How to leave a narcissist safely

How to Break Up With a Narcissist

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Published: August 23, 2021 Updated: September 12, 2022

Published: 08/23/2021 Updated: 09/12/2022

Maintaining a relationship with a narcissist can be difficult due to their excessive need for admiration, harsh criticism, lack of empathy and deep insecurities. If your partner is not willing to work on their narcissistic traits, then leaving is probably the best thing you can do for your mental health. While breaking up with a narcissist may not be easy, equipping yourself with a solid plan, understanding their typical reactions of rage and blame and seeking professional help makes it possible.

You don’t have to face a breakup with a narcissist by yourself. BetterHelp has over 20,000 licensed therapists who provide convenient and affordable online therapy. BetterHelp starts at $60 per week. Complete a brief questionnaire and get matched with the right therapist for you.

Choosing Therapy partners with leading mental health companies and is compensated for referrals by BetterHelp

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How Narcissists Act in Relationships

Narcissists in relationships are developmentally stunted and cannot fully reciprocate, both emotionally and sexually. 1 They have trouble seeing their partner’s point of view, thinking of their needs, making compromises, and controlling strong feelings like jealousy, shame, or narcissistic rage.2

It is not uncommon for narcissists to criticize their partner if they don’t meet their expectations or standards, or accuse them of not loving, supporting or appreciating them enough. Being in a relationship with a narcissist is also often exhausting due to their constant need for attention, also known as narcissistic supply.

When to Leave a Narcissistic Partner

Narcissistic partners tend to engage in narcissistic abuse, using abusive tactics to hide their unfavorable traits and manipulate their partners. Sometimes, this can cause partners to develop narcissistic abuse syndrome. Emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse or sexual coercion should never be tolerated, and is always grounds for leaving a relationship.

Here’s when to break up with a narcissist:

  • You’re being physically abused
  • You’re being sexual abused or coerced
  • Your partner is constantly monitoring you
  • You’re being emotionally manipulated or gaslit
  • You’re being humiliated, intimidated, or dismissed
  • You’re experiencing persistent anxiety or depression because of your relationship
  • Your partner is excessively jealous
  • You’ve withdrawn from friends and family
  • You’re beginning to use substances to cope
  • You have thoughts of self-harm

5 Tips for Breaking Up With a Narcissist

Leaving a narcissist can be easier or harder depending on their state when you announce the break up. If they are in a depleted place, struggling to maintain their facade of perfection, you will likely be met with either overt or passive aggressive rage. On the contrary, they may suddenly become effusive and “love bomb” you in an effort to win you back. It’s best to be prepared for all possibilities.

Here are five tips for breaking up with a narcissist:

1. Make A List of Reasons You’re Leaving the Relationship

Provide yourself with examples from the past. People with personality disorders use very dysfunctional means of coping with the world, and as such, they can easily distort reality.3 This can cause you to question your reality. One minute you may feel ready to leave and the next minute, after their guilting or pleading, you may think you should stay. Writing down the reasons ahead of time and giving yourself examples can re-ground you in your reality during the separation process. Showing this list of reasons to the severely narcissistic person is not likely to be helpful so keep it as a resource for yourself, not “evidence” to convince them of their wrongdoing.

2. Have A Plan

Think through what you will do after announcing the break up and how the narcissist will respond. If you live with a person with excessive narcissism, are you going to stay put or ask them to leave? Have you lined up anywhere to go? Having a plan will help during the potential counter-attack phase when you may be acting quickly and unable to think as clearly.

3. Surround Yourself With Supportive People

Often, narcissists have a way of alienating you from your support network over time. They demand intense loyalty or commitment so that you may have divested from friends or family over the course of the relationship. Reconnect to the people who you feel truly have your back and let them know that you will need support to exit this difficult relationship. You may want to ask them to check in on you on a daily basis for the first few weeks as you make the initial transition.

4. Purge Any Reminders of the Relationship

A narcissist needs to feel special, or create the impression that you are special, so they may have taken you on elaborate trips, given you amazing gifts or generally created an impression of a magnificent life with you. This can make it hard to remember the pain of the dark times as you move through the break up. Remove photos from your home and your phone, and stash or get rid of gifts that remind you of your partner. You can put these in a box if you want to save them, but be mindful not to slip into thinking that things “weren’t as bad” as you feel prior to the break up.

5. Get Support From A Therapist

A therapist can help you identify issues, even when unpleasant, in a way that feels supportive and helps to avoid denial. When living with someone with NPD, you may have “doubled down” on denial in order to avoid the pain of being criticized, ignored, exploited or otherwise mistreated. Speaking with a trusted mental health professional who can guide you as you rebuild reality can be immensely helpful. Your therapist can also help you explore what in your past may have made you vulnerable to falling for an excessively narcissistic person so you can better avoid it in future relationships.

Finding a mental health professional can take time, but it is worth the effort. Most sessions can be covered by insurance. Out of pocket expenses can range from $50 – $200. You can also get emergency support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from the National Domestic Violence Hotline or by checking out the Narcissistic Abuse Support website.

Help For Narcissistic Abuse

Individual Therapy – Get personalized help with recovering from narcissistic abuse from a licensed therapist. BetterHelp offers online sessions by video or text. Try BetterHelp

Support Groups – You are not alone in dealing with a narcissist. Sesh offers over 100 different support groups per month, with at least once a week focused on narcissism. First Month Free

Books On Narcissism – See our handpicked selection of Narcissism Books List

Choosing Therapy partners with leading mental health companies and is compensated for referrals by BetterHelp and Sesh.

What to Expect When You Break Up With a Narcissist

Depending on what type of narcissist you’re dating and what state they’re in when you break up with them, a narcissist’s reaction to a break up can vary. It’s important to remember, however, that in either situation you are not having a relationship with a fully developed person who has a true and authentic self, and they will react using defense mechanisms designed to keep the narcissist from feeling intense emotional pain and shame.4

An Easier Break Up

An easier breakup may happen if you are dating a grandiose narcissist who was never very invested in you anyway. They will happily let go of you and move on to the next shiny object, although they will want to make sure that the “break up story” makes it look like they were the one to do the leaving. If they offer you this easy out it may be a good idea to take it.

A Harder Break Up

Because a central part of narcissism is rooted in tremendous insecurity, narcissists will typically go on the attack if they cannot find a way to save face after receiving an injury. 5,6 Narcissists are part of a group of personality disorders that tend towards dramatic emotions.7 As such, if they feel offended they may end up discharging all of their rage onto you—this can be even more upsetting if you’re an empath dating a narcissist. If that happens, the best thing you can do is not engage them and keep very strong boundaries.

If you’re breaking up with a covert narcissist who tends to live in the shadows but prop up their partner in order to feel important themselves, they’ll likely be furious at feeling undervalued, act helpless and say that they “gave you everything.” They will likely paint you as a mean, abandoning, cruel and selfish person who has not appreciated everything that they’ve done for you, and may self-harm, threaten suicide, quit a job or do other things to undermine themselves when feeling abandoned.7

Final Thoughts

Narcissistic partners tend to be incapable of taking responsibility for doing anything wrong. While ending a relationship that you have given precious months or years to can be painful and hard, take stock of what you can learn from the situation. Unfortunately, many mental health professionals believe that narcissistic disorders are on the rise, but learning how to identify a narcissist from this experience can help you avoid future relationships with this type of person.8 Once you have healed from this break up, you will be well situated to find a much healthier partner and enjoy a more mutual and supportive relationship.

Additional Resources

Education is just the first step on our path to improved mental health and emotional wellness. To help our readers take the next step in their journey, Choosing Therapy has partnered with leaders in mental health and wellness. Choosing Therapy may be compensated for referrals by the companies mentioned below.

BetterHelp (Online Therapy) – BetterHelp has over 20,000 licensed therapists who provide convenient and affordable online therapy. BetterHelp starts at $60 per week. Complete a brief questionnaire and get matched with the right therapist for you. Get Started – The standard plan includes a weekly 45 minute video session, unlimited text messaging between sessions, and self-guided activities like journaling. Recently, they added Yoga videos. Get Started

Headspace (Meditation App) – Headspace is the leading mindfulness and meditation app with over 70 million members. Headspace offers guidance and exercises for all skill levels, including beginners. Free Trial

Choosing Therapy’s Directory – Find an experienced therapist who is committed to your wellbeing. You can search for a therapist by specialty, availability, insurance, and affordability. Therapist profiles and introductory videos provide insight into the therapist’s personality so you find the right fit. Find a therapist today.

Choosing Therapy partners with leading mental health companies and is compensated for referrals by Circles, BetterHelp, Online-Therapy. com, and Headspace

For Further Reading

  • If you feel you are suffering from or have suffered relationship abuse consider reaching out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. You can call, text or live chat with them for information about abusive relationships and immediate support for leaving. Contacting them is completely confidential.
  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). This organization has free support groups for people in a relationship with someone who has a personality disorder. The group is run like a 12-week course and helps loved ones to better understand mental illness and learn how to set appropriate expectations and boundaries. The group may be listed as being designed for friends and family of people with Borderline Personality Disorder, but Narcissistic Personality Disorder is very closely related and the tools for dealing with one will apply to the other. To find a support group in your area consult their website.
  • Take a look at books like Stop Walking on Eggshells by Paul Mason or The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists by Eleanor D. Payson. These books have practical suggestions on how to manage being in a relationship with someone with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder or it’s closely related cousin, Borderline Personality Disorder.
  • Learn more about personality disorders through the Therapist Uncensored podcast. They have a series of episodes on dealing with people with severe narcissism, including:
    • “Holding Your Own with Malignant Narcissism” 
    • “Holding Your Own, Session 2: Grandiose Narcissism Has Met Its Match”
    • “Holding Your Own, Session 3: Covert Narcissism”
    • “Navigating Narcissistic Relationships: Gaslighting, Manipulation and Grandiosity Called Out”
    • “Fear of Abandonment and Narcissism”
  • Do a deep dive into personality disorders like Narcissism with a leading expert, Dr. James Masterson in his book Search for the Real Self: Unmasking The Personality Disorders of Our Age.

8 sources

Choosing Therapy strives to provide our readers with mental health content that is accurate and actionable. We have high standards for what can be cited within our articles. Acceptable sources include government agencies, universities and colleges, scholarly journals, industry and professional associations, and other high-integrity sources of mental health journalism. Learn more by reviewing our full editorial policy.

  • Masterson, J.F. And Lieberman, A.R., Eds., A Therapist’s Guide to the Personality Disorders: The Masterson Approach, (2004). Ziegler’s, Tucker and Thiesen, Inc.: Phoenix, 14-15. ISBN-13 ‏: ‎ 978-1932462098

  • Kampe, L., Bohn, J., Remmers, C. And Horz-Sagstetter, S. (2021). It’s not that great anymore: the central role of defense mechanisms in grandiose and vulnerable narcissism. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 12, 1-14.

  • Lamps, L. Bonn, J., Remmers, C. And Horz-Sagstetter, S. (2021). It’s not that great anymore: the central role of defense mechanisms in grandiose and vulnerable narcissism. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 12, 1-14.

  • Kernberg O.F. (1975). Borderline Conditions and Pathological Narcissism. New York, NY: Aronson. ISBN-13: 978-0876681770

  • McWilliams, N. (2011). Psychoanalytic Diagnosis: Understanding Personality Disorder in the Clinical Process, 2nd Edition. Guilford Press: New York. ISBN-13: 978-1609184940

  • Masterson, J. (1981) The Narcissistic and Borderline Disorders: An Integrated Developmental Approach. Bruner/Mazel, Inc: New York. ISBN 13: 9780876302927

  • American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition. American Psychiatric Association: Arlington, VA, 669-672.

  • Twenge J.M. And Campbell, W.K. (2009). The narcissism epidemic: Living in the age of entitlement. Free Press: New York. ISBN-13:‎978-1416575993

If you are in need of immediate medical help:


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How to Leave a Narcissist in 14 Steps

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A narcissist will not want you to leave if they haven't stopped abusing you yet. / Shutterstock

Leaving a narcissistic relationship is likely to be one of the hardest things you'll ever do. Narcissists depend on their supply — the people they emotionally, financially, and psychologically drain. They need someone to abuse and manipulate to fulfill their needs and to constantly prove to themselves they are better, stronger, and smarter than everyone else. 

Through the love bombing, the gaslighting, and the constant battles, you'll already be exhausted, so leaving an abusive relationship with a narcissist is tough. But it is possible as long as you trust your gut and have firm boundaries, and keep reminding yourself why you need to walk away. 

Here's what you need to know to make sure you can get out of the potentially dangerous situation, and what to do to finally leave the abusive narcissist behind forever.

Don't give them "one more chance."

The next chance won't change them. golubovystock/Shutterstock

It takes the average person seven times to leave an abusive relationship, said doctor of psychology and therapist Perpetua Neo, who runs Detox Your Heart.

"If you leave them, they might try and seduce you back so they can dump you," she told INSIDER. "Because everything needs to be on their terms, and if they are physically violent, there is no telling if they will be even more violent with you. "

If the narcissist isn't ready for you to leave yet, they will probably turn on the waterworks and plead with you, telling you how sorry they are. But Neo said you shouldn't risk giving them another chance to hurt you again.

"You never know when in those seven times your nine lives will be gone," she said.

Don't tell them you're leaving.

Telling them you're leaving could make things worse. Shutterstock

You shouldn't tell the narcissist you want to end the relationship right away, according to therapist Shannon Thomas, author of "Healing from Hidden Abuse. "

"That might seem counterintuitive, but the toxic person will absolutely follow with one of two things," she said. "They will either start love bombing you to keep you emotionally trapped in the relationship through trauma bonding or their behaviors will become even more poisonous and potentially damaging to your overall wellness, physical safety or reputation. Sometimes all three."

Make a copy of all your documents.

It's illegal to take someone's passport away. kittirat roekburi / Shutterstock

This is especially important if you are from a different country, as the abuser might hide your documents so you can't escape.

"Narcissists are very known to take your stuff away," said Neo. "So if they have your passport, track it down."

At the very least, try to locate it, take some photos, and send them to your email. Get ahold of anything you can, including proof of address, bank details, and anything else official. Either wait until they are out, or trick them by saying you need your documents to fill out an application, Neo said.

Make sure you have spare cash.

Make sure you can fend for yourself. ThiagoSantos / Shutterstock

If you're thinking about leaving, make sure you set up your own bank account. This might need to be done a little bit in advance, so you definitely have your own money. If they are a financial abuser, you will have to do this in secret so they don't cut you off entirely.

Report what's happened to you.

Your doctor could help more than you think. oneinchpunch / Shutterstock

You may not feel you want to escalate the situation to the police, but Neo said it's important to report what happened to you. If you don't want to get the legal system involved, you can talk to your doctor, she said.

"When you go in, make sure you say something like 'I need your help, I have been abused, and I have been told I need to speak to my doctor,'" she said. "Even if your doctor isn't trained in domestic violence, a lot of them have an idea of what to do. They might get you a referral to an anxiety service or depression service."

Having all of this on record helps you if you want to make a case in the future.

Log out of everything.

Don't let them spy on you. Olena Zaskochenko / Shutterstock

If you leave yourself logged in to any of the abuser's devices, they can track what you're doing, said Neo. So make a list of everything you think you've signed into, entered your card details into, or set up any auto-fills on, and periodically delete them all.

"If you use LastPass to save all your passwords, do a master reset of all the important stuff and that will create a security boundary," she said. "And if [your abuser] is prone to taking your stuff away keep a burner phone. Those cheap £5 phones that last forever without recharging."

Check your devices for trackers.

They won't want to relinquish control. WAYHOME studio / Shutterstock

Figure out if there is a tracker on your phone, said Neo.

"There's this thing called a remote access tracker," she said. "If your phone battery keeps depleting, that is a sign you're being tracked. Or if you log into your Kindle and it says this book was last read yesterday on somebody else's Mac, that means someone is tracking what you're reading."

Don't believe their flattery.

You do have a choice. Maridav / Shutterstock

"Narcissists try and use either extreme flattery or more abuse to keep a victim from leaving," Thomas said. "The ultimate goal is to create an environment where the target of the abuse feels they don't have a choice in leaving because the relationship has suddenly become everything they wanted or they are too worn out and fearful to leave."

But you do have a choice. Remember that things can be better, and you deserve someone who doesn't play with your emotions.

Reconnect with your friends and family.

It's important to get in touch with people you trust. Antonio Guillem / Shutterstock

Abusive narcissists want to cut you off from your family and friends, so you may not have seen some of the people who are closest to you for quite a long time. The narcissist may have turned you against them by spreading fear and lies because they didn't want you spending time with anyone else.

The important thing to remember is not to be embarrassed and scared of how they'll react to seeing you again, according to Neo.

"Swallow your pride," she said. "A lot of people think they're really stupid, or they've been conditioned to think their friends won't believe them. It takes a simple mind shift to realise it doesn't mean you were stupid, it just means you were tricked ... and anybody can get tricked.

"You'll be surprised at how many people might have suspected — and how much they may have wanted to help you but they didn't know how to."

Take it as an opportunity to cut out anyone else who's toxic

Not everyone will be understanding. eakkarat rangram/Shutterstock

But not everyone will be understanding, Neo added.

"Some people will be a------s," she said. "They will blame you, they'll say things like 'I knew it, I'm psychic, you're so stupid.' You will face people like that, so ignore them, and kick them out of your life."

You can actually see it as an opportunity to cut out those people who were unhealthy to be around.

Don't just leave — stay away

Do things that remind you to never go back. mangpor2004 / Shutterstock

When you've left, you may be tempted to go back when reality sets in. Our brains are good at making us remember all the good times and blocking out all the bad after a breakup, and leaving a narcissist is no different.

"It's not just about leaving, it's making sure you stay left," said Neo. "Be very aware that all the good times you had with them that made you convinced of their potential were probably all a lie ... The problem is nobody is 100% bad, and a narcissist is great at pretending to be good."

Ignore the sob stories.

They will say anything to try and get you back. WAYHOME studio / Shutterstock

The narcissist will tug at your heart strings to try and get you to stay.

"They'll say 'I'm sorry,' and might pop up at your birthday because that's when you are soft," Neo said. "Or on their birthday they'll say they miss you and all the things you used to do together if you have a shared history. So be aware these are all manipulations."

You should be aware of something called the "drama triangle," she added, which is where someone flips between being a saviour (I'm going to save you), a persecutor (you're so worthless, nobody will ever love you), and a victim (I need you to support me, without you I'm dead).

Remind yourself that it's a rollercoaster.

The next chance won't be any different. Cultura Motion / Shutterstock

No matter how many chances you give a narcissist, the result will be the same. So keep this in mind, Thomas said.

"I often compare the relationship with a narcissist to a rollercoaster," she said. "Survivors of narcissistic abuse must remind themselves that no matter how many times they get back on the ride with the narcissist, the highs, lows and twists and turns will always be the exact same and the rollercoaster is not a healthy environment for them to flourish and thrive. "

Throw away any gifts.

The memories aren't worth keeping. Marinchev Viacheslav / Shutterstock

Gather up anything that reminds you of the narcissist and throw it out.

"The gifts, presents ... especially if you don't need this stuff. You can just give them away," Neo said. "They are reminders of your past chapter. It's a lot about decluttering, and it's about what's representing you right now."

Learn how to ground yourself.

Face your trauma and you'll be able to move on. UfaBizPhoto / Shutterstock

It's important to ground yourself after a traumatic experience like an abusive relationship, because you may still be living the experience.

"Your timekeeper in your brain is not functioning well, it believes that then is now," Neo said. "So this means you can actually relive everything — the smells, the tastes and everything else can still feel very real."

It's like PTSD, and this is what you have to work through, she added, otherwise it might feel like it's going to take over your whole life.

"Reclaim yourself, that's super important," she said. "Figure out why you were attracted to this person in the first place, and break the spell."

Make a list.

You'll need a list. eakkaluktemwanich / Shutterstock

If the narcissist is still pursuing you, you'll need something to help keep you strong. Neo said you should write down every bad thing they ever did to you, and keep it handy in your phone.

"Every time the email or text pings in, read that document," she said. "That will actually convince you. Because when you see all these sob stories or these love emails, all this oxytocin floods into your brain and you feel this warm fuzziness."

But remember it's not real, she added, because by feeling empathy for your abuser, you forget to have empathy for yourself. Read the list and think why you put up with it. You wouldn't stand for someone treating your loved ones so poorly, so why are you allowing anyone to put you through it?

Don't rush into anything.

You deserve more.

People can end up dating similar people over and over because of something called repetition compulsion. Essentially, it means trying to fix the trauma of your past with the present. If you suffered abuse, you may seek out abusive people to try and change them. Or you may end up with people who treat you badly because it feels familiar.

So it's vital you work through your pain before launching into another relationship, Neo said, because you might end up hurt again.

"If you feel you need another partner you have to ask yourself why is that," she said. "Figure that out and sort out a game plan with a vision of what you want to be and what you want to do, not what they wanted you to be and do. Reclaim all those things that they stole away from you."

When you've healed, you'll have a better idea of what you really need, and who you should be letting into your life. Then you'll be ready to find someone who truly deserves you.

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Relationships Dating Love


Psychologist told how to break off relations with a narcissist - Moscow 24, 04/27/2021

April 27, 2021, 08:00 told Moscow 24 how to recognize a narcissist in a partner and break off relations with him.

The psychologist reported that narcissists confuse the concepts of love and admiration, so at the first stage of acquaintance they tend to please everyone and are very attractive. According to Zakharova, the first signal that you are dating a narcissist may be a large number of compliments from him.

At the very beginning of the acquaintance, the narcissist idealizes the partner. He showers him with compliments, spoils him with attention and gifts. So a person falls into the trap of dependence on relationships. Further, the narcissist discovers that his partner is not perfect. And here begins the depreciation of the partner, his successes and life.

Darya Zakharova

psychologist, specialist in the field of individual psychological counseling and personality psychodiagnostics

In addition, according to the psychologist, narcissists are very jealous, they like power over another person and treat him as property. At the same time, the narcissist himself can flirt in front of a partner and not feel guilty at the same time. These people are not capable of empathy and may be cruel, the expert noted.

According to Zakharova, both men and women can be narcissists, and anyone can fall under their spell.

People with stable self-esteem who trust their inner feelings recognize a narcissist fairly quickly and get out of such a relationship. The victims of the narcissist are kind and sympathetic people who are not prone to conflicts and quarrels, ready to sacrifice themselves, their interests and time in the name of relationships.

Daria Zakharova

psychologist, specialist in the field of individual psychological counseling and personality psychodiagnostics

According to the psychologist, financial dependence, low self-esteem, fear of revenge from a narcissist partner, psychological dependence and the illusion that the partner will change prevent you from breaking off relations with a narcissist. In addition, the fear of being alone and the fear of losing children can play a big role.

In order to break off a relationship with a narcissist, the psychologist recommends giving up hope that this person will change, despite all his vows of love and temporary changes in behavior. Also, don't blame yourself for being the victim of a narcissist, otherwise it will be harder for you to end this relationship.

It is important to enlist the support of those who will be your like-minded people and help you on the path of parting. These are friends, psychologists, lawyers. Look for support groups where you can find people who have been able to end similar relationships.

Daria Zakharova

psychologist, specialist in the field of individual psychological counseling and personality psychodiagnostics

The psychologist also recommends developing a plan for getting out of such relationships. With financial dependence, you need to start saving money in reserve, look for work, and receive additional education. If you have children and common real estate, consult with specialists and find a solution, and not just another confirmation that it is impossible to leave the relationship.

"If your partner is prone to threatening you or other psychological or physical abuse, negotiate only in the presence of a third party," advises Zakharova. And if the decision to break up has already been made by you, then you should not discuss your feelings with the narcissist and apologize. Getting out of a relationship will not be easy, but it is necessary in order to return to normal life, the specialist concluded.

Previously, psychologists told how to put an end to a relationship if a man does not propose.

Evgeniya Borodina

society exclusive

More news in the telegram channel "Moscow 24". Subscribe!

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The Power of the Narcissist: 9 Steps to Freedom


Man Among Humans Man and Woman

The feeling of love that we experience at the very beginning of a relationship with a narcissistic personality is experienced much more strongly than in a healthy relationship. The reason is that a narcissist (male or female) floods us with declarations of love almost from the first days, does not tire of admiring, seeking advice, assuring that we are perfection itself, he or she met the best person in his life and is ready for us to all.

This is called "love bombing". Then the tactics change - the narcissist seems to retreat a little, his love confessions become less frequent, calmer, and finally the stormy ocean turns into a meager stream. It is a form of manipulation, control, and conditioning that the narcissist uses to keep us in his power.

There is no doubt that we loved. The only problem is that narcissists cannot love us back.

When communicating with them, it is better to rely on your inner instinct, and not on the strength of your feelings. We tend to get so trapped in our feelings that we lose the ability to hear the alarm bells and red flags that come with a toxic relationship. Narcissists cannot keep a face for long - very soon their facade cracks. But they are masters of their craft and, if you are inexperienced, can easily put you on the hook.

1. Arm yourself with knowledge

The most important and first thing to do in order to get out of the trap is to learn as much as possible about what narcissistic personality disorder is, how narcissists work, their typical behavior and techniques.

You need to arm yourself with knowledge. Repeat and repeat over and over again. Until you study them properly, you won't be able to free yourself from their toxic hook - narcissists make us feel obligated by playing on our sense of duty, conscientiousness.

Feeling sorry for the narcissist when he or she has you trapped is pointless - they are just using your feelings against you. It is necessary to discard false pity in order to clearly see what you are dealing with.

2. Trust your intuition

Watch yourself - learn to separate feelings and deep inner instinct, intuition. Start trusting your intuition, not your feelings. Associating with a narcissist weakens physical, mental and emotional health because we are trying to understand a person whose behavior contradicts words.

Instead of listening to what they say, watch what they do. Words lie, actions reveal the truth. We really get to know people through their behavior. Words are just a breach of your trust.

You feel sick and exhausted because your mind and body tell you that you are in great danger, but everything seems to be fine (because he or she tells you so). Once again, trust your gut instinct. Become a cold-blooded explorer. Silently observe what is happening.

3. Don't put yourself in their shoes

Go back to where you belong. It's a matter of awareness. Mentally note how difficult it is to do this - these are the consequences of narcissistic processing.

Don't try to guess what they have in mind, imagine their next steps. Putting yourself in their place means trying to understand their motives, justify them, find a reasonable explanation for their behavior, and eventually get bogged down again in the poisonous swamp of their verbal manipulations.

When you catch yourself trying to "get into the narcissist's head," do your best to distract yourself. It's hard and it takes a lot of fortitude not to give in to the brainwashing they put on you to make sure they've taken over all the space inside your head.

4. Ignore messages

For the narcissist, information has no meaning, its only purpose is to suck you into the swamp of manipulation. The task is not to figure out whether to believe or not to believe the words of a narcissist. It is about breaking out of the vicious circle in which you think day and night only about what is connected with the narcissist.

Do not listen or pay attention to the content of the speeches that the narcissist makes. This is their way to take out your brain to draw you into their world and keep you where you always find yourself in the role of bad and guilty. They will keep pushing your boundaries and blowing the fuses that signal you are approaching the boundaries to constantly keep you on your toes, unbalance, disturb your peace.

Trying to find common sense in the speeches of a narcissist is to force your brain to work in a stressful mode, it gradually drives you crazy. Know that no matter what they say, narcissists are seeking some benefit for themselves, no matter how logical or beautiful their words sound. Everything is only about them and for them, and the only desire of a narcissist is that you, too, be only about them and for them. They will do and say anything to keep you trapped in their little fantasy world. Once again: watch what they do (not say).

5. Protect your property and savings

If necessary, start saving money. Remember that they can completely bleed you. Protect everything that is of value to you. Acting from noble feelings and wanting to remain fair, you risk eventually being ruthlessly abandoned without a livelihood.

6. Silence is golden

When we love, we want to share our thoughts and feelings with the person we love — this is natural. But you do not have a loved one, you are dealing with a narcissist who pretends to be your soul mate.

Resist the temptation to tell them everything you think and feel

You can't move them. They use your trust against you. The more open you are, the more guns and knives they have in your back. Narcissists love it when you share. If you have to say something, protect yourself as much as possible - don't tell the whole truth, be neutral, obscure or change the subject.

7. Who are you?

Deal with yourself, what you believe in, what is dearest to you in this world, what you want to live and die for. Otherwise, anyone can convince you of anything. Without knowing ourselves, we cannot set boundaries in a relationship - what we are ready to tolerate and what is categorically not. Strengthen your value system and protect what you hold dear. Then you will know what to do and how to behave, instead of hesitating and bending under the onslaught of someone else's will.

8. Be patient

Keep observing and analyzing. By learning the basic manipulative techniques of narcissists, you will be able to recognize them accurately. This is a great help in the process of freeing yourself from the illusion of "great love to the grave", "faithful" friendship or family idyll that narcissists have played for you.

Liberation does not happen overnight. It's not a sprint, it's a marathon. Be kind and patient with yourself. You learn to act and live in a new way - rethink, clarify yourself and your life principles, move to a new level of relationships with others. Give yourself time to deal with everything that's going on.

9. Feed your soul

Help others, little by little, quietly and anonymously. Say something nice, even to a stranger. Fulfill one of your little wishes, just for yourself. Draw strength from religion if you are a believer. Breathe deeply and remind yourself that one day you will be free and the joy of life will return to you.

Text: Ksenia Tatarnikova Photo source: Unsplash

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