You can escape a narcissist but it takes a little work

Many of us have fallen victim to a bad partner but if you think it’s time to escape a narcissist then this article is for you. There is no shame in finding yourself in an abusive relationship. Narcissists and predators prey on people who will for their tricks. But, knowing what to do and how to keep yourself safe is critical.

It can be daunting, trying to escape a narcissist. Those with a narcissistic personality and narcissistic personality disorder have spent their lives developing their fantasies of being the sole savior of the world – and the means to protect their delusions. Instead of understanding that they’re not perfect, they project any imperfections onto their victims: partners, relatives, friends.

These toxic relationships are dangerous emotionally, physically, and mentally, which is why anyone who finds him/herself trapped in one should immediately find a way out – your safety should always come first. Be sure to proceed with caution. While leaving a true narcissist is tricky, it is possible. Here are seven tips to help prepare an escape a narcissist.

**First And Foremost: Make Sure You’re Safe/Get To Safety

If you ever feel unsafe, get help right away; call the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233. Get yourself to a safe place, stay with someone you trust (such as family or close friends), talk to someone who can help, and, as always, if you are in immediate danger, call 911 for an emergency. Don’t wait.

Don’t Tell The Narcissist You’re Leaving

This sounds like ghosting – and it can be. But there is a time and place where it can be acceptable. Eventually, you should tell them about the decision to break up/move out/stop talking, but this should come after you’ve made the plans and arrangements to distance yourself. Be prepared for the worst. Those with narcissistic personality traits relish the idea and feeling of absolute control and when that’s disturbed, it can get ugly. Find help through family or friends – make sure you have a group of people behind you to not only offer support, but safety as well. Narcissists know how to trap their victims: either through a burst of a suffocating abundance of love, or through using their victim’s weakness to keep them under their thumbs.

Re-establish Your Other Relationships Before Escaping The Narcissist

When involved with someone with narcissism, there’s a chance that you may have been forced to cut ties with your friends and family. Narcissists love a captive audience, and when their victim is distracted by other loved ones, that becomes an issue, thus another unnecessary war erupts in the household between the narcissist and their victim. And the narcissist always wins.  

Shield Yourself From Their Tactics

You’ve most-likely been with this narcissist for a while. This has allowed them to learn everything about you – which means they know how to use this information to keep you under their thumbs. Don’t listen to their tails of woe, don’t give them any sympathy, don’t argue with them – and especially don’t give them that one last chance. That last chance can lead to even more, possibly escalated abuse. Narcissism is dangerous. When leaving a narcissist, brace yourself and keep a stoney face. The day of departure won’t be easy – but it will be life-changing. 

Narcissists Don’t Change

This falls under the category of avoiding that “one more chance” tactic. They don’t change. That means there may be smooth sailing for a little bit, but narcissists will snap back into their abusive mode. Then, it’s back to square one. You want to leave again. Does that sound familiar? Remember that narcissists don’t change. So, that “one more chance” does no one any good. At all. 

Once You Escape A Narcissist – Stay Away

Don’t just break up, move out, use the silent treatment. Take the necessary steps to stay away for good. It isn’t enough to put physical distance between yourself and the narcissist. Block them on social media – or make a new profile all together to get away from them. This can also help you purge anyone else who displays toxic personality traits from your life. And, before you leave them for good, be sure to find a way to log out of all accounts, should you be logged in on their devices, and change those passwords. 

Pay Attention To Your Electronics

Does your phone battery die a little too soon in the day? Do you log into Netflix or an e-reader only to find whatever you were reading/watching to be in a different spot? Maybe an email was left on “read” when you know you hadn’t seen it. If your phone battery dies easily, it may mean that the narcissist has hacked it to track you. When someone with narcissistic traits or narcissistic personality disorder knows they have a grip on you, they want to have a hand on everything you do. All of these are indicators that the abusive partner is following your every move. 

Consider Your Finances When Escaping A Narcissist

If you’re coming from a narcissistic partner or family, consider how you’ll handle your own money. Carry cash with you to be sure the narcissist can’t access that, should they be able to find a way into your bank account. It also helps to be sure that you’re not taking anything they gave you – not only does it help you shed them from your life, but by leaving their gifts behind, they won’t have a reason to think they still have a grip on you; nor will they come looking for said gifts to be returned. Leave everything that reminds you of this narcissistic abuse behind and get ready for a new life.

**If you are in an abusive relationship or someone you know is, call the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. For more information, click here.

*Be sure the abuser doesn’t know about any preparations to leave; create a plan which includes preparing clothes, cash, food, and a destination; join a domestic violence survivors group to discuss the situation and feelings; make sure someone knows about the situation; call the hotline for help from a payphone or someone else’s; if you’re/someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911/the authorities.

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  1. What if you’ve been with a narcissist for yrs and love them? What can you do to help them? Therapy, anti psychotic drugs,?? There has to be a way to help them.

  2. Marlo, I suggest codependents anonymous for a start (for you; you can only help yourself). best wishes.

  3. What if they take. Complete control in every way your never away from them except in another room! Goes through your phone watches you on cameras won’t let you work and your completely dependent on them you have no family you can’t go anywhere without him and in the few times you can he monitors the time and if your good 5 min over they start with the head trip games and take you to a point of crying and wanting to die but I have no where to go no money and I have my daughter she has a room here and things she needs but I can’t be homeless with her, it’s starting to affect her how do I get out plz help

Samantha Curreli
Samantha Curreli is a staff writer at Reach Out Recovery. Sam is also a graduate of Arcadia University's MFA in Creative Writing Program and a freelance journalist for New Jersey music magazine, The Aquarian Weekly. She has had multiple pieces of fiction published in literary magazines and short story anthologies.

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