How Do I Break Up With A Narcissist?

Dear Sandy,

I consider myself an intelligent person, but I got involved with a man I now see has narcissistic qualities. I tried to leave him a few months ago, but he said all the right things, so I moved back in. All the promises he made at that time have gone by the wayside. It's become clear to me that he has precious little empathy and is unwilling to accept accountability. Everything I've read about narcissists leads me to the understanding that I cannot heal this man, and that I will experience trauma without end if I stay. 

I have thought of doing as you suggested and simply saying, "This is not working for me." A friend of mine thinks that I should explain more, because it will come as a complete surprise to him that I intend to leave for good. I do care about doing the best I can. It would be nice to say exactly what I've told you; that I sense little empathy in him for my feelings, that I see him retracting accountability, and that he and I have obviously different moral standards.

Now that I’ve made this decision, can you help with the "how" to leave a narcissist? At least, having gone through a breakup earlier, I will be fine with the aftermath once I am on my own again. 

With profound gratitude for your wisdom,

Dear Allie,

I'm so glad you are able to recognize the narcissistic qualites in the man you've been dating. It's not always easy to access your logical brain and say, "I cannot heal this man, and I will experience trauma without end if I stay." One of the most important first steps in leaving a narcissist is recognizing that he is not capable of changing. So, pat yourself on the back for identifying the problem and understanding that it will not improve.

How can you break up with him in the most compassionate way?

I'm assuming that you've already tried to work out the issues. You mention that he didn't keep his promises, which means that you must have tried to work things out.

If so, why do you feel the need to rehash what you've already said? He obviously didn't uphold his end of the relationship. If you had never shared your concerns with him, I'd say, by all means, express your feelings and come up with a plan for resolution.

A narcissist doesn't care about you

A true narcissist doesn't have empathy and will do what's best for him, not you. How do you think he'd react if you brought up the issues again? Let's turn it around. How would you feel if he said that you had very little empathy, you didn't keep your promises, and that your moral standards are different from his? You'd probably feel attacked and get defensive. I'm guessing he'd react in the same way. It wouldn't end well.

The best way to leave a narcissist is to cut ties and say as little as possible.

Narcissist breakup script: You might say something like, "I tried to make this relationship work, but nothing has changed since our last breakup. It's not healthy for me to stay with you. I wish you well. Goodbye".

And walk away, never to return. Make sure that the next man you allow into your life is kind, compassionate, and accountable. You deserve much better.

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