If you’ve decided that the narcissist in your life is not healthy for you, there will come the moment when you realize that it’s time to walk away. But, unfortunately, no matter how much you try, nothing changes, and the abuse continues.
Are you planning to abandon a narcissist?
If you plan to abandon the narcissist in your life, you should know first that you’re most certainly not alone. Unfortunately, the unfortunate truth is that thousands of men and women experience emotional and psychological abuse at the hands of a malignant narcissist. While this is terrible news for humanity, it’s good news for you today because our research and experience allow you a glimpse into the psychology of the narcissist and a play-by-play guide for exactly what to expect when you leave a narcissist.
It’s a painful realization to reach that point of giving up, but this is what is necessary if things aren’t going to change. This is when you have the greatest risk of narcissist retaliation if the narcissist thinks you’re planning on leaving them. Once you decide that it’s time, the final stage of implementing this can take place. Deciding to abandon a narcissist is scary, especially since a part of you misses the person you signed up for and how they used to be so kind and caring before everything changed.
Discovering That You’re Dealing With a Narcissist
Maybe there was a specific incident (or several) that you feel caused them to become disillusioned with you, and so you spent months or years trying to make up for whatever damage they claimed you caused.
And you might have found yourself Googling about how you could become more like what the narcissist in your life really seemed to want, right? But then you ran across something that blew your mind – you found out about narcissism, or more specifically, narcissistic personality disorder.
As you read through the checklist or article you found or watched the video you clicked on, and a lightbulb went on in your head. Your brain almost hurt from the heavy realization you had at that moment: after all the months or years you’ve been blaming yourself, it turned out that it wasn’t you after all.
You suddenly understood that this person matched up to the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder. And that even if they weren’t diagnosed, they clearly demonstrated the trademark behaviors. You didn’t know if you were happy or super angry that you’d been unfairly beating yourself up for all this time. You weren’t sure whether to be upset that you had bent over backward to prove yourself to someone who would never see you. You struggled with the idea that you wasted so much of your life trying to make them happy when it would turn out that even if you were literally perfect, they would never be satisfied.
In other words, you recognized that this person who you now know as the narcissist in your life has actually done nothing but abuse and devalue you as they see fit and at any given moment for almost as long as you can remember. Are you worried you might be wrong, and this person isn’t a narcissist? If so, take our free toxic relationship test or look at this video, which offers signs that you’re in love with a narcissist.
Making the Decision to Leave the Narcissist
Maybe you thought something was wrong with you at first. You couldn’t understand how someone could treat you the way this person has treated you, so you assumed you must be the problem. Maybe you thought that if only you could somehow “fix” whatever the narcissist claimed was wrong with you, and things would finally change.
You would love to abandon the narcissist completely. But you want to know what to expect. And if you’re honest, you are understandably concerned about what consequences you could face if you take off and leave the narcissist.
Why is it so difficult to abandon the narcissist?
Let’s face it – the reasons you might be hesitant to leave the narcissist are many. Not only are you highly likely to be trauma bonded to them, thanks to years or even decades of abuse, but you might be dealing with a fear of abandonment and some attachment issues of your own.
And, quite honestly, you’re at least a little bit afraid of them.
You have seen the narcissist fly into an unreasonable narcissistic rage for the smallest of reasons. And anytime the rage didn’t give them the results they wanted, you’ve witnessed them using narcissistic injury, also known as the “poor me” act, as a way to manipulate you into doing what they want. Unfortunately, this has been a problem in your life more often than you care to admit.
But now that you’re finally done and you’re ready to get the heck out of dodge, you are fully expecting all hell to break loose. You know that it won’t go easily, and you suspect that the narcissist will do anything literally in their power to stop you, especially because you leaving means them losing the one thing they cannot do without – narcissistic supply.
And, if you’re like most survivors, you’re worried about what they will do if you leave.
What can you expect when you abandon the narcissist?
The early part of the no contact journey is no picnic, so when you abandon the narcissist, you can expect to deal with various manipulation tactics, including the following.
The narcissist will beg you to stay.
The narcissist might beg you to stay – or even try to talk you out of leaving. You may even hear things like, “You’ll never find anyone who loves you as much as I do,” or “You’re going to regret this in the long run.” But, then, they will start love-bombing you again and suddenly become the “perfect partner,” and they’ll seem so sincere. Naturally, you will want to believe them, and you will find it nearly impossible to leave if you indulge in this little fantasy at all. Just remember that once they’ve got you firmly back in their grip, they’ll quickly return to their old ways.
The narcissist will guilt-trip you.
The narcissist will try to make you feel guilty for abandoning them. Then, they will suddenly forget that they ever treated you anything but like royalty. In general, narcissists are incapable of taking responsibility for their actions, and the narcissistic guilt trip takes things to a whole new level. Not only is the narcissist well-aware of your “buttons” (which they will happily push at any given moment to get what they want), but they have literally no limits to the levels to which they will stoop. This video offers insight into managing your guilt when you abandon the narcissist.
The narcissist will threaten you.
In many cases, the narcissist will (at least threaten to) stoop to any level to get revenge. You may even hear things like, “If you leave, I’ll tell everyone what a bad person you are” or “If you walk out that door, don’t ever expect me to let you back in!” Remember that even if you choose to stay, they’ll start a smear campaign about you if they haven’t already. So don’t try to reason with them, and don’t make excuses. If you’re afraid they will physically hurt you or your kids, be really intentional in your planning and do your best to avoid confrontation as you exit. If possible, leave and don’t say anything to the narcissist until you’re safely away. This video offers insight into what to do if the narcissist snaps on you.
The narcissist will stalk and harass you.
Expect to be stalked and harassed by the narcissist after you abandon them, especially if they have no other sources of narcissistic supply. If they have other sources of supply, they may still stalk you, but it might be less intense or not at all, depending on the situation. Still, it’s important to remember that for the narcissist, this supply can literally feel like a requirement for them – like air or water. So, whether it’s immediately or later down the line, you should be aware that abandoning a narcissist can lead to stalking. If you’re concerned about an existing stalker or you already know that the narcissist in your own life will become a stalker, be sure to grab my free stalker safety kit, right here, so you can take precautions and keep yourself safe. This video also offers insight into how to keep yourself safe from a stalker.
The narcissist will hoover you.
If the narcissist in your life is not already engaging with a replacement for you, then you can expect to be hoovered. Named after the famous vacuum cleaner company, “hoovering” happens when the narcissist tries to “suck you back in” after the discard. This can be drama-related or an attempt to reconcile the relationship – or, in some cases, an attempt to get you to break no contact once you do get away.
You can expect the narcissist to hoover since you are one of their primary sources of narcissistic supply – and sometimes, the only one. When you unexpectedly cut off that source of supply, the narcissist will be like a vampire who goes without blood for too long. They’ll do anything to get a little taste of it – if they’re in need anyway. They will send you texts such as “Can we please talk?” or “I miss you, please come back.”
Now listen – this next part is hard and will take a ton of willpower, but you’ve got to hold your ground here. Don’t answer their texts. Please don’t respond to their repeated efforts to contact you on social media. Block them and their usual flying monkeys – and if they show up at your door? You don’t answer it. If they won’t leave and are causing a scene? Call the police and have them removed.
And speaking of flying monkeys, this brings me to my next point.
The narcissist will engage their flying monkeys in triangulation.
Here’s where the narcissist will employ these so-called flying monkeys. Flying monkeys are just people who willingly or otherwise do the narcissist’s bidding and support their agenda. In other words, they enable the narcissist’s games and manipulation, whether they do it willingly or the narcissist manipulates them into helping. If the hoover doesn’t work, and sometimes even before they try the hoover, the narcissist will pull out the triangulation card.
Triangulation is, unfortunately, a prevalent manipulation tactic often employed by narcissists; this is when the narcissist communicates as a third party between two people but prevents the two from communicating directly through either manipulating or controlling at least one of them.
So, in this case, because the narcissist may be desperate to get in touch with you for a bit of supply or to cause you more stress and pain (which, if we are honest, is also supply), they’re going to start reaching out to people who will help them by telling you “how worried they are” or “how sad the narcissist seems” since you left, or whatever. This video offers insight into dealing with flying monkeys and the smear campaign.
The narcissist will flaunt their new source of supply in your face.
Alternatively, the narcissist may quickly scoop up a new person to be their source of narcissistic supply. And, once they’ve got that poor unsuspecting soul in place, you know what they’ll do, right? They will try to use this to hurt you. So, they will try to contact you to fill you in on their “good fortune.” They’ll want you to know how much better they get along with the new supply – and how that person “gets them” in ways you never could.
Of course, they’ll take all the supply they can get, right? So you know they’ll be posting all over their social accounts, telling the world about this new and amazing person they have finally found. They’ll proclaim that this person is their new soulmate and even insult you indirectly in the process by either not acknowledging that you ever existed or by directly pointing out how much better they are with the new person. They will conveniently forget how a similar thing happened when they met you – that they once thought you were their amazing soulmate who could do no wrong and who just “got them” in ways their ex never could. Ahem. Yep, it’s a typical narcissistic cycle of abuse. Anyhoo…
They will try to call you or send you messages to brag about them, hoping that they will get a rise out of you. Of course, the best thing to do is ignore the messages and block their number and social media profiles. If you get any strange friend requests or follows from new accounts that look suspicious, then you will want to block those as well. This video offers insight into how to deal with the narcissist getting a new supply.
The narcissist will run smear campaigns.
Remember how I mentioned smear campaigns before? Well, not only is the narcissist is worried that you will expose who they are, but they’re also going to need a replacement supply and fast! So, they’re going to tell everyone a big sob story, and they’re going to try to tell everyone what a terrible person you are. They will attempt to ruin your reputation among your family and friends, and if possible, they’ll even try to get you fired from your job. The narcissist can also threaten you by leaking your personal and private information in public. Be careful to avoid engaging with their rumors and lies. Instead, if someone you feel deserves an explanation asks you, then you can explain yourself just one time. If the person appears not to believe you or continues to act as a flying monkey on the narcissist’s behalf, you can step away emotionally until you’re feeling more healed – and at that time, you can decide whether you’d like to keep that person in your life. This video offers insight into dealing with the narcissist’s smear campaign.
Should you abandon the narcissist?
Given all of the information shared here, you might feel a little doubtful about your decision to leave the narcissist. Worse, you might find that things are still not resolved, and more damage is done by separating from the narcissist. But while it won’t necessarily be easy, it will certainly be worth your time and trouble. And now that you know what to expect when you abandon a narcissist, you can be prepared and protect yourself along the way. This video offers insight into creating your exit plan safely.
Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today
Online help is readily available for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Here are some options to begin healing from narcissistic abuse right away.
- Sign up for our free email newsletter service that includes a free guided recovery experience via your inbox.
- Start your narcissistic abuse recovery here with our free narcissistic abuse recovery support system and program.
- Get your free, downloadable PLANning Guide (Planning to Leave A Narcissist)
- Join one of our free online narcissistic abuse recovery support groups!
- Join one of our private small coaching groups!
- Get private, one-on-one narcissistic abuse recovery coaching or counseling.
- Get a therapist who will work with you online. Check out our guide to finding a therapist or psychologist who understands narcissism and narcissistic abuse.
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 here at QueenBeeing.com and at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.