You might have fallen for their looks. They might have been so pleasing, sweet, and presentable that you never thought it could all just be shallow, while there is something ugly deep down.
But once you get into the relationship with a narcissist and spend time with them, you would realize the uglier side of the person. All the efforts you put in to salvage the relationship may not work. In that case, breaking up with the narcissist could be your best option. Coming out of the relationship may not be easy, but you may make it less difficult with proper planning.
In this MomJunction post, we tell you about the things you should know when calling it quits with a narcissist.
21 Things To Know When Breaking Up With A Narcissist
We have divided the list into two sections — what to expect during a breakup and what to do during the breakup.
What to expect during breakup with a narcissist
1. Resist your idea to breakup
If you are at a stage of the relationship where the narcissist still sees potential in using you, then you are going to face stiff opposition from them. They may pick arguments and brush aside your feelings and decisions as ‘silly’. They try to exhaust you mentally and physically to the point that you might reconsider your decision to break up.
2. Make temporary amends
They might come up with temporary amends to prevent you from leaving. Expect a lot of drama from the partner. There is going to be a constant apologizing, pleading, and even bargaining for the sake of continuing the relationship. They might plead with you and emotionally blackmail you into staying in the relationship.
3. Manipulate and arm-twist
You might notice that they are doing all the things that you always expected them to do. They try to show that they have “changed” and “turned over a new leaf,” realizing their mistake. But it is mostly a trap you should be careful about.
4. Resort to emotional meltdowns
If none of the previous tricks work, then the next step would be to stage an emotional meltdown seasoned with hysteria. Be prepared to be reminded of all your difficult moments and how they did so much for you during those times.
5. Blame you for everything
If you do not soften with their emotional manipulation, then they change their strategy to play the blame game. The conversation could start something like this: “It was you who started it.” “You are overthinking.” “Just because I focus on myself does not mean that I do not love you.”
6. Remind you of your shortcomings
Narcissists feed on the pain and poor confidence of their partner, and it can be extreme in the case of a malignant narcissist. Therefore, they will spare no opportunity to point at your drawbacks. They might dig your past and come up with instances to remind you that you cannot take care of yourself. The try to use your shortcomings to cling on to them.
7. Seek attention in any form
They deliberately pass by your place of work, they fake an ailment, or they “accidentally” send you an email describing some problem. Be prepared to witness several moments of desperation to seek your attention.
8. Public shaming
A narcissist cannot accept defeat. If they cannot attain a win, then they might try breaking you emotionally by ridiculing in front of others. If not possible to retain the partner, they will probably blame you and create a fictitious context in which you are the one who did not deserve the relationship. They will try creating a scene at social gatherings, shame you in front of friends or relatives, or even post content on social media to humiliate you. The more you suffer through these moments, the more satisfied they feel.
9. Rekindle contact
They might try to rekindle the relationship through common friends. They are likely to leverage friends who are sympathetic to their situation. You must be careful at this stage because you may feel obliged to listen to a friend or relative and forgive the narcissist.
10. Drag the situation
A narcissist might drag the breakup to make things difficult for you and to buy time to impress you. If you filed a divorce from your narcissistic spouse, then they might drag the matter during the court proceedings.
11. Show off of progress
You may be out of their life but not out of their mind. The chances are that they would have already got their next victim and want to communicate it to you. So, be prepared to see them post on social media about how they are happy with the new person and how well they treat them. You may even be forced-fed the latest updates about their lives through common friends.
What to do during a breakup with a narcissist?
12. Do not blame yourself
The first thing you should do is not blame yourself for what is happening around you. It may not always be easy to identify a narcissist early in a relationship, and it is okay. Just because you chose a narcissist as your partner does not mean you can never choose the right life partner again. Your mistakes are not the essence of your life.
13. Stand your ground
A narcissist partner might want to mislead you and make you question your decisions. But doubting yourself at this stage will only slow down the breakup process and thus buy your partner more time. You need to stay firm on your decisions and be sure of your decision.
14. Dissolve ties completely
Do not let anything linger that can affect your confidence. Cut any connections that you could have with your partner’s life. It includes breaking ties with common friends and deleting them from your social media accounts. Only stay in touch with those who understand your plight and do not brainwash you as per the narcissist’s instructions.
15. Take help
It is okay to seek support from friends and family members. If you need more help, then look for support groups. It is essential to keep yourself in good mental and physical health. The more wasted you feel, the more the narcissist can feed off from your suffering.
16. Prepare yourself well
If you filed for a divorce from a narcissistic spouse, then be prepared for a fierce legal battle. A narcissist will spare no chance to prove flaws in your decision. Prepare well so that you do not buckle under pressure.
17. Avoid temptations to compare
Did you just happen to spot your narcissistic ex with their new partner? And they seem happy? Do not compare their situation to yours. Narcissists love creating a happy facade, which allows them to enjoy the sight of an overly jealous ex. Be happy that you are no longer their victim and move on.
18. Start with a clean mental slate
Do not let bad memories affect your day-to-day life. The more you damage your life after the harrowing relationship, the more you give a chance to a narcissist to feel victorious. Nothing will make them more delighted than seeing you devastated.
19. Remember the lesson and not the pain
You made a mistake while choosing a loved one. So what? Life is an ever-learning experience, and each new experience makes us wiser. You are now likely to be much careful and discerning while choosing a partner. Therefore, do not let the pain burn you emotionally.
20. Make new friends
A breakup does not mean the end of your social life. In fact, considering you are now wiser than before, you can be better at choosing your social circle. While it is essential to avoid common friends and those who sympathize with your narcissistic significant other, it is not necessary to isolate yourself socially. Cutting down your social life is going to add to the stress of the breakup.
21. Remain positive
A breakup with a narcissist does not mean the end of the world. Life goes on, and there are still several things to do. There is nothing more pleasing for a narcissist than the sight of their ex in a depressed state. Therefore, gear up and remain positive towards life.
Breaking up with a narcissist can be a difficult experience. However, it is still a good choice since you would prevent any long-term narcissistic abuse and mental harassment. Most narcissists move on without much damage while you could remain in a mess. It is okay to be hurt, but do not forget to pull yourself together and come out of the ordeal stronger and wiser.