Being in a relationship with a narcissist can be difficult due to their excessive need for admiration and attention, their deep insecurities and lack of empathy. If your partner is not willing to work on their narcissistic traits, then leaving may be the best way to protect your mental health. Having a plan in place to leave a narcissist and seeking the right support can help, can help give you the confidence to take the first steps towards a happier future.
Louisa Hope from Therapy Knutsford, shares her simple yet effective tips on how to leave a narcissist.
1. Build a strong support network
Narcissists are controllers, they try to alienate their victims from their support network. They don’t like their victims to be strong and supported as this threatens their hold over them.
To counteract this, consciously build a trusted supportive community around yourself. Ensure they really understand what you are going through, whether it be a friend, a therapist, a specialist lawyer, a Women’s Aid advocate or family member; the more supportive the network you have the more empowered you become.
2. Educate yourself about narcissism
Knowledge is power. Build up your understanding of narcissistic personalities, what their triggers are and what makes them tick. Once you know what you are actually dealing with you can predict the next move of the narcissist.
Narcissists don’t like being discovered, they lose their edge. Knowing how to take control away from a narcissist means you can better prepare yourself. When you understand the tools narcissists use to control their victims, you gain the upper hand.
3. Minimise contact with your ex
The less contact you have with a narcissist the better. You can recover and heal much quicker when you have distance from their toxic traits.
If you can work with a mediator or family member who can buffer the exchange of contact whilst you separate, it can reduce anxiety and ensure the narcissist behaves better.
Use the written word for contact if and when you need to, and save copies of all communication.
If you share children with a narcissist, co-parenting is likely to be incredibly difficult.
Instead, parallel parenting might be better. It is a post-separation parenting method that keeps contact to a bare minimum, while ensuring your children have equal contact with both parents.
4. Get therapy
Victims of narcissistic abuse are often in denial, overlooking their abuse as a coping strategy. However, leaving a narcissist is extremely stressful. As a result, victims often suffer from very low confidence, extreme anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
This kind of abuse can even become addictive as the brain secretes chemicals when in this heightened state of fight or flight, leading to a cycle that enables abuse to continue.
Healing these wounds is a superpower. Narcissists lose their power when their victim starts to heal, becomes self-assured and develops coping skills. They are no longer a host for toxic emotional destruction. Narcissists can lose their interest when their manipulative behaviours no longer work. Meaning you can thrive and move forward.
5. Harness your self-talk
If your mental health is suffering as a result of being in a relationship with a narcissist, you may be using critical self-talk. Start to use mantra’s that affirm positive self-talk like ‘I’m good enough’, ‘I’m resilient’,’ ‘I have all the skills and support to get through this’.
The aim is to focus your thoughts and serve a mental anchor when doubt creeps in. By doing this you turn your attention away from your ex and the past and can begin nurturing yourself so that you can move forward with renewed strength.
6. Spend time looking after yourself
It sounds simple, but taking care of the foundations for wellbeing such as diet, exercise, sleep and emotional health, can make a big difference. While it would be easy to comfort eat or drinking too much, taking a holistic approach and creating good habits now will pay dividends further down the line.
When you take care of yourself, you create a safe and strong platform for your future.
Get in touch
If you’d like to speak to a lawyer about leaving a narcissist, or any other family law matters, contact our Client Care Team.