How to break up with a narcissist: 10 key steps

You’ve experienced the toxic cycle of perfectionism, love bombing, and abuse… and you think you’re finally ready to break up with your narcissistic partner.

Statistics show that it takes an average of seven attempts before a person succeeds in leaving an abusive and/or toxic relationship.

How to turn the odds in your favor?

Follow these 10 steps and prepare your exit.

Step 1: Make your decision
Partners of narcissists often suffer from self-doubt and guilt. This is why some people stay trapped in toxic relationships for years.

You see, narcissists are experts at making their partners feel evil and selfish for thinking about themselves. But more than that, they are good at convincing their partners that they are somewhat unstable and therefore not making wise decisions.

To leave a narcissist, you have to be very sure and firm in your decision… even if it makes you feel “selfish” (you’re not!).

Here are two things to do if you’re having trouble making a decision:

Take a good look at yourself.
Examine who you are.

What are your qualities? What makes you happy? What are you most afraid of?

Getting to know yourself better and examining yourself as an outsider will help you look at the “bigger picture” of your life. It will also help you prioritize yourself instead of the narcissist.

Take a closer look at the way you love.
How we make choices and how we love are shaped by our experiences and influences.

Look at your relationships and try to examine how you love.

Why do you think you are staying with a narcissist?

As world-famous shaman Rhoda Iande explains in this free video, many of us stay with toxic partners because the way we view relationships is flawed.

For example, we fall in love with the ideal version of someone instead of the real person. We try to “fix” and “help” our partners even when they are manipulating us.

Once you realize that you truly deserve better, you will become more firm in your decision to leave.

When this happens, you are already halfway there. Everything after that is just good timing and logistics.

Step 2: Make an exit plan
Wanting to leave is one thing, but leaving is another. The latter can be too difficult for some. But having a good plan will make things much easier.

So first things first. Leave without telling the abuser.

Resist the urge to be kind and honest by telling your narcissistic partner of your plan to leave him or her. This will only allow them to negotiate and gaslight you.

This may seem very simple, but many people in toxic relationships express their decision to leave… making it impossible for them to do so.

Instead, act as naturally as possible while working on your exit strategy.

You may want to call some people you trust, such as your parents and best friends, so they can make a plan with you.

Plan everything.

When exactly do you plan to leave? What things should you prepare? If you have children, how will you ensure their protection? And so on and so on.

Step 3: Collect all the papers
Collect all the files and data they could use against you, everything that will prove who they are and how terrible they are. The latter is for backup, in case they try to manipulate you.

But mostly, it’s for you: so that you remember exactly why you left, so you won’t come back.

Step 4: Start moving away from them slowly
Book projects far from where they are. Spend more time regularly with your family and friends. Get more time alone.

If your money is tied up, find out how to create your own once you leave.

What feelings did you give up because of the narcissist? Go to people and places that make you remember who you are again.

You have to rehearse how beautiful and free life can be without the narcissist feeling confident in your ability to make a clean break.

Until you’re sure, be careful and keep your plans under wraps.

Step 5: Surround yourself with trusted friends, experts, and allies
The further away they are from your narcissistic partner’s circle, the better.

Don’t seek help from within your shared circles such as your spiritual group, professional mentors, or even mutual friends because your narcissistic partner will likely “poison the well.”

This means that people – even good people in your closest circle – have likely obtained information that discredits you or makes it completely difficult to stand by your side.

Some examples of “poisoning the well” might be your narcissistic partner pretending to ask people in your circles for help with your “secret mental illness,” or that you have been cheating on them, have a history of lying, and are trying hard to forgive.

If you’re spending time with your friends and family outside of your shared circles, you’ve already played the end of the narcissist’s game that alienates you, so you have no choice but to stay.

Step 6: Talk to a therapist
If for any reason friends and family are not an option at this time, reach out to a therapist or counselor who specializes in intimate partner abuse and/or violence against women.

They will understand what you are going through even if you have no bruises to show because physical abuse is only a small part of emotional, financial, or psychological abuse (and psychological abuse is the narcissist’s experience).

Step 7: Work on your shame and guilt
Narcissists are exceptional at digging into your shame box and using it against you and for themselves.

Once you start distancing yourself from the narcissist, he or she will immediately feel like he or she is losing power over you.

You need to be prepared for the high possibility of blackmail.

Essentially, every story and memory you’ve entrusted them with can now be used as a weapon against you.

Do you feel guilty for not being there enough for your friend who committed suicide? They are now suicidal and you are the only one who can save them.

Are you unable to be there enough for your sick grandmother? Now they have suddenly been struck by an unknown disease and need you more than ever to hold their hand.

The list goes on…

To ease any concerns you have about the possibility of the truth, hand it over to experts and other people in their circle.

If they threaten suicide, contact their immediate family, the police, and/or a nearby hospital.

Remember, you don’t need to be the one to help them.

Repeat to your conscience: “I can help without having to return to the relationship.”

You have to get rid of your shame and guilt to be free.

Step 8: Be prepared to lose some friends, and maybe even family
The same deceptive charm that won you over the first time will be used to lure people to their side.

I wish that were not the case, but there will be people who will believe them.

Don’t waste your valuable time and energy putting things right.

Tell yourself “The right people will demand to know both sides” and “everyone who takes his side deserves to have him in their life.”

Breaking up with a narcissist also means breaking up with a lot of people who don’t believe in you enough.

It’s going to hurt worse than a breakup especially if you’re the type who keeps a very close-knit circle.

Things will get better though.

Once you focus on yourself and your healing, you will begin to attract a different type of circle that shares the same values of authenticity.

Trust that you will be happy again.

Step 9: Practice radical self-love
The narcissist has likely used your compassionate nature to manipulate you, so don’t let that happen again.


Direct this unconditional love and forgiveness to yourself first, over and over again, for as long as you need it.

If this sounds selfish to you, imagine if this happened to your best friend, sister, or daughter.

You’ll tell them to take care of themselves.

You will tell them that this is not their fault.

You will ask them to forgive themselves, and that they are not stupid for being good, or for trying to see the best in people!

You have to learn how to be your own best friend starting now.

Repeat to yourself: “I’m learning how to take care of myself, better and better every day.”

“I’m supported by really good people.”

Step 10: Don’t let the narcissist do more harm to you
Once you can separate yourself from the narcissist, you will gain energy, and with it, righteous anger.
You may be tempted to take matters into your own hands. You will want to warn everyone, especially his next potential victims.

Know that these actions have a high probability of backfiring against you.

Focus on yourself instead and rebuild your community.

It may seem difficult but you need to be clear that behind all this justified anger, there may be a call for revenge.

But the best revenge is to live your best life, not a life centered around the narcissist, even if the intention is to destroy them or prevent them from doing more harm.


You worked hard to gain your freedom. enjoy it. Heals. Love yourself more than any lover.

Most of all, use your experience to learn more about yourself and how to love so you’ll never be in a toxic relationship again.