Ready to Leave the Narcissist?
Here are a few practical things to consider when you’re preparing to leave a narcissist in a toxic relationship.
Preparing to Leave the Narcissist
If possible, you should every detail of your getaway. This is especially important if your partner is violent. Be sure to make a Safety Plan. Download your free copy of the PLAN (Planning to Leave a Narcissist) toolkit, here, for a full, printable list of what to bring along and how to pack your “go bag,” along with some worksheets and guides (on everything from staying safe while you leave and where to live to the logistics of leaving and your emotional well-being).
Should I leave my abuser now, or wait until I’m ready?
To answer this question, there are a few things to consider.
Am I in immediate physical danger?
If you’re being sexually or physically abused or threatened, or even feel worried that you might be, then your first priority should be getting safe – even if that means you temporarily live in a shelter. Check out this page for resources to help you if you’re living with domestic violence or another situation that is threatening you physically. Many women’s shelters offer you a significant amount of support in getting back on your feet, including help finding a home and a job, along with other forms of assistance, if you need it. Just get safe first, and then worry about the rest.
Am I prepared to leave the narcissist?
If you’re confident that the narcissist will not physically assault or harm you or your children, you might opt to plan your exit from the relationship in order to keep the transition as smooth as possible for all involved. As someone who has been in a relationship with this person for a while, you know that there are so many things to consider. It might take a few months or even a year or two to plan and execute your ideal escape from the narcissist.
Am I financially ready to leave the narcissist?
If you’ve got access to a reasonable amount of money, it’ll be far less complicated, but still difficult. Without access to money, you’ve got an extra step on your hands – securing financing and all that it entails (food, shelter, etc). In this case, you might want to talk to a friend or relative about staying with them until you can get on your feet. If you’re able to, secretly put aside cash to help fund your freedom. Be aware that if you’re dealing with financial abuse, the narcissist is likely to block your checking account and credit cards the moment you leave.
Where will I live when I leave the narcissist?
Practice ways to get out of the house unnoticed and safely. Practice with your kids, too, so they know what is coming. If possible, have them out of the house (a visit to grandma’s, maybe?).
First things first: it’s important to know where you’ll live when you leave.
Ask yourself: will you keep your family home, or will the narcissist? Or, would it be better to sell your home instead?
- If you’re planning to keep the home, figure out if you can afford to do so without the narcissist’s help, just in case they tie you up in court about any child or spousal support you’re due.
- If you’re leaving the family home, then you’ll want to secure a rental home before you leave.
- I suggest that you don’t buy until your divorce is final and you’re healed.
- The PLAN has a lot of good suggestions on getting your new place, too.
What if I don’t have any money or access to money?
So often, narcissists are financially abusive. Whether you have money but can’t fully access it, due to this financial abuse, or you have not been able to work for whatever reason, you might be feeling really stuck right now. And while this is obviously not the most ideal position to be in, there are still things you can do to get yourself and your kids out, if you’re willing to do the legwork.
So, if you don’t have the money to get a rental before you leave, you can try one of these options.
- Ask around where you can stay the first week – maybe you’ve got a friend or a family member who will put you up for a while.
- Look for a job that offers you a place to live. These jobs are more common than you think and can include hotel jobs, apartment manager or maintenance jobs, house sitting or nanny jobs, or even campgrounds overseer jobs and more.
- Apply to a domestic violence shelter and wait to be accepted. Remember: shelters can help you find a home and a job, as well as connecting you with other forms of assistance.
What if I have to leave without notice?
Sometimes you will have to make a run for it at a time that works in order to avoid excessive conflict and resistance from the narcissist. That might mean that you need to leave with little to no notice when the opportunity presents itself. If that’s the case, you should think about setting up a couple of safety nets for yourself. Set up a “go-bag” and a “plan B” in case you can’t get out with even that much.
What if I have to leave without my things?
Here’s where your “plan B” comes in – you can set yourself up by taking a couple of quick actions in advance.
You should also consider making extra sets of keys and important documents. And if you can, sneak out some clothing and necessities a little early and leave them with someone you trust, along with those keys and documents. It might even be a good idea to put one copy of everything into a safety deposit box and give the key to someone you trust.
What should I put in my ‘go bag’ when preparing to leave a narcissist?
- Put together an overnight bag containing the most important things you need if you need to go on short notice.
- Get copies of all important documents and store them in a safe place. These include identity cards, health care, and social security cards, driver’s license/registration, credit cards, and bank cards, other personal identification (including picture ID), birth certificate, immunization card for the children, custody order, personal checkbook, last banking statement, and mortgage papers.
- Make a list of all computer passwords and access codes (for instance: ATM PINs).
- Gather personal items that are difficult to replace or that you’ll need right away, such as prescribed medication, personal hygiene products, glasses/contact lenses, money (borrow from family members, a neighbor, colleague, or friends, if you have to), several changes of clothing (don’t forget socks, PJs, and underwear), heirlooms, jewelry, photo albums (pictures that you want to keep), craft, needlework, hobby work.
- If you have children, be sure to bring their various medications, binkies, bottles, favorite toy or blanket, and clothing (again: socks, PJs, underwear). Older kids may carry their own clothes and school books.
- Make a list of the following and have it on you at all times: addresses and phone numbers of domestic violence shelters, police stations, night courts, community social services, schools in the vicinity, major media, and address and phone and fax numbers of your lawyer and his attorneys. Secure a detailed public transportation map, if that’s an option.
What else should I consider before I leave the narcissist?
Secure transportation for the day or night of escape. Agree on codes and signals with friends and family (“If I don’t call you by 10 PM, something has gone wrong”, “If I call you and say that Ron is home, call the police”). Wait until the narcissist is away from home, if possible, before you leave. Avoid confrontation over your departure. It can end badly. Do not inform them of your plans.
Things to Consider When Ending a Toxic Relationship and Tools to Help you Leave
- Get your own PLAN to leave your narcissist. (FREE DOWNLOAD)
- Click here for more videos on how to leave a narcissist.
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