Updated: Nov 26, 2021
Firstly, if you have taken the courage to leave the narcissist in your life, I want to commend you for your bravery! I know how hard it is to realise what you're dealing with and where you may be right now.
I also went through this process and made hundreds of mistakes along the way. So I am here to break things down so your journey back to yourself can be a little less traumatising than it needs to be.
Leaving a narcissist is going to be one of the hardest things you will face in life. The mind torturing abuse that has occurred, which you may not be aware of, comes to light. It can be much worse if you're dealing with a covert type 'one which is hidden'.
Also, after leaving, there's such a heavy level of vulnerability that can inhibit healing or no healing at all. With PTSD or even complex PTSD and heightened emotions, it can be extremely challenging. So, let me get into it.
If you're planning on leaving, save some money and document what's happening. You can document in a private email to yourself or electronic notes as you may need it all as evidence.
Have a friend or TRUSTED family member who you can talk to with your plans. You must be able to trust them wholeheartedly. I say a trusted and safe person because sometimes the narcissist already has people waiting in line to get information from you. You might be thinking they are contacting out of goodwill but, it's just to seek information to deliver back to the narcissist to further the abuse.
Collect a few safe numbers, such as a domestic violence shelter or a domestic violence advocate.
If you have already made the jump, please continue to document as above.
Some narcissists can become unbalanced during this stage and beyond, and that's me putting it nicely! At this stage, you will go from being love-bombed into coming back, promises of change or pretending to seek therapy, verbal or physical attacks or even harassed and stalked when you resist. It really can be exhausting for your mind and body.
Go no contact - I can't stress this one enough, delete and block them from every platform and delete their contact from your phone. The rules are slightly different if you have children where you can either parallel parent or grey rock.
If you can, delete and block all of their friends too, or if you share mutual friends. Please be mindful of how you approach this because narcissists are well prepared for the fallout. They would have told their elaborate stories and lies long before the break-up occurred. You will be left wanting to defend yourself, which will keep you focused on them and not on your healing.
Set some firm boundaries. For example, if they make contact, tell yourself you will not engage with them. This one can be difficult to execute, but the most important thing is to be compassionate with yourself. If you do manage to engage with them, try the next time. If you share children, let them know you will only discuss matters of the children and stick to it.
Be mindful of who you speak with or those who come to seek information. Sometimes the narcissist will use others in various ways to triangulate you, to lure you back into the web, or continue to keep the connection alive.
Narcissists will use anything to gaslight and bring you back emotionally and psychologically and reinforce the abuse all over again. Refraining from calling them out will help you to stay out of the trap.
Change all locks on your doors even if they give back the keys, change the locks. Or you can consider moving so they don't know where you live. Some go as far as to target your home with vandalism and stalk you in your neighbourhood.
Lastly, take care of yourself as best you can and try not to be hard on yourself right now. Spend time with those you love, and don't isolate yourself too much.