Leaving a narcissistic spouse is not like leaving another type of person. Narcissists are experts at gaslighting, guilt trips, and other manipulation tactics to get you to stay.
Narcissists use a number of tactics to talk you into giving them just one more chance, and if you love them, it can be hard to say no. The problem is that without real, long-term effort on the part of someone who doesn’t recognize they have a problem, things are not likely to change.
After months or years of emotional abuse, it’s no wonder you would decide that you can’t take it anymore. You might even feel like the problems are your fault, and that indicates you’re suffering from narcissistic abuse. Leaving might be your only option if you want to ever have a happy, fulfilling life. You’ll need a strategy; read on to learn how to leave your narcissistic spouse.
How to Leave
When you’ve finally reached the point of no return, implement these strategies to leave your narcissistic spouse.
1. Be Prepared Before You Go
This means create a plan for where you will go and how you will live before you say anything to your spouse. You might need to slowly take things out of the house you share that you will need, get your finances in order, and make any legal arrangements before you talk to your partner.
It might help to talk to both an attorney and an accountant to make sure you know exactly what your rights are and what you will need to do to make your breakup as clean as it can be. You’ll also want to make copies of any and all documents you’ll need to access. These copies should be stored outside the home.
2. Don’t Bother Talking About It
When the time comes to leave, you’ll want to do it as quickly as possible. While you might tell them you’re leaving, you don’t have to share any unnecessary details. You just share what they need to know. If your spouse is abusive, you might leave without telling them at all. You can always have a lawyer contact them later.
The important thing is that you don’t want to get into a long conversation with them. They are the expert at confusing the situation and drawing people back into their lives. Instead, when you’re ready to go, make sure your plans are in place and just say goodbye quickly.
If they ask questions, keep your answers short and your emotions in check. If they start to ramble, just say goodbye and leave. Don’t stay and listen to what they have to say, because it won’t be to your benefit. If you’re worried about it, you might even have a good friend accompany you so they can support you as you go through this process.
3. Go No Contact
Narcissists are so good at head games; it’s just better to not have any contact at all with them once you’ve left. If you have to be in contact for some reason, like you have children together, then try to involve a third party. You’ll want to copy that person on any electronic correspondence and have them be present for in-person conversations.
If you want to go no contact, but your ex won’t stop calling or texting or otherwise trying to contact you, then you might need to get a restraining order or take other steps to make them stop. Some narcissists have even been known to turn into stalkers so it’s important to nip this kind of behavior in the bud before it goes too far.
4. Be Ready for Revenge
When a narcissist is hurt in this way, they might strike back out of anger or grief. They aren’t used to even acknowledging their feelings let alone processing them, and so, they can act out in many different ways.
Try to predict what they might do and prepare yourself for it. Change passwords and PIN numbers on any accounts that are rightfully yours. Pull your money out of any shared accounts and start your own bank account — that might even be something you could do in advance.
You might also want to block them from viewing your social media accounts and delete connections you have with any of their friends. You also have to prepare yourself mentally for the narcissistic rage that may come your way. Remind yourself that you’ve done nothing wrong and check with your good friends to reaffirm the manipulation your ex is attempting to use on you.
5. Build Your Support System
Narcissists frequently try to isolate their spouses from friends and family members. They use an insidious process so you might not even have realized how isolated you’ve become until you’re ready to leave.
Even if you haven’t been in contact with close friends or family for a while, they still care about you. They will want to help you, so reach out to them. It’s important to re-establish those strong relationships so they can act as your support system while you go through the healing process.
Even though you’ve been abused by your narcissistic spouse, you will still need time to grieve the loss of your relationship and process your feelings about the abuse you endured. Give yourself that time to heal.
Your support network and going no contact will be very helpful for your healing process. You’ll also have to watch out so that you don’t repeat old patterns. Educate yourself about the warning signs that someone is a narcissist, so you can spot it early on and avoid more heartache.
Always remember that the narcissistic abuse you endured was not your fault. You’ll likely need to remember how to trust your own instincts and feelings again. When you do, your life will brighten significantly. You’ll be surprised at how much the manipulative tactics used by your spouse were affecting your mood and your life choices. Once free of your ex, everything will feel much lighter and much easier.
You can learn more about ending a relationship with a narcissist in the post, “How To Get Out Of A Relationship With A Narcissist.”
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