There comes a point where we all reach a point in an unhealthy relationship where we have to make a choice to stay or to leave.
Perhaps you have spent months, years, or decades investing in a relationship with someone that has abused you and devalued you.
You are most likely exhausted from the stonewalling, the love-bombing, the gaslighting, all the tactics and tools that have been used to break you down.
I know that you feel like there is no light at the end of this tunnel, but there is. However, you must find the strength within you to leave because if you don’t, things are never going to get better.
Navigating a breakup with a narcissist isn’t going to be as simple as leaving. It wasn’t simple getting into this mess and it won’t be simple to get out.
Instead of going into the break-up blindly, you are going to need to prepare yourself psychologically in order to be strong enough to cut the strings that have been used for so long to control you.
Prepare yourself for their tricks.
They will send you flowers. They will woo you. They will tell you all the sweet nothing you haven’t heard from them since the beginning of your relationship when things were actually good. They will promise to change, they will be adamant that they cannot lose you and that you are the love of their life.
It is very likely that you have probably been close to leaving before but have fallen for their promises of a bright and shiny future.
Don’t fall for the same lies again. Nothing is going to change because nothing has changed up to this point. No one should have to threaten to leave someone to receive the love that they deserve.
Don’t give in to the blame game.
Don’t think for a second that you aren’t going to be on the hot seat.
It will be your fault that things didn’t work.
You didn’t try hard enough, you didn’t give it everything that you had. The narcissist will blame you for ruining things, and they will hate you.
Whether it’s blaming you for leaving and abandoning them like everyone else in their life or breaking up your family, it’s going to hurt because you care about this person.
Please remember that love is not forcing or tricking someone to stay. In fact, threatening and blaming is the complete opposite of love.
Reflect on the roller-coaster.
Throughout the relationship, it has been the highest of emotional highs and the lowest of emotional lows.
The fear, the uncertainty, the sinking feeling in your stomach… none of it is going to go away unless you end things.
You have to keep reminding yourself that the person you love isn’t going to change. They can promise to change but you and I both know that things will eventually revert back to the way they were.
Change all passwords/delete pictures.
You don’t want the narcissist to have access to anything. Change your passwords to bank accounts, emails, subscriptions, bills, etc.
You can never predict exactly what this person is capable of and you don’t want to take any chances. Protect your assets, protect your money, and protect your privacy so that you aren’t risking anything important being found.
Also, if you have exchanged any photos with your partner I highly suggest deleting them. Revenge can often take the form of sending sexually explicit photos to friends or family and causing further humiliation to the victim.
Cut off all contact/create strict boundaries.
Don’t kid yourself and try to be friends with your ex. This is not a normal and respectful break-up. In some cases, it can be a matter of life or death.
In an ideal situation, you would go no contact. However, this isn’t going to be possible if children are involved in the situation.
If children are in the picture you will have to set very firm boundaries for several reasons. One is to protect yourself emotionally as the narcissist will continually try to push your buttons and find ways to hurt you since they get to still be part of your life. The other is to ensure that your children are not victims of any kind of abuse whatsoever.
You’ve been torn to shreds emotionally. Loving yourself isn’t going to be something that comes easily. But it has to happen.
“Treasure yourself. Be very kind to yourself and know that you deserve a loving relationship with someone who can reciprocate that love.” — Judith Orloff M.D
It’s easy to fall into the endless pit of wondering how we allowed ourselves to be treated in such a horrific way.
Keep reminding yourself that everything will be okay. You are human, we all make mistakes, and all you can do is to learn from them.
But first, you have to build up the courage, walk out that door, and leave your abuser in the dust.