Collapsed Narcissist

I learned a new term today: Collapsed narcissist.

The idea behind the term is not new to me, I just didn’t know the phrase. Kind of like learning my dad’s brand of being an asshole had the name “malignant narcissism”.

My brain insists on spelling out “malignant narcissism” to the tune of the Oscar Mayer bologna song. 

A collapsed narcissist is a malignant narcissist who has had their narcissistic supply cut off, been irrefutably found out in a lie, or didn’t get what they wanted.

The narcissist maintains thoughts and beliefs to protect their broke ass center and fragile labyrinth of self delusions and lies. They insist they are strong and others around them are weak. They are not strong, but are unreliable, erratic, immature, and angry. When they collapse, the narcissistic shrapnel can be devastating.

A malignant narcissist works hard at projecting an image of perfection.

Good looks, power, money, and worthy of worship. Not all narcissists have the same goal. Perhaps, a narcissist wants to be the most successful collapsed narcissistperson at their country club, or being the biggest bad ass on the block, or the most revered soccer mom. Regardless of the pedestal they place themselves on, sooner or later, the pedestal becomes unstable and unable to bear the narcissist’s weight.

When the foundation grows unstable, the mask slips.

This is when we see the monster behind the mask.

This is when we learn the breathtaking and undeniable truth: a malignant narcissist will lash out with any tool at their disposal. They don’t feel empathy or remorse and vengeance becomes their only goal. Plus, they are unencumbered by thoughts of decency and morality.

When the narcissist collapses, they become the victim.

Their paranoia ramps up and they turn up the gas on their gaslighting efforts. The mental gymnastics, they are willing to engage in to support why they are being done wrong, are exhausting and frightening to behold. They never, regardless of consequences to themselves or others, admit that they played any part in how they are “wronged”.

When the mask slips, the narcissist makes less of an effort to hide their toxicity.

They have gone into self preservation mode, they feel like the victim, and they are without empathy. They feel they earned the ugliness inside them because the ugliness was given to them by society or bosses or lovers, or whoever their villains.

This is dangerous.

This is the part where you disengage, separate yourself from the narcissist, and go full “no-contact”.

The narcissist can’t be helped by you.

They can’t be saved. If running away and not looking back is an option, then pick that goddamn option.

As if that’s not enough, “no-contact” isn’t an option for humanity right now, is it? I was going to say for Americans, but that isn’t true at all. The whole world is affected by the orange psycho puff in the oval office.

We are seeing his mask slip. He’s given up his feeble attempts at masking his racism and bigotry. He revels in poisoning all he can poison.

Here’s what I mean. The more he is “found out” the more likely he is to burn down what he can.

He hates himself and projects that self hate onto all of us. Why would he care what happens to people if he hates them?

I want to see an end to this as much as anyone else. I just think we need to brace ourselves because I don’t think we’ve seen the worst yet. What is coming will be worse.

All is not lost, though. Not by a damn sight.

This one man and his corrupt party might have more cards, but they still work for us. We still have our voices and our votes. We have walking shoes if we must take to the streets and there are millions and millions of us who have been called to activism.

A collapsed narcissist is a scary sight.

One collapsing in front of the world is terrifying.

We have each other, though. Be brave. Love each other. Do the right thing, even if no one else ever knows about it. Be kind when you are tired and cranky. Forgive yourself when you are not and resolve to do better.

Do not give up hope and never give up the fight.

I believe there is light at the end of this tunnel. I just don’t believe we are at the darkest spot yet.

Laugh as much as you can. Seek out stories of hope and bravery and love. Find comfort when you need comfort and cry when you need to cry.

But don’t give up hope. We are all in this together. I am holding your hand and I feel you holding mine. We can’t underestimate that strength.

We are not alone.

We are a blizzard.

We are not collapsed.



Photo by Noah4ever



Add your comments below. Profanity is encouraged, but not required. ;)
  1. OMG another amazing piece. I lived with a one for ten years. When I finally managed to leave it was both the best and the worst thing I ever did. I was punished beyond measure for years.
    We survive, we resist and we pay.
    Love you.

    • Michelle says:

      Thank you so much. I am so sorry you went through that. It is a nightmare. I was lucky. My dad had a heart episode which left him mildly brain damaged and mostly quiet. Had that not happened, my adult life would have been much worse.

  2. Renee Bell says:

    Thank you, that’s all, just my heartfelt thank you for what you write and how it makes me laugh and say fuck yeah,

  3. Thank you for this. I’m sorry your knowledge of this toxic condition is so painfully first-hand, but you’re helping all of us by sharing. I fear for what we’re collectively about to experience. I have hope that we’ll get through it together. Happy New Year, my girl!

    • Michelle says:

      Happy new year to you, too! XOXOX

      We will get through it. Not everyone, but most of us. We just have to hold on to each other, remember to be kind and fight on the side of right no matter what.

  4. Lisa K says:

    Is it just me, or has it been way too quiet this week?
    YOU are the story of hope and bravery and love that I seek out.
    Thanks for making it such a good find <3

  5. Katy says:

    I’m terrified about 2018. I want to see him unmasked (and honestly, humiliated) but I’m scared shitless about the consequences. And I have to remember something I learned in 2017 – 30% of this country are genuinely evil and awful people. I never believed that before but I do know. We’re going to need to be strong in 2018.

    • Michelle says:

      I am terrified as well. There is good reason to be. But we are strong and they are weak. There is no strength in narcissism. We will prevail. Here..hold my hand.

  6. Donna says:

    Thank you. I want to have hope. I want this all to be over NOW.

  7. Renee says:

    OMG! Thank you as always for your insight and hope…you are a shining beacon in our moments of darkness…and you just described someone else I know…my youngest daughters soon to be ex husband…I never thought of him as being narcissistic, but you described him to a tee… <3

  8. Harry says:

    I’m reminded of two things:

    1. Richard Nixon, after his 1962 California gubernatorial defeat, spouting “You don’t have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore!” at a press conference, basically casting himself as the victim; and

    2. Addict logic. I’ve struggled with this, and it’s horrible from the inside, because basically every brain cell, everything that is clever about a person, goes into trying to justify why the addiction should be caved to one more time. A person can outsmart themself back into engaging in the bad habit and, in a kind of cognitive dissonance, totally justify anything to get there.

    It seems like the best we can hope for in such a situation is something like Nixon’s “Yeah? Well, I didn’t want to play with you guys anyway!” as he picks up his toys and goes home. That’s probably the exception, though.

    • Michelle says:

      If he DOES pick up his toys and go home, it will be under a whirlwind of words proclaiming he already won and there is nothing else for him to do..blah blah blah. It won’t be his fault, though.

  9. Laurie says:

    Currently, in the amidst of dealing with some of this behavior. Walking on eggshells and slowly setting boundaries. Appreciate your insight, Michelle.

    • Michelle says:

      Be careful, my friend. This is a minefield. Good luck. If you need to vent, please feel free to contact me through my contact page. I am always here to listen.

  10. Elizabeth Goodman says:

    It’s taken me most of a year to get over the election. That’s probably reasonable since I was married to a narcissist for 25 years. I think that 2018 will be rough, but it’ll get better.

    I’m starting to wonder if my ex is on the verge of a big collapse. I’ve been no-contact for about 2 years and he decided to “reach out” on Christmas Eve. I got 2 sentences in and quit reading the page-long letter because he started blaming me for the end of our marriage in the second sentence. Never mind that we’ve been divorced for nearly 7 years and he has since married again.

    Thanks for writing about the collapsed narcissist. It’s helpful for me to think of the ex as collapsing instead of malignant.

  11. Haralee says:

    Great insights into this problem that impacts all of us!

  12. BarbaraM says:

    This makes my heart hurt for you and your other fellow sufferers. 2018 scares the crap out of any thinking person – it’s the ones who don’t think, just follow the party line that makes me picture ‘the end of the world as we know it’. Please, everyone have as wonderful a New Year as possible!

  13. Doug in Oakland says:

    Damn, Michelle… The Oscar Meyer Bologna song? That shit is straight up brilliant.
    It has been hard to keep up with the mountain of filth that our executive and legislative branches of government have become under Republican control, and yes, the 2018 elections are frightening as hell, but get this: That is a good thing. The fright will keep us focused on what is looking to be a classic wave election, and we need to stay focused because they cheat. We won the Virginia house of delegates by ten points overall, and barely broke even. Control of the chamber will be decided by one contested vote. Not one percentage point, one actual ballot that was marked for both candidates.
    Your vote fucking matters.
    And I feel for you and everyone else with anxiety issues during this dark time of what Blue Gal is calling “legislative terrorism”.
    I am actually hopeful at this point, and yes, some of that is relief that they are so incompetent that they have failed at most of their attacks on us, but reality is still as real as ever, despite what their propaganda might want us to believe, and reality and history are pointing toward us having a good election next year.
    Now let me rant about why I believe that is so:
    Women. Black women in particular. Melissa Harris Perry did a podcast where she noted that she wasn’t surprised when Fergus won the election last year. She said that she studies political science, and historically, white women vote their race, not their gender.
    We are seeing a swing away from that right now, and that makes sense: Above both race and gender in the minds of women are their children, who have been relentlessly attacked by Republican policies since, well forever, but very publicly since January.
    Also, there’s something I’m getting a good laugh about going on: Republicans win elections when the turnout is low, so they have been doing everything they can to suppress it. In Alabama, where black people are only 27% of the population, those black people were able to swing the senate race by turning out in high numbers, in a state that’s 75% Republican.
    So yes, let’s keep at it, and hold each other up in the hard times. Remember, we’re the ones who do that, and just that bit of human decency gives us an advantage in the long run.
    As for the narcs, your experience with them gives you a highly important skill set right now, and I’m so, so, sorry that you have it, but at least you do.
    Your description of them reminds me of a Meat Puppets song I really like called “I Can’t Be Counted On” that injects a little humor into their toxic shenanigans:

  14. Incredibly well written, and very, very necessary right now! It’s a scary time, but we are strong. We will pull through, together. <3

  15. Alana says:

    You and others who have been through this hell will be the ones pulling the rest of us through. I grew up among Holocaust survivors; I have been terrified since November of 2016. There is a part of me saying “in some ways, this will make us a better country in the end” but first, we’d better hope we don’t wake up one day in the middle of “it will get worse before it gets better”.

    • Michelle says:

      I think it WILL make us a better country. But that isn’t going to happen without pain. We just have to remember that we are not alone. It’s going to be okay.

  16. As I write this the news is on in the background: a story about volunteers checking on the elderly and poor during the cold weather.
    That and your words remind me there is still goodness and compassion in the world. Sometimes all it takes is being willing to make that connection with others. Thank you for extending a helpful hand.

  17. KK says:

    That eloquently described the final few months with my ex husband, and the striking similarity between his behaviour and President Cheeto has worried me for some time. I had little interest in Melania. However, now I feel nothing but pity for her, as I see someone who is as trapped as I was but worse still, she is a prisoner in plain sight of the whole world. I see an utterly miserable bird in a gilded cage.

  18. I never heard of “collapsed narcissist” before. Yes, some people want to see perfection in every task.

  19. Emily says:

    My daughter became a malignant narcissist, courtesy (I think) of addiction. Her father is one…we’ve been divorced for decades. His second wife is a lunatic, with all her hatred aimed at me. I have barely spoken a dozen words to her, ever, so I suspect my ex has been torturing her with tales about me. He did that kind of thing to keep me uneasy. Sorry to rattle on. I think of my daughter, now lost to me, and worry incessantly about how much of this I caused.

    • Michelle says:

      Please don’t apologize, you are welcome to speak here all you want. I am so sorry about this. I wish there was something I could say to help you feel better. Please try to not worry about what you caused, life happens and we don’t get to control other people. I am sending you my peaceful thoughts. xo

  20. Onlyme says:

    Stopping by after the party is over, as usual, but just want to echo what others have said about how very well written this is. And to say that, sadly, in the week since you posted it, things have indeed gotten worse with the orange psycho puff in DC. OMG, I am terrified for 2018. I am terrified for our beautiful planet. And for the millions of people who will surely die if this maniac keeps up his selfish, bombastic, childish, inane and completely unpresidential behavior.

  21. Elizabeth says:

    Yes Michelle, we ARE in this together. I have been fortunate enough to collapse one of these shitbags myself. Quite satisfying. We can all fight them together.