Do Narcissists Keep Tabs on You After the Discard?

Do Narcissists Keep Tabs on You After the Discard? do narcissists keep tabs on you after the discard?
Photo by Zach Burdick on Unsplash

Today, I’d like to answer this question that many people have after leaving a toxic relationship with a narcissist — do they actually watch you or keep tabs on you after discarding you? And if so, why would they even bother?

You’ve finally gathered the courage to walk away from the mind games, the manipulation, the love bombing followed by devaluation cycles. You’re doing your best to heal from the narcissistic abuse. Yet, you can’t shake this feeling that they are somehow still watching you from the sidelines.

Maybe you noticed them lingering a bit too long outside your workplace. Or you saw they were viewing your Instagram stories a little too consistently for someone who claimed you were “dead” to them. You’re left wondering — are they hoping for contact? Are they relishing in seeing you struggle without them?

The answer is yes, more often than not, the narcissist will still keep an eye on you to some degree after they discarded you. So, what are some of the reasons for that?

The Ego Needs Its Supply

At the core, narcissists are driven by their endless need for narcissistic supply — that fuel that comes from being admired, worshipped and adored. When you were being love-bombed and idealized by them, you represented their source of supply. You constantly validated their false sense of grandiosity.

But then when the devaluation stage hit and you were cruelly discarded, the narcissist’s ego took a blow. Their main source of supply unceremoniously cut off. So what does the narcissistic mind do? It seeks to restart that supply, even if just by watching you to see if you’re still hung up on them.

Think of it like being an ex-smoker — the nicotine cravings don’t just vanish overnight. The narcissist’s addiction to your adoration is still there, simmering under the surface. Keeping tabs on your life is like looking at old pictures of their past drug. It gives them a little hit of that ‘beloved’ narcissistic supply they’re so sorely missing.

The Wound to Their False Self

But it goes even deeper than just narcissistic supply. The narcissist’s very core identity — that puffed up, grandiose false self — takes a massive wound when you left them. Their whole life is about maintaining that fabricated image of being flawless and superior.

When you chose to walk away and leave their fake world, it was like showing them their true self. Your rejection was a huge blow to their inflated ego and fake identity. It made them question everything they’ve tried so hard to create — a perfect illusion.

So they might keep an eye on your life not just to get attention, but also to avoid dealing with the impact of you leaving their fake world. If you seem stuck on them, still posting or talking about them, it supports their delusional self-image. As long as you appear to be caught in their trap, their false self can stay safely protected on intact.

Sadistic Tendencies at Play

For some toxic narcissists, there might also be a twisted pleasure in seeing you suffer after they discard you. Despite their arrogant exterior, narcissists often battle deep insecurity, jealousy, and anger. If they were the ones who discarded you first, it gives them a sense of power and control to be the one rejecting instead of the one being rejected. Seeing you fall into loneliness, depression, or desperation after they discard you feeds their sadistic desire to be the one in control, the tormentor holding all the power.

They might even create situations to see you at your lowest, not because they want you back, but because it satisfies their sadistic desire to see you broken without them. It’s disturbing, but unfortunately, it’s common in many narcissistic relationships.

The Hoover

Finally, the most common reason narcissists keep watchful eyes on their exes is to identify potential openings for a hoover attempt — their way of trying to suck you back into the trauma bond for another cycle of abuse.

Maybe they see you’re going through a rough patch financially or emotionally. Or maybe you made a sad social media post that signaled you’re feeling low. To the narcissist, this represents an opportunity to restart the mind game with their hoovering techniques.

They may initiate some sort of breadcrumb contact, like a vague text checking in on you “as a friend.” You’re in a vulnerable state missing them and the crumbs they throw may at times feel irresistible- after all who ‘doesn’t’ want to be ‘cared’ for or to be ‘hugged’. Their manipulation can begin anew as they try to lure you back into their distorted reality.

That’s why going full no contact after leaving a narcissist is so crucial. As long as any lines of communication remain open, directly or indirectly, they will try to find their way back into your life when you’re emotionally and mentally susceptible to falling for their twisted ploys.

The Best Path Forward

So in summary — yes, it’s extremely common for narcissists to still try to keep tabs on you for their own perverse reasons and ego preservation tactics. But the healthiest thing you can do is be the one to stop watching them.

Block them completely from your life and experiences. Avoid getting tempted to check up on them or falling for their attempts to draw you back in. Your complete disengagement and no contact send the strongest message — you’re no longer interested in being part of their games of deceit.

Focus on your own healing and rediscovering your true, authentic self. Let them deal with their own insecurity and inadequacy without you. The narcissist’s biggest fear is being deprived of attention, especially by an ex who is thriving and living their best life. So yes, they’re probably still watching you, but let that be their problem. By not giving them the satisfaction of keeping you trapped in their twisted mind games, you significantly weaken their hold over you.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns, then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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