How To Leave A Narcissist Safely And Peacefully

Leaving an abusive narcissist is difficult, but it can be done.

Last updated on Mar 22, 2023

sad woman curled up thinking about how to leave a narcissist Getty

Dealing with a narcissist is difficult, to say the least. And ending a relationship with a narcissist is never easy.

You're taking away their control. As someone who got their power and security from manipulating you, they will now do whatever they can to keep you. But with the right support, you can leave them and break free from their hold.

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, it takes a person an average of seven attempts to leave an abusive relationship. Seven attempts! Much of this is due to the fact that when a narcissist fears their partner is leaving, they may use guilt, put-downs, or emotional blackmail to keep them.


RELATED: 9 Signs of Narcissistic Abuse, Explained By A Therapist

If you've decided to leave a narcissist or an emotionally abusive partner, you deserve a smooth, peaceful, and safe exit to build yourself up and create a new life. Here are seven things you should do to leave a relationship with a narcissist safely and peacefully.


How to Leave a Narcissist

1. Don't discuss your plans to leave.

I would never advocate being sneaky or hiding things, but with any abusive relationship, being with a narcissist means you shouldn’t disclose your intentions to leave until the day you leave. This is because you don't want to be manipulated into staying, fearing that they will do something to prevent you from leaving or harm you.

In cases where children are involved, you must send them to their friends or family member, so they don't witness the outburst from your partner when you tell them you're leaving.

2. Keep important documents safe.

Something that has come up for clients I've worked with before is that their narcissistic partner hid their passport when they informed them that they were leaving. This scared one of my clients into staying, and the relationship became more and more volatile. Then, in a heated argument later, he ripped up her passport, making it more difficult to leave the country they were ex-pats in.

Removing your personal documents from the house before you tell your partner about your intentions to leave prevents you from being dragged back into the situation. In worst-case scenarios where you can’t access documents like your passport beforehand, don't risk your life by staying. There are always alternative ways to retrieve them.


RELATED: 5 Toxic Behaviors That Seem Normal — But Are Most Damaging

3. Keep your finances in order.

One of the biggest factors that keep people in narcissistic relationships is the lack of funds.

In any abusive relationship, it's a good idea to open a private bank account and put money in there each week to have money when you leave. You can also keep money with a trusted friend who can hand over the cash once you've left. Don't let yourself feel obligated to stay because you feel like you can’t be financially secure without them. Your mental well-being comes at no cost.

Also, countless people I've supported find that when they take that leap, the universe opens up new doors and provides for them in ways they could not have imagined.


4. Seek professional help.

Planning to leave a narcissistic partner can be mentally draining. It's important to seek professional help when you can. Whether that’s before leaving or after you leave the relationship, don't feel ashamed to say you need help.

Sometimes, you need the help of a professional to reorganize your thoughts and emotions. Narcissists break you down to your core and leave you feeling vulnerable.

RELATED: What A Narcissist Does At The End Of A Relationship

5. Cut off all contact.

Once you leave, a narcissist will do everything and anything in their power to get you back. This is not only out of love or care but because they want to regain that control over you. So, the best thing to do is to cut all contact. Block and delete numbers and social media accounts that are linked to them. This prevents you from being bombarded with attempts to bring you back into their life.


Of course, this is not possible if you have children together. If you can, have contact through mutual friends or parents who are willing to take that role. You can also arrange for contact through legal channels.

Again, this minimizes any contact you have to have with them.

6. Be prepared for the outbursts.

When a narcissist has no access to you, they may try to slander your name to those around you, hoping to get a reaction. Instead of reacting, share your experiences only with people who will support you.

Don't be ashamed to ask for support by asking them not to share anything with you or pass on any messages if your ex contacts them. Don't be ashamed to share what you need.


Speak up. First, it will help those around you support you better. Secondly, you may encourage others to speak up who are in similar situations. And thirdly, they can be prepared for a volatile or aggressive reaction from the person who may have previously portrayed themselves as an angel to their family and friends.

RELATED: 5 Blind Spots That Make It Hard To Spot A Narcissist Until It's Too Late

7. Find yourself.

When you've been with a narcissist, losing yourself in the relationship and their narcissistic ways can be easy. Take some time to focus on yourself and find yourself again.

Figure out what you love to do, learn how to love yourself again, and spend time doing activities that make you feel good about life. Create a plan for where you want to go, then take small steps.


This is also a good time to work through your experience of being with a narcissist, as it can be quite traumatic. You may find yourself experiencing symptoms of anxiety, low self-esteem, emotional eating, or post-traumatic stress disorder. So, take time to address the things your body is trying to heal from.

Whether you decide to stay and work on your relationship with a narcissistic partner or you want to leave peacefully, it won’t be easy. However, I hope I've given you helpful tips for achieving either outcome.

If you are in danger and need help leaving an abusive situation, contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline. Support is available 24/7/265 by calling 1-800-799-7233. If you cannot call, text LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474 or visit

RELATED: 11 Valuable Lessons I Learned About How Dating A Narcissist Changes You


Nicola Beer is a couples counselor and expert in relationship psychology and transformation. She co-authors four best-selling books and has been featured on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News, and Huffington Post.