The ultimate guide to breaking up with a narcissist 

We sometimes include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate disclosure.

If you’re in a relationship with a narcissist and want to break up, let me start by saying I know how hard this must feel.

I’ve been there and as unpleasant as it is dealing with narcissistic behavior, you will get through it, just as I did!

But one thing I didn’t have at the time was the know-how or tips to prepare me for what was about to come. That’s why I hope this ultimate guide to breaking up with a narcissist will help you through the process.

So, without further ado, let’s jump in:

How to break up with a narcissist

Let’s start by running through how to approach (and execute) the breakup before we look at what your partner’s reaction might be like.

1) Prepare yourself mentally 

You’re nervous and you don’t know what to expect. Maybe you’ve tried to break up with them before, or maybe this is your first attempt. 

Don’t worry. Take a deep breath in. 

I’d like you to run a mental checklist through your mind of exactly why you want to break up with your partner (or write down a list if it helps).

Obviously, their narcissism will play a major role in making this decision, but there could be other reasons too. 

Once you’re clear on the “why”, it’ll be much harder for your partner to try and talk you out of it!

That’s why the first step in breaking up with a narcissist is to prepare yourself beforehand.

2) Plan for your safety 

I don’t mean to scare you with this point, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry! 

If your partner is abusive, please think carefully about whether you’ll need the intervention of other people (family, law enforcement, etc). 

But that’s not all…

Have you got a plan for where you’ll go after the breakup? Assuming you live together, it probably wouldn’t be wise to stay in the same house after you end things.  

That’s why I recommend making plans to stay with family or friends until you’re back on your feet – unfortunately, some narcissists can be very unpredictable and you don’t know what lengths they’ll go to if they’re against the breakup. 

So whilst it’s scary to think like this, it’s also sensible and worth making the effort to save you trouble in the long run! 

3) Choose the right time and place 

Now, once you’ve thought about the safety aspect, it’s time to plan the actual breakup…

Only you know your partner, so it’s best to think about a time and place that’ll minimize the damage (i.e, not springing it on them the moment they walk in the front door). 

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Will you be safer if you do it in public? 
  • When is the best time to approach your partner about this subject?

But bear in mind, if you do feel more comfortable doing it in public, you should still opt for somewhere where your conversation will be private. 

After all, the last thing you want to do is embarrass a narcissist – this will make the whole process much harder! 

4) Set boundaries from the start of the conversation 

Okay, the big day has arrived. You’ve mentally prepared, planned for your safety, and chosen the right time and location. 

Now for the hard part – the actual conversation! 

My advice is to start with your boundaries. 

Let your partner know that you want to have a serious conversation about your future together, but you won’t tolerate abuse, gaslighting, or aggressive behavior. 

Make it crisp and clear that if they break these boundaries, you’ll be forced to walk away and resume the conversation when they’re able to control themselves. 

So, why do I recommend starting with boundaries?

It puts you in a position of power. 

You’re making it known that you won’t stand for disrespect. 

Hopefully, this will carry through as you have “the” conversation and actually break up with them. 

And when it comes to giving them the reasons you want out?

5) Be clear and firm

I can’t stress this point enough – don’t start running around the mill or telling them white lies to soften the blow. 

They will 100% use this against you if you give them the chance. 

Instead, think back to the mental preparation stage. Remember the points you listed as to why you want to break up.

And most importantly:

Be clear, calm, and firm. 

Don’t feel like you need to keep explaining yourself or getting into the nitty gritty details. The most important thing is that you’re making it understood that this relationship isn’t going further. 

Sounds harsh, right?

Well, unfortunately, this is the only way to break up with a narcissist! If this were a guide for anyone else, I would adjust it to be a bit more empathetic

But sadly, narcissists lack empathy, and they’ll take it as a sign of weakness.  

6) Avoid playing the blame game 

Now, once you’re in the thick of the breakup, it might be tempting to start throwing shade and blaming your partner for everything that went wrong.

Even if it’s true, it’s not a good route to take.

The truth is, you’re playing with a pro. And they will win, every time. 

So take the high road, make your reasons clear, but don’t start a back and forth with your narcissist partner. 

It’s simply not worth it. Keep the end goal in sight; you want to end the relationship and move on as amicably as possible! 

7) Seek support from friends and family 

Now, once you’ve had the conversation, walk away. 

Don’t hang around to drag it on. You’ve been clear, and there’s nothing left to talk about right now (at least until emotions have calmed down). 

The next step is to seek the support of your family and friends. 

Why?

Because even though you might feel like it’s over and done with, it rarely is. A narcissist will not like being broken up with, and they’ll likely come back to convince you to change your mind, or worse, start trying to inflict pain (emotional, mental, possibly even physical) on you. 

You need people to be aware of your situation, people you can trust and go to when needs be! 

And more than that, you just need the emotional support of someone telling you, “It’s going to be okay.”

Now, once you’ve reached this point, you’re probably wondering, what happens next? 

Read on to find out…

How do narcissists react to being broken up with?

It’d be crazy if you weren’t concerned over how your narcissist partner may react to being broken up with, so here are a few common reactions:

  • Denial – they may deny that anything is wrong in the relationship, even going as far as denying the breakup took place! This is all a manipulation to try and get you back.
  • Anger – they may react aggressively and lash out. They might start accusing you of things simply to try and feel more in control of the situation again. 
  • Manipulation – this is a narcissist’s go-to when they don’t have control. They might play mind games, appeal to you emotionally, or guilt you into getting back together. 
  • Projection – they may try to deflect their own behavior onto you and make it seem like you’re responsible for everything that’s gone wrong in the relationship. 
  • Gaslighting – they may try to make you feel like you’re misremembering certain events, or that you’re simply going crazy. 
  • Sabotage – this is where a narcissist will go out of their way to ruin your reputation or stop you from getting into a new relationship.
  • Stalking or harassment – in extreme cases, some narcissists will turn to stalking their ex or harassing them to get back together. This is why we spoke so much about safety earlier and having a good support system in the way of family and friends.

Now, it’s important to remember that every narcissist will react differently, but it’s always good to have these points in mind so you can prepare accordingly! 

But there’s something else you might be wondering…

Should you try to remain friends after breaking up?

My advice and the general consensus from other people who have broken up with a narcissist is a big fat NO. 

I know you might feel tempted, you may even reason that by staying friends, they’ll react better to the breakup. 

But the truth is, a narcissistic ex doesn’t want to be your friend.

They will use this as a gateway to either manipulate you back into getting together, control you, or keep tabs on what you’re up to. 

So, even though you mean well by it, it’s not worth it and it’ll be counterproductive. 

Have the conversation, give them a chance to have their say, and move on swiftly

But that’s not all…

Make it clear that for at least the first month, you don’t want any contact with them. 

This should give you both a good cooling down period, and then if you absolutely need to be in touch, maybe for the sake of kids, you can communicate after this period. 

Rising above the mind games 

We’re almost at the end of the ultimate guide to breaking up with a narcissist, and I hope the information above helps you!

But one last thing I thought was worth mentioning is just how powerful a narcissist’s mind games can be.

These types of people will go to any length to get what they want.

So, be prepared to hear all about how they’ll “change” if you take them back. They may even go to drastic measures to prove this to you.

It’s all false. 

Trust me, if they wanted to change, they would have done it while you were still together!

And if they take a more abusive route of manipulation, such as gaslighting, attacking you verbally, or projecting onto you, the best thing you can do is simply walk away.

Cut off the energy at the source and you’ll be just fine (in fact, better than fine once they’re fully out of your life!). 

But if you’re still struggling to come to grips with everything, I’d like to recommend something that’s really helped me in the past:

This free love and intimacy video

In it, I learned a lot about toxic behaviors, codependency, and how to become more connected with your inner self (as opposed to seeking love from the wrong people). 

It made my entire breakup process a lot easier to deal with because it put the focus back on me. 

I think the advice shared in the video is beneficial for reminding you why you need to go ahead with this breakup, and how to avoid attracting a narcissist again in the future!

Here’s the link once again.

Kiran Athar

Kiran is a freelance writer with a degree in multimedia journalism. She enjoys exploring spirituality, psychology, and love in her writing. As she continues blazing ahead on her journey of self-discovery, she hopes to help her readers do the same. She thrives on building a sense of community and bridging the gaps between people. You can reach out to Kiran on Twitter: @KiranAthar1

10 personality traits of confident people who inspire others

8 ways to use reflective thinking to improve your life