If you are at the point in your relationship with a narcissist where you are ready to get out and escape the terror in which you have been living, you probably have a million different things running through your mind. How do you end it? How do you move forward? What is the next step you should take? You’re probably feeling scared and powerless. The narcissist has set up the perfect situation for themselves so that they feel constantly in control of you and the relationship. This has probably caused you to feel absolutely defeated. You’ve been living in hell and are probably thinking that leaving them will be impossible and maybe not even worth it. Although difficult, there is a way to do so and it is most definitely worth it. You will have your life back. If you utilize the proper resources, you will be able to have a life that has felt beyond your wildest dreams since entering the relationship with the narcissist.
Remember that you’re dealing with someone who has no inner sense of value- someone who has to to derive all of their value from the external in the form of what we call narcissistic supply. Narcissistic supply can be anything that feeds their ego. They survive off of this and will go absolutely crazy if they see a supply source walking out the door. If and when they do, I relate their response to that of a two year old that is having a temper tantrum. If a toddler wants to get something from their parents they may fall to the floor, they may cry, they may scream, they may rage, they may throw things. They are essentially testing their parents and to see if they respond accordingly and to see if they will give them what it is that they want. If the parents give in to the child, they’ll know what they need to do to get what they want the next time.
This is similar to what you’ll see with a narcissist if they get the idea that you’re wanting to leave or about to leave. You’re going to trigger that narcissistic rage and things will probably seem to get worse before they get better. It’s important to remember that narcissists are always the worst right before they’re ready to give up.
When you decide you want to end the relationship and escape from them, you are going to have to be extremely careful, purposeful, and deliberate in planning your exit.
No more chances.
You are going to want to commit to yourself that you will not give them any more chances. They’ve had their chance, in fact, they’ve had several chances to correct their behavior. They can’t and they won’t. You must decide that you are absolutely done and commit to this decision.
Do not tell them you are leaving.
Once you decide you want out, you mustn’t tell them explicitly or even give them a hint of what you are planning to do. You must first create your plan and then execute it. If they get the idea that you are planning on leaving, they will do everything they can to make this process an absolute living hell for you. They will try to thwart your effort and foil your plans. They will try to love bomb you, guilt you, or threaten and intimidate you. It’s already been a hard enough decision to leave in the first place, letting them know will make this decision infinitely harder for you to execute your plans and stick to your decision. Do not tell them you are leaving.
Make copies of all important documents
Upon deciding that you want to leave, you are going to want to start collecting and copying any and all important documents. For those of you that aren’t the monied spouse or in control of your finances, this might be a longer process. You’ll want to make copies of the documents so you do not alarm your narcissist partner. Taking them might make them suspicious if they notice their absence. The types of documents you will want are tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements, deeds, prenuptial agreements, and other things of that nature.
Stash your cash.
You’re going to want to have at least three months worth of cash so that your lawyer will have an opportunity to set a hearing and get you temporary support if you are the non-moneyed spouse. You will also want to have enough cash to hire a lawyer. As soon as you decide you want to exit the relationship, you are going to want to start stashing your cash. You can do this by selling things that won’t go unnoticed by your spouse. You can take small amounts of money out at the grocery store over a period of time. There are several creative ways in which you can make small amounts of money over a period of time. Once you have the minimum amount of cash banks require of you to set up a bank account, you will want to do this. You will want to set up a bank account in your own name at a bank your spouse does not use. You may even want to reach out to family members and friends to lend you money if you fall short on the amount you might need. The sooner you get on top of this, the more financially prepared you will be for leaving the narcissist.
If you are in an abusive situation, report what has happened to you as soon as possible. If you have a therapist, you should report it to your therapist. If there is a child involved, you may want to report it to the Department of Family and Child Services. If you are a part of a church or religious group, you should report it to your spiritual mentor. You should report any physical or sexual abuse to the police as well. Tell trusted family members and friends of your experience. If you need to, you can always go to a domestic violence shelter as well. Don’t be silent about what you’re experiencing, there are resources and people out there that will want to help you. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for more resources and support at 1-800-799-7233.
Change your passwords and log out of any devices
When you are ready to actually leave the relationship, make sure you have logged out of any and all accounts on any and all devices. Remember to do so on the “cloud” as well. I’ve had clients who’ve been in situations where they didn’t realize that the iPad they left at home was connected to iCloud. So, their spouse had access to any information that was on her iCloud. Be sure to change all of your passwords once you’ve logged out. When you leave, you will want to block them on all communication methods including social media. You will also want to block their flying monkeys. If you are deciding to hire an attorney, make sure to create a secure email as this will be how you and you will be communicating with them. All of these things will ensure your privacy and your safety during the process of leaving the narcissist.
Check for tracking devices
Once you leave the narcissist, you will want to check for any tracking devices. You will want to check all of your tech devices. You will also want to check your car. This is especially important if you are dealing with a malignant narcissist as they have a tendency to track and stalk their victims.
Don’t give into their attempts to get you back
They may start to do the things that they did to get you into their web of control in the first place. They will most likely try and love bomb you. Do not listen to any of their attempts at flattery or getting you back. Close your ears. It’s a trick. It will only suck you back in and make this inevitable process even longer and harder for you. This is also sometimes called hoovering.
Reconnect with family and friends.
It is important that you reconnect with trusted family members and friends as soon as you decide you want to leave. Make sure not to tell anyone that might be connected to your narcissist in any way. You are going to need a support system as you go through this process. In addition, seek out a neutral third-party person that you can talk to as well. This can be a therapist, a counselor, or a clergyman. You don’t have to go through this alone and there are tons of resources available for people going through what you are going through. Utilize these resources and reconnect with your loved ones that you might have distanced yourself from.
Disconnect from all toxic personalities
In addition to regaining a support system, you will want to disconnect and distance yourself from any toxic personalities. You are starting on a new path that will be incredibly difficult. You will want your life to be filled with prosperity and light once you are done with this process. It is important to disconnect with your narcissist, their flying monkeys, and anyone who isn’t going to be helpful or a positive addition to your life.
Upon leaving, you have to stay away. Going no contact is the only way you will be able to fully disconnect from the narcissist and begin a new life for yourself. It will be tempting to go back to them, even to just have a conversation for “closure.” This will not be helpful. Be firm in your decision and completely remove them from your life. This will allow you to heal properly and open yourself up to positive things in your life.
Learn about narcissism.
Learning about narcissism is one of the best ways to truly understand what it is you have been dealing with and how exactly you should move forward. There are so many incredible resources that are out there. Utilize them. Utilize this channel and other experts out there that are ready and willing to share their knowledge with you. It’s really important for you to understand the pathology and psychology of narcissism so you can do what you need to do to negotiate with them and get away from them as unscathed as possible. If you do not understand them, you will not be able to do this for yourself. If you try to, it will just leave you even more drained. You will feel like a hamster on a wheel- exerting all of your energy and not getting anywhere.
It is vital that once you leave the relationship, you are gentle with yourself. You should move slowly through the recovery process. You must also forgive yourself. You have probably placed blame on yourself for everything you endured and the decisions you made. Remember that you are or were dealing with a master manipulator who has spent their entire life learning exactly how to get you to the place that you are in now. You must forgive yourself if you are expecting to move on.
Leaving the narcissist will likely trigger the stages of grief. The relationship once gave you something that you needed as well. Let yourself experience the stages of grief thoroughly. Let yourself be devastated, heartbroken, sad, angry, and in denial; but also, let yourself be in acceptance and allow yourself to move on. Doing this will allow you to heal and hopefully end up in healthier relationships in the future.