how to leave a narcissist

How to Leave a Narcissist When You’re Still in Love

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Wondering how to leave a narcissist?

Maybe you tried, once again, to bring up something the narcissist did that hurt you, disrespected you, or made you feel worthless.

As usual, the fight ended with you apologizing and asking for their forgiveness.

Now, you’re daydreaming about packing your car and using your next paycheck to run away and start a new life somewhere.

But, you can’t leave – you love them.

Plus, that would mean admitting your relationship has failed. And if you share children, it might not even seem worth the hassle.

But another life is possible.

You don’t have to put up with narcissistic abuse – you deserve much better.

You just need to understand not only how to leave a narcissist, but how to get over a narcissist. See, narcissists have a crafty way of manipulating your very sense of self which keeps you hanging on – but you can break free, even if the thought of leaving seems scary.

Cracking the Code of How to Leave a Narcissist

Deep down, you know that you’re in an abusive situation. You know that your relationship isn’t healthy.

But what if this is just as good as it gets?

The narcissist has likely spent months or years leading you to believe that you’re worthless and no one else could ever want you or appreciate you. The narcissist may have even manipulated you into believing that you’re in an honorable and coveted position because they’re in your life – and you should feel lucky for the opportunity.

If you really want to figure out how to leave a narcissist – and how to get over a narcissist – you need to understand two key points.

Realize That You’re Probably Confusing Longing for Love

Narcissists create a sense of false love and toxic attachment through a process known as trauma bonding.

In healthy relationships, this can be a positive experience: you and a friend grow closer after you experience a traumatic event together. With narcissists, however, it’s much more sinister.

Narcissists will manufacture traumatic situations (like those long-weekend fights) to bring the two of you closer together (at least, in your mind). There’s a good chance you’ve told the narcissist deeply personal things you’ve never told anyone else – that’s exactly what they want. Not only does it pull you closer together in the worst way, but the narcissist can use these personal secrets against you later.

As this cycle continues, you probably find yourself longing for the fleeting moment the narcissist offers you a glimmer of hope: a hug, an “I really do love you,” a low-key romantic movie night.

Those brief moments of affection and serenity are what keep you hanging on.  The problem is that we misinterpret this longing for love.

Longing for the narcissist to appreciate your talents, offer gratitude, or even basic respect.

Longing is a powerful emotion that seems to emanate directly from the heart and reach out for something that it can’t connect with, and each time that it cannot connect with what it is searching for, the pain becomes more intense.

The truth is, when the narcissist does finally reciprocate short-lived appreciation, it’s completely contrived.  It’s important to note that the narcissist isn’t feeling the same warm fuzzies that you are.

To the narcissist, emotions are simply trappings to manipulate you and exploit your vulnerabilities.

Understanding How to Leave a Narcissist and Rebuild Your Identity

If you’re ready to understand both how to leave a narcissist and how to get over a narcissist, you’ll want to consider that narcissistic abuse completely warps your sense of identity.

The narcissist took every opportunity to shoot down your dreams, discredit your opinions, and leave you questioning everything you thought you knew about yourself.

That’s all part of the narcissist’s game to weave themselves into your identity – they are like a celestial black hole and once you get sucked in, you disappear without a trace.  Because of this one-sided expenditure of energy and love, the narcissist becomes your sense of self.

Instead of worrying about your next career move, what’s best for your family, or how you should spend your day off, your only worry is the narcissist and nothing else. Every thought you have is about their thoughts and feelings – never your own.

  • Do you worry that the narcissist will get mad that you left the house without telling them first?
  • Do you find yourself thinking “what would X say” when you’re presented with a decision or question before creating your own opinion?

If this sounds familiar, it means you’ve lost your own sense of self to build up the narcissist’s false self.

How to Leave a Narcissist for Good

Figuring out how to get over a narcissist is tough, but first, you need to figure out how to leave a narcissist the right way.

Thoroughly Plan Your Exit and Prepare for a Narcissist Offensive Operation

The narcissist can and will use every channel at their disposal to contact you with fake apologies and promises – or even violence, anger, and stalking.

If you live with the narcissist, figure out where you’ll stay as you get back on your feet. Look for a lawyer if you’ll have to deal with custody of children or division of assets. This stuff isn’t fun, but it will help you make a clean break.

The best thing you can do as you figure out how to leave a narcissist is to thoroughly plan your exit.

Don’t Crack – No Matter What

Block the narcissist’s phone number so you can’t receive their texts. Be prepared: they might use spoofing apps or other services to mimic a different number.

Let mutual friends know that you don’t want any messages relayed from your ex-partner. If you don’t feel like explaining, then say so.

No one is entitled to your business: good friends will understand and respect your wishes. (It might be hard to believe after living with a narcissist for so long, but your friends will understand and respect you.)

How to Leave a Narcissist and Rebuild Your Identity

You’re ready to leave – at least physically.

You know the situation needs to change, but how long will you last before the narcissist pulls you back in with their fake apologies and sob stories about how they’ve realized their wrong-doings?  How they had ‘The Divine Epiphany’?

When it seems the narcissist is truly remorseful, it is all a charade.  Daniel N. Jones of the University of Texas at El Paso proposed theory in 2014 to explain predatory behaviors in human societies.  His theory suggests that individuals involved in predatory behavior need to appear to be cooperative and “normal” to successfully take advantage of others. People are naturally wary of individuals who do not express fear or remorse, deeming them untrustworthy.

According to Angela Book of Brock University in Canada and a team of researchers, “For psychopathic individuals to successfully navigate the social world, they “need to feign moral emotions in order to appear trustworthy and encourage others to cooperate with them.”

“By feigning remorse, individuals who lack these emotions may profit from appearing to be trustworthy while retaining the ability to pursue their own interests (without being hampered by any real emotions or concerns.)”

Learn more in the article, Psychopaths are better at appearing genuine when they pretend to be fearful or remorseful.

Here’s how to get over a narcissist and start rebuilding your true sense of self.

Accept the Reality of the Situation

Looking at things objectively is the first step as you figure out how to leave a narcissist. Start a logbook to jot down past fights and incidents of narcissistic manipulation or abuse.

How did the fights start and end? When did your partner provide love or understanding? How many times have you had the same fights and how many times has the narcissist promised to change but fell short?

This will allow you to see patterns of manipulation and failure to follow through with promises on the narcissist’s part. You’ll also realize that the short-lived instances of love and affection were all a big show.

Truly Accept that the Narcissist Won’t Change and You’ll Never Have Closure

Look at your logbook: the same cycle is repeating itself over and over.

Once you leave, the narcissist will try to contact you – possibly months down the road – insisting they’ve changed. They haven’t.

You might get FOMO wondering about the things that could have been, but remember this reality: if they were going to change, they would have done so already.

If you really want to understand how to leave a narcissist, you need to understand that you’ll never have closure. Your closure will be rebuilding your spirit and recovering from narcissistic abuse.

Do Something You Enjoy

Invest time in yourself. Look at how the narcissist has held you back and stunted your growth – whether professionally, mentally, spiritually, or emotionally.

Sign up for a class at a local college or community center. You may find you have no idea what you enjoy doing because the narcissist has drained your self-perception for so long.

It’s okay.

Just spend some time reading, relaxing, and focusing on day-to-day activities.

Talk to Someone

Friends and loved ones make excellent support systems, but joining a like-minded healing community can make a huge difference.

Consider yourself in recovery: you need people who have gone through the same situation to provide mentoring and support so you don’t relapse and return to the narcissist.

How to Get Over a Narcissist: Take Things One Day (or Minute) at a Time

The saying in most 12-step recovery programs is that you need to take things “one day at a time.” The truth is, sometimes drug or alcohol cravings (or persistent texts from a narcissist) can crop up on a minute-to-minute basis.

The point is that you need to focus on your moment-to-moment feelings and material situation while focusing on the long-term goal of getting over the narcissist.

If you think in terms of “I can’t do this for years,” it won’t work.

Live in the “now.”

A Better Life Is Possible

It’s not easy – figuring out how to leave a narcissist whom you love is probably the hardest thing you’ll ever do in your life.

Narcissists are our husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, co-workers and friends. Narcissistic partners are particularly damaging because they weave themselves into the very fabric of our identity: they suck us dry and turn us into a shriveled ghost of a person.

But you can rid your life of narcissistic abuse for good.

Just like the black hole, if you take away the energy that is being provided to feed the narcissist, then there is no longer anything for them to feed on and the toxic dynamic begins melting away so you can finally break free.

You’ll rebuild your identity and become stronger than ever before. The trick is to understand how to leave a narcissist and recover.

If you’re ready to start planning your healed life, then explore The Essential Break Free Bootcamp for narcissistic abuse recovery that’s practical, proven, and reliable. Basically, your new best friend.

Copyright Kim Saeed 2019

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Leave a Comment:

Sneha says May 4, 2020

As a person who has recently found about narcissistic abuse. Your beginner’s healing road map is really helping me. This article was suggested in it today. I really needed this to progress. Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words everyday..

Sneha says May 4, 2020

As a person who has recently found about narcissistic abuse. Your beginner’s healing roadmap is helping me a lot. And this article was suggested in it today. I really needed this for progress. Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words everyday….

    Kim Saeed says May 5, 2020

    You are so welcome, Sneha. It’s truly my pleasure and honor. Wishing you all the best as you heal.

    Kim XoXo

To Leave a Narcissist, Do We Feel Like a Narcissist? | Alex Delon says February 12, 2020

[…] advice from our couple’s counselor, I began to educate myself on the dynamics of NPD…which led to the counterbalance dysfunctions I’d developed over the decades: […]

Debby says February 12, 2020 are the best.thank you for all your positive words and encouragement.i know I can break free one building up to it and with you beside me I know I so messed up but am getting stronger through your words.thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Carol Smith says February 8, 2020

I stayed over 42 years then finally left because I feared I was going crazy. But I already had; I was later diagnosed with CPTSD. Unfortunately I still have it though not quite as bad. But I acquired many illnesses during that time and still am from cancer to diseases that cause chronic pain and disallow a normal life, now COPD.. I’ve accomplished much in my life to the end that he was jealous of me as he berated me for having done so. Now I’m 75 unable to continue accomplishments. Learn from me.

Vanessa says August 31, 2019

I am just feeling all this pain like it is my fault never done nothing right

Tiffany Nicholas says July 21, 2019

My friends husband is a narcissist so I signed her up for this she thinks that life is good but we all see different help her see it

Margaret says May 16, 2019

This what I needed to read today!
It gives me confidence to take my next step.

Brenda Barton says May 7, 2019

As always I got alot out of your posts. If it weren’t for you and Kim seeds no contact boot camp I cringe when I think about where I would be n how miserable my life would still be. It’s been a year since I left him and with jesuses help when feeling week and your posts I would have not been able to understand exactly who I was dealing with.

Job Less says April 19, 2019

So is there an in- between? I saw the term “overt” narcissist (stalker type), but what about the quiet one that constantly just diminishes you, is unresponsive to your concerns, and rarely keeps commitments? He’s Britt abusive enough that I’ll get full custody of the kids, but is bad enough I don’t want the kids to have to be trapped as his subjects on custody dates. …So I stay. Gah!

    Kim Saeed says May 7, 2019

    The quiet ones are just as bad, often much worse.

    My general outlook is that it’s always best to leave when children are involved. When we stay in abusive relationships, we model to our children that it’s okay to stay in toxic marriages and they won’t learn how to empower themselves – which they will need to learn because children who grow up in toxic environments often end up in the same kind of relationship when they get older and the situation just perpetuates throughout generations.

    At least if you leave, they will see their mom setting a powerful example and you can be their role model of how to take up for oneself.


    Diana says May 7, 2019

    I wholeheartedly agree with Kim and am the living example of a daughter of a quiet narcissistic cold father and a warm, giving, codependent mother who stayed, tried to divorce my father at one point, and got sucked back into the marriage. My adult life has been riddled with abusive men beginning in college with an abusive boyfriend impregnated me and also indirectly broke my back speeding after an argument and he drove over an embankment to avoid a head-on collision, fracturing my spine. Married an indifferent man who could never break the bond with him mother and was contemptuous of women. Post-divorce dated a (literally) criminal abuser who nearly murdered me and murdered his final victims. It starts with the family of origin, even if there is no violence, there is often CEN — Childhood Emotional Neglect and emotional abuse of the children and codependent parent (who contributes to the problem when she/he remains with the narcissistic spouse and does not protect herself or her children).

    GET OUT.

      Diana says May 7, 2019

      Sorry for the grammar and spelling errors. Did not proof my message.

        Geraldine says May 9, 2019

        Goodness! I hope you are finding peace now though. After all, we have survived and they are still who they are which must suck. Getting strong and well is the best revenge I’m finding

The Cycle of Narcissism: Why Do They Teeter Between Love and Hate? - Kim Saeed: Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program says February 7, 2019

[…] Leaving a narcissist for good is far from easy – especially if you’ve already built a life with them. […]

Kyle says September 6, 2018

I divorced the Narc 13 months ago. Still regaining my self esteem. I recently watched Westworld on HBO , my 19 yo son was also watching. Good show. When you get through session 2 you may see yourself and your Narc. I saw my ex clearly as did his son. Seeing this show had helped me feel better. It affirms that though I may not be perfect. A good man, husband would divorce you rather than making you feel unsure of yourself for years. Check out Westworld on HBO.

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