It can be daunting, trying to escape a narcissist. They 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 it’s tricky, leaving 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: 1-800-799-723. 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. 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 a narcissist, 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. 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 you may recognize as toxic in 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 ereader 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. 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.
**If you are in an abusive relationship or someone you know is, call the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-723. 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.