How to Break Up with a Narcissist (10 Tips)

Ok, first of all, congratulations. Please also know you’re doing the right thing, and you’re valuable. Your future is also valuable, and your decision to protect it is the best thing you’ll ever do for yourself.

As you may have guessed, breaking up with a narcissist is not easy. However, if you approach it right, you can do it!

These are important tips to follow as you navigate this smart life choice.

1. Join a support group

You’re not alone, and you’ll feel more empowered to do what you need to do if you first join a support group.

Some of the people there are in the same boat as you, whether you’ve broken up with a narcissist before or not. It just helps to have caring people in your corner.

Unfortunately, narcissists like to target all your mutual friends after you break up. They try to trash you, lie about you and do anything they can to make themselves look like victims.

You’ve probably already had a taste of this hell when you accomplished something or went to a social gathering with the narcissist where you were the center of attention for a minute until they ruined it.

Even if you lose a few friends who foolishly side with the narcissist, the great news is that you’ll have a new set of friends. They understand what you’re going through and can support you better.

2. Know what to expect, and plan your escape

So, you already know the narcissist will run a smear campaign against you. What else will the narcissist do?

They tend to react badly and lash out. Narcissists may throw things, yell, try to lock you in, hit you, or anything else. Everyone is different but expect a dramatic reaction. The only exception is if the narcissist is already about to discard you.

By now, you may be familiar with the narcissist’s outbursts. Think ahead about how you’ll respond.

Also, prepare yourself for what follows. Once you leave, a narcissist may pretend to be nice, beg, act needy, threaten to commit suicide, threaten to hurt you, or do something else. The possibilities are vast.

If you live together, decide if you want to leave or try to kick out the narcissist. Make other living arrangements or plans to stay with someone dependable temporarily.

3. Create boundaries and a breakup plan

You know how manipulative the narcissist is, so you need boundaries. For example, you may tell the narcissist never to contact you again.

Of course, the narcissist will try. What can you do? There are several options. If you think the narcissist will come to where you’re living or staying, consider getting a restraining order the day before the breakup.

Block the narcissist’s phone number immediately after the breakup. Block the person on social media. Block, block, block away! It may not be that simple if you have kids, but that’s covered in step seven.

The goal is to cut off the narcissist’s supply. Narcissists need a supply of gratification to live, just as we need water to live. If they keep returning to a dry lake, they’ll eventually find a new water source.

Whatever you put on your list, make the sure meeting in a safe space to tell the narcissist you’re breaking up is at the top. If you’re concerned about physical violence, choose a public place.

4. Know your triggers and the narcissist’s defenses

Narcissists are good at finding what triggers you. As master manipulators and gaslighters are crafty enough to find ways to turn everything around on you.

If you’ve already had fights with the narcissist, you probably know their defense avenues.

We all have our weaknesses, and there’s no shame in that. If you know that the narcissist may manipulate your weak spots and trigger you even if you stick to your plan, talk to a counselor first.

You’ll learn some important strategies and keys to change your responses. Those can save you from a toxic relationship and abuse you don’t deserve.

5. Build your self-esteem

This is an important step that helps you get to know yourself. At this point, the narcissist has probably worn down your self-esteem, emotionally abused you, and made you question everything.

Narcissists can drain every drop of joy out of your life.

As you spend a little time searching your thoughts and get to know yourself again, you’ll find what makes you happy. You’ll find what gives you strength and need it to leave the narcissist.

Many people who have a hard time ending a relationship take this step by going to a counselor and learning how to get in touch with their feelings. They also learn how to be more assertive.

6. Identify what’s most important to you to protect

We’re talking about tangibles here, which mainly applies if you and the narcissist live together. Maybe your grandparents gave you a one-of-a-kind heirloom, or your child drew some precious pictures for you.

Get those out. Find a friend or family member you trust, and ask if you can keep those things there.

If you have a lot of things, you want to protect, slowly remove them from your home a few things at a time. You don’t want the narcissist to know what you’re planning until you’re ready.

So, why must you do this? Glad you asked. Narcissists like to punish you when you do anything to stop being part of their supply, abandon them or possibly make them look like the bad ones.

When they get upset, they may go after the things they know are valuable to you. They may break special belongings, throw them away, steal them and try to bribe you to come back.

You took something precious from them, so they want to get back at you by doing the same.

7. Find a lawyer if you need to

If you’re married to a narcissist or have kids together, things can get ugly for a little while. As soon as possible, contact a lawyer.

Explain your situation. Start documenting everything that the lawyer tells you to, and keep that information on paper, somewhere safe online, and on a flash drive.

Lawyers can tell you what to do regarding restraining orders and everything else. Just don’t ever take legal advice from your friends if they’re not legal professionals since every case is different.

The narcissist may try to draw you in as you navigate legal battles. Stay with your support group, stay strong and stay free.

8. Prepare yourself and go for it

Narcissists tend to show their ugliest behaviors when they’re rejected. They feel abandoned and personally attacked. Who could ever possibly not love the person they think they are?

Of course, you know that the fake persona and the real person are very different by now. Keep reminding yourself of that. You’re in love with a persona, not a person.

Once you have your belongings, living arrangements, breakup plan, legal issues, and everything else in order, it’s gone time.

Stick to your plan, tap your inner strength and stay strong. Remember that it’s like ripping off an extra-sticky adhesive bandage.

True to themselves, narcissists will try to make the process hurt you as much as possible by saying horrible things and reacting badly.

Breathe. Think about a stress-free future, stay calm, and you’ll get through it. Once you do, you’ll feel a mix of emotions.

9. Let yourself grieve

We all experience grief over losses. As you grieve, if you can’t block the narcissist out of your life for kids or another reason, try to remember that you’re also grieving what the person took from you.

This may help you avoid getting caught in the narcissist’s web again.

You were in love with the person in the love-bombing phase. That was the sweet person who made you feel like a rare treasure. The one who seemed like your soulmate turned into a sulky, needy, angry, manipulative person who put you down constantly.

Never blame yourself. It’s not your fault. Let yourself go through the stages of grief. Acceptance is a sweet relief when you reach it.

10. Start rebuilding your life and finding happiness

What happens when you break up with a narcissist and get through the grief and legal difficulties?

You’ll feel like it’s spring again in your life. Your self-esteem, hope, joy, and every other positive thing can blossom and grow.

You can now focus on what you need. If you have kids, you can focus all your energy on them. Maybe you’ll meet someone new and wonderful.

If you’ve fallen for narcissists in the past and feel drawn to them, the best thing to do is talk to a counselor. They’re great at helping you discover why these abusive individuals target you and how you can defend yourself from them.

You can do this!

Can a gifted therapist help you too?

If you struggle with anxiety, depression, high-stress levels, relationship issues, or other specific challenges, one-on-one support from a therapist can help a lot.

You don’t need to go through this alone. There’s no shame in getting help!

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