You have finally ended things, and this time, it’s for good. You are done with the abuse, and you are saying goodbye to all those empty lies and promises. You are ready to get over a narcissist for good.
Best of all? You have truly convinced yourself that you deserve better. The future seems clear- or does it?
Unfortunately, if you want to get over a narcissist, traditional break-up or divorce advice might not work. This isn’t a matter of forgiving and forgetting. It’s also not as simple as ‘trying to stay friends’ afterward.
Ending a relationship with a narcissist is hard. You need to unpack any denial, maintain firm boundaries, and work through any trauma associated with the abuse. But even though this is a challenging task, it is doable.
Let’s get into your step-by-step guide.
Prepare Yourself for All the Emotions
No matter how bad the relationship was, you’re probably going to experience many conflicting emotions after ending it. These feelings are a normal part of the grief process. Don’t be dissuaded by them- you are only human (and probably a compassionate one at that!).
Like with any breakup, you may experience universal feelings related to sadness, anger, fear, and shame. At times, you’ll also probably experience regret and remorse.
But the nature of a narcissistic relationship can provoke different emotions associated with paranoia, rage, anxiety, betrayal, and hopelessness. At times, these feelings may feel incredibly intense. They may cause you to want to run back to the narcissist.
But keep in mind that emotions are not permanent. They ebb and flow- over time, you will learn your emotional triggers, and you will develop appropriate coping strategies for coping with distress before it debilitates you.
Safeguard Your Privacy
The narcissist may try to keep tabs on you after you end things. You may need to take some precautions to ensure your safety.
Check All Your Phone and Location Settings
Abusers use all kinds of sneaky spyware to monitor your online activity and physical whereabouts. Educate yourself on how to determine if someone is tracking you. If you’re still not sure, consider getting a second cell phone and a new number altogether.
Change All Your Usernames and Passwords
Go through your bank accounts, social media accounts, and emails. Make sure that you change both the username and password (they may still be able to log in if they know your username and email). Avoid using any obvious passwords that the narcissist could guess.
Update Your Account Recovery Instructions
Often times, to reset a password without access to your email, you are required to enter a secret phrase or word e.g., your first school, your pet’s name, etc. Ordinarily, the narcissist will have these details and be able to work around the password issues with no problem.
Check for Cameras at Home and in the Car
Yes, it’s creepy, but yes, narcissists often stash hidden cameras or GPS trackers in all kinds of locations. Some common hiding places at home include smoke detectors, clocks, mailboxes, closets, and picture frames. In the car, narcissists may install it behind the review mirror.
Pursue Further Action
If you truly feel unsafe, reach out for legal protection. You can file a restraining or protective order against your narcissist. You can also consult with an attorney to determine your best options for staying safe.
Reach Out for The Right Support
If you’re trying to get over a narcissist, keep in mind that not all support is created equally. Narcissists often entangle themselves in your relationships with your family, friends, and coworkers. They do this to maintain their sense of power and control.
Be careful about sharing your feelings or concerns with loved ones. Make sure that you can trust them.
Fortunately, there’s a good possibility that some people have recognized the abusive behavior. These people will be relieved to find out that you are ending the relationship. Maybe they’ve been telling you all along to dump this person! These are your real friends- you can and should lean on them right now.
And although it’s painful, you may lose some friends in this process. After a breakup or divorce, people often feel like they must pick sides. If that’s the case, and they choose your ex, let it go. It’s a waste of your time to try to convince them otherwise.
Continue Validating Yourself
You may doubt yourself after the breakup. That’s normal. The narcissist has probably spent years trying to sabotage your self-worth. It makes sense if you feel insecure or even broken.
But self-compassion is more important now than ever before. You need to be kind to yourself, and that means affirming your reality and practicing compassionate affirmations.
Some good examples for getting started include:
- I am worthy of love and happiness.
- I deserve to have people in my life who appreciate me.
- I will be okay on my own.
- I trust that I have made the right decision.
- I can do this.
- I love myself, and I will only be with people who love me in return.
Anticipate the Hoovering
I happened to be in the neighborhood. I figured I’d stop by! How are you doing?
Oh, oops, I didn’t mean to call you. But now that we’re on the phone…
I know you want nothing to do with me, but I really need to talk to someone.
Just like the vacuum, narcissistic hoovers devote their energy to sucking you back into their drama. They hoover in many ways, but each tactic is carefully crafted to solicit your attention.
After a breakup, anticipate the random accidental texts or Facebook likes. Prepare for them to have sudden emergencies that pull at your heartstrings. Wait for the excessive apologies or the beautiful floral arrangements.
But remember that narcissists don’t always follow a predictable timeline. While some may start bothering you right after the breakup, many of them wait for several weeks, months, or even years before they suddenly emerge again.
What did you compromise or sacrifice for the narcissist? What did you give up on altogether? Who were you before your relationship, and who do you want to be now?
Many people feel somewhat directionless after leaving a narcissist. They longer recognize their own identities.
Additionally, they spent so much time trying to please and placate the narcissist that they don’t know what else to do with their time! It can certainly feel unnerving to have to reevaluate your life and rediscover your priorities.
But this can be a virtuous opportunity for self-growth. Think about the passions you used to have. Reflect on all the activities that you’ve wanted to try but haven’t.
Move slowly, but act with intention. You have every right to pursue your happiness, and you’re allowed to do things the narcissist said you couldn’t do. This is your time now.
Keep a Journal About Why the Relationship Was Bad for You
At some point, it will happen. You’re starting to feel happy, you’re gaining more clarity, and then, suddenly, you miss them. Maybe you heard a familiar song on the radio. Perhaps it’s a significant birthday or anniversary. Or maybe you’re just feeling lonely that day.
Either way, this longing will happen, especially if you two shared a long-term relationship. As mentioned, feelings are not permanent. This desire will pass, but you cannot act on it. Resist the urge to reach out to them or check their social media. This will only lead to more problems and emotional turmoil.
Instead, keep a journal reminding yourself of your worth and why the relationship was bad for you. Talk to other people who have experienced the same abuse. In other words, remind yourself how the grief cycle works- the more you recognize your difficult emotions, the more grateful you will feel for removing yourself from your toxic relationship.
Avoid Jumping into Another Relationship Right Away
Be careful of the rebound partner. At first, moving onto a different relationship may seem like an enticing strategy to heal from narcissistic abuse.
But you need time to process and heal. You need some time for self-exploration and identity reclamation. Without taking these steps, you risk falling victim to another abusive relationship. You may even find yourself with another narcissist.
There isn’t a set timeline for when it’s appropriate to date again. But try to spend some time alone. You need to truly understand who you are, what you value, and what you want in a relationship before committing to someone else.
Get Over a Narcissist: Commit to No-Contact
If you want to get over a narcissist, you must give yourself the freedom to move on. That doesn’t mean staying friends. It doesn’t mean you respond to their pleading texts or phone calls. It means you cut off all contact completely.
At first, this approach may seem challenging or even cruel. If you have spent years with the narcissist, the idea of having no contact whatsoever even seems foreign. But despite these mental inhibitions, most people find that making this decision is the most straightforward decision.
That’s because you eliminate the ifs, ands, or buts. You don’t have to rationalize with yourself to determine if it’s appropriate to talk to them. You don’t have to set limits or create boundaries. It’s all decided for you, and it’s completely black or white.
Moving on isn’t easy, but it is possible. You deserve the opportunity to heal and live a meaningful life.
The best way to begin is to address and overcome the brainwashing and mind manipulation the narcissist inflicted upon you. Unfortunately, this doesn’t go away on its own.
My best recommendation is to find an online program to keep you on track and to offer support. The Break Free Program has been vetted by therapists and neuropsychologists as an effective step toward getting over narcissistic abuse. Aside from keeping you safe from narcissists, it also empowers you to go out into the world with confidence.
Helping previously victimized people become empowered is one of my greatest passions. The best thing you can do if you are ready for this astounding upleveling is to join us in the Break Free community.
Thank you for your comments and questions, and I look forward to reading them.