Whether you filed for divorce at their request or not, a narcissistic or “narcy” person who actually has a readily identifiable (diagnosable) personality disorder is likely to be outraged. If you tell them you want a divorce after they cheat on you, lie to you, get caught with their hands in whatever proverbial cookie jar floats their boat, guess what?
Suddenly, prepare to be made out to be a lying, backstabbing, disloyal, and self-centered monster even if you have acted faithfully, dutifully, and with the patience of Job doing everything within your human range of ability to please the unpleasable predator. Leaving a Narcissist is no picnic, that’s for sure… noting that Flying Monkeys tend to swarm victims to get their jollies off watching the carnage faster than a fire ant heads to bite tender human flesh at a picnic table during the hot summer months in the otherwise Sunny and serene state of Florida.
If you are a person trapped in the cycle of Narcissistic Abuse, it might be time to get a theme song to help you remember why you were born and what exactly it is on this beautiful planet of ours any and all humans are compelled at some point in their lifetime to intellectually do. Embrace your inner Nancy Sinatra and get yourself mentally, spiritually, and physically prepared to walk. Once you learn how to spot the warning signs of a manipulator without a conscience, seriously — whenever they start talking, start humming or singing the melody to “These Boots are Made for Walkin’!” by Nancy Sinatra privately in your own head to help you drown out the noise of whatever devious attempt an abusive person makes to try to undermine your self-esteem or otherwise promote fear in an effort to play your hero while actively striving to control and manipulate you.
So what’s the trick, recovering from Narcissistic abuse? Is it possible to do… ever… and if so, how long will it take? If you already have your walking shoes in hand and are ready to hit the door, you are steps ahead of the game… but for many people, they never actually wear their shoes. Instead, they end up losing confidence, choosing to remain actively engaged. [No, we do not mean planning to get married to their abuser someday.]
The incredibly short and not very nice feeling answer about breaking up with a Narcissist and how to do it is to just leave. One can take steps to leave a Narcissist while barefoot but we don’t recommend it, as it leaves people vulnerable to a narcissist hoovering, claiming they were an unfairly rejected suitor.
The long version — the walking shoe method — is to go gray rock and settle in for a long life of abuse. The older people who have narcissistic temperaments by nature get, the more overt about their nastiness they tend to become. But the real problems come when they are cheered on and morally supported by Flying Monkeys. These “enabler” types are really nothing more than a narcissistic peer group — a pack of one stronger more fearsome leader followed and bowed down to by weaker, lesser, or more covert figures.
If there is a Sociopath or Psychopath thrown into the mix, understand they are truly a dominant predator.
The fast track to Narcissistic Abuse recovery, however — the boot scoot boogie version — is to absolutely be willing to walk away from everything and every person you know. It’s a rip the bandaid off method for sure, but by golly it works.
The steps are simple. Identify your abuser as an abuser — then figure out their personality type. Few people are emotionally or psychologically capable of physically or emotionally harming others and feel guilt with they lie, obfuscate the truth, or in any way manipulate.
To figure out if a person has a personality disorder or not, you have to be careful and patient. All reveal themselves in time. But if you are getting happy feet just thinking about leaving an abuser, there are ways to give karmic wheels a push in such a direction that you have no guilt or second-guessing remorse about kicking an abusive or just plain toxic person to the curb.
Set healthy boundaries but don’t stop there. If you have to draw a line in the sand to protect yourself from well-intentioned but less awake or emotionally aware friends and family members, do it. If they defiantly continue to push boundaries and refuse to show respect to you on any level, understand that their behavior has nothing to do with YOU. It’s simply them revealing to you that they may have Covert Narcissism at the heart of their character.
Grab your best pair of Nancy Sinatra boots and get ready to take charge of your own fate. But be clever about it — learn to think carefully but never say or do anything around or about a Narcissist in haste.
If you set boundaries or lay boundary “test traps” to expose them, most are too stupid or irrationally impulsive to understand what you are doing. Try setting a boundary you really don’t care about much at all — but indicate clearly and in a way that cannot be denied that you will not tolerate ABC or XYZ behavior. Then, wait. Seriously. Go about your daily life with zero change in your behavior. Simply draw a line in the sand. In order to feel “special,well being” a mildly narcissistic person may ask you to bend your lifestyle rule to accommodate their needs. This is not a condemnation, but it is a tell if the action (or lack of action) is something that they have been told clearly, directly, and openly will hurt or cause you, specifically, emotional distress.
The red flag warning sign comes when you set a boundary and someone who actually has a personality disorder maliciously and gleefully stomps across it. Take it as them revealing their true nature to you and learn how to show them respect by going low to no contact and keeping yourself safe (preferably by keeping a lot of distance between you, even if you are forced to live at home with them, co-parent, share a classroom with, or work in the same office environment.
If you figure out that Darth Vader looks like a rational and compassionate flower-peddling tree hugger in comparison to your suspect, get to work doing internet research about Cluster B personality disorders for the sake of their mental health and your own — quick. Reach out to your local victims’ advocate or social service professionals and find a local expert on your abuser’s personality type and figure out a way to get yourself and children to safety.
On this, we can not emphasize how much more important psychological and well-being in general are — but not as it relates to finance. More money can be made. A childhood can never be restored. Bruises heal but psychological scarring causes things like cancer to develop, stemming from persistent feelings of grief in a victim, toxic shame, or guilt over feeling worthless and disrespected in general when you know in your heart that humans can choose voluntarily to behave better.
Prepare to walk away from not only their half of any equitable property but all of it. Understand that in a narcissistic person’s mind, even if they themselves are the sole cause of discord in a relationship or they themselves initiate a breakup of the relationship, you will be blamed, plain and simple. And that means — by entitlement thinking — that they are entitled to all the benefit of the relationship (good, property, claims about success) while the partner or person in the discard pile is expected to give them not only their fair share but also lose rights to any of the rest.
The best heads-up advice we have ever been given about leaving a narcissist is this… prepare to walk away from the relationship with whatever you have on at the time. If you are lucky, you will be dressed.