before you consider being friends with your narcissistic ex, let’s discuss why that’s not something that is in your best interest.

  • A true narcissist doesn’t have friends. A narcissist doesn’t have true, genuine, loyal friendships. They have people that they use and manipulate for their personal gain. Their concept of being friends is vastly different from yours. Their definition and values around true friendship are not in alignment with an empathic individual.
  • You don’t want to welcome toxic people into your life. Toxic people tend to turn your life upside down and create unnecessary drama. You got to experience up close and personal how toxic your narcissistic ex was. Changing their role in your life to that of a friend doesn’t not change their toxicity as a person. A different relationship dynamic does not change a person’s character from narcissistic to kind and loving.
  • Your boundaries will continue to be violated. When you are dealing with someone who does not understand the true core values of friendship (e.g. trust, respect, kindness, etc.) they will not respect boundaries of a friendship or in general. This is a person that will be a “friend” on their terms (friend is applied loosely here). It’s also not a stretch for your narcissistic ex to want you to do certain things for them that you did while you were in a relationship (e.g. have sex, pay bills, take care of them, etc.) while they expect you not to have any expectations for them. In other words, because they have assigned themselves the title of “friend,” it becomes a term that they use for a hall pass to do what they want and not have any obligations to you. The relationship will continue to remain one-sided.
  • You may be secretly hoping to get back together. When you attempt to transition from ex to friends quickly, you haven’t had a chance to fully grieve the relationship. As such, there are still lingering feelings there. By remaining a “friend,” you are secretly hoping that your ex will see the mistake they made by leaving you and that will rekindle their feelings for you. Because you have lingering feelings, you believe that they also feel connected to you in the same way. Again, this is where you continue to set yourself up for a world of pain. A narcissistic ex will not feel the feelings of love in the same way that you do.
  • Old wounds can easily be re-opened. If you and your narcissistic ex transitioned from partner/lover to friends quickly; chances are there wasn’t any closure, healing, or chances for you to truly reflect and work on yourself after enduring all the hurt from the relationship. When you haven’t had a chance to heal from abuse, manipulation, gaslighting, etc.; you are still operating under a trauma and/or codependency bond. This means that you will try to stabilize the bond by staying in a relationship which isn’t good for you.

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This blog was written by Dr. Natalie Jones, PsyD, LPCC. This blog is meant to be educational and not meant to diagnose anyone or to be used in place of therapy or treatment with a licensed mental health professional.

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