4 Ways to Know You're Ready to End The Relationship With a Narcissist
Untangling yourself from a relationship with a narcissistic person can be very difficult. At times it seems that even your own feelings are working against you. Indeed, the biggest battle you face in ending this relationship is not with the narcissist. It is with yourself, with your own mind and your own feelings. Sometimes it can be hard to know if you're ready, but there are a few things that can help you decide if you are finally able to make the break.
1. The negatives outweigh the positives.
Abusive relationships usually follow a pattern. It's good, then it's bad. Then it's good again, then it's bad again. Often the good times become fewer and fewer, lasting for shorter and shorter periods of time. In the beginning of the relationship, you might have rationalized putting up with the abuse because the good times were so good. Over time, though, that may become more and more difficult because the good times are not quite as good as they used to be. They are shorter and they are less intense. In the beginning of the relationship, it was mostly good, with occasional blow ups or situations that were troubling but seemed out of the ordinary. After a while, this often flip-flops and it is the good times that seem out of the ordinary. It often reaches a point where the victim cannot even list anything they like about the narcissistic person, or any good qualities they feel the narcissist possesses. When this happens, it can be a signal that you are ready to walk away.
2. The drama no longer excites you.
Relationships with pathologically narcissistic people are very dramatic. They are upsetting, tumultuous and intense. At first, this can be stimulating and even intoxicating, especially during the good times. Even the bad times are stimulating, because you are upset. There is chaos and upheaval and emotion and fireworks. However, there may come a time when instead of feeling excited and upset, you are simply resigned to the upheaval. You may even feel bored and tired of it. Instead of reacting with defensive anger and hurt feelings, their childish accusation and constant provocations provoke nothing in you but, "Really? This, again?" This is a sign that the hold the relationship and your emotions have over you is weakening.
3. Their manipulations don't work on you anymore.
Pathologically narcissistic people are champions at manipulation. They use manipulation to try to force other people to fulfill their needs and do what the narcissist wants them to do. In a very real way, you could say that everything they do and say is a manipulation of some kind. Their whole lives are geared toward getting their needs met, and everything they do is toward that end. This is one of the main ways that narcissists attempt to control other people. However, there may come a time when these things no longer affect you. The guilt or fear they were able to inspire in you no longer seem as strong. Their manipulations are met with no reaction and their insistance that you take responsibility for them is met with indifference. Once this happens, it indicates that you are no longer being controlled by your emotions and are able to walk away.
4. You don't need their validation anymore.
Part of the reason that people stay in contact with pathologically narcissistic loved ones is because they are chasing validation of their own worth. The narcissist cannot provide validation but they do alternately devalue the relationship and the victim. The cyclical nature of the relationship creates a situation where the victim is continuously jumping through hoops to try and grab something they will never get. They mistakenly believe that not being devalued equals being valued, and they mistakenly believe that how they are valued by others determines their worth. Neither of these things are true and once the victim starts to do some work on themselves and can validate themselves, chasing the narcissist for validation is no longer necessary. In fact, it seems silly and pointless. Once this happens, you know you are ready to move on.
Only you know when you have had enough. This is a decision that you must make, and sometimes it can be difficult to tell. Of course, you don't have to wait for these things to happen to leave. You can walk away from the relationship with a narcissist any time you like. And this is not just about romantic relationships. Many people believe that when the word "leave" is used, we must be talking about romantic relationships only. This is not the case. You can end any relationship you want. You don't have to be around anyone that you don't want to be around. This includes your parents, your siblings, your adult children or anyone else you feel is abusing you or not treating you fairly. No one ever needs to feel like they are trapped in a relationship with someone who is treating them badly. There is nothing wrong with walking away from a situation where you don't feel respected or valued. If other people have a problem with that, that's their problem.