How to break up with a narcissist

In this article I will teach you how to break up with a narcissist, why is important to prepare before you leave a narcissistic relationship and why you might find it hard to leave the abusive relationship. I will also explain why you shouldn’t share your experience with others soon after the breakup and instead focus on rebuilding yourself.


How narcissists react when you break up with them

“You will never really see how toxic someone is until you breathe fresher air.”- Unknown

Narcissists do not like being broken up with. When you break up with a narcissist, you take away their source of validation and admiration. Their ego is getting bruised and their first reaction is rage. They will yell, scream or be physically abusive towards you.

They will also use passive-aggressiveness. They will shame you in front of your family and friends and they will use social media to make you look bad.

They will look to vengeance ‘your betrayal’ at all costs. They will do anything to destroy your life and to hurt your reputation.

Narcissists can also use false promises and crocodile tears to stop you from leaving them. They will promise to do better and to make it up to you.

Narcissists are very hard to change. This is mainly because they don’t feel any remorse for their actions. The promises they make to you when you decide to leave them are a result of their fear of losing the validation and admiration, not a genuine understanding of how their actions have hurt you.

Another reaction they might have is to tell you they were going to end it anyway. This is because they want to keep their ego intact by having the final say.

They will stalk and harass you. This is also to show their power and control over you. Read more about how to avoid dating a narcissist here.


Prepare before you leave a narcissist

You must make a decision that you are going to move on. It won’t happen automatically. You will have to rise up and say, ‘I don’t care how hard this is, I don’t care how disappointed I am, I’m not going to let this get the best of me. I’m moving on with my life.’’- Joel Osteen

It is essential to be prepared for this breakup and take all the precautionary measures before you end the relationship.

If you live together, it is important to pack all your personal belongings before you tell them you are leaving the relationship. Otherwise, a common reaction of narcissists is to destroy anything that has value to you in order to hurt you.

When narcissists are hurt, their anger is powerful and unstoppable. Their injuries are deep and they find it very hard to let go.

If you move on and start a new relationship, they will call, message, threaten your new partner or try to shame you in front of them. They will try to jeopardise your new relationship at all costs.

In some cases, narcissists are trying to seek revenge for years as they cannot move on unless they find someone else as a good source of admiration and validation.

The most important thing you need to do before you leave a narcissistic relationship is to prepare yourself. Don’t share your plans with anyone that knows your narcissistic partner and don’t ever share your thoughts with your partner.

Why it is hard to leave a narcissist

“A narcissist doesn’t break your heart, they break your spirit. That’s why it takes so long to heal.”-Unknown

The way people perceive other people is determined by their level of awareness. This is why it is hard to leave a relationship with a narcissist: you believe they have the same feelings and level of empathy as you do.

However, people with narcissistic personality disorder do not take other people’s feelings into consideration. They highly react and they can’t see the whole picture.

They believe that you are wrong and they are right and that you need to be punished. They are so convincing that they can make you doubt yourself.

They become your worst enemy and they will use everything they know about you to manipulate you back in the relationship. They will make you feel that you cannot survive the breakup and that the only option is to go back to them.

The relationship with the narcissist can become addictive. If you decided to leave a narcissistic relationship, you might feel extremely terrible when you do.

When you breakup with someone, good memories tend to come back, leading to feelings of regret. You need to recognise that the narcissists are using ‘love-bombing’ technique to make you feel loved, but they always have an ulterior reason for it.

Don’t confuse genuine acts of love with these manipulation techniques of a narcissist. Read more about emotional manipulation here. 


The biggest mistake to avoid when leaving a narcissist

”When a toxic person can no longer control you, they will try to control how others see you. The misinformation will feel unfair, but stay above it, trusting that other people will eventually see the truth just like you did.”- Jill Blakeway

Sharing your experience with other people as soon as you left the abusive relationship is the biggest mistake you could do. Most narcissistic abuse is behind close doors so not many people will be aware of what you have been through.

Suddenly sharing your experience might lead to people not believing your account. This will result in more self-doubt and questioning yourself.

Moreover, you have been a participant in hiding the abuse so the reality will come as a shock even to close members of the family or friends.

Trying to expose the truth for the first time in front of other people is extremely hard because the narcissist is an expert in manipulation and will do anything to make you look like you are the crazy one. They know how to play their cards and to portray their reality in a way that it makes you look bad.

They will play the victim and they will make you look like you are the abuser. They will convince everyone that they are the ones who desire peace, whilst you make people take sides by sharing personal and intimate experiences from your relationship.

They have emotionally damaged you during the relationship, so when you expose the truth, the narcissist will counter-attack using your emotional reactions against you. They will show people how unstable and emotional you are and they will make everyone believe you are the abusive one.

how to leave a narcissist

Focus on yourself

”Letting go of toxic people in your life is a big step in loving yourself.”- Hussein Nishah

Instead of focusing on exposing the abuser, focus on yourself. Your self-confidence and self-esteem has been torn down during the abusive relationship and it needs to be rebuilt. Read more about how to build your self-confidence here.

Put the energy into yourself; focus on building yourself up and gaining your self-confidence. Truth will eventually be revealed and the more together you are when it does, the more credibility you will have.


Final thoughts

I hope this article helped you understand how narcissists react when you break up with them and how to prepare before leaving the relationship. Focus on yourself, learn from the experience and move on with your wonderful life.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to answer them.

All the best,


  (Accredited Counsellors, Coaches, Psychotherapists and Hypnotherapists)

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14 thoughts on “How to break up with a narcissist”

  1. Hi,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic. I believe people are too afraid to take risks and make that decision to leave even a harmful relationship with a narcissist. People are too afraid to make that big step which could in fact change their life for the better.

    I really like this article as it gives people a perspective on one’s thoughts.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • Hi Ritchie,

      Thank you for your comment. You are completely right, people are afraid of the unknown and sometimes choose to live with the abuse even though it brings them a lot of pain. However, a relationship with a narcissist is beyond harmful to anyone’s emotional health and I hope this article will help a lot of people take the right decision.

      Kind regards,

  2. Hi,

    Thanks for this great article.

    I couldn’t agree with you more about how to leave a narcissist. I loved the quotes you included too especially the one from Joel Osteen about being brave and moving on with your life.
    Having witnessed a friend going through this exact issue, I know how hard it can be. I’m so pleased that you’ve bought this out into the open.
    Hopefully people who need this information will be able to find some encouragement and support here.

    • Hi Judy,

      Thank you for your comment. I am happy to see that you found the information useful. For people who are going through rough times as a result of their relationship with a narcissist, I hope they will learn from this article and prepare for the breakup accordingly.

      Kind regards,

  3. This is a really different kind of article. It is full of great information. Unfortunately, there are so many people afraid to leave a relationship like this, however with the support of articles like yours, it makes such a difference to the wellbeing of other. Truly a selfless thing to do. Awesome work!

    • Hi Puneet,

      Thank you for your comment. I am happy to see that you found my article a great source of information for people who are going through a relationship with a narcissist. I hope that many people will benefit from reading this article.

      Kind regards,

  4. Hi Ioana,

    Thanks for sharing tips to break up with a narcissist, I think it’s quite helping for people who just meet this difficult situation. I do have one question about the right timing that we can share the experiences after an abusive relationship. You mention that it’s the biggest mistake if we share with others as soon as we break up with a narcissist, so it will be nice that we know a certain timing on this.

    Thanks in advance,

    • Hi Matt,

      Thank you for your comment. The truth will also reveal itself one way or another. It is important to share the experience about the difficulty of being in a relationship with a narcissist only with people you trust. Once the narcissist has moved on and stopped displaying the common behaviors I described in the article and you healed yourself from the abuse and are ready to talk about it without affecting your life and progress, then I consider to be the right timing to share the experience with others.

      Kind regards,

  5. I loved your post Ioana.

    I think I can relate this to toxic friendships as well. There are times I have found some friends draining me of energy rather than lifting me up. When I have tried to end the friendship, they will cry and say how they will not make me feel awful with their words anymore. Yet they repeat it after a few weeks.

    I agree with Joel Osteen about being brave and moving on with your life. Glad you have made this article available for all to read.

    Many thanks.

    • Hi Ekufaa,

      Thank you for your comment. You are absolutely right. Narcissists can be members of family, friends or co-workers and it is hard to leave them behind as they are very good emotional manipulators. I hope that regardless of the situation and relationship with the narcissistic person, people will find the strength to leave them behind.

      Kind regards,

  6. Hi Ioana,

    The hardest thing is recognizing that you are in a relationship with a narcissist. Most due to their own background think the abuse is normal.

    Thanks for your post.

    • Hi Ali,

      Thank you for your comment. This is a great point, recognising and accepting you are in a relationship with a narcissist is the most difficult thing.

      Kind regards,

  7. Thank you so much for sharing such an informative post about personality disorders. My question is, How do you know that your partner is a narcissist? Are there any signs that I should be looking for? That is horrible that a person will try to destroy your image just because of their ego but yet again that person is unwell. 

    You are absolutely right, the best thing that you can do is to focus on yourself and the time will prove everything. Thanks for sharing what to prepare for. 


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