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If you need help escaping narcissistic abuse; start here -
We've put together a helpful tip list to help you escape narcissistic abuse. Since we don't know your particular story or circumstance, obviously we can only offer generic advice. Of course, if you are in immediate danger, call your local emergency number for assistance.
So, you're in a relationship with a narcissist, now what? Stop and think. Do a safety assessment. If you are in immediate danger, call for help. If you are currently safe, but see that you could be in danger with this person in the future - you need to GET OUT! (skip to step 5)
1. Tell someone - find someone you trust, a close friend, or a therapist, and tell them everything. This is important, as for your own safety, someone should always know exactly what is going on with you, what you are concerned about, what you have seen/heard, and why you feel the way you feel. Your gut is smart, and your concerns are valid, and they should be spoken out loud.
2. Write things down - You know something is not right, and the last thing you need is to spend unnecessary time believing you are the one who is crazy, or you have not seen or heard what you think you have. Write and record as much as you possibly can, so you have solid evidence of your experiences. Without this, those gaslighting seeds of doubt will do just what they are intended to do, spiral you out of control, and leave you hanging on to this abusive cycle.
3. Educate yourself - learn all that you can about narcissistic abuse. Listen to the podcast, it is a great place to start. Read the book, join a support group, read the stories of other survivors, follow online threads about NPD; learn everything you can about how this disorder works, the likelihood that there is anything you can do or change to alter this relationship course in any way, and the ways in which your abusive partner will attempt to keep you in the cycle. Knowledge is power...and necessary for you to mentally separate from this relationship, and heal.
4. Start making an escape plan - Start thinking about how and where you will live. If you don't have a job, can you find one? If you have children, speak to an attorney for legal advice, how will you change their school or daycare? Do you have a support system, or family you can stay with? Are you able to start putting money aside? Gather and store any legal documents you will need, including birth certificates, social security cards, banking information, including savings, retirement, investment accounts, deeds. What bills are in your name?
5. Pack a "Go Bag" - While in an ideal situation, you have all the time in the world to plan and execute your escape, this is not usually an ideal situation. Pack a "Go Bag" for you, and for your children if applicable, containing several days worth of clothing, medications, toiletries, money, ID, a favorite toy/blanket, diapers, formula etc. If you have another place you can keep this bag, such as your workplace, a friend's home or even a locker at a local park, you can store it there. A Go Bag is ideal for a quick escape, should you decide your safety is in question, or you simply see an opportunity to break free, and don't want to miss your chance.
6. If there is verifiable abuse in your relationship, report it to authorities. If you skip this due to confusion or embarrassment, you will regret it later. If you have the opportunity to get an order of protection, do it. Make sure other people are aware of what is happening if possible (such as not hiding any bruises or marks, and recording incidents if it can be done safely and discreetly). Especially if you have children together, you will be glad you did.
7. If you have children with your narc - we suggest playing sleuth when possible, research your partner's behaviors and activities, monitoring phone or email activity, checking out their alibis, confirming their whereabout, basically find proof of any of their shameful behaviors - trust us, this will come in handy, but ONLY if it can be done without putting yourself in danger.
8. Study No Contact. - it is imperative this be fully understood and done correctly from the moment you leave this relationship, or you may find yourself in a yoyo escape, with multiple attempts leading you right back into this toxic cycle. Check out our podcast episode on no contact for additional info.
9. Know that you don't need all the answers in order to break free from narcissistic abuse - you don't need to have it all figured out. You don't need to know exactly what the future will hold, have the best paying job, have a nice new house to move into, have a safety net savings account. The most important thing is that you will be safe from abuse, and able to start healing and finding your peace. The rest will fall into place.