Life with a partner who is a narcissist is quite simply put – hell on earth, and you eventually get to the stage where you can’t cope with that existence anymore.
Friends and family will more often than not be blind to what is going on with you so when you tell them you are leaving, they will be in shock, that’s if you tell them!
The most important thing you can do when you decide to leave is decide who is safe to talk this over with, as in previous articles you will have read that the narcissist will have done all they can to integrate into your whole life and those you think you can trust may not be so.
It is crucial you do all you can to protect yourself once you decide to leave, it takes planning with almost military precision something you most likely thought you would never have to do.
Separation is difficult and painful for everyone, except the narcissist that is! It is even more difficult when children are involved.
To be honest the fear of the unknown and insecurities is what holds a lot of people back from leaving, the thought of being homeless, financially destitute, being alone, finding the right lawyer all play a part in any final decision.
You are undoubtedly scared of what the future holds, you know that once you leave the abuse doesn’t stop, in fact, it is accelerated by the narcissist, and is only the beginning on what will eventually lead to a long drawn out court case that potentially goes on for years.
Lawyers are getting better at knowing when their clients have been gaslighted and the fear they have lived with for so long. They know that their clients simply no longer know what is fact and what is fiction, this makes any pending court case a challenge.
Many lawyers now understand that they need to behave differently when they are faced with one of the partners being a narcissist and the dangers that someone with this personality holds. It is vital to find one of them to act for you.
Some other things to keep in mind, if you think you might want to separate:
Start a separate email one your partner knows nothing about. If they email you forward that email to the separate account, so it is safe from any potential hacking and removal. Screenshot it as well, then save that to a cloud that is new and no one but you is aware of its existence.
Save any letters, notes, text messages etc, again screenshot and save to your unknown cloud account. You may think that text messages are benign, but a change in tone is often seen in these and can help prove their behavior towards you.
This is a tough one as you may not know who you can trust anymore, especially as you have most likely been isolated by the narcissist. If you find you can’t trust anyone, then visit your doctor, tell them what you are doing and the fear you have for yourself and children if you have any, that is a documented visited and if necessary, can be called upon as evidence in any pending court case.
Ask your doctor for support and if they know where you can get advice, people to talk to, they are actually a wealth of knowledge and do deal with the fallout of narcissistic relationship more than people think.
Keep a diary:
It is going to be one rough ride; the rollercoaster doesn’t stop when you leave. Keep a diary of everything.
Any threats, document, children visitation, document, harassing phone calls, document, you get what I mean.
In times of doubt, you will find looking back in your diary great support that you didn’t imagine things and you can use the diary in any court case too.
Do not react:
This is vital, as if you react to them you have immediately undermined your position. It could even lead to you being arrested if you react badly and that has just played straight into the hands of the narcissist.
They will be doing all they can to discredit you and can often attempt extreme measures just so they can involve law enforcement for their own ends.
Have a backup plan:
If you are married make a point of knowing where all the legal documents are such as marriage certificate, for everyone items such as passports, bank account information.
Take copies of everything and keep those copies safe, as when you leave you may not have access to the originals, originals can be ordered by the court and it’s much easier to prove to the courts they exist if you have copies to show them.
I know this is a difficult one if you are being kept on a tight hold by the narcissist financially, but if possible open an account in your own name at a bank different to where you currently bank.
Be honest when opening the account for its reasons, you may be surprised how many banks are aware of the need for secret accounts, ensure the account is paperless so nothing gets sent to your home address and arrange a date and time to pick up your cards for the account. Try a put as much money as you can into the account without it being noticed the money is going, always cash, never a bank transfer.
Find the right lawyer:
This is difficult at best, I ended up literally interviewing my lawyers until I found the right one.
The easy way to know they are wrong for you is asking how they will proceed if they answer with aggressive tactics and that they are like a dog with a bone, sorry they are not right for cases that deal with one of the partners being a narcissist.
If, however, they answer that they are straight talking and you see that, good. If they talk about a strategy, that they are unafraid and confident. Bullseye they are the right one for a case such as yours.
This is just the beginning of a long road, good luck and there will be more articles coming on how to leave a narcissist in the future.