Most victims of Narcissistic abuse waste years of their lives not knowing whether they should stay or leave, torturing themselves with self-doubt. The reasons for this vary, but in the end, victims are groomed to not only accept abuse, but to crave the Narcissist when the relationship ends.
If you’re reading this article, it’s likely that you suspect your partner of being a Narcissist. It’s also likely that you’ve been emotionally abused for some time now and feel you have to settle for more of the same for the rest of your life. But, the truth is, whether you stay or leave is a choice. Although you might feel powerless to change your situation, all it takes is one decision to turn it all around. People do it every day.
If you’ve been dreaming of a life where you feel hope-FUL instead of hope-LESS, following are the steps needed to turn your abuse into a thing of the past:
Steps to Freedom
1) The first thing you need to do is accept the necessity to leave. Regardless of the years invested and regardless of whether you still love them…(and perhaps ask yourself, do you really love them or love the crazy?)
The Narcissist will never change. They will never love you the way you want to be loved, nor will they reciprocate the loving care you’ve given them. Everything that transpires inside of the relationship will continue to be for their benefit only. Your only reason for existence is to serve their needs. Narcissists operate solely from ego, which leaves no room for them to reflect on how their actions affect you.
2) Do not inform your partner of your intention to leave. The reason for this is because they will begin to love-bomb you and hoover in order to keep you under their control. Hoovering is aptly named because it’s their attempt to SUCK you back into the relationship and re-secure your attachment to them. It takes time and effort for them to find a suitable replacement for you. In order to avoid that, they will morph back into the “loving, caring, concerned” partner you knew from the beginning of the relationship. Save yourself the heartache. The time for mind games and second-guessing is over. Any semblance of love or caring from their part is to fulfill something on their agenda, which doesn’t include you or your feelings. Further, if they have aggressive tendencies, informing them of your decision to leave could cause them to become physically violent.
3) If you are single and/or unemployed, think of any friends or family you might be able to move in with until you get on your feet. If you don’t have anyone, contact your local Domestic Violence center and make an appointment. They know that abuse can be emotional and verbal, and it’s considered Domestic Abuse. They may be able to help you with transitional housing, as well as other services that might include job training/placement.
The abuse will never get better. In fact, things will only get worse the longer you stay.
If you are employed, go out at your earliest opportunity and put a deposit on a new apartment. If you don’t have the money… borrow it, sell some stuff at the pawn shop, sell plasma, sell on Ebay. Do whatever is necessary to raise the money for the deposit. Then, ask for a few days off from your employer. When your partner leaves for work, or during one of their Silent Treatments, use the opportunity to get your things and leave. Initiate No Contact and stick with it. If they come around and won’t leave you alone, call the police. Get a restraining order if necessary.
4) If you are married with children, leaving will be hard, but necessary. Staying in an abusive situation is not providing your children with stability. It’s the opposite. Divine Caroline states it eloquently:
“I can tell you personally, your children will be impacted and damaged. They will never know what a normal relationship and home life should look like. Your love and caring efforts to make it more stable and normal WILL GO UNNOTICED. He is always the center of attention, everyone walks on eggshells. He not only conditions you, but your children as well. The moods, temper tantrums, negative unhappy feelings he emits, the inappropriate angry responses to ordinary life problems, rages, unreasonable expectations placed on everyone but the Narcissist, creates an unhealthy environment to raise children. They have to adapt and develop unhealthy survival skills to live through it. They will carry those skills into their life and relationships.
Is it really worth staying in a comfy home if your children need counseling for the rest of their lives, or worse, end up as victims of their own abusive relationship?
Think of all the possibilities in which you can make it work. Again, solicit your friends or family for a temporary residence. If that won’t work, contact your local Domestic Violence center. Tell them your situation and inform them of your desire to leave. They might give you a court advocate, a case manager, and/or help you with transitional housing. They may also be able to assist you with other services such as counseling and support groups. Ask them how you should handle your disordered spouse when they come around pretending to be concerned about the children and claiming you’re violating their rights as a parent.
Many targets of Narcissistic abuse worry how their children will adjust to transitional housing. 99% of the time, they are relieved and will know that you have their best interests at heart. And, according to the forums I’ve read, children think of the transitional housing as an adventure of sorts. Of course, use your best judgment with your children because only you know them well enough to approach the situation in a way that will be comforting to them.
5) Initiate No Contact. This means blocking them from ALL means of communication. If you give them an opportunity, they will commence to hoover. Don’t fall for it. It’s only to get you back under their control so you can serve them.
If you have children, you will need to go with modified contact. Schedule a consultation with an attorney to see how you should handle the situation until custody is finalized through the court. Don’t let the Narcissist intimidate you. They will try. Be prepared.
6) Start the work of healing yourself. You’ve been through a lot. Use your new-found freedom to focus on extreme self-care and try not to think too much about the abuse for a while. Granted, you will have to process all the stages of grief and denial in order to gain closure, but for now, simply breathe, relax, and pamper yourself. Start researching therapists that specialize in Narcissistic and Domestic abuse, learn how to release negative energy, and check out the healing tools here on the site.
It will be a journey, but you are now on the path to living true to yourself and you deserve it.
Let Me Reach Coaching Services:
Kim Saeed, B. Ed., provides confidential, fee-for-service, coaching services to help victims of emotional abuse work through their relationship issues via telephone, email, Skype, and Google chat. Her coaching combines practical guidance, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org