Ending a relationship with a narcissist could be one of the hardest things that you may need to do in your life. Breakups in and of themselves are never easy, but breaking it off with a narcissist may require you to use a different strategy altogether in order to take care of your mental health. If you are reading this article, chances are that you are currently in a relationship with a partner exhibiting narcissistic tendencies, and you may need some tips to support you with leaving a relationship that you know is not healthy for you. You may have experienced, or are still experiencing, emotional, physical, financial or sexual abuse. You have probably been manipulated, gaslit, and controlled throughout the course of this relationship. You have had enough and want to take your power back because you prioritize your wellbeing. Here are some tips to help you break things off with a narcissist:
1. Make a list of why you want to end the relationship
A narcissist is likely to use strategies of manipulation and gaslighting that may leave you questioning your own reality at times. Writing down the reasons why you need to end the relationship will support you in expressing yourself, and seeing the evidence written down can help to re-ground you during this difficult time. It is best to keep this to yourself rather than showing this list to the narcissist. They will never hold themselves accountable for their actions, and may in turn use this against you.
2. Make a plan
It is best to plan ahead when breaking things off with a narcissist. You need to think about the possible ways that the narcissist may react to you breaking up with them. They will likely try using different strategies to make you stay, such as being apologetic and promising that they will change, blaming you, or showering you with love and affection to keep you with them. You need to stick to your boundaries to show them that you are serious about wanting to end the relationship. It is also important to think of how to support yourself financially, as well as possibly finding alternative accommodation to live in.
3. Build your support system
It is highly likely that in the time you were with the narcissist, you have been isolated from most of your friends and family due to the narcissist’s controlling and possessive nature. It is essential to reach out to the people that you know will support you during this difficult time. Explaining to them the reasons why you have reduced contact with them can hopefully help them to understand your situation. Ask them to check in on you often, talk about your feelings, and start hanging out with the people who have your back.
4. Talk to a professional
Experiencing a narcissistically abusive relationship can have a traumatic impact on many people who have experienced it. Talking about your experience with a professional can support you in making this transition, as well as to heal and gain the skills that you need to build healthier, mutually supportive relationships. It may be beneficial to address personal traits that may have drawn you to a narcissist, so that you can work on these issues and avoid similar patterns in your future relationships.
5. Letting go and focusing on yourself
Healing from the end of a relationship with a narcissist can be a rather difficult experience. Along with processing this life event with a professional, there are also things that you can do on your own to support yourself during this time. Acknowledge your own feelings instead of shutting them down. Be kind to yourself. Avoid the self-blame, take the necessary time to grieve this relationship, recognize your mistakes and learn from them. Cut off all contact with the narcissist, including blocking them from your phone and social media. Use this as an opportunity to rediscover yourself.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Pamela Borg is a counsellor who enjoys working therapeutically with adults experiencing various issues. These include general mental health and wellbeing, gender, sexuality, relationship issues.
Jordan, K. (2021). Breaking Up With a Narcissist: 5 Tips & What to Expect. Retrieved from: https://www.choosingtherapy.com/breaking-up-with-a-narcissist/
Neo, P. (2020). Breaking Up with A Narcissist: How to Do It & What to Expect. Retrieved from: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-27078/what-its-really-like-to-break-up-with-a-narcissist.html
Telloian, C. (2021). How to Break Up with Someone Who Has a Narcissistic Personality. Retrieved from: https://psychcentral.com/health/breaking-up-with-a-narcissistic-personality#letting-go