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8 Signs It’s Time to Leave a Relationship With a Narcissist

By HERWriter
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8 Signs That It’s Time to Leave a Relationship With a Narcissist JackF/Fotolia

At first, you thought your partner was just overly confident, maybe a little cocky at times. But now after several months or even years, you’re starting to understand the reality — you’re in a relationship with a narcissist.

You’re trying to work things out, but soon you realize that trying is not enough. Should you stay in this relationship or leave before it gets worse?

Two professionals share eight signs of when it’s time to leave a relationship with a narcissist:

1) Your mental health is suffering from being in the relationship.

For example, you may develop depression and anxiety, experience suicidal ideation, or experience health deterioration, according to Ramani Durvasula, a psychologist and author of “Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving a Relationship With a Narcissist.”

2) Your self-worth has started to plummet.

Even if you aren’t struggling with noticeable psychiatric symptoms as a result of being with a narcissistic partner, you may notice that you've stopped advocating for yourself or valuing who you are, Durvasula said.

3) If you have children, you may notice they are suffering emotionally.

According to Durvasula, narcissists are generally “on again, off again” parents, which is clearly unstable for children to grow up with. Children can become devastated and confused as a result of the disconnection, neglect, carelessness and coldness of a narcissistic parent or guardian.

4) Your partner may be consistent, but not in a positive way.

Narcissists tend to repeat the same mistakes over again, such as cheating, apologizing and repeating the cheating, Durvasula said. Even if they don’t cheat, they may forget important events like birthdays or anniversaries, and they’re unlikely to change.

5) It’s been a while since you’ve seen family and friends.

Isolation is not only typical in abusive relationships, it’s also common when you have a narcissistic partner, Durvasula said. Narcissists don’t want their partners to have advocates that may turn against them.

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EmpowHER Guest

I left my narc husband a year ago Sept 14, 2016. I've left him before when our son was 7. My son is now 20. We were separated a year. I went back because I saw signs he had changed. WRONG. He just was a able to cloak his sickness in a different wolf package. They are nothing but predators. Really sick. And because I suffer with bipolar disorder and anxiety I was an easy victim. My last mental health hospital stay (I tried to commit suicide) he was so rude to me. He didn't care if I lived or died. I desperately tried to call him before I took the pills to tell him how much I hurt and wanted to die. I told him I was going to kill myself. I wasn't joking. I wasn't crying wolf. I was just praying somehow he would see how desperately I needed him and how adversely his attitude his mental and abusive speech and actions had affected me for two decades. Why don't we believe people when they have shown us time and time again who they are. One poet said When someone shows you who they are believe them!! Well when I called him he said, with as much angst and attitude he could muster "What do you want me to do about it??!!" Now why would I think he would even care. He doesn't even care about our son. Why would he care about me?? I think that's the biggest regret and source of pain I have--I stayed too long and my son has suffered the most. My baby boy has been through so much ugly. We were both victims. But I should have taken my son and left years before. Whenever I don't follow my first mind I REGRET IT!! I saw the handwriting on the wall when our son was 6 months old. I was going to leave then. I should have left. But I allowed my mother in law to talk me out of it. I wanted to keep my family intact so badly. Plus I was not fully aware of his sickness. But something in me said LEAVE. Now 22 years later I see he is a narcissist and there s no cure. So I say to all the victims--it's NOT GOING TO GET ANY BETTER. YOUR MATE IS NOT REPEAT IS NOT GOING TO GET BETTER. THEY ARE ILL. THEY DONT KNOW THEY ARE ILL. BUT THEY ARE. IT ISNT YOU. I thought because of my illness it was all my fault. They want you to believe they. He was "gas lighting" me. Making me think I was the main "crazy" one. He would actually tell me about an event or something he did. If I expressed my displeasure of his actions he would retell the story a totally different way. I would tell him that's not what you just said. He would look at me with this "puzzled" look on his face and say "That's exactly what I just said." Like I'm a fool!! He relished making me feel stupid sad frustrated. He made everything in our home convenient for him. No one else. My son and I got the crumbs that he left over. He loved football. I mean it was his second wife. He would say Well get ready it's football season. You know you're the less loved wife from mid Augus to the super bowl. He would plant himself in front of the tube all day all afternoon into the late hours. Sat & Sun. Then Mon night. Thurs night. I couldn't talk to him unless it was commercial. For years I tried to watch it with him so we could "bond". But he wouldn't even sit on the sofa with me. He sat in the MAN CHAIR with his feet up and I was on the couch. But he would ask if I'd like to have a "quickie" during half time?? I had to attend weddings alone. Gatherings alone. And he wouldn't let me get another tv for our bedroom so my son and I could watch anything. I don't want another tv in this house. I stood up to him and told him I was gonna buy one. He said he'd thrown up out the window!! Now that my son and I have our own places, every time we even hear the sound of a game we cringe and become ill. Football was just another weapon he used to emotionally abuse me. And our son too. Finally he forced me out of our home. He would never leave because that would make him look too bad. But he knew I was past my breaking point. So he just kept putting the pressure on me until I left. In order to save myself I left. My son did too.
People who are in this situation as victims--save yourself and esp your babies. Your mate is not going to change. They won't be happy with you no matter what you do. Why? Because they are sick, ruined by someone probably during their early childhood. Please believe me I sold myself to the Devil to make him happy. I lost myself. I almost lost my life literally several times because of his abuse. People would always remind him of my emotionally fragile state. He didn't care. He didn't give a damn!!! He didn't care about me or his son. He doesn't care about anyone but himself. Now he just whines about how I've given up on our marriage. I left him. I deserted the union. Well now he has what he wants. He's alone. His money time everything is all his. I heard he may have a new woman in his life. I don't even care. If it's true poor her. Poor poor her. I hope she sees him for what he is sooner than I did. Over 20 years was too long to suffer. Now my depression & anxiety are under control. I'm using less medicine. I'm losing weight. Eating better. Learning to love the things I'd forgotten I love. Helping my son with his residual problems from years of abuse. Yes, there is a life after leaving a narcissist.

September 20, 2016 - 4:26pm
EmpowHER Guest

Only people who've been in a relationship wih a narc know how incredibly destructive they are.
It's not about getting them help. They don't want it. They don't think they need it.

Leaving a narc is the greatest (yet most difficult) thing anyone could do for themselves. These people are manipulative, and cruel. They're deceptive and know exactly who to target. They aren't anyone's project to fix.

Anyone who has had the misfortune of being with a narc knows it all too well. One must love and respect themselves enough to leave a situation once they understand the gravity of what is being done to them.
Narc abuse isn't something one simply gets over. The aftermath is terrible. This is why one must "up and leave"... It literally is either your sanity and life on the line.

April 6, 2016 - 12:17pm
EmpowHER Guest

Anyone whos ever been in a "relationship" with a Narc knows there is nothing cute or humorous about their situation. Narcs are brutally verbally abusive, always do it while others are home to hear him call you a thief, a liar, an ungrateful bitch as he goes on without taking a breath, and ignoring your attempts to defend yourself by never letting you utter a syllable, looking off in another direction often with his eyes closed as he screams so that he can focus on what cruel lies he wants to come out of his mouth that he knows you cant counter though you try with all your might. Its non stop for 30-45 minutes for him.. all you can do is cry.. and look away .. hoping maybe he'll realize hes gone too far again and stop .. that is .. once youve given up trying to interrupt or make him stop, looking at him with your eyes so full of tears you can barely see his silhouette youre painted as the worst, most useless, worthless, thankless, selfish, hated thieving liar that ever walked the earth. Ive noticed hes been asking me questions about work, my mom, my best friend and taking my words and twisting them into unbelievable hurtful lies and screaming them at me, with my uncle (who lives here following a stroke) 5 ft away. He says my hest friend of 38 yrs isnt talking to me and laughs .. he scream that im a piece of shit daughter for abandoning my poor helpless mom (she has a bf. He moved in.) He doesnt allow me to work. Before i met him i was at my job with CBS for 13 yrs. Because of that i was able to land several great jobs .. i have mysteriously been relieved of my duties with each of them. I was selected for a job with the City .. was taking part in 4 weeks of training. Because i could not bring myself to bave sex with him with his repeated humiliation, i was made to.sleep in my car.. he came outside it was dark and cold .. he laughed as he looked at me from the front door and said "boy its cold out here too bad you wont have a blanket and btw .. move to the street i dont want anyone seeing you on the driveway. I hadnt even changed out of my work clothes. The next morning i was still in those same clothes. He would not let me in the house. I went to work in the same clothes, whatever makeup was still on my face..i stopped at a gas station to rinse out my mouth as best i could .. i didnt have a brush but was able to at least put my hair in a ponytail. I arrived before class started..took my seat (5 students 1 trainer) felt phsychologically and physically beaten .. i couldnt stay awake .. i froze all night in my car .. i do t know whether anyone noticed my outfit was the same or not.. he asked if we would be having sex that night when i pulled in the driveway after work. I said "i cant" .. he screamed "no you CAN nothing preventing you from FIng me ots that you WONT .. Again i slept in my car.. it was the 3rd day in the same clothes im sure it was noticeable .. my hair .. unwashed (but wiped) face .. again falling asleep during training .. the City let me go. I waited 8 1/2 months for that job. Of course he had nothing to do with it and all i do is blame other people for everything bad that happens in my life .. bad things didnt used to happen or rarely but certainly never repeated job loss .. now i no longer have my impeccable 13 yr career with CBS .. former co workers have been hearing of my multiple firings .. im afraid to ask any of them to be a reference for me .. ive used the same ones for the last several jobs ..which i have lost .. i cant bring myself to ask them to put their reputations on the line again for me. I have to get out of this situation but i have to have income to do it .. he wants me to be beholden to him and ill be damned if thats going to happen. So as i said theres nothing even remotely solid, structured healthy, supportive, stable or funny about NPD ASPD HPD Psychopathy any way u slice it .. i am no where near the human being that ive been all my life. Im ruined. And no they really ARENT ppl who deserve help. A little research and youll see that a narc knows exactly what hes doing. Thats why he does it. He needs to be the center of attn .. hes the criminally minded unethical monster who mirrors all of his own traits onto you to take suspicion and the spotlight off himself and onto you. And to the uninformed it works .. you are portrayed as the heartless monster with zero empathy and zero conscience for anyone especially your current victim im liz

March 4, 2016 - 4:32am
EmpowHER Guest

So here is an idea, instead of telling people to up and leave someone who has mental health issues and generally have a heightened emotional state, the same person who more than likely has some feelings of love and appreciation for their partner. How about we give people advice on how to mend their relationship to get their partner some professional help and counselling. Remember folks narcissists are people too, do they not deserve some help?

February 16, 2016 - 6:14am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Narcissists will never seek professional help because they don't believe they have a problem. They will not lift a finger to save their relationship. You have to be the glue that holds everything together. It has been my experience to note that from their point of view, YOU are the problem or reason things are as bad as they are. They will not accept responsibility for the bad in a relationship, only the good.

February 28, 2016 - 1:03pm
EmpowHER Guest

I think we dated the same guy!

February 6, 2016 - 7:24pm
EmpowHER Guest

I have found that they are also experts in making every problem that arises somehow your fault, even if they clearly are the ones in the wrong.

January 15, 2016 - 5:33pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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