In probing the phenomenon of narcissists re-emerging, it is essential to begin by contending with the situation’s inherent contextuality. We find ourselves confronting a variety of scenarios in which these individuals, whose self-regard often appears as boundless as the sea, might seek to re-establish connections or influence within the lives of those they have, for a time, forsaken. Let us consider some of the salient forms these reappearances may assume:
- The reappearance after an absence, a veritable re-entry, is not unlike the inexorable return of an undertow, dragging along with it a swathe of detritus from bygone tempests. Here, the narcissist often seeks to reassert dominance, to once again become the puppeteer of the vulnerable, plucking at heartstrings with a virtuoso’s precision. They manipulate, they exploit; they seek to mould their return to an emotional epicentre, to be both the tragic hero and the audience, the giver of validation and the recipient.
- Love-bombing or the act of “hoovering” is a particular performance in the narcissist’s repertoire, a symphony of excessive praise, fervent promises of transformation, and intense demonstrations of affection that flow as prodigiously as a waterfall after a rainstorm. But as the water cascades downward, so too does the narcissist seek to pull their erstwhile partner back into the depths of the relationship, to sate their thirst for control, even if only temporarily.
- The quest for a steady flow of admiration and validation can be likened to an insatiable river that carves its path through rock and earth, relentless and unstoppable. If a narcissist perceives a once-abundant source of sustenance slipping through their fingers like water, they may seek to reroute the stream, to manipulate, control, and reconnect, just as an engineer might seek to harness the power of a river for their own needs.
- There is an art to manipulation, and the narcissist is its most dedicated practitioner. With a skill set as varied as the hues on a painter’s palette, they employ guilt and gaslighting, exploit emotions, and craft narratives with the singular goal of breaking down resistance and boundaries, just as the ocean wears away at the shore. Their intent is always the same—to regain a position of power, to stand once again on the elevated pedestal from which they can orchestrate the world according to their whims.
In engaging with such an individual, one may find oneself traversing a labyrinth of convoluted emotions and manipulations. It is crucial, as one navigates this maze, to prioritise one’s mental and emotional well-being, to establish clear boundaries, to seek the counsel of trusted friends or family, and perhaps to consider the guidance of a therapist or counsellor. Like a traveller mapping uncharted territories, one must be prepared, cautious, and well-supported.