If you’re considering leaving your narcissist partner or spouse, you’ll find it’s a uniquely challenging break-up.
Dealing with a narcissistic partner deserves special attention because narcissists are skilled in manipulating their partners, especially those who want to leave.
Luckily, if you are wondering, “What is the best way to leave a narcissist?” there are steps you can take to make the break easier for yourself and make it stick.
How to Get Out of a Narcissistic Relationship
Not all abusers are narcissists, but all narcissists are inconsiderate, selfish, difficult, and frustrating to be with – if not totally toxic and undeniably abusive.
There's no wrong time to leave a narcissistic partner, though.
But you are better off leaving a narcissist before the relationship gets worse, or you waste even more of your time and energy.
So how do you let go of a narcissist you love?
You have to cut off all your physical, financial, personal, and emotional ties to them.
Then, allow yourself to grieve your unrequited love, embrace your independence and not allow yourself to feel sorry for them (which a narcissist exploits).
Taking the following steps is your best strategy, not only for getting out but getting out for good.
How to Leave a Narcissist: 11 Strategies to Get the Hell Out
It’s time to make some notes because you’ll need to prepare yourself and be in a good head-space before cutting the cord. Here are 11 surefire ways to help you when you leave a narcissist.
1. Document Everything You Need
Narcissists do everything possible to prevent their partners from leaving if the narcissist still sees a way to exploit them. They may hold your important documents hostage, so you need to get copies of all of your identification cards, debit cards, and credit cards.
Keep the copies in a safe, secure place the narcissist cannot get to, such as a bank safe or a trusted friend or family member.
Also, you'll want to document or record (if possible) instances of abuse from them. Doing so will help you if you need to go to court later.
Although harder to prove, emotional and verbal abuse is just as bad as physical abuse, and documentation will help you avoid a “he said/she said” scenario. Go to the police with the proof so you'll have it on record and be able to start building a case.
2. Become Financially Independent
Financial abuse is another tactic that narcissists use against their partners. It can be anything from preventing you from working, demanding that you give them money, or taking complete control of finances. But the common goal is preventing or limiting your access to money.
Become independent by finding work if you are unemployed and getting food stamps, housing assistance, and health insurance if you are low-income. There are resources for single parents, too.
Next, separate your finances by turning joint accounts into individual accounts in your name. Create your own bank, debit, and credit card accounts if you can’t separate existing accounts.
You'll also want to raise your credit score or establish credit if you have none. Buying a car with financing, renting an apartment, or opening a secured credit card will help you do so. If a friend or family member offers to be your cosigner, that's even better.
3. Get Support
Narcissists enjoy isolating their partners to make them focus only on them and not have any outside input or influence. This isolation causes depression and helplessness that make it harder to leave.
Our most important social bonds come from a sense of community. Reconnecting with family and friends, reaching out to a spiritual advisor, and seeking a professional therapist are all ways to create the support network you need.
It's okay if you don't end up with an extensive support network; even just one reliable person can help you weather the storm.
4. Don't Give Them Another Chance
There's no such thing as giving a toxic partner a second chance and having them prove you wrong. It might seem better for a little while, but eventually, you'll realize the narcissist has not changed at all, and they gave you false hope.
That's because the narcissist does not believe there's anything wrong with their treatment of you. Even if they initially say they were wrong and are sorry, they don't mean it and will ultimately blame you somehow.
The best apology is when the offender changes their behavior, and a narcissist isn't capable of that.
5. Give the Boot to Other Toxic People
Another tactic that narcissistic abusers use is called “flying monkeys.” It's abuse by proxy where they use other people to manipulate, gaslight, and even abuse their partners as scapegoats.
Some flying monkeys are naive, such as children and the elderly. They have no idea what's going on since they may not see the destructive behaviors. So they may ask questions or make critical remarks because they feel bad for the narcissist.
Other flying monkeys are people who are toxic and willing to do the narcissist's dirty work and be a go-between to keep secrets, relay messages, gossip, and pretend to be a peacemaker. If you know mutual friends and other people who are the latter, kick them out of your life.
6. Wipe Your Digital Footprint
It is too easy to forget how much of our personal information is on the internet in today’s information age.
Whether it's your real name, pictures, telephone number, email address, or public social media accounts, a narcissist will try to keep tabs on you online or get in touch with you using your digital footprint.
There's also the concern that a narcissist can track you and sign into your online accounts. Turning off GPS on your phone or getting a new phone will prevent them from tracking your phone and hence, where you are.
The auto-fill feature on a shared computer or any devices connected to the internet is convenient but risky, so turn off that option and log out of all your online accounts.
7. Don't Accept or Keep Gifts
Love-bombing is flattering yet manipulative behavior that narcissists and other abusive people engage in with their partners, whether to attract them to begin with or get them back.
It takes the form of sudden affection, gifts, and grand gestures. When you're at the start of the relationship, love-bombing happens during what's called the honeymoon period. But when you're already in a relationship with a narcissist, the love-bombing occurs after a fight or breakup.
It might be in your best interest to return any gifts the narcissist gave you in the past if they remind you too much of them. Of course, refuse any new gifts so the narcissist can’t use them to manipulate you and get back into your life.
More Related Articles
8. Prepare Everything You Need
When you leave a narcissist, one of the last steps you need to take is to get your personal belongings ready, including your pets. Move furniture to a storage unit or keep it with a trusted friend or relative for a while.
And as horrible as it sounds, a narcissist is not above stealing pets and holding them hostage, abandoning them at a shelter, or even having them put to sleep. So have someone take care of your pets before you cut off all ties.
9. Become a Ghost
If you haven't heard of ghosting or never saw a point in it before, now is your chance to use it to your advantage.
Ghosting is when you suddenly end communication with someone without any explanation or announcement. It makes ending a relationship quicker and easier, and it's even more helpful when you leave a narcissist.
The entire process of leaving a narcissist means slowly and quietly cutting off all your ties before you suddenly exit and never speaking to them again.
10. Get Ready for Some Emotional Turmoil
The worst part of leaving a narcissist can be your conflicted emotions afterward.
How do you let go of a narcissist you love? There's no way around the emotional rollercoaster that many victims of narcissists feel, and you'll just have to ride it out — but you don't have to go through it alone.
Talking to loved ones and a therapist will help you process your emotions and grieve the unrequited love you gave in the one-sided relationship.
11. Learn Self-Care
The final hurdle in leaving a narcissist is figuring out what to do in the aftermath of the trauma. You have a new life now, and you have free reign to make changes in your life for the better.
Decide on some positive coping mechanisms and activities to keep busy. Cook special meals for yourself. Buy something nice that the narcissist never let you have.
Get involved in art or a hobby he discouraged you from before. Begin to eat healthier and commit to an exercise routine. These are just a few examples of how you can reclaim your life and move on.
How Does a Narcissist Act When You Leave Him?
Leaving a narcissist husband is one-sided, just like the relationship was. He might:
- Become enraged and threatening.
- Act pitiful as though he’s a victim.
- Do nothing at first, but become calculated and cunning to get back at you.
He may also try to love-bomb you, use flying monkeys, or find another way to communicate with you until he eventually gives up.
He may even contact your family and friends or show up at your workplace to beg or scare you into giving him another chance. That's why taking all of the steps outlined is so crucial for your protection.
Leaving a narcissist is a huge struggle, and many people end up returning. Although it is challenging in many ways, it's not impossible if you take all the right steps.
Even if you've tried leaving a narcissist before and failed, you aren’t doomed to stay with them forever.