It’s not easy to leave a narcissist.
Focusing on awakening from the fog is a vital step to taking the reins to restore the inner sense of agency and confidence. You need mental clarity to assess the situation you’re in, and prioritize taking necessary actions, in this case, to open the cage door of a toxic relationship, and realize you’ve had wings to fly away along … at the minimum to fly to safety emotionally, inside, where it matters the most.
It starts in the mind, your mind. Not his.
In a sense, physically leaving is the easy part. Taking back your mind, your sense of sanity, belief in yourself and capacity, and breaking out of toxic self-blame or self-silencing patterns, may not be easy, but this is where the real work is, to heal, transform, and protect yourself from getting trapped in the future.
You want to start learning more and more about antisocial (psychopathology) and narcissist personality disorders, and how they’re connected on a continuum to profile of perpetrators of domestic violence, rape and assault of women, mass shootings, and what is known as the criminal mind.
The most challenging thing if you want to leave a Narcissist is learning to let go of the lies and illusions, many of which he instilled in your mind, and to come out of the fog, to forgive yourself for any witting and unwitting participation.
This makes it easier to remain focused not only on understanding what is true about these personality disorders, but even more critical, to discover what is true about you — and human beings and their relationships in general — in universal terms of what fosters (or blocks!) health and well being.
A narcissistic psychopath attacks both personal and universal truths about human love.
Reasons to leave a narcissist make staying away much easier. They point you to the seriousness of these personality disorders, and energize you to learn, and do whatever is necessary, to take action, armed with new ways of seeing and thinking, and doing, so you may replace toxic ways of relating to the narcissist — and to your self — with healthy life-enriching ones.
(In more complex situations, where children and financial constraints factor in, short and long range safety plans will be necessary. Not discussed here.)
Reasons also help you forgive yourself, and understand those still in the fog in non-judging ways, embracing the complexities together of what happens to the brains of human beings when fear and thought control tactics are skillfully applied by narcissists and psychopaths.
Once you do, you can never go back. You’re changed, and the changes place a bubble of protection around you. The narcissist’s words and actions fall flat, neutralized, and you see them for what they are. Pathetic. Infantile. Heartless. Alien to you, because they are inhumane.
There are at least 5 good reasons to leave a relationship with a narcissist:
1. You realize you don’t like yourself in the relationship.
More and more, you realize you don’t like how you feel in the relationship, and how tense you feel around him, the more you want to leave a narcissist.
You’re more relaxed when he’s not in the room, out of the house or away on a trip. You don’t like yourself this way.
You don’t like how he makes you question yourself, your sanity. You don’t like how you respond, how easily he triggers to do and say things you hate yourself for afterwards, and the way he uses this against you to get you to doubt your sanity, to believe his diagnosis that you’re “crazy.”
And you realize that, while you automatically blame yourself, seek to change, focus on what’s wrong with you, he never owns any wrongs. If he’s unhappy, if the relationship is not good, if the children are acting up, it’s all you according to him.
Even worse, you increasingly feel miserable or bitter, feelings of hatred, for him and yourself, despair, losing hope and the belief you once had in human love, and the two of you.
In effect, this state of misery and hatred is a projection of what the narcissistic psychopath really feels inside. They accuse and project onto others, and seek to instill, the same misery they feel and live with inside.
You’re wired, however, to be healthy, emotionally and physically, to the extent you feel good about yourself and life, It’s not a nice to have, it’s a health issue.
Whether or not you leave physically at some point, the most important leaving has to do with learning to emotionally protect your sense of self-love, agency, and priceless value as a human being.
Stop doubting yourself, and the yearnings you have for emotional connection, to be treated with dignity.
The narcissist is lost in lies and illusions that discredit the power of love, and instead elevate the power to dominate and subvert others power.
Love is the only power that brings meaning to life — empathy and kindness and compassion are essential ingredients.
First and foremost, you must break free of wanting any person’s love and acceptance apart from your own — to like yourself and fully respect yourself. Only you can rescue you, and your sense of feeling loved and valued is critical to your wellbeing.
When someone is not treating you right, you owe it to yourself to so like and respect yourself and the precious life you’ve been given, to walk away .. at least emotionally.
It’s not easy to leave a narcissist, and you’ll need to find the words to mindfully choose to say to yourself, to free yourself, and to accept and love and feel your priceless value as a human being inside.
2. You realize the extent to which you’ve believe his lies, excuses, opinions of you, others.
It makes you feel angry, in a healthy way, to note you’ve been buying into what he says he is, rather than looking more closely at what he consistently does, and doesn’t do. You notice, there is increasing chaos in many relationships you once held dear, and somehow he never owns a part, instead blames you or others for his drama and craziness. Even when he’s used abusive words or actions, you note his game is to gaslight you into thinking he’s the “victim” you must rescue to prove your loyalty.
You also note how hard you work to prove you’re not everything he accuses you of being, for example, that you’re not “selfish” or “crazy” or “controlling” or “disloyal” or “a cheat,” among other accusations.
Looking closer, you begin to notice that he uses accusations with intent, for example, to start an argument to avoid doing something he doesn’t want to do, or to block you from going somewhere you wanted to go, or perhaps just because he noticed you’re happy about something (and can’t stand it).
Even when he’s not around, it upsets you to note how much thought and energy you expend thinking about what to say or do to deal with his “insecurity” in your love and loyalty. You hate how your precious mind is taken over, as if you’re on trial and your mind is a judge and jury.
You also observe a pattern in the “things” he says to make you mistrust or turn against your family or friends. Or, if he’s a covert narcissist, you note how easily he charms others with his people-pleasing behaviours, sets you up to look appear “unreasonable” or “controlling,” and, in effect, gets others to side against you.
Stop second-guessing, trying to explain or to reason with him. It’s a total waste of time and energy. His goal is to make you feel invisible, get you to waste your energy, break your spirit. The narcissistic psychopath is in a world of their own because of the dehumanizing ideology they’ve been conditioned (by early life experiences, trauma) to live by.
The hatred and scorn and no remorse they feel for those they deem weak and mistreat, in their mind, is evidence of their superiority. You cannot “reason” with this, and it’s crazy-making to do so. Be kind to yourself. Save your energy. Take nothing he says at face value. Instead listen to your gut-deep inside if it tells you to leave a narcissist.
3. You realize how “not normal” he is.
It’s understandably disturbing to take a closer look at his behavior patterns, for example, to note that he puts repeated effort in making you feel small or invisible, discrediting what you say, gaslighting you to derail a conversation (which ensures your “issues” never get addressed, at least not in a normal way of “arguing”), and so on.
He also acts to tarnish your reputation, turn you against family and friends, or turn them against you, in effect, slowly but surely, isolating you by attacking your key relationships.
Though you want to believe that he “really doesn’t know” what he’s doing, or that it isn’t intentional — it is.
A narcissistic psychopath not only acts with intent to make their partner feel invisible, his goal is to break them into believing their inhumane treatment is “normal.”
He’s telling you who he is by his actions, or lack of action. Believe him.
Based on neurolinguistic studies of behavior, the best measure of who a person is, what they most want and value, and believe lies in what they consistently do. Their actions, or lack of actions. That is, what does or doesn’t do tells who a narcissist is at heart, what motivates them, and what they believe and value, and what they have planned for you and your relationship.
The abuse is not just the “usual” throwing of labels and attacks back and forth, when one or both persons in a relationship get triggered and say and do things they later regret.
The narcissist not only mistreats, shows no regrets or remorse, he also relishes making a woman squirm, feel bad, just to prove he can. This tells you his worldview. In his mind, this is proof of his superiority and entitlement to use and exploit a woman as if a slave, and his actions are how he displays his status and “superiority” and rightful dominance.
In reality, a person that is obsessed with proving dominance to feel worthwhile holds an ideology that seeks to dehumanizes them, and normalizes the dehumanization of those groups deemed “weak” or inferior.
It’s a worldview that upholds master and slave relations between humans as normal. Only in this worldview do some persons think it’s normal to treat others like punching bags with impunity.
Inhumane treatment of any person regardless of sex or faith or tradition is never normal. It is pathological.
What is dehumanizing to one person in a relationship, due to the mirror neuron feature of our brains, is dehumanizing to the other.
The narcissist thinks it’s his job to break their partner, or child, so they no longer have thoughts and feelings about how their mistreatment, to accept they are mere objects of pleasure that, like a sports car or boat, are there to prop up his ego, waiting to serve at his pleasure.
This ideology is aligned with all forms of hate propaganda, regardless the group that is targeted and identified as weak, dangerous, etc.
A slavery mindset is not normal behavior!
He’s a lost soul at best, at worst a psychopath is pathetically disconnected from his human sense of self, which is the “true self” of human beings. He’s so fragile, like a house of cards, because he desperately seeks to keep his “false-self” image of himself, with godlike rights to rule over others, propped up. For humans, this ape-like behavior is beneath human dignity.
Human beings are hardwired to yearn to be treated with dignity from the first breath to the last. (To be honest, what narcissists do to prove dominance is even beneath what apes in the jungle do.).
A person who thinks master-slave relations between men and women is his job to impose on others is not normal.
A narcissist is his worst enemy due to his fear and desperate attempts to avoid, but also eliminate evidence of human love and vulnerability responses in himself, and in others around him.
He defines power as the ability to subvert another’s will, and by associating this with his self-worth, he merely arrests his own emotional development, sentencing himself to live in misery and loathing life, others, himself.
Human beings are hardwired to yearn for happiness and meaningful emotional-connections in your relationships! Narcissism is a love deficit condition by definition, however; and thus, seeking feel a love connection with a narcissist is akin to trying to get grape juice from raisins.
If you leave a narcissist, it means taking nothing he has ever said or done personally. All of his actions speak to his sickness, pathology, and false-self wounds (early childhood trauma). He cannot or will not change. To him, to change himself, to feel remorse, or empathy is to act like those he deems inferior! Those he believes deserve to be used and exploited. In his mind your relationship is a fierce competition; and asking him to change is akin to giving in, losing, admitting he’s inferior.
4. You realize it’s up to you to protect all you love — to include your sanity.
As the fog lifts, you increasingly see the abuse for what it is, how predictably he works to make you feel blamed for his wrongs. In fact, he’s gathered data, listened carefully to what you shared, to know what makes you happy, and with intent, seeks to pull you away from what makes you feel happy and good. In short, he finds pleasure to make you feel bad, get you to doubt yourself and sanity, and even worse, persuades himself that you “like” being mistreated!
It’s not easy to leave a narcissist because his lies attack your sense of self and sanity. It’s up to you to understand that your health, as a human being, depends on your feeling good about yourself, and life. You’re hardwired to do so. Furthermore, if there are children involved, they are looking to you to set the standards for what is normal, and what is not, in a couple relationship, for what it means to be a woman in relationship to a man. A real man is first and foremost a human being, and that means, male or female, each person loves, values and seeks to empower the strengths, growth and best of the other.
You may find yourself hating your life, or self, wondering what’s wrong with you, feeling resentful, perhaps even bitter about so many unfulfilled expectations, most all of which have become reasons to doubt yourself, your sanity, your adequacy.
For too long, you have based your self-worth on the narcissist’s evaluations and judgments, dismissal, and disapproval.
It’s up to you to take the reins of you thoughts and feelings and mind and heart … away from the narcissist.
Everything you love is on the line. He’s out to steal whatever you most love and enriches you and your life.
The reason to leave a narcissist is to protect your sense of self, agency and sanity, and everything you love in life, happiness, hope, belief, gratitude, kindness, and relationships with loved ones — everything that is sublime about being human, and critical to the formation of meaningful and mutually enriching relationships.
Life is here to teach us that, while we will always love to feel loved and valued by others, the only critical source of sustaining love that we absolutely need, without which our physical and emotional and mental health will suffer, is our own!
5. You realize how critical it is to choose wisely what you feed your mind.
A narcissist rejects human common sense and wisdom. Their game is to prove they can break their partner, like a horse, to feel invisible, not existent. The harder you work to feel heard by a narcissist, the deeper you risk swimming into shark-infested waters.
To want to change him is like wanting to change godzilla. It’s not possible to find the right thing to say or do to prove your loyalty or make him feel secure. He’s playing a different game than you. This makes him dangerous to “argue” with, as he’s shut off from empathy and remorse. What dehumanizes him, however, also protects him. You do not have this protection, and neither would you want to — it would be stepping into training yourself to be a narcissist.
They cannot give you what is not inside them to give. And it’s not available to them, it’s intentionally shut off, blocked, a part of them they hate, feel disgust for, and fear as dangerous proof that they are, in reality, a house of cards. They totally deny their “true self,” a universal human self-consisting of amazing strengths and powers alongside vulnerabilities.
These patterns are toxic for men and women alike and make it impossible to form anything but dysfunctional marriages and families in which children are traumatized, and the legacy of maintaining harsh hierarchical social norms at all costs prevails and is passed down from one generation to another.
When you live your best life, it also helps others around you to rise to become ever better versions of themselves.
We’re all on this life journey together, as humans! And living your best life after experiencing an addictive relationship with a narcissist means unlearning the dehumanizing norms and thought control patterns he instilled in your mind. It’s important to note that, the only reasons they can get into another person’s mind lies in the disarming array of tactics they use — and the fact that you, like most human beings, were totally oblivious to the rules narcissists play by.
You didn’t know you had to literally arm yourself with heavy duty empowering beliefs to protect you!
Once you see their tactics and know what you need to do to protect your mind and heart — they have no power over you that you do not allow — amazingly!
A narcissistic psychopath loves to hate and be hated. Don’t give into their plans for you. Their goal is to prove that everyone is the narcissistic hater of others, aggressively competing to get-others-before-they-get-you. That is not living! That’s the inhumane, walking-dead life of psychopaths.
Do the opposite! If you give in to hating, regardless that it may feel deserved, you’d be choosing to act more and more like them.
(Note: Passing thoughts, feelings of hatred, are normal; lingering there is the problem. Learn to feel difficult feelings, then shift to optimal ones. Seek professional help, if needed.)
If you’re going to heal and live your best life, the best option is to shift to what you are for, and access inner tools you’re fully equipped with, reconnect to your innermost values, or core emotion-drives, and to cultivate your ability to connect to healthy anger and fear. This formula allows you to transform the fears and pain of past traumas into positive, optimal actions — in ways that protect your mind and heart, brain and body, from the toxic effects of hatred, rage, scorn, and the like.
What you’re against weakens you, and even worse, blocks or keeps throwing you off the journey of healing from addictive relating to a narcissist. You deserve to give yourself the gift of your own self-love and acceptance, to enjoy and celebrate the freedom to love and, use the pain you’ve experienced, to transform and live your best life.
In sum, there are good reasons to leave a narcissist, at least emotionally. You do so because there are certain elements that are critical to your health and growth:
(1) liking and respecting yourself in the relationship;
(2) staying connected to your heart and gut to discern truth from lies;
(3) realizing the labels narcissists try to pin on the women they are in a relationship with, such as “dangerous” or “crazy,” really speak to how serious their own thought disturbance is;
(4) your own love, respect or sense of value (as an adult) is the only one you critically need to heal, rescue or restore balance and meaning in life; and
(5) your thoughts and mind shape your life — mindfully observe and thoughtfully choose them.
Feel gratitude for coming out of the fog.
Learning to grow your capacity to fully love and respect yourself, and life, and to connect with your authentic voice, and inner sources of strength and wisdom is your work, a labor of love to embrace with a smile … it’s also your best protection from attracting another narcissist partner.
Would you like to add more reasons to leave a narcissist?
Written by Dr Athena Staik Originally appeared on PsychCentral.com Printed with permission