What To Expect When You Leave a Narcissist

Posted on May 26th, 2023
Sticky notes with different things written on them

Leaving a partner is never easy. Breaking up with a narcissistic partner is particularly complex, however. Narcissists are egotistical and selfish, and almost everything that they do has an agenda, so it’s only natural to be nervous about leaving a spouse that has narcissistic tendencies.

If you’ve decided that it’s time to leave your spouse, despite the love that you might still have for them, it’s important to be prepared for the reactions that you are likely to experience. Narcissists are not the type of people to take a breakup lying down, and nine times out of ten, they are going to go out of their way to put some sort of a roadblock in the way of you living a happy, healthy life without them.

So, in order to prepare you for leaving a narcissist, here are some of the most common behaviors that you should expect.

  1. They’ll place the blame squarely on you

It’s incredibly rare for a narcissistic person to admit any fault of their own in any facet of their lives. They want to portray themselves as being perfect. So, when things don’t work out in your relationship, be prepared for the blame to be put on your doorstep.

Blaming you for the breakdown of the relationship has a couple of layers to it. Firstly, they get to make you feel awful by saying that you’ve wrecked your relationship, you’ve destroyed the trust, or that you’ve lost the only person that will ever love you. According to them, you have single-handedly ruined your life.

While they use blame to make you feel awful, it also begins to eat away at your confidence, and you begin to question your decision. By being shocking, hurtful and insulting, a narcissist will hope to push you to a point where you truly believe that you are the one in the wrong, and you’ll end up changing your mind and staying.

  1. Manipulate you into staying

If there’s one thing you can be sure about, it’s that a narcissist is going to use some form of manipulation to try to get you into staying with them. This could come in a bunch of different forms. First, they might attempt to love bomb you, using all their charisma possible. They know this is what you fell for at the start of the relationship, so they’ll use this to try to remind you of how good things can be.

If this doesn’t work, expect them to move on to persuasion, intimidation, and outright provocation. They want to get control back and they will mask gaslighting and insults with seemingly positive remarks, for example, “You know I love you deeply. I don’t know why you are always so negative. You’re overreacting and you’re too emotional”.

It’s also likely to disintegrate into comments such as “You’re too fat to find someone else. I’m the only one that could love you when you look like that”, etc. After years of emotional manipulation like this working on you, they believe that it will force you to stay with them.

  1. Guilt you into staying

Guilt is one of the most powerful tools that a narcissist has up their sleeves and they’ll keep this trump card until they need it the most. Chances are that you are already feeling a little guilty about ending the relationship, even when you know that it’s the best choice for you. A narcissist will know this and use it to their advantage.

Be prepared for a narcissist to show some vulnerability at this stage. They’ll tell you how alone they are going to be, how they will never find someone to love them, and they will make you feel like you are abandoning them.

They are hoping that you will try to prove how unselfish you are and that you aren’t a bad person by staying with them.

  1. Demand your attention, even after you’ve left

Being the center of attention is the be-all and end-all of a narcissist’s games. They want to have all of your attention, even after you’ve broken up, and they will be very persistent about getting it. They simply don’t take rejection well and if you haven’t, or can’t cut off contact with them, then you should expect late-night drunken phone calls, texts, and emails.

They would certainly go as far as “accidentally” breaking into your home to retrieve their possessions. They might suddenly start shopping at your local supermarket, changing their running route to include your street and other attention-seeking behaviors.

Of course, this can be particularly nasty if there are kids involved, as your ex will be able to use them as a way to get your attention constantly.

  1. Promise they will change

If all of their previous behaviors haven’t had the desired effect, then they will appeal to the caretaker in you. At the end of the day, we all want to believe in second chances and redemption, and a narcissist knows this.

They will acknowledge that they haven’t been behaving right, but they are going to go for therapy. They admit that everything you’ve been saying makes sense and they promise that they are going to change and make everything right. They genuinely seem sincere in their efforts.

Unfortunately, this is all smoke and mirrors and once you are under their control again, they will revert to their true behaviors. How often you are willing to listen to their promises and get taken back in by their lies is completely up to you.

  1. Go on a smear campaign

 There’s nothing a narcissist loves more than to make themselves look like the good guy and you to look like the villain. You can be sure that your ex is going to take your breakup onto social media in some form or another. They will also try to force people to choose sides, whether that’s friends, neighbors, family, or community members. They will only give their version of the story.

They do this to further isolate you from others and they know that this will be incredibly distressful for you.

  1. They will move on quickly

Once a narcissist has realized that you aren’t coming back through any of the above tactics, they’ll simply move on. This is an excellent way to make you jealous and an attempt to show you what you are missing out on.

Narcissists need to have someone to feed into their ego and give them attention, so once they have stopped getting this from you, they will move on to someone who they can manipulate and control. They could do this while still contacting you to tell you how much they love you and that they are only moving on to stop thinking about you. This could persuade you to come back to them.

It’s important not to spend too much time thinking about your ex and how quickly they’ve moved on and looking through social media for their new partner. At the end of the day, their relationship is going to encounter the same problems, and this is the time for you to move onto the happy and healthy future that you deserve.

The Narcissist Abuse Recovery Program

Whether you’re in a relationship with a narcissist and you are looking to leave, or you have already left a narcissist, it’s important that you get the help you need from a professional.

At Naked Recovery, we deal with a huge variety of traumas from all walks of life, and we have created specific programs to deal with individual traumas. The Narcissist Abuse Recovery Program is a structured and supported four-month program to support healing and recovery from those who have suffered trauma through a relationship with someone with narcissistic personality traits.

Contact us for more information on The Narcissist Abuse Recovery Program or any of our other specialized trauma programs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

← Back to Blog