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What Happens When Your Narcissist Sees You Looking Good?

Reviewed by Karis A. Williams, MSMHC, LPC

Your narcissist has discarded you.  And they were not nice about it.  In the discard stage, the narcissist doesn’t just discard you–they must destroy you.  They cannot see any good thing in you that would make them want to spend time or effort on you.  And then…they notice that you are looking really good.

So, what happens when your narcissist sees you looking good?  First, they want to be seen with anyone that looks good because it makes them look good.  Suddenly, you’re worth pursuing again.  They’ll pretend nothing ever happened.  And they’ll expect you to ignore the past as well.  If you don’t respond favorably, they won’t understand why you wouldn’t just fall back into their arms.  And they’ll try harder.  Until they either get you back or realize it isn’t happening.  The ball is in your court.  But they want it in theirs.

Let’s take a closer look at everything that happens when your narcissist sees you looking good.

When Your Narcissist Sees You Looking Good, They Regret Discarding You

When your narcissist sees you looking good, they immediately regret that they discarded you.  They didn’t see your value for what it was because they were too distracted by what they hated about you.  And they needed to destroy you so they could move on to better narcissistic supply.

The problem for them is that once you started healing and looking better, they started remembering all of the good things they had with you.  And then they start realizing that maybe they let something really good go.  Except that they didn’t just let you go.  They tried to obliterate you.  Whatever they don’t love they hate.  There is no in-between.  There isn’t even apathy.

Once the narcissist realizes they have lost you, realize that they don’t regret the relationship they have lost.  They regret the source of really good supply that they lost.  And they realized that they made a whole lot more work for themselves.  If they had onlly stuck it out with you, they would have still been seen with someone who looks great, making them look great by association.  But when they let you go, they now have to start over in finding an acceptable source of supply.

On the flip side, now that you are free of your narcissist and looking and feeling much better from healing, your life should be looking better by the day!  Don’t fall for his love-bombing tactics to get you back under his thumb.  You found your way out–stay free!

When Your Narcissist Sees You Looking Good, They Want You Back

When your narcissist sees you looking good, they realize they took a lot for granted.  You gave them more than they could see because they were focused on the things they hated you and their need to discard you.  They acted hastily.  And now they want you back.

They will start to text you, “just checking in.”  And you may even feel like they are being kind and turning over a new leaf after such an ugly end to a relationship.  As they see you react to their texts, they will call a couple of times.  If you pick up and speak with them, they will offer to do things for you around the house.  Or be your helper in some other way.

The more you give in, the more they will love bomb you until you are back under their thumb.  And then, the gaslighting, projection, blame-shifting, judgment, and other narcissistic behaviors will be back in full force.  It is at this point you realize that you have been bamboozled right back into the relationship you had before.

When Your Narcissist Sees You Looking Good, They Will Expect You to Return to Them

I truly don’t expect this aspect of narcissism.  But the minute your narcissist sees you looking good, they will assume that you did it for them.  They will think you did whatever you could to get them back because they see themselves as such a catch.  And if you tell them it wasn’t for them, they won’t believe you.  That is because they know that they will never tell you what is deep down in their heart, so they expect you are doing the same thing with them.  It is projection at its worst.

You need to maintain incredibly strong boundaries through this time.  If you are not sure how to do this, or how to do this well, you need to get a copy of the book, Boundaries, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.  It literally changed my world because I thought it was wrong to have boundaries with my husband.  I thought that I owed him every part of me.  That is not how Biblical marriage works.

Even better was that I did this book with a few friends that were struggling with similar issues.  If you know of someone who understands what is going on and has been a safe place for you to share, see if they will work through this book with you.  You will be amazed at the clarity that you both will discover together.  And you will both have an accountability partner to help you grow emotionally healthy in all of your relationships going forward.

When Your Narcissist Sees You Looking Good, They Will Want Control Back

When your narcissist sees you looking good and they realize you aren’t instantly falling back into their life, they will realize that they have lost control.  And they will want it back.  The most important thing to the narcissist is their need for control.  When they are the ones in control, they can control the level of narcissistic supply they receive.  On the flip side, when they lose control, not only do they lose the ability to control the level of narcissistic supply, they pretty much lose the whole source of supply.  That is unbearable to them.

My ex-husband used to perceive affirmation and praise as critical to life as much as breathing itself.  Not only did he need a constant supply of accolades, he needed to know he was in total control.  That included throughout the separation and divorce and both with me and our children.  He repeatedly told us that he was the leader of our home, even though he was no longer in the home.

Unfortunately for him, he learned otherwise in court, where the judge told him that he had ruined his family with religion and control.

When Your Narcissist Sees You Looking Good, They Will be Jealous

When you narcissist sees you looking good and he realizes he isn’t going to get you back, they will become very jealous.  They think that you owe them.  And because they saw you as their property for so long, their mind doesn’t get why they can’t just have the new improved you.

Much of this mentality stems from you giving them whatever they wanted when you were in relationship.  Of course, as a loving and kind person, you did many things to make them happy and please them.  And each time you did that, they became a bit more entitled.  Until it was all about them and no you left, except for what they expected you to be for them.

They may also be jealous that you were able to lose weight or otherwise improve yourself in a noticeable way but they have not.  They may feel stuck in a rut.  Or they may just not be able to get the results they desire.

You may be associating with a new circle of friends, coworkers, neighbors or anyone that you narcissist may perceive as more successful than themselves.  They become jealous because they are devastated that you moved on and found something “better.”  And it may very well be better for you.  Because now you are no longer under the control of your narcissist.  And he realizes it as much as  you do.

While these forms of jealousy are pretty typical for the narcissist that has lost his best source of supply, the narcissist can be jealous about just about anything or nothing at all.  He has likely almost always been a jealous person in some ways.


Often, when the victim of narcissism comes out of the abusive relationship, they make healthy life changes that cause them to look much better than they did before.  Their face exudes peace and calm.  They walk taller.  Maybe they have lost some weight, or gained it if they had difficulty eating during the relationship.  Regardless of what causes them to look better, the narcissist realizes it and expects to be able to “cash in” on it.

When they realize that isn’t going to happen, they tend to act out in all kinds of narcissistic ways.  And they become very jealous of what they think should still be theirs.

You may be wondering if this is what is wrong with your relationship.  If you aren’t sure, I can recommend a perfect book to help you find out the nature of your relationship as well as what to do going forward whether your relationship is abusive or not.  The name of the book is The Emotionally Destructive Marriage for couples or The Emotionally Destructive Relationship for any other relationship.  Both books were written by Leslie Vernick and both are incredibly amazing.

I thought for sure that she had been in my house watching me for years because of how well she could describe the things that I had been through.  Her wisdom in how to handle a difficult as well as destructive relationship is incredible.  It was one of the first books I read in counseling and it is one of my three all time favorite books.  Click on them below to learn more.

Did you emerge from a relationship with a narcissist and begin looking really good?  Did your narcissist try to reel you back in when they realized how much better you had become?  How did they do this?  I would love to hear your story.  Please feel free to share below, or if you don’t feel safe commenting in a public forum, feel free to contact me here.

Blessings and hugs,


If you found this article valuable, I think you will also find the following articles valuable:

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Does Narcissism Worsen With Age?

Does a Narcissist Realize What They’ve Lost?

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Can a Narcissist be a Good Mother?

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How Can You Tell if Someone is a Religious Narcissist?


Can Two Narcissists be in Relationship With Each Other?

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When Narcissism Becomes Pathological

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What to do When Your Narcissist Threatens You

The Bible Used as a Weapon Against You:  You Can Overcome! 

What Does the Bible Say About Abusive Husbands?

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Narcissistic Behavior:  What to Look Out For


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How to Heal From a Spiritual Narcissist

Can You Maintain a Relationship With a Spiritual Narcissist? 

Can Narcissists Have a Spiritual Awakening?

How Will God Judge a Narcissist?

When the Church Says to Move Back in With Your Narcissist


What Can we Say to a Christian Friend Who’s Divorcing?

Why Does God Hate Divorce? 

12 Ways the Church Helps Narcissists Abuse Their Victims

When Your Church Believes the Narcissist’s Lies

23 Reasons Why Narcissists are Drawn to the Church

What Does the Spiritual Narcissist do When You try to Leave?


When the Church Doesn’t Recognize Narcissistic Abuse

Will the Church Support Divorcing a Narcissist?

Are Narcissists Demon Possessed?

What Does the Bible say About Narcissism?


Can a Narcissist be a Christian?

Can a Spiritual Narcissist Heal?

What is Spiritual Narcissism?

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Hi! I am the founder of Navigating Religious Narcissism after being raised under a narcissistic mother and married to a narcissistic man for 31 years. It is my prayer that I can be as valuable on your journey to healing and peace as were so many who crossed my path of healing.

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