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6 tips to help you cope when leaving a narcissist

As part of our Stowe guests series, we are joined by Louisa Hope from Therapy Knutsford, who shares her simple yet extremely effective tips to help people cope when separating from a narcissistic, abusive relationship.

Build a strong support network  

Narcissists are controllers, they try to alienate their victims from their support network. (Read here for seven signs you are in a relationship with a narcissist)

They don’t like their victims to be strong and supported as this threatens their hold over you. 

Gather your supportive tribe, people that 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. 

Reach out. 

Educate yourself 

Understanding is power. 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. You can better prepare yourself when you understand the tools narcissists use to control their victims, you gain the upper hand. 

Minimise contact 

The less contact you have with a narcissist the better. They are toxic and you can recover and heal much quicker with minimal contact. 

If you can find a mediator or family member who can buffer the exchange of contact it can reduce anxiety levels and the narcissist is more likely to behave better. 

Use the written word for contact if and when you need to. If you share children with a narcissist, co-parenting isn’t effective and the minimum contact that you have the better. 

Narcissists can’t co-parent. Set up new secure contact information, even devices/sims if needed. Have a cheap, pay as you go phone for just dealing with the ex when the children are away, this creates distance and protects your personal space. 

Get therapy 

Victims of narcissistic abuse are experiencing emotional, domestic abuse, often in denial of the abuse as a coping strategy and in a highly anxious state. 

Divorcing a narcissist can be extremely stressful. Victims often suffer from very low confidence and are dealing with 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 victims allowing the abuse to continue. 

Healing these wounds is a superpower. Narcissists lose their power when their victim starts to heal, becomes self-assured and develops phenomenal coping skills. They are no longer a host for toxic emotional destruction. Narcissists lose their interest when their manipulative behaviours no longer work. You will thrive moving forward. 

Become aware of your self-talk 

If you are feeling depressed you may be using critical self-talk. Start to use mantra’s that affirm positive self-talk like,

‘I’m doing really well’, ‘I’m good enough’, ‘I’m resilient’,’ ‘I have all the skills and support to get through this’. 

If you are feeling anxious that’s often future based, try and live in the ‘Now’,  

Try guided meditations, body scanning and relaxation techniques to help you calm your mind. Try playing empowering, uplifting music, like, ‘This girl is on fire’ or ‘Let’s get it started’. 

Create a playlist of songs that uplift you and empower you. Remember, the mind responds to the pictures you make in your mind and the words you say to yourself, make yours work for you! 

Practise self-care 

Make sure that you spend time looking after yourself.

Take care of your diet, your sleep and your emotional health. It’s easy to want to move away from a bad feeling by comfort eating or drinking too much but you will feel much better if you can prioritise your health and wellbeing, tell yourself that,

‘First you make your habits, then your habits make you’. 

Create habits in your life that move you towards your goals of empowerment. When you take care of yourself, you create a safe and strong platform for your children too. 

Get in touch 

To contact Louisa Hope at Therapy Knutsford, visit or email: [email protected]

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Stitchedup says:

    Is there really such a thing as a “Narcissist”?? Many psychologists say not. They argue narcissism is on a continuum, there is no threshold that defines a person (man or woman by the way) as a narcissist and many narcissistic traits can be considered healthy and normal. Even if you argue there is such a thing as a narcissist, it’s estimated that only about 1% of the general are affected by Narcissistic Personality Disorder and it is not gendered, so on the balance of probability, roughly half of that 1% will be women. I guess the only reason it’s considered gendered is because the term originated from Greek mythology, where the young Narcissus fell in love with “his” own image. The term has simply become a favorite of feminists for encouraging family separation, enforcing the “all men are bastards” message, and convincing women they’re victims of domestic abuse when in all probability they’re just dealing with differences of opinion, incompatibility, and/or unshared life goals/dreams.

    Cut and Paste from Wikipedia
    Narcissistic personality disorder affects an estimated 1% of the general population.[10][11] Although most individuals have some narcissistic traits, high levels of narcissism can manifest themselves in a pathological form as narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), whereby the individual overestimates his or her abilities and has an excessive need for admiration and affirmation. NPD was revised in the DSM-5. The general move towards a dimensional (personality trait-based) view of the Personality Disorders has been maintained. Some narcissists may have a limited or minimal capability to experience emotions.[12]

    Healthy narcissism might exist in all individuals.

    Freud said that narcissism was an original state from which the individual develops the love object.[19][qualify evidence] He argued that healthy narcissism is an essential part of normal development.[5] According to Freud, the love of the parents for their child and their attitude toward their child could be seen as a revival and reproduction of their own narcissism.[5] The child has a megalomaniac omnipotence of thought;[19] the parents stimulate that feeling because in their child they see the things that they have never reached themselves. Compared to neutral observers, parents tend to overvalue the qualities of their child. When parents act in an extreme opposite style and the child is rejected or inconsistently reinforced depending on the mood of the parent, the self-needs of the child are not met.

    • Jon Rhodes says:

      I assure you that most psychologists don’t say there’s no such thing as narcissistic personality disorder. I work in the mental health field and have met many sufferers. And their diagnosis is taken very seriously by all the mental health professionals.

      Yes, it is accepted that narcissism is on a spectrum. And there’s a healthy amount one can have. But the disordered person is far too preoccupied with themselves. And it detrimentally affects their relationships. Hence the term Narcissistic Personality “Disorder” (NPD).

      And I’ve seen it with my own eyes how destructive people with NPD can be. Especially to their romantic partners.

      You’re correct in saying that around 1% of the population is diagnosed with NPD. But many academics believe the true figure of sufferers is around 4-6% (This is one study that shows a 4% prevalence

      Most people aren’t really aware of NPD, including the narcissists themselves. So they don’t know what’s wrong with them. So many don’t seek diagnosis. And how many narcissists are going to visit a mental health practitioner and admit there’s something wrong with them?

      Yes I’m sure some people will falsely claim that their ex is a narcissist. But this doesn’t mean that narcissists don’t exist. And it doesn’t mean no one needs support after being in a close relationship with them.

  2. L Hill says:

    You would think a supposedly reputable organisation involved in Family Law, would recognise that both Women and Men can be victims, and that both women and men can be the perpetrators.
    It is extremely disappointing to see the mythical stereotype being reinforced by Stowe Family Law, that Men are always the abusers and Women always the victims.
    An outdated opinion that does nothing to serve genuine victims of both genders.

    • Michelle says:

      I see only they/them pronoun being used? Mostly referred to as “the narcissist” but no gender assumptions were made my the author? Show me what I missed?

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