How to End a Relationship with a Narcissist


If you are in a relationship with a person who is incapable of considering your feelings, denies you their personal thoughts, or is hypersensitive to what others think of their success, material articles or intelligence, you may be sharing your life with a narcissist. In the extreme case of narcissism, the person may be completely self absorbed and can only think of how situations affect them. Known as detachment dysfunction, a narcissist may have had a profound childhood trauma that developed into an absolute mistrust of other human beings, and found the only use for them as tools. Extreme narcissists are trapped in childhood, and have never matured into an adult with empathy or the ability to share.

The Desire to Leave the Relationship

After many arguments without any resolution to the problems of your relationship, or the sudden realization that you have lost control of your life, you may consider leaving the narcissist and regain your sense of self. Unfortunately, you may be suffering from a depression from the effects of a tumultuous experience known as burnout. Finding the strength to leave may be compromised. So, what is the hold the narcissist has on you? Why can't you end this painful relationship that is leaving you physically and mentally exhausted?

Frequent Arguments Over Control


Characteristics of a Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissistic personality disorder is a broad spectrum of degrees, shapes and sizes. Researchers believe that it develops from psycho-social, environmental, genetic and biological factors in a complex process of development.

  • Extreme need for admiration and adoration from others. Tries to suspend the belief in others that she is a person of integrity and trust. May believe they are the primary importance in people in their lives and are responsible for influencing the moods and thoughts of others.
  • Has a grandiose idea of self importance. Believes they are special or unique in some way that allows them to be entitled to whatever they desire. They may possess a belief that they are destined for greatness that is defined with an obsession for extreme success.
  • Is very envious of others and may ruminate over someone else's success and how they don't deserve it.
  • Is exploitative of other people and may behave as an opportunist that uses people for their own means.
  • May be arrogant and treat the "waitress" with disdain or criticize her dentist as "incompetent" and "does not know what they are doing." Condescending with most people in a position to provide service to him.
  • Argues incessantly until they are given their way or "win" the argument.
  • Lacks empathy and has no compassion for others unless they can use the situation to gain admiration from others. Frequently, the narcissist is a "rescuer."

What is an Extreme Narcissist?

Healthy narcissism is a person who cares about their safety, loves their inner self and looks out for their health. However, some people have become frozen in childhood, and have never learned to express the empathetic nature of caring about another person. Often, this person has experienced an extreme trauma or detachment that was never resolved. Closing their inner truths and feelings has left them isolated and vacant. Typically, the trauma occurred at an early age and the devastated child continues to be locked up inside them. There are many different degrees of narcissistic personality disorder, and not everyone is in the extreme end of the spectrum. However, the reluctance to discuss their inner personal feelings or true emotions is a common trend in narcissism.

Traits of a Narcissist


Why Can't You Leave a Narcissist

Giving Up Control to Your Partner

Often, you will find yourself giving up control in your life to keep your partner happy. Your trips to see your family and friends may shorten and become farther apart in time. You may give up your finances to keep the peace, or maybe you feel like a stranger redecorated your house because there is nothing of you in it. Although it is disturbing, it may be better than the continuous "bad mood" and incessant bickering of your partner if you don't comply. Eventually, the narcissist may have taken over your life and you feel as though you have become helpless without him.

Treating the Narcissistic Behavior as Normal

As a good person, you may believe that eventually the narcissist will come around and love you back with the same compassion that you provide them. The idea of give and take in a relationship is a valued component of a love match that the narcissist is not capable of in the long term. If they promise not to treat you as they have in the past, they cannot not sustain the facade for very long.

They Know how to Push the Buttons

It is common to leave a narcissist spouse or partner several times before the final breakup. They know what you want to hear and will promise to become the person that will treat you better, not abuse you, not lie to you, not control you, be more flexible, give you your space, trust you, etc. But a true narcissist cannot sustain those ideals and eventually return to their former behavior.

Narcissists Keep Returning to Win you Back

A narcissistic spouse will ask you to come back at intervals and will lie and promise anything if you to return. When you agree to "loving them" you feed the narcissistic supply of admiration and adoration in your narcissistic spouse. Usually, just when you feel you are healing and ready to move on, the narcissist returns with gifts and promises of showing you how they love you. Eventually, you find that nothing has changed in the relationship.

Join Codependents Anonymous for Support and Assistance

Welcome to Co-Dependents Anonymous

Welcome to Co-Dependents Anonymous, a fellowship of men and women whose common purpose is to develop healthy relationships. The only requirement for membership is a desire for healthy and loving relationships.

How to Leave a Narcissist

Understanding the behavior of the person you are dealing with is essential to the knowledge that you cannot change them. Their behavior is a mind set that is unaffected by your actions, intentions or offering of love. Narcissists can get help in therapy, and many have, but the nature of the disorder is a major barrier into the insight of their own behavior--and they frequently don't believe they need help.

  • Regain your self-confidence and self love. It is paramount that you regain your own sense of self worth and reject people that abuse, control or lie to you in your life. It is self preservation and a birth right to all of us.
  • Leave the relationship in a safe manner. If you feel threatened by your spouse, enlist friends or family to assist you in your exit. Always be safe, and be smart.
  • Find a friend to confide in. You may feel you have lost your support system due to the relationship demands of a narcissistic spouse, but chances are you have not. You need someone to confide in that you can trust.
  • Enforce a "no contact" rule with your girl or boyfriend in order to take the time to heal, assess the situation and regain your emotional strength.
  • Join a support group. Codependents Anonymous, or CODA, is a place to share your feelings and provides support and insight into healing from a traumatic relationship.

Steps to Leave a Narsissist

Recognize the Symptoms
Take Action
Reclaim Your Life
Your partner accounts for all your time
Seek friends and family for support and assistance with leaving
Leave the relationship carefully and be safe
Your partner has control over your finances
Open a new account and keep your money separate
Restore your financial control and regain your independence
Your partner acts out in anger or violence against you when you mention leaving
Call the police and have it documented that this person has violent tendencies. Verbal threats are as violent as physical assault
Have your partner removed and file a restraining order to keep them away
Take a "no contact" break from the relationship
The hardest part of leaving is staying apart, making a no contact rule will give you time to live on your own terms
Living alone will be painful, but reclaiming your life will give you back your confidence
Take personal inventory
Before dating again, investigate why you were attracted to this relationship to begin with
Join support groups or engage in therapy if needed. A healthy individual attracts healthy people.

Take Time to Heal


A Loving Relationship is Waiting for You

Regaining your self esteem will not be easy and you may find yourself feeling alone and experience depression. A severed relationship is painful and takes time to heal. Always hold on to your own self love in these times, and seek supportive assistance that can help you understand your emotions and express your feelings. Time alone is necessary to reflect on what you want from your life. When you find the strength to leave, the hardest part is over.

Comments 58 comments

Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 3 years ago from Brownsville,TX

wow this is so interesting.. My two sisters were married to men like this.. it was a nightmare of marriages.. I mean I lost my sisters for years until finally one day they both finally left with their lives.. one of my sisters that was in this relationship has died. she was never really happy.. my heart still breaks all that he did to her.

many blessings for writing this .. I am sharing


lovedoctor926 3 years ago

Excellent hub! This is a good article to revisit.

eHealer profile image

eHealer 3 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Thank you Debbie, I am so sorry about your sister. I have seen a lot of relationships like this and came very close to being in one myself. I am glad your sisters left these men, but some people have a difficult time in recovery. Thanks for your comments and thank you so much for visiting and sharing my hub.

Good Bless you Debbie

eHealer profile image

eHealer 3 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Hello LoveDoctor! Thanks for your kind words and support, this may help someone that can't understand why they can't make their relationship work no matter how hard they try. See you soon at the hubs.

ImKarn23 profile image

ImKarn23 3 years ago

Sigh...clearly - you've been there done that - or - know someone who has..

i dated a narcissist - never married - it was hard enough just dating for several years - and you're SO right...

manipulation is their middle name! They know your number and your hot buttons - and they call and push with glee - it seems..

it's ALL about them..

i learned..eventually - as you mentioned..

Thanks for this reminder - perfect title, btw, dear..

voting up and sharing with the hub-munity...

ps - Hi, Deb and Marlene - not at all surprised to see you ladies here! lol..

HUBS, y'all!

eHealer profile image

eHealer 3 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Thanks Imkarn, I appreciate the support. We have all been there and done that. It's part of learning about how to interact with others, who to love and who to stay away from. I am so glad you didn't marry the narcissist, and am grateful you commented on my hub. See you soon on the hubs!

Attikos profile image

Attikos 3 years ago from East Cackalacky

I suggest the easiest way is just not to vote for him again.

Oh, wait. We're not talking about politics this time, are we?

Never mind.

eHealer profile image

eHealer 3 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Attikos, hello. All politicians are narcissists to some extent. They wouldn't be able to handle rejection if they weren't. Actors are also known to be very difficult in rehab due to narcissism, and yes, even judges, clergymen and police are known to have some afflictions to the disorder. Thanks for stopping by!

tsmog profile image

tsmog 3 years ago from Escondido, CA

Interesting article. I ponder if it is learned or innate? What is your view eHealer of this question, "Does media today foster narcissistic behavior?" I like your quote, "However, the reluctance to discuss their inner personal feelings or true emotions is a common trend in narcissism."

I worked with a person who practically stopped at every mirror and even windows to observe their reflection. When the warehouse mgr. it was a constant. Where is so and so. He's in the bathroom. That is where the mirror was located. This article offers enlightenment understanding maybe why he was divorced so many times.

thank you, eHealer


eHealer profile image

eHealer 3 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Hello Tsmog and it is always so great to see you. It is learned, and innate. Although it's so complex no one really has a clear cut idea of the phenomenon, it appears trauma has to do with extreme cases. Genetics predispose the person to the features and if they had an overbearing parent that made them feel "special" without doing anything for it, could be conditioned. Thanks for your input, as always, I appreciate your comments, and yes, that guy who was divorced so many times, probably drove his wives to absolute exhaustion and burnout!

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

ehealer...You have done a superb job with this hub on the unfortunate mental disorder of narcissism. And wouldn't they choke INDIGNANTLY, to be told they certainly have a mental disorder!!? LOL......Sad people, they are. Truthfully, must go through life with out giving real love nor receiving it....

This is so well-written, there is nothing more to be said. A wonderful education that I will guess many people will find valuable....UP+++

Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

I am an egotist not a narcissist and Arlene was one of the people who helped keep me floating. Thanks for this interesting report.

eHealer profile image

eHealer 3 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Hi fpherj489, yes, people with personality disorders don't often think they need help to change their behavior and improve their lives, but many have. Because ultimately, many extreme narcissists end up alone and lonely, blaming others for there misfortune. Thanks for the support!

eHealer profile image

eHealer 3 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Hi Mhatter, so, you're just really proud of yourself and pay a little extra attention to your needs. Big difference from a narcissist. Thanks for reading my hub!

thewritingowl profile image

thewritingowl 3 years ago from Ireland

Great Hub Ehealer on one of my favorite subjects. You are spot on as usual. Love the new info on the Narcissistic personality as I can see you know its very complex and just when I think I have researched it all another layer appears. Voted up.

Funom Makama 3 profile image

Funom Makama 3 3 years ago from Europe

Thanks a lot for this wonderful share. Definitely voted up....

rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

A great deal to ponder about in this hub. You've detailed all of it so well and the way to go about getting out of this.

Well done, Deborah!

Voted up, useful and shared.

jellygator profile image

jellygator 3 years ago from USA

Excellent topic! Adding this one to my hub about narcissism and voting it well.

Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 3 years ago from Baltimore, MD

I used to work with a narcissist and it was really awful. He took credit for others work and he always had to be right. It was a real pain. Luckily, I never had the misfortune of being in a relationship with one and I hope I never will. Great information in this hub and voted up!

bizwin profile image

bizwin 3 years ago from England, UK

Excellent hub. I've known few people with these traits, but I did not know this is the name given to such actions. Great information.

eHealer profile image

eHealer 3 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Writing Owl, thanks so much for the confidence! Personality disorders are difficult to make sense of when writing, they have an ebb and flow that evolve into a commonality. Unlike mental disorders, personality disorders are arranged by the consistency of a behavioral pattern. Thanks for your kind comments.

eHealer profile image

eHealer 3 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Thanks Funom, I am so glad you like it and find it interesting. Most personality disorders are fascinating!

eHealer profile image

eHealer 3 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Hello my friend, it is always so nice to see you and I'm so flattered when you comment on my work. See you soon, Rajan!

eHealer profile image

eHealer 3 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Jellygator, so nice to see you! Thanks for adding it to yours, I will shoot you an email and add yours as well to this hub! See you soon.

eHealer profile image

eHealer 3 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Known as the "weight lifters" of personality disorders, because they don't have a plan, they are just "entitled" to whatever they want, narcissists are among the most difficult people to work with as well as being in a loving relationship. They just, wear you out!

eHealer profile image

eHealer 3 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Hi Bizwin, narcissists are very interesting, although they can be very difficult to deal with.

nanderson500 profile image

nanderson500 3 years ago from Seattle, WA

This is a good companion piece to your hub about psychopaths. They seem to share the same traits. Very interesting stuff, great hub!

eHealer profile image

eHealer 3 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Very astute of you Nanderson! Thanks for the supportive comments and thanks for visiting. Psychopaths are similar but they are usually created by different means. See you soon!

Nicole Winter profile image

Nicole Winter 3 years ago from Chicago, IL

Excellent, thought-provoking article, eHealer, thank-you for providing so much quality information here. I look forward to reading more of your hubs.

eHealer profile image

eHealer 3 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Thanks Nicole, I appreciate your comments, and your ideals. Thanks!

Mellonyy profile image

Mellonyy 3 years ago

Awesome tips! I think it's very dangerous when you feel worn out by this kind of relationship, and still love your partner.

Voted up and shared!

eHealer profile image

eHealer 3 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Hi Mellonyy, you're very astute, the hallmark of this relationship is an exhausted spouse or partner. Thanks for your supportive comments and I appreciate you taking time to stop by!

Cathy Fidelibus profile image

Cathy Fidelibus 3 years ago from NJ

I did it!

I left a narcissist after 20 years of marriage. He still hounds 2 years later and tries to make my life hell, but hell was being married to him. Now I am free to be me and it feels good.

eHealer profile image

eHealer 3 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Cathy, good for you! It is so hard to leave one, but once you do, you are free and you have taken back your life!

carolinemd21 profile image

carolinemd21 3 years ago from Close to Heaven

Thank you for this hub! I have dated a narcissist and it was very exhausting and heartbreaking. It was also very difficult to leave. Thanks for all this great information. :)

eHealer profile image

eHealer 3 years ago from Las Vegas Author

hello Caroline, thanks for the great comments! Most of us have been involved with the Narcissist at one time or another! Thanks for your kind words.

CrisSp profile image

CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

I've read quite a lot about this subject. I find it very fascinating. This one is precisely useful and will be sharing it with someone who I know is in this kind of relationship. The person had seen the signs and was forewarned about it--the problem is, she wouldn't listen and is still in the relationship. I'm sure this will be a good read for her and hopefully, she takes the advices. Sometimes, I just wanna hammer her in the head really!

Well, thank you for this. Absolutely voting up, useful and passing it along.

Love from the sky~

eHealer profile image

eHealer 3 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Hey Cris, I am so glad you find this helpful for your friend. She may be co-dependent, another hub of mine, and this is what is keeping her in this destructive relationship. The "relationship" is more important than "her." I wish you luck and it's awesome that you want to help her, but if you can't, just be there for her if you can. Sometimes people take time to see how to fix their lives. Thanks for sharing!

jellygator profile image

jellygator 3 years ago from USA

I hope your friend will find the wisdom to ask herself what her future with the man in question will be like, but as eHealer said, some people value themselves too little to recognize when the relationship may be hurting them too much. It's good to know that you're there for her when and if she does realize it.

eHealer profile image

eHealer 3 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Hey Jelly, thanks for reading my hub and much thanks for your supportive and helpful comments. You are so right, people take time to sort out their lives and find their way.

cam8510 profile image

cam8510 3 years ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

eHealer, Very informative hub. Thank you. I dated a woman about three years ago who had been married to a narcissist for over twenty years. She is still unable to find stability in her life. She is currently attempting to leave yet another relationship and has reached out to me again. I'll help, but my guard is up. The narcissist to whom she was married is a 50 some year old body builder who is having trouble coming to terms with the end of that part of his life. He hasn't given up yet though. It is a complicated and destructive thing. Thanks for the insight.

Gail Meyers profile image

Gail Meyers 3 years ago from United States

This is a great hub, eHealer! Unfortunately, I am very familiar with NPD and your hub is spot on. I would like to add a link to this hub from my hubs about my NPD mother. Voted up and awesome!

carlajbehr profile image

carlajbehr 3 years ago from NW PA

Excellent, Excellent, Excellent - so many things we should learn very early in life. : )

Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

When I started reading I was so afraid I would find out that I am a narcissist that I almost fainted! Well, not really fainted.. but you get the point! I loved the hub and the way you introduced it all in a conversational and best friend manner. Voted Up.

eHealer profile image

eHealer 3 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Thanks for reading, Rodric. No, you are not a narcissist. Thanks for your vote up!

Heather Mcdougall profile image

Heather Mcdougall 3 years ago

The truly extreme and malignant narcissist is definitely no longer loved by his/her victim. You stop loving them often years before you actually throw them out. Their total parasitism on you, often refusing to work or even get a job and their endless outrageous demands, coupled with character assassination of you to your face for years and control freakery, eventually lead to your utter hatred of them. You realise eventually that you are utterly exhausted both physically and mentally, dealing with your narcissistic abuser, and you realise too, that you are totally traumatised. I kicked my abuser out with the help of my brother. You have to do this, because you cannot protect your kids from them and you cannot be the good mother that you know you are deep down, while you are in such a traumatised state.You have to save your kids too from the narcissistic abuse. My abuser started on the kids and wanted them for narcissistic supply too, once I refused to give it any more. I felt so happy once he was thrown out and I havn't looked back. Life is wonderful now and my kids are so happy he's gone. I know I did the right thing. I just wish I did it years ago.

Efficient Admin profile image

Efficient Admin 2 years ago from Charlotte, NC

Do you think it would be useful to tell a narcissist that "I don't like you and don't want any contact with you so stop your inappropriate abusive stalker harassment? I am having trouble like this now and working to get this person completely out of my life. Unfortunately it's a toxic messy family member.

mary 2 years ago

Omg. I have been married for over 20 years to a Narcissus. We went to therapy and he lied and I was honest and it was awful. He has abused our kids and never apologizes. He calls me crazy and has abused me for years. He has an explosive temper. I am in the process of finding an attorney. I need to talk to my siblings. I'm living a nightmare "!" I have to save my kids and my sanity! !!

Kim 2 years ago

I have been dating a narcicist for a year and a half and finally have decided enough is enough. Everything is about him, nothing is never his fault, belittles everyone-even people he does not know, etc. He cheated on me, I took him back because I thought he would change, but he didn't. He cheated again. We broke up about 3 months ago and every now and then he pops back up. I even had him blocked so he could not contact me and he found a way around the block. He is a cheater, a liar, selfish, soulless man. He has a history of broken relationships but I overlooked it. He says all the right things but certainly does not do them. I have a fantastic support system and am working on me. I am even going to counseling so that I do not become bitter. Thank you for this blog. A friend of mine sent me the link last night. I am taking it day by day which is all I can do.

Sebrina Yates profile image

Sebrina Yates 2 years ago from Centre, Alabama

On my second marriage. And I believe he is one. No children together but together for 15a years. Don't even know who I am anymore. He has sucked the life out of me. No way to leave no one to help.

2 years ago


So much love to you. Check out she has a healing program for this.

mythbuster profile image

mythbuster 20 months ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

Great info here. I hope many will read this hub and learn how to move away from narcissists in their lives.

Tamirogers profile image

Tamirogers 20 months ago from Seattle, Washington

Great hub! Yes, I have run into more than one of these types over the years. Unfortuantely, I've had a few friends marry narcissists and it has never been a good thing. One finally left her husband (thanks goodness) but the other one is staying "for the kids" which I think is a lose-lose for everyone. Voting up and interesting and following you now too!

Medusa13 profile image

Medusa13 20 months ago from Henrietta, New York

Very informative. I never realized exactly what narcissism was until recently and there are several people I have avoided and/or never liked because of their behaviors. This is why!

firstcookbooklady profile image

firstcookbooklady 18 months ago from Minnesota

Some of them are so fakey... to others, they are such a nice guy, but at home... eggshells, or get yelled at...

DMack 15 months ago

Currently with a narcissist. I feel trapped, sad and I've lost my identity over the 20 years. He insists on knowing every detail of every thing I do, think and feel. When my thoughts don't fall in line with what he thinks they should be, he criticizes me until I see it his way, which I rarely do. I just stop talking altogether. I left a few times, came back. Last time I left, I met a wonderful man, but he found out where he lived and started making me feel guilty. We have a minor son. Mind you, he's married and not to me. He refuses to divorce his wife. He is unbearable. I'm slowly losing my sanity. I have absolutely nothing of my own. Everything is his or in his name. Are there support groups for victims of narcissists? I need help.

Justyna 7 months ago

I'm in this horrible relationship with narsasisi right now. He give me silent treatment for a week now. He txt me abusive msg calling me names such as prick and so on. He threaten me "watch what is going to happen ". I have been I'm situation like this many times but this time it feels diffrent to me. I feel empty and like paralysed towards to him. I can't stand to look at him and dint want to sleep in the same room where he is. I think this is the end for me with this relationship but I'm scared when he finally start talking to me he won't like what i have to say to him that thisIis the end and our 14 years relationship is over. The worst part is that we have 10 year old daughter who loves him very much

Lee 5 weeks ago

Just had to end a relationship ... There are female narcissistics out there and i got burned good .. Asking me to trust her and be patient only to belive her lies .. Untill i busted face to face

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