Q & A: My Daughter Wants to Break up with a Narcissist; How Can I Keep her Safe?

Q: I have concerns for my daughter wants to leave a narcissist SOON and I am concerned about the process and safeguards of leaving. She just put 2+2 together this week. She sent me an article describing NPD and wants to talk about it today. We have only short phone opportunities because the Narcissist seldom leaves her alone. Reading between the lines I sense she wants this settled so that she can come home alone for a family wedding in September and have this settled and behind her.

She has two options to stay w/ friends. These options were discussed a while back as a possibility when there were problems before she read the article about the impossibility of fixing a narcissist. I think that was her last straw. If he can’t be fixed and I’m going to leave him, I want to enjoy my family reunion in September and not have to worry about his acting up and ruining another trip home. She owns little, because she moved in with him. So it is just important papers, books, clothing that she needs to take. (Not married) I have concerns that the worst will come out when she tells him she wants to leave. How does she stay safe? Even if I am panicking for no reason (she says he has never physically hurt her) I am concerned that this will be the common tale of a person that no one would ever believe would harm someone. I don’t want my daughter to be the fluke that is physically forced or worse.

How do you know what kind of reaction to expect? Do you? How do I keep someone safe that lives 12 hours away? What are the things she needs to read and think about before she makes any move. Should she ask someone to join her for the talk and then just get stuff out? Thank you for any timely insights or specific references you can point out. As I said, I think she wants it done now.

A: First, please understand that realistically you cannot keep someone safe from 12 hours away. However, you CAN give her information to help her leave in the safest way. And be supportive and welcoming- she will really need that support and to be surrounded by people who care about her when she does finally leave. Have your daughter read the article on this website titled,”How to End a Narcissistic Relationship? 10 Steps to End It! Without personally knowing the narcissist, it is difficult to know what kind of reaction to expect. Their reactions range from total narcissistic rage to a stone cold silence and indifference. Sometimes it is even a relief to them and they rather quickly move on to a new source for their narcissistic supply.

She can also get help and guidance by contacting her local domestic violence group or advocate. They are understanding of emotional and verbal abuse- it does not have to be physical abuse ( they also can be useful to help with the fear of physical abuse). Tell your daughter to “go quickly and quietly” once she has made up her mind. Go quickly to avoid further abuse and go “quietly” (no arguing, disagreeing, explaining, blaming) as there is no point in her talking to him–he will not listen. He will try to twist her words so that she doubts herself in order to get her to stay. If he has never physically threatened or harmed her, his narcissistic rage will probably come in the form of verbal and emotional abuse. For other readers where there has been physical aggression- avoid confrontation at all costs. Just leave. Pack your things and leave- do not attempt to make a dramatic exit or teach him a lesson. Just get out.

Help her follow up her departure with NO CONTACT— none whatsoever. For example, have her call you every time she feels like giving in and calling him. Be supportive and allow her time to grieve. Although leaving him seems easy and obvious to us, she probably still loves him and it means accepting the end of a dream (living happily ever after with Mr. Perfect) as well as accepting that he did not genuinely love her. That’s a hard pill to swallow and she will need support and love from others to get through it.

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