Post-breakup Clinging: Is Your Ex A Narcissist, Or A Downright Psychopath?
“Let’s stay friends”. You’ve probably told this to at least some of your ex-boyfriends, haven’t you? And indeed, today it is not unusual for couples who, for some reason or another, have decided to walk on their separate ways, to start what psychologists and marriage counsellors call a “post-breakup relationship”.
It seems like a bad idea to start a post-breakup relationship with your ex and it’s hard to understand why anyone would be dragging on with it. Other bad ideas include calling him for a drink after work, messaging on Facebook to check up on him, and especially sleeping with him occasionally.
The reasons for this are numerous. Hard as it may seem to you to let go completely, you should really give both of you a chance to move on. However much you may want to remain in touch with your ex just to see how he’s doing without you, I encourage you to try to resist this urge of unhealthy curiosity. Unfortunately, there are some far more serious, even sinister reasons why you should sometimes keep your ex boyfriend at bay.
Ripleys are around us
You’ve probably watched The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), starring Matt Damon as Tom Ripley, and Catch Me If You Can (2002), starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Abagnale Jr. If you have, then you probably liked the films, owing mostly to the brilliant acting on the part of both Damon and DiCaprio.
Have you ever asked yourself, however, what it is really like to be in a relationship with a real Tom Ripley or Frank Abagnale? The perspective looks a bit scary, right? You do not need a degree in psychology to figure out that both characters show strong narcissistic and psychopathic character trends.
Both Tom Ripley or Frank Abagnale are smooth talkers and easily charm men and women alike. At the same time, they have little to no capacity to feel. In their everyday life narcissists and psychopaths emulate the behaviors of those around them in order to fit in and find their next victim.
If you’ve broken up with your ex because he’d been showing some narcissistic or psychopathic behaviors, you definitely must not try to remain on friendly terms with him. This is because he will almost certainly start manipulating you and taking advantage of you as much as he can.
You, your boyfriend and his enormous ego
If there’s one thing that sets narcissists and psychopaths apart from normal guys, this is their huge ego. Self-centered and egocentric as they are, these individuals enter in relationships so as to suck in their girlfriend’s vital energy, and channel it to feed their bombastic ego.
And when you decide to put an end to your relationship with such a guy, chances are that he’ll start clinging onto you in every possible way you can imagine. He simply can’t accept the fact that he’s going to lose you.
But that’s not because he loves you, or anything of that nature. He just regards you as one of his valuable possessions that he is not ready to part with.
At the beginning of the end of your relationship, he’ll probably start blaming you for everything that isn’t working in it, while in fact it is most probably his fault that things have started falling apart between the two of you. Yet, the more worthless he makes you feel, the bigger his ego grows.
As the distance between you widens, you should get ready for some more aggressive tactics from him. After all, you’ve until recently been his emotional lifeline, so he’s not going to let you walk out of his life so easily. Because of their manipulative and vindictive nature, narcissists and psychopaths simply can’t deal with rejection the way normal guys do. Instead, they immediately switch to attacking mode.
When a clinging ex-boyfriend becomes the perfect stalker
The problem with clinging ex-boyfriends is that they are very persistent in their actions. It is their perseverance that gradually turns these guys from clingy ex-boyfriends into perfect stalkers. They are likely to keep checking on you from a safe distance long after you’ve officially put an end to your relationship.
From their perspective, trying to weasel their way back into your life isn’t stalking. As they see it, they are just trying to make you realize the mistake you’ve made when you ditched them. According to the US National Center for Victims of Crime, stalking is described as “a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person fear”.
The problem is that every state seems to have a different understanding as to what “reasonable fear” means. Worse still, in some developing countries such behavior has not even been criminalized at all.
Also, as I mentioned above that narcissists and psychopaths are very good at deceiving and manipulating people, you ex-boyfriend will probably convince the law-enforcers that he has never meant to harm you in any way. For them, that’s usually enough.
Indeed, it is not physical harm that a psychopath or a narcissist is usually after. It is psychological pressure that they seek to exert on their victims, pulling down their defensive barriers one by one. When you confront a narcissist or a psychopath with rejection, they’ll find a way to be around you, no matter if you like it or not.
How to deal with your stalking ex-boyfriend
If your ex has been acting clingy, chances are that he’ll lose interest and give it up after a month or two. That’s unless he’s got some narcissistic or psychopathic character traits, or both. In this case, you’ve got a cunning stalker on your hands and here’s how you can fight back.
Cut off communication channels
This involves unfriending him on Facebook, blocking his primary email address, as well as severing ties with him on all other social networks, chat platforms or mobile applications. If you’ve got common friends, call them up and inform them of the latest developments between you and him.
If they take his side, stop communicating with them either. You may need to tweak your Facebook privacy settings so that your common friends see less feedback from you. That way your ex-boyfriend will also see less from you.
Do not give in to his charms and disarming behaviors
When your narcissistic and psychopathic ex decides it’s time to get you back in his life, he’s going to play his cards in the best possible way, and won’t stop until he’s got you back in his arms once more. This is a way to show himself how good he is in his own wicked game.
You, however, must never give in to their advances. Do not accept their invitations for a cup of coffee on a sunday afternoon, or a drink after work. Whatever you do, you must never let him come back for a second round. Once you find a safe way out of his web of lies, burn all bridges and don’t look back in anger. Slam the door and lock it!
Record all instances of stalking
I know how stressful and traumatizing dealing with a stalker may be. At the same time you should try to pull yourself together and keep as calm as possible. So as to facilitate the work of the law enforcers on your case, try to meticulously record all instances of stalking on his part.
If he’s been calling you in the middle of the night, try to pen down the exact time of the phone call, as well as its duration. If he’s been calling you from a hidden number, do not hesitate to reach out to your mobile operator and ask them for assistance.
If he’s been pestering you with corny emails, or harassing you online in any other email, you must not delete the chats or emails, nor should you try to forget about the incident. Instead, you should immediately save the abusive content you’ve received from him onto your hard drive or a USB memory stick.
Then, you should print out a paper copy of the most relevant excerpts of information, and never delete the original message. Remember that all of this can one day be used as evidence in court.
Final words on clinging boyfriends, narcissists, psychopaths and stalkers
In this article I have tried to highlight the most common reasons for post-breakup clinging by linking it to some narcissistic and psychopathic traits of your ex-boyfriend’s character. Now that you’ve read it through, I hope you are better prepared as to what behavior you may expect from him in the weeks, months and even the years after your separation.
I have also emphasized the link between the narcissistic and psychopathic features mentioned above and the vicious practice of stalking. Hard as it is to admit, stalking can sometimes linger on for many years after you’ve parted ways with your clingy boyfriend.
To end it on a positive note, I must say that although there are Tom Ripleys and Frank Abagnales around us, they aren’t that many. And if you ever meet one, now you know how you should defend yourself!