It’s not easy living with a Narcissist (or any of the Cluster B Personality Disordered folk). It’s even more difficult leaving one. So if you find yourself caught in the emotional purgatory of realizing you must leave and not knowing how yet, here are a few suggestions to help you to survive purgatory until you can free yourself.
Garner Some Financial Resources
You’re going to need money. Leaving or divorcing a Narcissist is going to be expensive. The Narcissist is of the mindset that all community assets are his/hers. Don’t expect the Narcissist to understand that you need money to live. S/he will want to punish you for leaving.
Financial abuse is just one of the litany of abuses in the Narcissist’s tool box. And if you’ve been a long term relationship with the Narcissist, they’ve managed to either drain your resources or sabotage your career. In either instance, you’ll need to have cash on hand and you’ll need to be secretive about it.
Whether you need money for an attorney, a deposit on a new place or for a moving van (or all of the above), you’ll need to have the funds shored up (and beyond the Narcissist’s access) prior to leaving or announcing your plans to divorce. Because once the Narcissist knows you are planning on leaving, all joint funds will disappear. The Narcissist was never fair in the relationship, and they are going to be vindictive once the relationship is over.
Squirrel away as much cash as you can. Sell some valuables. Save your change. Get a credit card in your own name that the Narcissist doesn’t know about. Borrow money from family members if you can.
Knowing that you have the resources to escape will alleviate the fear and threat of becoming a vagrant once you leave.
Take Care of Your Health
Narcissists and their abuse take a toll on us, not just emotionally but physically, as well. Long periods of having the life sucked out of us, stressing about when the next eruption will occur, and putting the Narcissist’s needs before our own, eventually lead to us not having needs of our own, self-medicating, depression, anxiety eating, loss of appetite and related health issues.
Take your health back. Go to the Dentist. Make time to exercise. Stop eating junk food. Don’t drink so much alcohol. Stop smoking. Any and all of these things would make an excellent New Year’s Resolution.
While you’re at it, get a haircut. Shave. Drink more water. Take a bubble bath.
Emotionally Detach from the Narcissist
This is by far the most important step in saving your sanity. Stop voluntarily giving your emotional resources to the Narcissist. I promise you, the Narcissist isn’t crying over the thought of losing you. If s/he cared about losing you, s/he wouldn’t have been abusing you all along. The Narcissist is incapable of emotional intimacy. They are not attached to you and they don’t think of you as an actual person, but rather a source of supply. An object.
If you can will yourself to stop taking the things the Narcissist says and does personally (remember, you are not a person to the Narcissist), then the insults will lose all of their power.
When you finally do get the courage to leave the Narcissist, s/he won’t be sitting at home crying. You will be shocked with the speed that the Narcissist finds the next Victim. Narcissists require a willing host in order to feed and survive. But instead of feeling jealousy, you will feel pity for the next victim, because you emotionally detached long before. You will no longer be stuck in the Hell of being lied to, manipulated, gaslighted, criticized and told that nothing you do is ever good enough.
Pam McCoy is a writer, author and co-host of Crazybusters.