How to survive separating from a narcissist


Written by In Sight

Breaking up with a narcissist is tough, but the challenges often don’t end when the relationship does. Narcissists can be relentless in trying to maintain control, with abuse continuing long after the relationship ends. This can include emotional manipulation, financial control, legal battles, and smear campaigns. Here’s how to handle it and protect yourself. We have also recently welcomed The Legal Queen as a guest on the podcast, where we talk about the legalities of separation in England and Wales.

Two ex-partners sit opposite sides of a divorce court document

What kind of abuse can continue after separation?

After you leave a narcissist, they might continue their abusive behaviors to keep you under their thumb. This can show up in different ways:

  • Emotional Manipulation: Trying to make you feel guilty or scared. There may be gaslightling, hoovering and other signs of emotional abuse.
  • Legal Harassment: Filing endless falce reports with the police/courts or long drawn-out custody battles.
  • Financial Control: Withholding money or ruining your financial stability.
  • Smear Campaigns: Spreading lies about you to ruin your reputation.

Tips for leaving a narcissist

  1. Prepare for Trouble: Narcissists hate losing control, so expect them to lash out. Get your important documents, secure your finances, and have a safety plan in place. Be aware of resources like charities and third parties that can help.
  2. No Contact: Prepare to cut off all communication if you can. Block their number, emails, and social media. If you have to communicate, especially for co-parenting, use a third party or a supervised app. This is where techniques like grey-rocking and yellow-rocking come in useful.
  3. Legal Help: Find a lawyer who understands narcissistic behaviour and emotional abuse. Get legal protections like restraining orders if needed. Keep records of all interactions as evidence. As The Legal Queen states in our podcast, even if you know the police aren’t able or willing to help resolve any intimidating or threatening behaviour, it’s important to keep an evidence trail. This can also include statements from other professionals like GPs or therapists.
  4. Emotional Support: Lean on friends, family, or support groups. Therapy can be a lifesaver, especially with someone who knows about narcissistic abuse.

Surviving after separation

  1. Document Everything: Write down every incident, including dates and details. This can help in court and give you a clear picture of what’s happening.
  2. Protect Your Finances: Open new bank accounts, change your passwords, and watch your credit report. A financial advisor can help you get back on track.
  3. Co-Parenting Boundaries: If you have kids, set strict boundaries. Use a formal parenting plan and communication tools designed for co-parenting to minimise direct contact.
  4. Self-Care: Take care of yourself with activities that make you happy, like exercise or hobbies. Healing takes time, so be patient with yourself.
  5. Get Professional Advice: Work with professionals like therapists, lawyers, and financial planners. They can provide the guidance and support you need to navigate this tough time.

Dealing with post-separation abuse from a narcissist can be exhausting, but you don’t have to go through it alone. By preparing yourself, setting boundaries, and seeking support, you can protect yourself and start to heal. Remember, you’re stronger than you think, and help is out there. Remember the reasons why you’re leaving, and how much better your life will be after this process, free from abuse, manipulation and control.

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