Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
Your search engine shows “Narcissist” in your history at least a million times. You’ve come up with all sorts of excuses to deny what you have read. It’s taken a while to let it all sink in – it might have even taken years, that’s normal so don’t be hard on yourself – but in your heart of hearts, you finally know that your partner is a Narcissist.
And one day, suddenly, you also will know that it’s time. Your time to action and breakup. Your heart has crossed that line and you know you must leave your relationship.
One more internet search for “Breaking up with a Narcissist” has found you here and, guess what, I’ve been waiting for you.
I am so glad we found each other because I’ve done it. I’ve left a narcissist, then I studied it and now I help other people through this whole dark night of the soul that you don’t deserve or do anything to cause.
Let’s do this.
Right up front, I’m going to assume that you are the one who is going to do the breaking up.
I assume this because they’ll rarely let one of their flock go willingly – to them you are as much a part of them as their own foot. Although – I am thinking they probably treat their foot a lot better. Ouch.
Plus – they need to be the victim in all of this so that they can maintain their image. Screenshot that – you’ll need to read it often.
I am going to hazard a guess – but if you are with a Narcissist who you think is wanting to leave you, then they’ll be pushing you hard to break up with them by doing every single thing they know you hate. Or they’ll be cheating. Or both.
Either way – here we are. You are breaking up.
Firstly, prepare yourself for an onslaught. Prepare yourself for begging and pleading and promises of endless love and commitment. Prepare yourself for promises of change. They are losing one of their toys. They enjoy manipulating and playing with people.
Prepare yourself for declarations of disbelief, declarations that you seriously misunderstood them and their motives and declarations that they’ll change the very cells in their body because they love you and want you to stay.
They’ll name every good thing that they believe they’ve done for you.
Don’t be surprised if they even have an actual list of the stuff that they believe they’ve done for you or even every cent that they think they’ve spent on you. It won’t all be true. Don’t waste one precious breath trying to explain the truth to them.
My own personal Narcissist – well, one of them, I collect them for a hobby – had a list ready to send my father so that my father could pay him back all the money he had spent on me. It included room and board.
Right upfront, I’m going to assume that you are the one who is going to do the breaking up. I will guide you through some steps to stop you from going back to them in another article.
This next chapter, my new friend, requires balls. Big, hairy, knee-knocking balls.
Suddenly you will be both privately and publicly known as The Devil incarnate. A crazy, lying, drug-taking, alcoholic, psychotic, child-harming, self-serving, thieving devil. You get my drift.
Their plan will be so sneaky and devious that you’ll be wondering what hit you. They’ll start causing minor difficulties to make you appear selfish and uncaring.
Privately, they won’t be mincing words when they tell you just how bad they think you are.
Expect words that they know will really hurt you to the bone. They’ll attack parts of your life that are sacred to you. A quick hint. Try not to answer or react. That’s what they want.
They might even contact your friends or use their, or your own social media contacts to spread their untrue but very carefully crafted character assassination.
Another hint – get a new email, block them and their friends on your social media. Ghost them. It is one of the only times I will suggest that you ghost someone but do it.
If you have children with them – get another phone or sim card and a new email address. Block the narcissist on the old one and give them the new contact details. If you need to – get a friend to have access to the old phone or email messages so they can protect you from reading anything that will upset you, make you feel guilty or which is just designed to deeply hurt you.
It is important to keep a record of ALL the communication though. Just in case it escalates, and you need to report the abuse. So – make sure to do that.
When they can’t reach you, they’ll start contacting your family and friends or even your workplace.
If you can prewarn your boss – that would be great. I know this is not always possible.
You must tell your friends and family to not answer messages or texts. They cannot do it. They might have the best of intentions, but they will only cause even more damage to your situation. You must have people with whom you feel safe.
The Narcissist may contact your family or friends on the premise that they are concerned about you or your children. They will use a lot of phrases like “terribly” worried and “extremely” concerned. This is a very normal tactic. Tell your family that contact is only to be through you.
A huge tactic that the Narcissist uses during any kind of break-up is to make you feel like you are going crazy. They’ll do any little thing that they know pisses you off until it builds up and you find yourself so angry that you can’t think straight. Boom – they have evidence that you are unstable.
They’ll try to make you appear crazy and position themselves as the victim who fell into your web of lies and heartless deceit. They’ll be recording evidence of this. They may show you this evidence. They might show other people it. They’ll use it totally out of context. Do not believe THEIR web of lies and deceit. Remember – they project their own stuff right onto you. And they do it well.
Generally, the next stage is when the verbal attack becomes threats. Threats to your reputation, family, property children or pets. Items may be thrown. They may even threaten to take their own life.
If you feel any person is in danger at all, please contact the Police or Authorities immediately.
They may stand in a doorway to intimidate and stop you from leaving during an argument or make statements like “I could easily hurt you”, and then dismiss the threat by saying they didn’t mean it. That you were overreacting or misheard.
You could find notes on your door ranging from “Please give me another chance, I love you.” to “I’ll murder you if I see you with another man/woman.” They’ll tell you no one will want you because you are such a mess.
Nasty words which should not be used to describe a person might be used as their desperation increases.
In their mind, if they can’t have you, no one can.
Never, ever, ever open the door to an angry ex! Nothing they’ll be saying to try and get you to open it will be true.
If they have a key – change the locks. No – I am not overreacting – and neither will you be. Though no doubt they’ll tell you that you are.
They’ll appear to move on quickly – to show the world how desirable and great at relationships they are – and therefore showing that you’re obviously not. Their intent can be summed up with “No problem here”. Image is EVERYTHING to them.
It won’t be a real relationship–they are incapable.
They cannot keep up the charm in this new relationship either. They are using this relationship to provide evidence to the public that everything you might be saying about them is a lie. That the problem is you.
They are hoping you cyberstalk their social media and see their great new life– it will be curated just for YOU. Don’t go there. DO NOT. Make it impossible for yourself to do this even after a few drinks.
They’ll spend vast sums of money on themselves or their new “love”. They’ll use any communal money that they have access to.
Cut off their supply right at the time you break up. Not before – or they will get a whiff of your plans. Right at the time.
Money is usually especially important to Narcissists. Mine even got a bank to take a large amount of money out of my account (which he had no legal access to) without my permission – by simply intimidating the teller into submission. True story.
Finally, they’ll try to physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially wear you down. In any way that they can. Something which they were probably already well on the way to doing before the breakup.
Breaking up with a narcissist is not for the fainthearted and I cannot stress enough – you do not need to do it alone and you should not do it alone.
The narcissist may have created distance, physically or emotionally, between you and your family and friends. This is one of their telltale tactics.
They may have told you that your family and friends think you are crazy or that they like them more. This is untrue.
Connect with a few good, safe, trustworthy friends. Friends whose opinions you value. Trust them. Be honest. They probably already know.
Most importantly, find a therapist who is there for you. Just you. Not a couple’s counsellor for both of you, or a therapist that sees your kids. That might be necessary later – not the couples counsellor – that never works with a narcissist- and we will get to that another time.
Do not give the name of your therapist to the Narcissist.
Look around for someone who you feel totally gets your situation and who is available to you at short notice. This is not the time to wonder if you can do it by yourself. You do not have to, and it cannot be done. I have tried. I failed. Trust me on this.
But most of all I want to say – wow – just wow.
Look where you are.
Taking a huge step, standing up for yourself in a new way and making a tough decision that will make your life better in more ways than you can imagine.
You might doubt that at times over the next little while, but you have my promise that it’s true.
And for what you are doing – and for the parts of yourself you will find again, I want to send big love.
*Stay tuned – an article with hints on handling all of this is just at the tip of my fingers. Sign up to my newsletter to be the first to know.
Just realised I wrote this on Valentine’s Day. “Isn’t it ironic,”