20 Things You Need To Know When Breaking Up With A Narcissist

By Ruth Jesse

January 10, 2024   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

breaking up with a narcissist

It’s difficult to date a narcissist due to their self-centered character and lack of empathy. If you are in a relationship with a narcissistic partner, it may be difficult to break up with them. Narcissists can be very magnetic and good at creating an attractive image of themselves. As a result, it may be difficult to resist their charm. However, they may make you feel important in one minute and crazy in the next, which could lower your self-esteem. Thus, breaking up with a narcissist is crucial for your mental health.

✦ If you feel stuck with a narcissistic partner and you want out, here are 20 things to know when breaking up with a narcissist ✦

1. It Will Feel Brutal And Unexpected

If a narcissist decides to break up with you, you may never see it coming. Narcissistic partners lack empathy, and they don’t care about others’ feelings. They may leave you self-blaming while they have been love-bombing you the whole time. Don’t feel bad about yourself at this point, and don’t expect an apology from them. Their breaking up has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. It may sound harsh but breaking up with a narcissist is like a breath of fresh air. And if they come back, it means that there’s still something they can get from you.

2. Expect Begging, Pleading, And Negotiation

If you choose to break up with a narcissist, you should expect drama from them. Such people will do anything to prevent you from leaving, including pleading, begging, or negotiating. This is because they are not yet done using you. A narcissist may even promise you to change or temporarily stop doing things that you complain about to get you to change your mind.

And if you seem relentless about leaving, they can start threatening you with phrases like, ‘no one can love you the way I do’ or ‘You will never find someone like me. Do not let any of their manipulative tactics get into you. After all, you are leaving for your sanity, and that is what’s important.

3. Breaking The Trauma Bond Is Inevitable

A narcissist creates a connection between you and them through intense emotions. Thus, you have to break the strong emotional bond to succeed in breaking up with them. They will treat you like crap when you’re wrong and reward you for something good. As a result, you will be caught in an emotional roller coaster that could be addictive too.

A narcissist will use emotional manipulation to make you doubt yourself, making you seek constant approval from them. Thus, you will have to put an end to their manipulation and break the trauma bond.

4. Cut Contacts With The Narcissist

Narcissists are manipulators. Thus, they might manipulate their way back to your life if you don’t cut contact with them. Block any contacts with them, including social networks, and let them stay away from your life. Remember that narcissists hate losing and will do anything to get back at you. Figure out any opportunities they might use to access you and block them.

5. Learn From The Relationship

Although being emotionally involved with a narcissist is not your fault, there is much to learn from the relationship. Remember that you will date again. Thus, learn the things that drive a man to make his future relationships better. When it comes to love, women are different from men. For instance, men’s desires go beyond love and sex. They like to feel needed by the women in their lives, a phenomenon known as hero instinct. Men feel more satisfied in relationships where women trigger their hero instincts and make them feel needed.

6. Remind yourself Why You Broke Up

It’s normal to have negative emotions after a breakup. After all, it’s a big change that will take time to get used to. However, don’t let these emotions get into you. It’s perfectly normal to remember all the good moments you had with your narcissistic ex and regret your actions. When this happens, remember that it’s not your fault. You broke up because of his self-centered behavior. Don’t blame yourself at this point. Instead, remind yourself that your ex wasn’t good for you in the first place.

7. The Narcissist Will Move On Quickly

You should expect your narcissistic ex to move on quickly after the breakup. After all, they never had true feelings and only wanted to use you. If you still have social media contacts with them, you will notice selfies indicating that they are happy or pictures of their new relationships. Let this not get into you. Remember they are looking for their next victim, and be glad that you are no longer involved.

8. Cut Any Ties With The Narcissist

Remove anything that could affect your confidence after breaking up with a narcissist. For instance, if you have mutual friends, your ex could use them to get back to you. Unless you trust these friends, it would be best if you let them go for the sake of your peace. Remember that a narcissist doesn’t care about your feelings, and they will bad mouth you to these friends. Cut off any ties that could hinder you from moving on with your life.

9. Expect Grief

Expect Grief
Photo credit: Unsplash

Your partner could have been a narcissist, but you could have a strong emotional connection. Thus expect to grieve over it like any other relationship. Accept these emotions and allow yourself to heal. Narcissists are good manipulators, and it’s normal to feel bad about everything. Besides, the relationship could negatively affect your mental health, and it may take time to move on. It will not be easy, but only time can heal. Allow yourself to pass through this phase of your life to avoid falling into the hands of a narcissist again.

10. It’s Normal To Think About Your Ex After A Breakup

Dating a person with a narcissistic personality disorder will get you analyzing every aspect of their behavior and trying to excuse them for the sake of peace. Maybe you can’t stop thinking about your ex’s manipulation and the games they played on you. In this case, please don’t beat yourself up because it’s normal. Cut anything that reminds you of them to hasten the healing process and move on.

11. It’s Normal To Feel Ashamed

Once you have taken some time away from a narcissistic relationship, you will start to see things more clearly. At this point, you are left wondering why you let your partner fool you all this time, and it’s normal to have those feelings. Your friends and family may have warned you about your partner, but you were too blinded to see it. In this case, don’t be too hard on yourself.

Remember, it takes courage to break free from a narcissist, and regret will not help. Forgive yourself and don’t look back. Instead, focus on the bright future ahead of you.

12. Love Yourself

Love Yourself
Photo credit: Unsplash

It’s no doubt that dealing with a narcissist can take a toll on your mental health and self-esteem. Maybe your partner was an emotionally abusive narcissist who only appreciated you wherever it suited them. Now that you are no longer with them, you need to love yourself. You can practice self-love by getting enough sleep, eating right, exercising, meditation, and thinking about yourself more. Practicing self-love after a breakup will boost your confidence and restore your self-esteem.

13. Focus On Yourself

Narcissists are self-centered and have a constant need for admiration. As a result, being in a relationship with them can make you lose focus and the meaning of life. When this is all over, it’s time to focus on yourself. You can recreate life by engaging in activities like enrolling in a gym class, yoga, meditation or cooking classes. Do whatever it takes to focus on yourself again and surround yourself with people who love you genuinely.

14. Your Ex May Want To Shame You

A superiority complex is one of the narcissistic traits. Thus, narcissists never accept defeat. They may want to break you emotionally or portray you as the bad guy. A narcissist will want to create scenes that put you in a bad light by humiliating you in front of friends family or social media. In this case, don’t let their desperate attempts to pull you down get into you. It’s just a trick to satisfy their ego.

15. Stand Your Ground

A narcissist will use their manipulative tricks to make you doubt your decision to leave them. However, please don’t feel guilty or give in to their pressure. If you start self-blame at this point, it only slows down the breakup process and buys your former partner time to manipulate you into changing your mind.

16. Prepare Yourself

Breaking up with a narcissist will not be easy. If you get a divorce, they will want to drag you into the mud with unending legal procedures. Thus, get ready for it and avoid giving in to pressure.

17. Don’t Compare

After breaking up with a narcissist, they will quickly move on to their next victim and rub it on your face. But don’t be fooled. They are probably busy loving bombing their new partner to get them in their trap. Don’t be tempted to compare yourself to your new partner. Instead, be grateful that you got yourself out of the toxic environment.

18. Expect Attention Seeking

Narcissists portray themselves as independent, but they are extremely needy in real life. They will do anything to get your attention, including feigning illness, calling you to fix their car, or “accidentally” sending you a text message or email asking for help. Expect and prepare to handle desperate attempts at getting your attention.

19. Get New Friends

Don’t let your breakup affect your social life. Although you may need to cut mutual friends from your previous relationship, you can still make new good friends. Don’t be afraid to go out and meet new people. You will need to move on with your life and date again at some point. There are still good people out there who will love you genuinely and form healthy relationships. You can start as great friends and move your relationship to the next level with time.

20. Don’t Be Afraid To Seek Help

Don't Be Afraid To Seek Help
Photo credit: Unsplash

It’s not going to be easy breaking up with a narcissist. Thus, could you not go through it alone? Ask for help from family and friends or a support group. If your former partner had a narcissistic personality disorder, it could have negatively affected your emotional health and could use the help of a clinical psychiatrist. A professional can help you heal by identifying issues that may be hindering you from moving on.

✸ Tips On How To Handle Yourself After Breaking Up With A Narcissistic Partner ✸

Breaking up with a narcissist will not be easy. There will be a difficult adjustment period, but it will be worth it. Here are a few tips to get over a narcissist after a breakup;

➤ Acknowledge And Accept The Breakup

Accepting and acknowledging that you are in an abusive relationship is the first step towards healing. It will not be easy at the beginning, and you will be tempted to blame yourself. However, accept the abuse and work on getting over it. Self-denial can be protective, but it will only hinder you from healing.

➤ Set Clear Boundaries

Therapists recommend setting your boundaries with a narcissistic person. For example, they may try to call you, text or send you emails to manipulate their way back to your life. In this case, cutting contact with them is a way of setting clear boundaries. And if you have children with them, make it clear that they should respect you to maintain a healthy relationship for their sake.

➤ Prepare For Complex Emotions

Like any other breakup, you will experience anger, anxiety, grief, or depression. If you have a toxic relationship, it might leave you with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Prepare for confusing feelings of anger, self-blame, and regret but don’t do it alone. Talk to a close friend or family member for support or seek professional help from a counselor during this period.

Rebuild Your Self Esteem

Narcissists can be too controlling in a relationship, and you may lose your identity in the process. If your former partner frequently subjected you to verbal and emotional abuse, it’s easy to believe in their negative illusion about you. In this case, start a completely new journey to rediscover yourself. If the narcissist manipulated you into losing your very good friends, don’t be afraid to start all over. Take time to heal and discover yourself again.

☀ Traits Of Narcissistic Personality Disorder ☀

Narcissism is a personality disorder characterized by self-obsession, an exaggerated sense of self-importance, and a constant need for attention and admiration. If you suspect your partner has a narcissistic personality disorder, but you are unsure, look for the following narcissistic traits;

➣ Grandiosity

Grandiosity is an unrealistic sense of self-importance. A narcissistic partner will constantly talk about their achievements while dismissing yours to put you down. They do this because they believe they are better than anyone else. These partners expect you to recognize them and acknowledge that you are lucky to be in their lives.

➣ Fantasy And Delusion

Narcissists are delusional and live in a fantasy world. They have unrealistic dreams about being successful, attractive, and brilliant and often feel special and in control. However, they use these feelings to mask their emptiness and pain and ignore any attempts to contradict or challenge them.

➣ Excessive Desire For Admiration

Narcissists suffer from a superiority complex and have a constant desire to be admired and praised. They use other people to feed their egos and make them feel powerful and in control. Thus, narcissists surround themselves with empathetic people who are willing to play by their rules. Being in a relationship with a narcissist is like being in a one-sided relationship where one partner feels betrayed if they don’t receive constant attention.

➣ Lack Of Empathy

Narcissists cannot care for others’ feelings. They will use every opportunity to take advantage of you or exploit you with no remorse or apology. Narcissists only care about their feelings and see other people as objects to be used and dumped.

❣ Steps To Leaving An Abusive Relationship With A Narcissist ❣

Leaving a narcissist is a challenging thing to do. Narcissists depend on you to feed their ego, and they won’t take your leaving kindly. However, it is good for your emotional well-being. Here are five steps to leaving an abusive relationship with a narcissist;

➽ Don’t Give Them A Second Chance

Psychologists argue that it takes at least seven times to leave an abusive relationship. A narcissist will do anything to prevent you from leaving, including begging, pleading, and attempting to change. However, it’s not because they love you genuinely. It’s because they are not done using you. Thus, don’t give them the pleasure of hurting you again.

➽ Don’t Tell Them You Are Leaving

If you tell a narcissist you are leaving; they will attempt to love bomb and manipulate you into staying. On the other hand, if they realize that you won’t change your mind, they will treat you toxically in an attempt to break or destroy you.

➽ Prepare Financially

Make sure that you are financially prepared to leave an abusive narcissist. It may need prior preparation but do it discreetly to avoid getting completely cut off. If your partner is aware of your bank account, open a new one and put in enough funds to take you through the process.

➽ Talk To Someone

A narcissist will want to shift the blame on you after a breakup. Psychologists advise abuse victims to talk to someone and explain what happened to put themselves in good stead in case of any eventualities. You can talk to the police, a doctor, or a professional counselor for help.

◈ How To Emotionally Detach From A Narcissist ◈

Narcissists are good at emotional manipulation by creating intense emotional connections with their victims. It’s not easy to emotionally detach from a narcissist. However, you can do it in several ways. First, you will have to cut off any communication by avoiding telephone calls, text messages, and emails. Secondly, make a plan for your next move, including where to stay, your finances, healing, and moving on.

If the feelings of guilt, shame, and anxiety overwhelm you, do not hesitate to ask for help from friends, family, or a professional therapist. It’s normal to feel sad at this point, but you can overcome it by doing the things you love. For instance, enroll in a gym, dancing or meditation class and meet new friends.

🧐 Conclusions 🧐

Dating a narcissist is hard, but breaking up with them is harder. If they break up with you, they will not be remorseful, nor will they apologize. On the other hand, a narcissist will create chaos when you break up with them. However, don’t let their manipulative tactics get to you. Cut any communication with them and don’t give in to their pressure.

They will move on quickly but don’t compare yourself to their new partner. Instead, love yourself and be glad that they are no longer in a position to abuse or manipulate you.

🤔 Relevant Questions 🤔

❓ How do narcissists feel when you break up with them?

Narcissists feel out of control when you break up with them. They were used to manipulating you, and now you have taken control by breaking up with them. They feel deprived of power, and they will do anything to trap you, including begging, blaming, and guilt-tripping you into staying.

❓ How do you break up with a narcissist you love?

However much you love a narcissist, you can never change their behavior. You can break up with them by cutting any communication or ties, denying them a second chance, and purging anything that reminds you of them.

❓ How does a narcissist react to separation?

A narcissist will do anything to cause chaos during separation. They will blame you, guilt trip, and escalate things. They will even threaten you and play the victim. Additionally, they will attempt to turn the children against you and weaponize any form of communication.


Ruth Jesse

Ruth is a life coach who specialises in relationships and career development. Outside work, she loves writing novels and guides for personal development.

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