If you’ve tried to end a relationship with a narcissist, or a narcissist has ended a relationship with you, there are several things you could expect to happen. They might just ghost you and appear to have fallen off the planet for a while. They might be moving forward with a new source of narcissistic supply, and that might mean they don’t bother you for a while. They might even try to hoover you back into the relationship with some made-up or exaggerated drama, or even a somewhat expected declaration of undying love.
But what are you supposed to do if the narcissist just won’t leave you alone? How do you deal with a narcissist who refuses to allow you to use no contact or low contact to heal yourself?
After all, all you want is peace. And in order to get that, you need that narcissist to leave you alone – whether it is an ex, a parent, a sibling, or a co-worker. They won’t leave you alone because you are either be a great source of supply for them or because something in them feels the need to perpetually torment you.
I think we can all agree that dealing with a narcissist is always emotionally and even physically exhausting, especially since you have to deal with their little fits of narcissistic rage if something doesn’t go their way. They can be verbally, emotionally, and psychologically controlling and abusive, and once you’ve seen them for what they are, you cannot unsee them.
Even if a part of you wishes they’d become the person they promised you in the first place, or if a part of you feels guilty, the biggest part of you knows that this person is toxic in your life and that if you’re ever going to heal and begin to create the life you truly want and deserve, you have to extricate them in no uncertain terms.
How to Get a Narcissist to Leave You Alone
Now, obviously, learning to set strong boundaries and going no contact with a narcissist is the ideal thing to do. As uncommon as it feels and difficult as this can be, no contact can and will work with a parent or a sibling, or an ex if you don’t have to co-parent with them. It’ll work if you are dealing with a narcissistic coworker, friend, or acquaintance. In case you’re unfamiliar with no contact, it is when you literally block the narcissist from contacting you at all, you stop seeing, speaking to, and otherwise communicating with them. This, done successfully, will prevent them from harassing you.
Of course, in many cases, this leads to the inevitable hoovering stage, meaning they try to suck you back into the relationship (and that, if we’re being honest, means they’re trying to hook you back in for their own gain, usually for the narcissistic supply of some kind). Hoovers might come in the form of drama or pretending to need help with something only you can do, or even that declaration of undying love I mentioned a moment ago. When they use the hoover maneuver, the narcissist might say things such as ‘Oh I missed you’, or give fake apologies. You need to stay strong and keep your boundaries firm to not give in to them if they do that. However, if you cannot go no contact, there are other ways to get them to stop bothering you.
The first one I’m going to share with you might shock you a little. But when you’re struggling with getting a narcissist out of your life because you personally don’t want to let go, then you’ve got a big problem on your hands. While you logically know they are toxic for you, trauma bonding, abuse amnesia, and feeling lonely can be big deterrents to actually letting go of the narcissist. That brings me to number one.
1. Get Justifiably Angry
I don’t know about you, but for me, the effects of anger become very physical and if I allow myself to stay angry for long, it’s not good for me or anyone else. If I stay upset for long, I find that I get sick to my stomach, I clench my jaw and give myself headaches and I tense up every muscle in my body. It’s a miserable way to live. Have you experienced the physical effects of really strong emotions before?
But despite what some toxic gurus might tell you, anger isn’t a wasted emotion, if you use it to your advantage. And, as it turns out, it doesn’t negatively affect you physically when it is actively propelling you toward a goal that will make your life better in some way. In fact, it can definitely serve a purpose in your recovery from narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships. How? Well, JUSTIFIED anger is sort of like fear with a little courage thrown in, in a way.
And if I’m being honest, ending my relationship with my narcissist was sparked by anger – I had to get angry before I could get away. Another time anger served me well was before I lost all that weight a few years ago. In order to make the long-term, difficult commitment necessary to take off 100 pounds, I had to get really mad at both myself and the world to get going.
There is such a thing as constructive anger, and it is this kind of anger that causes you to stand up and to create positive change in both yourself and your life circumstances. Sometimes, anger can help neutralize your fear and power up your gumption to get you through the hard transitions – the things you might just be afraid to conquer without that little push of emotion.
The psychology of justified anger is powerful. According to Harry Mills, Ph.D., “Anger can also be a substitute emotion. By this, we mean that sometimes people make themselves angry so that they don’t have to feel pain. People change their feelings of pain into anger because it feels better to be angry than it does to be in pain.”
You have to find a way to get angry at the narcissist for all of the horrible things they’ve done to you when you’re trying to get away from them. This will not only propel you forward and keep your eye on the goal – getting the toxic poison out of your life, but it may also shock the narcissist into realizing that you’re truly done with them. With this being said, your anger should be directed toward moving forward, not any sort of direct revenge on the narcissist. This is for two reasons: first, narcissists are dangerous and if you do anything to directly take revenge on them, you can rest assured they’ll come back at you twice as hard. And second, not only do you not need any more negative energy in your life, but the very best revenge against any narcissist is to live your life well without them, taking away the thing they need the very most: narcissistic supply – and giving yourself the peace, space and time you need to heal and live your best life.
2. Get Your Emotions in Check
Sometimes, you have to deal with the narcissist for some reason. For example, you cannot go no contact with a narcissist if you are co-parenting with one, or dealing with one at work. But what you can do is grey rock them which means you become so uninteresting that the narcissist has no other choice but to leave you alone. You literally almost “become” the gray rock itself: boring, uninteresting. The narcissist might look to pick a fight due to differences in opinion or they might just want to get a rise out of you for some reason. But if you don’t make eye contact, keep your body language under control, reply with ‘uh-huh’ or ‘hmm’ and vague one-word answers, then they will give up. Basically, you refuse to show them any emotion whatsoever. This is difficult when you first try it, but when you see it working, you’ll notice the narcissist will either be sort of shocked, or they’ll actually up their manipulation game a little at first. At this point, you should feel powerful, because you’ll know it’s working. Just hold out, and eventually, they’ll realize you’re no longer going to give them the reaction they want from you, and they’ll go bother someone else.
3. Get the Narcissist Out of Your System
This is the most difficult one of all. You can do what you can to grey rock and show no emotions but eventually, you might cave if the narcissist keeps triggering you. Part of the reason they are so good at pushing your buttons is that they installed some of them – as in, their abuse has created certain triggers in you and they are quite familiar with how to dig at you in order to get those trigger-moments flowing.
So, if you’re going to get the narcissist out of your life, you have to get them out of your head. In a way, you have to do a ‘detox’ of them so you can remove them from your thoughts, emotions, and state of being. This way, you will be unaffected by their behavior. This could require coaching or therapy as well in addition to meditation and journaling, but you can do it yourself if you’re willing to give it a shot.
It does not matter whether you have to deal with them or have gone no contact with them. You just want to get them out of your energy field. Because if you come across one even if you do so after going no contact, and they see they are no longer getting to you like they once did, then that will be powerful to you. They will see that you aren’t bothered by them genuinely. They will also leave you alone if they really do see you are not vulnerable to them.
To do your own narcissist detox, start with your personal space. Remove anything that reminds you of the narcissist. If you’re living in the same space you shared with the narcissist, consider replacing or rearranging the furniture and decor in a new way. Wash the curtains (or replace them, if you can) and change the comforter on your bed. Switch things up.
4. What if the narcissist won’t leave your house?
In a lot of cases, the narcissist will refuse to leave your home, even when the relationship has been officially declared to be over. This is often an issue of control – because the narcissist knows that leaving the home will mean a more permanent disconnection of narcissistic supply, and they want to remain in control as long and as much as possible. If this is the case for you, there are things you can do.
First, if you own the home and the narcissist has a job outside the home, or any other reason they leave at scheduled times, you could pack up everything they own, put it in a storage locker and pay one months’ rent on it. Then change the locks on your place and tape a note explaining where their stuff is, along with the storage locker key. Alternatively, you could go through the legal eviction process in your area.
If the narcissist owns the home, or you own the home together, you may need to either prepare to move, or to get your attorney involved in getting them out of the house. If physical abuse becomes an issue, you should contact the police after the incident and be sure to press charges. This could buy you a bit of time to get a restraining order and move their things out of the house into that storage locker we talked about. In any case, be aware of the eviction laws where you live in case the narcissist tries to get litigious with you.
In any case, getting a narcissist to leave you alone takes work and emotional discipline, but it can be done and you can be free of them, even if you are unable to go no contact. What do you think? Can you relate?
Question of the day: Have you struggled to get a narcissist to leave you alone, and if so, how did you manage to make it happen? Are you struggling with it now? Share your thoughts, share your ideas, share your experiences in the comments section below this video, and let’s talk about it.
Angela Atkinson is a certified trauma counselor and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery, and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships since 2006, she has a popular narcissistic abuse recovery YouTube channel. Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coaching and has certifications in trauma counseling, life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation, and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy.
She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.