As hard as it is to deal with a narcissist, leaving a narcissist can be just as difficult.
During the relationship, the narcissist behaved in certain ways to ensure that you would become dependent on them to the point where you lost all confidence in living life on your own.
They purposely confused you through tactics such as gaslighting and love-bombing. They cut off your support system and forced you to turn to them for guidance and affection.
So if you ever beat yourself up for not leaving sooner, now you know why it is so difficult to get out. It’s not because you are weak or stupid – it’s because they carefully created a situation that made it near impossible to leave.
But it’s not impossible! Leaving a narcissist or divorcing a narcissist is completely doable but you have to approach the situation with caution.
Here are some things you need to take into consideration when it comes to leaving a narcissist:
Leaving a Narcissist: Knowing It’s Time to Go
Victims of narcissistic abuse don’t live in a fantasy world where they truly believe that everything is perfect. While they may excuse the narcissist’s behavior or try to fix things, there’s no denying that the relationship is bad.
Oftentimes, the struggle lies in determining the breaking point. When do you reach the “enough is enough” stage and start to take action in leaving the narcissist?
When I was in a relationship with my narcissistic ex, I became pregnant. I knew even up until that point that the relationship was toxic but he thwarted every effort I had to break up.
Honestly, it got to the point where I did not have the mental strength to kick him out so I resolved to keep him around – it seemed easier at the time.
After I found out I was pregnant, I gave him an ultimatum: Either you pull up your socks and put effort into the relationship or I would leave.
We had an argument about something stupid that snowballed into threats and aggressive behavior. It was then that I said, “Enough is enough,” and I left.
However, you may not have that “A-Ha” moment but there are plenty of other signs you can look for to tell that it’s time to pack up and go:
- You have a gut feeling that the relationship isn’t “right” but nothing you do is making the situation better.
- You excuse what the narcissist does and defend them to other people.
- You are burning yourself out trying to give the narcissist love and support in hopes that they will change.
- You walk on eggshells and are scared to make a mistake because you are afraid you’ll anger your partner.
- The narcissist never takes any responsibility for the way they treat and hurt you.
- You are turning into an anxious and angry person that you don’t recognize.
- They have cut you off from friends and family so you feel alone.
- You exist in a constant state of stress.
The most important thing about leaving a narcissist is not waiting for things to get “better” because they never will. In fact, they will progressively get worse.
So if you have recognized that your relationship is toxic to the point that it’s ruining your life and mental state, it’s time to start your preparations to leave.
Prepare To Leave
While you can certainly walk out on the narcissist if you absolutely need to, I would definitely recommend you don’t if you can help it. Narcissists are vindictive and aggressive and they will lash out at you for leaving.
If the situation is safe enough for you to prepare, please do so. Here are some steps you can follow:
- Talk to a lawyer, especially if you have kids together. You will need to sort out custody and access so it’s best to get the ball rolling as soon as possible.
- Have a safe place to go. This can be with a friend, a family member, or even a shelter. Try to find a place that the narcissist doesn’t know.
- Tell someone you trust about your plan to leave. You need someone else to be aware of the situation in case things go south
- Set yourself up financially however you can. Look into social assistance programs if you need to or consider getting a job if you don’t already have one.
Basically, you want to have everything ready so that you can walk right out the door and into a safe situation.
However, if the situation with the narcissist is abusive and you feel you are in danger, leave right away and go to the police.
Break-Up Via Text Message or Leave a Note
Don’t worry about etiquette when it comes to breaking the news to the narcissist! The last thing you need is to deal with their reaction face-to-face.
They are either going to get extremely mad or extremely “apologetic” and further confuse you in order to convince you to stay.
Send them a short text that clearly states that you are leaving. Don’t offer an explanation and don’t express any emotion.
Nothing you say will register with them anyway, apart from the fact that you are breaking up. So just stick to the facts.
When I left my ex, I simply packed up my stuff and moved out while I was at work. When he arrived home, the message was loud and clear.
Prepare For The Aftermath
The narcissist is not going to be happy when you break up with them. They will see it as an act of defiance and a personal attack – and they can become aggressive and even violent.
Expect to be threatened in some capacity. When I broke up with my narcissistic ex, I was constantly harassed as were my friends and family.
Contact the police and file a report. While they may not be able to do much, having it reported will help them track a pattern if the harassment escalates.
(Also, make sure you keep a record of what they are saying to you. After you leave the narcissist, keep all communication in writing – don’t answer phone calls and don’t speak with them face-to-face. If you end up in court, whether for custody or to divorce a narcissist, this can all be used as evidence.)
Don’t tell them where you are staying and, if you have children together, meet in public places to exchange them for visitation. If possible, have someone come with you and don’t engage in any conversation with the narcissist (stick to need-to-know information about the kids).
In fact, from here on out you should only contact them in regards to your children through written means. Don’t share anything about your life and don’t ask about theirs. This will help you better separate from the narcissist and get on with your life.
Take Care Of Yourself
After leaving a narcissist, you will feel extremely hurt and confused. You may find yourself wondering what more you could have done to make the relationship work.
This is why keeping a journal is helpful. Take some time to write down exactly why you left them so you can remind yourself of the toxic situation you were in.
Narcissistic abuse also strips you of your sense of self and healing from that abuse involves finding yourself again. Be sure to focus on your self-care and open yourself to doing the things you used to enjoy doing.
Lastly, there’s nothing wrong with seeking professional help. Trying to make sense of what you went through can be difficult and talking to someone can help you gain clarity and heal.
You Can Leave a Narcissist
Although narcissists trap you in a relationship, that doesn’t mean you are stuck and can’t leave.
Even if you don’t think you have the strength to leave, you have the ability to take the necessary steps to end the relationship and begin to repair your life.
Sometimes it’s just a matter of taking one step at a time and learning that getting away is possible.
I, unfortunately, did not have this sort of guideline when I left my narcissistic ex. In the course of one day, I decided it was time to go, packed my stuff, and left. I had no idea what to expect afterward.
Now that you know how to prepare to leave a narcissist and deal with the aftermath, it’s time to start getting your ducks in a row and peacing out of a garbage relationship.
You deserve better!
Are you stuck in a relationship with a narcissist? What is stopping you from leaving? Let us know in the comments below!
And check out my Facebook support group for those dealing with narcissists for more tips and advice!