Ending a relationship with a malignant narcissist can be difficult and dangerous. Being discarded or rejected by their partners can cause them narcissistic injury which can enrage them and trigger violent situations or malicious payback. Furthermore, narcissists have ways of roping you back to them and deceiving you with their manipulations. It is important therefore that individuals exercise caution and care when planning to emancipate oneself from a relationship with a narcissist. There are also a number of online forums and resources to help victims of narcissistic abuse. Here are 5 approaches to terminate a relationship with an abusive narcissist.
1. Low Contact Cold Turkey
Quitting the narcissist partner cold turkey means cutting off communication and estranging yourself from them right away. This is the ideal and most direct approach to terminating a relationship with a narcissist. Even so, it may not be feasible for every situation and can be risky if your partner is prone to anger and violence. If you don’t feel it is safe enough or practical to leave at the moment then you might want to consider option #2 on the list.Exercise caution here because an abuse victim is most likely to get violently assaulted while preparing to leave than at any other point in an abusive relationship.
2. Gradually Weaning off
Sometimes, ditching the narcissist completely is not a viable option. If you share children with them or joint ownership of businesses and financial accounts, this can complicate things and create hurdles in your path. For these situations, more planning, time and resources may be needed before you can truly liberate yourself from the narcissist. This can also be especially difficult for victims who are trauma-bonded to their narcissistic abusers.
Some self-care, private reflection and therapy may be necessary to overcome the emotional and psychological attachments that hold you back. If you are financially or legally tethered to your partner, then it recommended that you handle that first especially if you are married. There are attorneys who are well informed about cases involving narcissistic partners.
As you make preparations, you may have to be very sneaky so as to avoid arousing the narcissist’s suspicions. Violence, and attempts at sweet talking you out of it can compromise your efforts. You may have to put up a charade or play along and allow them to think they’ve got you wrapped around their finger until your plans finally fall into place.
3. The Last Straw
This approach is where you take inventory of the abuse endured at the hand of the narcissist and allow it to light a fire in you to draw your line in the sand. Those who experience narcissistic abuse often enough will naturally reach their breaking point. This approach is meant to stimulate that kind of resolve by documenting all the abuse so as to keep it fresh in your mind and help push you to that breaking point.
Shahida Arabi, the author of “Becoming the Narcissist’s Nightmare: How To Devalue and Discard the Narcissist While Supplying Yourself” recommends keeping a journal of all the abusive incidents while vowing to yourself that you will leave should they happen again. She suggests telling a trusted friend or loved one about your intentions so that they can hold you to your word.
4. Grey Rock Discard Method
The Grey Rock method is an approach that is meant to make the narcissist get bored with you and eventually want to break up. Narcissists toy with their victim’s emotions and feed off their reactions. Other people’s pain and distress is a source of amusement to them. Therefore, if you stop reacting to their antics and display an overall air of indifference to anything they do, they might eventually lose interest in you as their plaything.
By depriving them of that gratification, they would be forced to seek it elsewhere and hopefully discard you voluntarily. Beware that some narcissists may go to extremes before they give up, if they are really determined to get a rise out of you.
5. Take No Shit Method
This approach is for the individuals who are unafraid to confront the narcissist directly and call them out. This is not recommended when the narcissist in question is someone who is easily angered and has a potential for violence. Narcissists can’t stand people who don’t dance to their tune and take a strong stance against them. This approach tells the narcissist that you are not the one to mess with and will give them no space to manipulate or gaslight you. Again, exercise caution when dealing with violent narcissists who can get triggered by narcissistic injury. Arabi mentions that many survivors she’s spoken with have testified to the effectiveness of this approach in getting the narcissist to back off. Setting clear boundaries and enforcing them will help send a message to abuser that you are not letting down your guard around them.
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