Breaking up with a narcissist is likely to be a draining experience.
Either they won’t let you go without a fight, or they will discard you without looking back.
Both experiences are extremely hurtful.
Narcissists are highly skilled at making you feel as though you were the most important person in the world, only to tear it all away.
It’s important to remember that however much it hurts right now, you’re better off without the toxic person in your life.
It is challenging and exhausting being romantically involved with a narcissist, but they can also cause havoc when they leave. Breakups are always hard, but when you’ve been in a relationship with someone who uses others and is obsessed with themselves, it can be even harder.
On the surface, narcissists can seem charming, engaging and charismatic, which can make them difficult to leave in the first place.
Dr Judith Orloff, a clinical psychiatrist at the University of California Los Angeles, wrote in a blog post on Psychology Today 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 if you break up with a narcissist.
It can feel brutal and sudden
One minute you may feel like everything your partner has ever wanted, and the next you’re left wondering what on Earth went wrong. This is because narcissists are great at playing a part while they’re getting something from their source, according to Orloff. But when they’re done using you, they have no difficulty in casting you aside like a used tissue.
There will be no apologies or remorse, and you may well never hear from them again, regardless of how long your relationship was. If they do return, it will be because they’ve realised they can get something from you.
Be prepared for begging, pleading or bargaining
If you’re the one who chose to leave, good for you because Orloff says that’s hard to do. They are likely to give you the fight of your life because they’re not done with you yet. Narcissists hate losing their supply, so they won’t let you go easily.
Prepare for them to promise “to change.” They might suddenly start doing things for you that you’d been complaining about. They may say “you’ll be lost without me,” or “you’ll never find someone like me.”
Don’t listen, Orloff advises. It’s just a trick to get you to come back to them out of fear.
What next? Establish no contact
No contact is exactly what it sounds like: no contact whatsoever. That means blocking their number, making sure any emails from their address go into your spam folder, and deleting them off social media. This is tough, but mental health councillor Dr Stephanie Sarkis explains in a blog post on Psychology today that it’s the best option because sooner or later the narcissist will find a way to return.
The narcissist will try to contact you if you cut off their supply, and they know just what to say to make you come back. So you have to be brutal, and fast. It may be best to break up with them over text also, so they can’t manipulate you any further.
If you left something at the narcissist’s house, Sarkis adds, you should just leave it and let it go. Consider it a very small price to pay for your own sanity and well-being.
Remove people you have in common from social media
It might seem harsh, but sometimes it’s just better to start completely fresh and remove any association of the narcissist from you life, psychologists advise. This includes their friends and family, from all social networks: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn…
The more connections you still have to each other, the more opportunities the narcissist has to slide back into your life somehow. They could also use their friends to try and make you jealous.
So unless you’re very good friends with them, and you trust them completely, you should probably wipe the social media slate clean.