The collapsing narcissist – pride comes before a fall


Do not go gentle into that good night,

rage, rage at the dying of the light.

by Dylan Thomas – 1947

As a narcissist ages, it is not a pretty sight. They ‘collapse’ or ‘decompensate’ because ultimately they lose their drug, their source(s) of narcissistic supply; whether it be sex, money, employees, slavish partner, good looks, attention generally, or whatever, and cannot attract new supply through love-bombing or by any other means. Their mask, fake persona; their grand, perfect, charming, emotionally empty ‘false self’ falls away, then the ‘real self’ in all its insecure self-loathing glory emerges. The gap between these two selfs is exposed creating a crisis whereby an irreversible injury to their inflated self-esteem or self-worth occurs. They are not the special person they thought they were, oh the shame!

Once their facade of power and control has vanished, the narcissist’s fragile ego breaks and the tantrums ensue. The big baby that they are cannot have what they want anymore, and, as a result, they become depressed, more hateful, hysterical, suicidal, withdrawn and isolate themselves, or even become violent, which is especially bad for others since they have zero empathy. Like a small child, they also never learn from their past, or have remorse or insight into situations.

The collapsed narcissist may experience a psychotic breakdown where they lose touch completely with reality for a while. They can become very paranoid, and more delusional than ever. For example, thinking that people are hacking into their computer and trying to get into their bank accounts. After all, everyone is against them since things are no longer going their way. Smear campaigns against those who have ‘wronged’ them abound.

Also, the people in their lives who once believed that the narcissist was the perpetual victim – such as flying monkeys or even enablers – may too come to realise that the narcissist was the abusive one. It was they who was the liar, the gaslighter, the one to blame; their fault and the cause of drama all along. These people will steer a wide berth if they can when the narcissist implodes. This is especially so if it is revealed that the narcissist’s ‘success’ in life was stolen from others, and they took the credit for others’ work. Narcissists are not known for their good conscience.

Narcissistic collapse is mostly permanent, the narcissist will not recover. Before they die, if they can they will however play all sorts of mind games, make false promises, manipulate and triangulate their family members who are still around by using their Will to try to maintain some semblance of control over the minions.

If you are involved with anyone who resembles a narcissist or collapsed narcissist, raging at the dying at the light, set some healthy boundaries, don’t fall for any of their inevitable hoovering, and cut off all contact with these energy-sucking vampires if you can.

Please see my blog on NPD terminology for further reading:


  • Leave a comment