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If you are in an abusive relationship with a narcissist and would like to leave, it’s important to have game plan for ending the relationship in a relatively painlessly manner.
So if you are wondering how to leave a narcissist, there are series of steps that you should follow.
But first, let’s define “what is a narcissist” and then you will learn about a 13-step process for leaving this person.
An Overview: What Is a Narcissist?
A narcissist is someone who only cares about themselves and nobody else. A narcissist will really bring down other people, sometimes physically harming them, in an effort to elevate themselves by comparison.
A standard relationship is supposed to go both ways. Partners, friends, and loved ones are supposed to support each other. If there is only one-way traffic, that individual could be a narcissist.
Particularly if you are in an abusive relationship, you need to think carefully about how you are going to proceed. You need to prepare yourself mentally, physically, and financially if you are getting ready to leave someone who is abusing you.
Remember that one of the ways a narcissist maintains control over other people is that he or she takes control of all financial resources. It may take some time for an individual to accumulate enough money to separate themselves physically from a narcissist.
(If you feel like you're being too controlling, here's how you can stop being controlling in a relationship.)
At the same time, people do not have to go through this process alone. If you are getting ready to leave a narcissist, what should you do?
13 Steps to Leave a Narcissistic Relationship
If you need to get out of a narcissistic relationship, some of the steps that you need to follow include:
1. Stop Giving a Narcissist More Chances To Hurt You
It is never easy to get out of a relationship, even if there is abuse involved. Staying in a toxic romantic relationship because you feel that you've spent so much time with this person is a dangerous “sunk cost fallacy” mindset.
Watch the video below to learn about the bout 7 actionable strategies to cure the loss aversion mindset.
The first step you need to take is to stop giving them another chance. An individual who is a narcissist is a professional at convincing someone to give them that famous “one more chance.”
If a narcissist is not ready for an abusive relationship to end, they are probably going to put on the waterworks and try to convince you to stay. (Guard against conversational narcissism by recognizing its signs early on.)
Keep in mind that if you continue to stick around, there is a chance the abuse could get worse. This is not a chance you want to take.
The first thing you need to do to get yourself mentally ready to leave an abusive relationship is to stop giving a narcissist another opportunity to hurt you. Do not give them another opportunity.
Put yourself first.
An abusive partner is certainly not going to do that.
2. Do Not Tell a Narcissist You Are Leaving
When you are getting ready to leave a narcissist, physically, it can be tempting to tell them off. You may want to explode in front of them, telling them it is over before walking out the door.
This is absolutely something that you do not want to do. If you tell a narcissist you are leaving, there are only one or two responses you are going to get.
The first response is that the narcissist is going to turn on the charm to try to manipulate you into staying. They are going to try to emotionally trap you in the relationship. They will do everything they can to convince you that you should not leave.
Or, a narcissist is going to move in the complete opposite direction. There is a chance that his or her abusive behaviors will only get worse. It could destroy your reputation, target your loved ones, or even threatened your physical safety.
In some situations, all of these events might take place. Therefore, do not provide them with an opportunity to do this to you. Do not tell them you are leaving.
3. Make Physical Copies of All of Your Documents
Another way that a narcissist commonly controls someone is they take away all of their physical documents. This could include your social security card, your passport, debit cards, credit cards, and even your driver's license. Therefore, over time, you need to find all of these documents and make copies of them.
You may even want to take some photos and email them to yourself. If you have credit cards or debit cards, you want to cancel them right before you leave. That way, a narcissist will not be able to drain your bank account.
You do not want to let a narcissist know you are making copies of these documents. This is a sign that you are getting ready to leave. Instead, you need to try to collect these documents on your own.
Wait until the narcissist is out or trick them by saying that you need those important documents in order to fill out an application of some kind. That will give you an opportunity to copy them.
4. Collect Some Spare Cash in a Bank Account
When you are getting ready to leave, you need to open your own bank account. Then, gradually, you need to funnel some spare change into that account. That way, you have your own money and the narcissist cannot take it from you.
A lot of narcissists also abuse people financially. If this is the case, you have to be as secretive about this as possible. Otherwise, the narcissist may decide to cut you off entirely.
Unfortunately, you must have some extra cash available if you are getting ready to leave. Even though you may think about keeping cash in your pocket, there is always an opportunity that the narcissist could end up finding it.
In order to prevent this from happening, you need to store this in a bank account that only you have access to. That is why you need to go to the trouble of opening your own account. This will act as your starting point when you decide to leave.
5. Tell Someone What Has Happened To You
There is an opportunity that, down the road, legal action could unfold. In order to place yourself in a position to be believed, you have to tell someone else what is happening to you.
You may want to talk to a friend or family member so that he or she can verify your story in the event legal proceedings unfold. If you do not want to talk to your loved ones, then you should let your doctor know what has happened to you.
Make sure you tell your doctor that you have been abused. Even if your doctor is not trained to help people who have been involved in an abusive relationship, they may be able to refer you to someone who can help.
Ideally, you would want to report this situation to the police. If you are not ready to do that just yet, that is okay! The important thing is that you have to tell someone what has happened to you. This is going to be an emotional relief for you as well.
6. Find All Devices Attached to the Internet and Log Out
When you decide to leave an abusive relationship, there is a very high chance that your abuser is going to try to follow you. Therefore, you need to be as hard to track as possible. First, open up your phone and turn off your GPS. That way, your narcissist will not be able to track your phone.
Then, you need to identify other devices in your home that could be connected to the internet.
- Make sure that you log out of everything.
- Delete all of your credit card details.
- Destroy any auto-fill reminders.
- Log out of all of your social media accounts.
- Make sure that you are logged out of all financial accounts as well.
You would be surprised at how much information is stored on your digital fingerprint. Make sure that you delete all of this information so that your narcissist will not be able to follow you.
Finally, if you are worried that there could be some malware or tracking information downloaded on your phone, you may want to use a burner phone instead. Just make sure you have the contact details of anyone you may need to call using that phone.
7. Connect with Friends and Family Members
Once you leave a narcissist, you have to have a safe place to go. Therefore, reconnect with family members and friends. One of the most common ways that a narcissist controls someone is they cut them off from anyone else who might matter in their life.
Therefore, the only person you have to turn to is the narcissist. This is an extremely powerful control mechanism, and you may have a hard time reconnecting with your family members and friends.
Ultimately, your true loved ones are going to be there for you always. Even though they may be a little frustrated that you did not reach out sooner, they are always going to be there for you during your time of need.
Furthermore, they are going to be excited that you have finally made the decision the fight for yourself. Do not be scared about how they're going to react to seeing you again. Swallow your pride, reach out to them, and ask for help.
After all, they know that the same thing could happen to them. Just as you would be there for them if they were in your shoes, they are going to be there for you as well.
8. Cut Out Anyone Else Who Might Be Toxic
There are situations where a narcissist does not always act alone. There could be other people in your life who are toxic.
As you are purging a narcissist from your life, make sure that you cut out other people as well. Furthermore, these toxic individuals could also be taking advantage of you as well.
When you get ready to leave a narcissist, you can see who was actually going to be there for you. Anyone who turns on you, ignores you, or doesn't want to help you is someone that you should cut out of your life.
These individuals are unhealthy for you to be around. As you start your new life, you only want to be surrounded by people who are going to support you.
9. Make Sure You Do Not Have To Come Back
There is no way around it. Life is going to be hard once you leave a narcissist. Because your narcissist was in control of everything, you may be thinking for yourself for the first time in a long time. This is going to come with a lot of challenges.
Therefore, you have to make sure that you do not have to come back. In some situations, staying away is harder than actually leaving. You have to make sure that you have everything you need the instant you walk out the door.
That way, you do not have to come back in the future. If you come back, you run the risk of being roped into an abusive relationship all over again. Do not let this happen to you.
10. Prepare Yourself for Emotional Ups and Downs
Once you leave a narcissist, there are going to be lots of ups and downs. It is going to feel like a rollercoaster.
If you are a survivor of narcissism, you need to remind yourself that a relationship with a narcissist is always going to end in the same place. Just as a roller coaster always arrives back at the same location, a relationship with a narcissist will end up in the same location as well.
You are going to have a lot of complicated feelings when you leave for good. Fortunately, there are individuals who are going to support you during this process. You need to lean on them and remind yourself that you deserve better. Nobody should be in a relationship with a narcissist. You have a lot to endure.
11. Get Rid of Any Gifts
In addition, you have to get rid of anything that could possibly remind you of that narcissist.
For example, you may actually want to leave them behind when you exit the house for the final time. Or, if you really want to purge that person from your life, you can take them with you and destroy them in a different way.
One of the ways that a narcissist controls you is by giving you gifts that convince you to stay. The only thing you don't realize is that they are actually using the money they are taking from you to provide you with those gifts.
Now that you are in control of your own money, these gifts should not mean anything to you. Therefore, destroy them! Now that you are back in control of your own life, you can use your own money to purchase the things that you need.
Anything that reminds you of your narcissistic relationship has to go. That is the only way you will truly be able to get a fresh start in your life. Use the No Contact rule to take back your power!
12. Learn How To Take Care of Yourself Again
For a long time, your abuser has been in control of everything. It may be difficult for you to ground yourself after such a traumatic experience. Even though you have physically departed, you may still be living in that experience.
It is going to take your brain some time to adjust once again. It may even be similar to post-traumatic stress disorder, usually shortened to PTSD. Therefore, you need to find a way to take care of yourself mentally and emotionally.
For example, you may want to think about adjusting your diet and eating healthier. Or, you may want to develop a regular exercise routine that will help you been to your stressed in a constructive way.
In essence, you are reclaiming your own body. You are regaining control over your own life. Figure out why you were attracted to that person in the first place. Then, find a way to break the spell. This will help you move on forgot.
13. Do Not Hesitate To Ask for Help from a Trained Professional
Finally, remember that there are trained professionals who are willing to lend a helping hand. You are a survivor of a narcissistic relationship. That is a big deal. No one expects you to be able to pick up where you left off. Therefore, do not hesitate to reach out to a trained professional and ask for assistance.
Unfortunately, narcissism is much more common than many people realize. As a result, there are lots of people who have been through difficult relationships as well. Your trauma is unique when compared to anyone else’s. A trained professional is going to understand that.
There is no shame in asking for assistance. A trained professional will be able to help you process what has happened to you. Then, he or she may be able to provide you with coping skills that you can use as you restart your own life.
The advice of a mental health professional can help you rebuild a broken relationship with loved ones, help you find another job, and could even provide you assistance if you are looking for a safe place to live.
Getting out of an abusive relationship of the challenge. You are not expected to go through this by yourself. A trained mental health professional can help you process what has happened to you and place you in a position to move forward.
These are just a few of the steps that you should think about if you are getting ready to leave a narcissist. A narcissist is someone who could end up taking advantage of you physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially.
You deserve to be in a relationship that is loving, caring, and compassionate. Even though it can be difficult to leave a narcissist, following these steps can place you in a great position to be successful.
Final Thoughts on Leaving a Narcissist
If you are in an abusive relationship, your abuser is probably a narcissist. A narcissist is someone who cares solely about himself or herself, not for other people. You deserve to be in a relationship where there are care and compassion proceeding in both directions.
At the same time, if you are trying to get out of a narcissistic relationship, you need to plan carefully. Think about your emotional, physical, mental, and financial well-being.
That way, you can place yourself in a strong position to land on solid ground when you get out of your narcissistic relationship. Remember that you do not have to go through this alone.
And if you're looking for more resources to help you get back on your feet and avoid similar relationships in the future, these articles might help:
- 15 Warning Signs You're Dealing with a Toxic Person
- Toxic Traits List: 31 Warning Signs When Meeting People
- 9 Steps for Finding Peace after a Toxic Relationship