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, 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
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.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.