* I generally write using the pronouns he/him when referring to narcissists, but females are just as likely to be narcissists or exhibit narcissistic traits. So please don't think just because article uses the word him or he that it could not be a woman in that same role.
Any type of breakup is hard, but when you’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist a breakup can feel like it’s going to literally break you.
It’s exhausting dating a narcissist, and it can be deadly to break up with one.
Dr Judith Orloff, a clinical psychiatrist at the University of California Los Angeles, wrote that narcissists can make you “fall in love with them so hard that it feels like you’re giving up a part of your heart to leave them,” because they’re very good at becoming the centre of your universe while you’re with them.
Here’s What To Expect When You Break Up With A Narcissist
1. They will not make it easy.
You would probably assume that once the breakup it set into motion, the nightmare relationship would be over. Unfortunately, when breaking up with a narcissist, this is not the case.
A breakup can bring out the worst in even the most amicable of couples, but narcissists use the time to continue their crusade of fear and manipulation.
If you don’t approach your breakup carefully, strategically and without emotion, the whole ordeal can inflict severe psychological wounds.
2. They will never apologize.
Don’t expect to ever hear a meaningful apology or true remorse for your narcissistic ex because it is not something that they are capable of doing.
3. They will blame you for everything.
At the beginning of your relationship, they placed you up on a pedestal that only Aphrodite herself could reach. You were the most beautiful, the most perfect, and the smartest person they have ever met and they were just lucky that you graced them with your time.
Now that the relationship has broken, you are damaged, and disgusting, and the demise of the relationship is entirely your fault.
You have completely wrecked things, destroyed his trust, ruined the best thing you ever had, and completely crushed his soul.
You’re unappreciative of all he has done for you. You would be nothing without him.
You have single-handedly destroyed all the two of you have built. You’re selfish and demanding.
Overnight you have become the most despised person in the narcissist’s life.
4. They will guilt trip you into staying.
Guilt is a powerful tool for the narcissist to pull you back into the relationship.
The narcissist brings up every time he has done something nice for you or stresses how much he cares about you, or reminds you of the wonderful times you’ve had together.
If the positives don’t work to bring you back, narcissists default to their devaluing attacks. Any complaint you have made about the narcissist will be turned around on you.
5. They will make you second guess yourself.
Throughout your entire relationship the narcissist has slowly be tearing away at your self esteem and sense of personal value, and because of this you are probably already second-guessing your decisions.
The narcissist will try to convince you that you’ve made a mistake. Expect to see charisma, coaxing, persuasion, and then intimidation, goading, and outright provocation to get back in control of the relationship.
The narcissist will say,
- You just misinterpreted what I said. Of course, you should know that deep down I love you; why do I have to say it all the time?
- What about all the good times we’ve had together?
- You look at the negative too much.
- You don’t understand the stress I’ve been under lately.
- You take things too personally.
- You’re overreacting.
- You’re too emotional.
Once you have a clear head you can see that these are not apologies but just negative jabs to try and lower your self-esteem even more.
6. They will make empty promises.
Get ready for the empty promises to change to shower upon you when you break up with your narcissistic partner.
All of a sudden they have some magical revelation, and they understand what they did and want to make positive changes to their behaviors.
You were right, they will do whatever you want them to, they will try things your way, and they are so, so, so sorry they ever hurt you.
This is so tempting for those of us who wanted so badly for the relationship to work out. Now it seems like they really understand and want to make a change to make you happy.
You may see a spark of hope agree to let them back in.
For a while, you think things are getting better.
However, when the narcissist gets comfortable in the relationship again, they will go back to being self-absorbed, inconsiderate, arrogant, insensitive, and blaming.
And invariably if things don’t go their way, they will instantly go back to the same defensive and antagonistic patterns.
How many times will you see the spark of hope and believe that they can change?
7. They will demand attention from you.
Narcissists can be extremely persistent in demanding your attention. To often narcissists appear to be strong and independent, but they are actually extremely needy.
You may get calls to come to fix her car, or he may still expect you to keep doing the accounting for his business, or she wants you to take down the Christmas lights on her house, or he expects you to still make his dentist appointments.
It can be exhausting and difficult for you to say no to these persistent requests. Too often you get pulled back into interactions with the narcissist that really don’t benefit you.
8. They will start rumors and gossip about you.
Once the breakup has started the narcissist will start throwing whatever rumors or gossip they can about you, whether it is true or not. They will say anything that they think may hurt your.
During your entire relationship, the narcissist insisted on extreme privacy about your interactions together, and now they are spreading all kinds of misinformation and slander and trying to ruin your good name.
Be prepared for your partner to tell everyone how you’re the bad guy, whether it be among your friend group or in front of a judge. It is one way that they gain as much sympathy as possible.
9. They will accidentally run into you all over town.
It is not uncommon for narcissists to accidentally be at the grocery store when you are, to suddenly appearing at a community or social event you attend.
They may even change their running schedule so they go down your street every morning.
Be prepared ahead of time that these unexpected meetings might occur. They’re designed to keep you aware of the narcissist’s presence and emotionally off balance.
10. They will make the breakup drag on forever.
Your narcissistic ex will likely refuse to settle or negotiate during the breakup, especially if we are dealing with divorce.
Remember, narcissists only care about winning and getting what they want. There’s no room for negotiation in their minds.
Whether it’s dividing your assets or deciding on child custody and support arrangements, your ex will drag out the proceedings. If you aren’t married, they will still likely play games with you throughout the whole process.
It can take years to heal from the wounds of a relationship and a breakup with a narcissist.
You may not see it now, but after you’ve broken up with your partner for a while, you’ll start to look back and realize how toxic and manipulative your partner was.
You’ll almost breathe a sigh of relief and be so thankful that you managed to stick it through.
While there may be a lot of scars that come from dating an emotionally abusive narcissist, keep in mind that the experience will hold you in good stead for the future.
You’ve learned a lot about yourself, and what kind of partner is better suited to you.
You’ll also be much more aware when a narcissist enters your life – and you can avoid experiencing that kind of toxic relationship ever again.