It’s exhausting dating a narcissist. On the surface, they’re charming, captivating and make you feel like a million dollars.
On the other hand, they’re manipulative, self-centered and don’t care about your feelings.
If you’ve been in a relationship for a while with a narcissist, it can be difficult to leave them because they’ve made themselves the center of your universe.
But if they’re a narcissist, then leaving them will benefit your emotional health and your life, so it’s crucial that you maintain the courage to go through with it.
Here are 12 things you need to know about breaking up with a narcissist.
1) It will feel sudden and brutal
If they’re breaking up with you, it will feel like a car crash you didn’t see coming. They don’t consider your feelings and rip the band-aid right off.
You’ll be left wondering what went wrong. Don’t. Their reasons will be entirely about them – and nothing to do with you.
You won’t notice this break-up coming, especially if they’ve been love bombing you, and making you feel like you’re everything they’ve ever wanted.
The real reason they’re breaking up with you is that they’re done using you. Narcissists only get involved in relationships to “get” something out of the relationship.
The most likely scenario is that they won’t show any remorse or apologize for breaking up with you.
It’s brutal for you, but you need to realize who they are – they’re all about themselves and you’re better off without them.
They’ll leave and only come back if they can get something out of you.
2) They’ll beg, plead or even attempt a negotiation
Now if you’re the one who has chosen to leave, prepare for negotiation attempts and pleading.
They don’t like it when they don’t get what they want. And if they’re still in a relationship with you, it means that there’s still something they want from you.
This is why they won’t let go of you easily.
What’s most common is that they will “promise to change”. They’ll suddenly try to do things that make you feel awesome.
Once it’s clear that you’re not going to budge, they’ll start threatening you by saying things such as “you’ll be lost without me” or “you’ll never find someone as good”.
Don’t worry, this is normal. Don’t listen and get manipulated into going back to them. It’s not worth it.
But don’t get me wrong, it’s not going to be easy to leave them for good. According to experts, on average, it takes a victim seven times to leave before staying away for good.
It’s important that you have the courage to stick with the course. You’ll be immensely grateful in the long run.
3) Break the trauma bond
In any type of narcissistic relationship, there is usually a link of trauma – a link between the abuser and the victim through intense shared emotional experiences.
To leave permanently, you must break this link.
The reason why it is difficult to break this bond is that it is addictive. You are abused but you are rewarded with love bombs when you do something good for the abuser.
This can really hurt your mental health, as you may experience frequent bouts of stress and sadness when you are abused, but highs when you are rewarded with good behavior.
Often, the victim does not really know what is going on, because manipulation tactics and intermittent love put the victim in a cycle of guilt and despair to regain the affection of his partner.
According to therapist Shannon Thomas, author of “Healing from Hidden Abuse,” there comes a point when the victim leaves and during the grieving process, she begins to understand the idea that she has been abused.
They finally see the damage being done and realize that it is not their fault.
4) Next, you need to establish no contact.
No contact seems simple enough, but it will take strength. You will have to block their number and delete them from social networks.
Basically, determine all the different ways they can contact you and stop them.
It sounds difficult, but it is essential. Narcissists are master manipulators and they know exactly what to say to get back into your life.
The best way to avoid manipulations is, therefore, to cut them and give up communication.
Also, remember that you can break away from a narcissist in the text – that way he won’t be able to manipulate you.
5) Adopt the “grey rock technique” if you can’t avoid them
In a word, the Gray Rock method promotes integration.
If you look around, you don’t usually see individual rocks as they are: you see dirt, rocks, and grass as a collective.
When we are faced with narcissists, they tend to see everything.
The Gray Rock method gives you the opportunity to blend in to no longer serve as a target for this person.
If you cannot eliminate them completely from your life, try to separate them as much as possible.
If you have to be in the same room as them, have fun with your phone. Do not be present for conversations.
Respond to short responses and don’t get into a conversation.
At first, they will become frustrated with your inaction, but they will finally see that there is no advance with you and they will pass on to someone else.
If they don’t get what they want: the satisfaction of hurting or manipulating other people, they will find another source of that satisfaction.
When the person enters the room, do your best to get out.
6) Remove any connections in your life with the narcissist
Do you have mutual relations on social networks? Remove them.
It sounds ruthless, but a narcissist will find all means to try to recover you.
And they will not hesitate to use your friends to do so.
Worse, if they already know they can’t get you back, they can put you in bad touch with your mutual relationships.
After all, they don’t care about your feelings. The only thing they understand is that you left them and they don’t have everything they expect from you.
So if you want to go on with your life and start from scratch, delete all the associations in your life that connect you to the narcissist, unless of course they are good friends and you can trust them entirely.
Remember, the more relationships you have with your ex, the more opportunities he will have to find his way into your life.
7) Remember why you broke up with them
Now that you have ended the relationship, you may be feeling a little depressed. It’s a big change.
But these negative emotions that you feel can cause you to question your decision.
You might start to think about all the great times you spent with your narcissistic partner. The feelings will come back quickly and regret the bubbles.
Do not listen to these feelings. You should keep in mind that they are not representative of the relationship.
For example, you probably remember all of your partner’s “compliments”.
Don’t get me wrong, the compliments are usually great – but when a narcissist gives them, it’s part of a technique called love bombing.
So, to regain your spirit on a uniform keel, write down all the reasons why you wanted to separate with your partner in the first place.
In the end, it was a decision that you did not take lightly. Remember these reasons, because if he is a selfish narcissist, you have probably made an excellent decision for your future to get rid of.
And if the narcissist ended the relationship, write down all the negative aspects of the relationship. When you look at the relationship from the outside, it is likely that there were many.
8) Be prepared that they will move on really quickly
Most narcissists recover quickly from a breakup because their feelings weren’t real in the first place. After all, they weren’t emotionally invested in the relationship and were just using you to get something they wanted.
This is one of the reasons why you want to get rid of it on social media – it’s not totally out of the ordinary that they will be charming and manipulate someone else in a week or two and will publish romantic photos.
Otherwise, they will probably post “selfies” where they will be beautiful and happy.
So, if you see them quickly with someone else, keep in mind that they are probably “bombing” them to try to use them. Be happy that it is no longer you.
Narcissists tend to be fairly stable in the way they act in relationships.
9) You will grieve
Even if they were narcissistic, you probably had a strong emotional connection to them – even if they weren’t.
Therefore, you will feel bad about it and you will go through a grieving process. The more you accept these emotions and process them, the faster you will overcome them.
Narcissists know how to charm people’s socks – and that’s exactly what has happened to you for a long time. You would not be human if you did not feel a little disappointed to let them go.
Also, remember that a relationship with a narcissist is largely a power struggle – a relationship that you didn’t know you were part of.
Being controlled and emotionally dominated for so long can wreak havoc.
Now that it’s over, you can feel emotionally exhausted. Again, this is perfectly normal.
But you must remember that it takes time to recover and that you do not need to come back to them in a moment of weakness.
According to research, it usually takes at least 11 weeks to feel better after the end of a relationship – so give yourself time to cry and overcome these emotions.
Millions of people have already suffered from a breakup before, and they have managed to become a better and stronger human being.
It’s a natural process that most people will go through at least once in their life.
But like any other injury: Heartbreak heals over time – and you will eventually continue.
Remember why you ended the relationship and be glad you found a way out of this toxic environment.
It is also important to get involved in hobbies, activities and spending time with friends.
Because if you don’t focus your mind on something else, your mind will start to linger on what would happen if.
Everything you read or everything in this article will not heal your broken heart, but you have started the process to heal your wounds.
Healing a human heart is a long and tender process. But for now, honor your grief and value the difficult emotions you are experiencing right now.
You have probably bottled many of these negative emotions in the past for the purpose of dealing with your narcissistic partner. Now let everything go.
Even if it hurts now, staying the course and not contacting them will benefit you in the long run.
10) You will continue to think about them – but that’s normal
Having a relationship with a narcissist is not easy, and therefore you are probably used to analyzing the behavior and words of your ex-partner to understand what they really mean.
After all, they probably played games with you in order to manipulate and use you.
You may have found excuses for their behavior, reframe their lies, and given advice on self-delusion to keep the peace.
This habit of analyzing their behavior can continue after the relationship ends. This is why adopting the contactless approach and removing them from social media is crucial.
Experts say it takes 3 months to break a habit, so once the 3 months are over, you will wonder why the hell you thought about it so much.
11) You may feel shame
Once you’ve spent time outside the relationship and can look at things from a bird’s-eye view, you may start to feel ashamed of letting the wool be pulled over your eyes for so long.
You may be wondering how you could have been so gullible and naive for so long. How could you let them walk on you for so long?
Shame can be especially pronounced if your family and friends have warned you about your partner.
But the truth is that many people are manipulated and controlled by narcissists. They are known to be seduction experts for a reason.
You may have issues of self-esteem and codependency that you want to explore later, but for now, forgive yourself and be proud that you’ve managed to get away. Few people have the strength to do so.
You may also feel regret. You may be wondering why you have wasted so much time with them. And if you have had children with them, or have accumulated debts with them, you may have more time wasted in mind.
But the best advice right now is to stop looking back. It won’t do you any good.
Everything you can focus on now, and be glad you have a life (without their limits) ahead of you.
12) It’s time to love yourself
Narcissists are good at belittling others to elevate themselves, so your self-esteem may have taken a hit.
You are unlikely to be appreciated for who you are. Instead, you were only praised and appreciated when it suited them.
You may also have suffered from verbal abuse. Narcissists want their victims to remain insecure and to doubt themselves. This makes it easier for them to play their bad games.
The good news is that you have left your partner and can no longer hinder your growth.
It’s a big topic on how to practice self-esteem, but for now, think about the people in your life that you love and respect. How do you treat them?
You are kind to them, patient with their thoughts and ideas, and forgive them when they make a mistake.
You give them space, time and opportunities; you make sure they have room to grow because you love them enough to believe in the potential for their growth.
Now think about how you treat yourself.
Do you give yourself the love and respect you could give to your closest friends or to a significant other?
Do you take care of your body, mind, and needs?
Here are all the ways you could show your body and mind’s self-esteem in your daily life:
- Sleep properly
- Eat healthily
- Give you time and space to understand your spirituality
- Exercise regularly
- Thank you and those around you
- Play when you need it
- Avoid vices and toxic influences
- Reflect and meditate
Loving yourself and building your confidence is more than a simple state of mind, it is also a series of actions and habits that you integrate into your daily life.
13) It’s time to focus on yourself and how you can build a better you
It’s time to focus on yourself and find meaning in life. Narcissists are good at doing everything about them – what has probably happened is that they have been the center of your universe for a long time. This is an important change.
As humans, we create meaning through our relationships, and now you have lost a lot of meaning in your life.
But it’s also exciting. You can try new hobbies, or go to a yoga class and meet new people.
Either way, you can use a lot of energy for new activities because you don’t have to worry about a narcissist dragging you through life.
Reconnect with people who make you happy. Seeing is a great opportunity to build a new meaning in life and a whole new limitless self put on you by a narcissist trying to control you.
You may not see it now, but after breaking up with your partner for a while, you will start to look back and realize how toxic and manipulative your partner was.
You will almost breathe a sigh of relief and be so thankful that you have managed to stick with it.
Remember that dating is part of the recovery. Go out and meet new people. You will find that most people are not narcissists and will really appreciate you for who you are.
Don’t try to find “one” right away. Just meet new people and make new friends. These people will be the breath of fresh air you need.
While there can be a lot of scars from dating an emotionally violent narcissist, keep in mind that the experience will keep you in good stead for the future.
You have learned a lot about yourself and what type of partner is best for you. You will also be much more aware when a narcissist enters your life – and you will be able to avoid experiencing this kind of toxic relationship again.