5 Important Tips For Breaking Up With a Narcissist or Manipulative Person

By Dominica


Last Updated: March 5, 2022

Being in a relationship with a narcissist or severely manipulative person can be quite challenging.

Someone who is diagnosed with narcissism is said to have a personality disorder – namely, narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Many people throw this label around easily, but remember, NPD is a mental health disorder.

By this, I mean not everyone who is selfish or mean in a relationship has narcissistic personality disorder. They could have narcissistic traits or just be selfish, immature, mean people who have a lot of inner healing work to do.

The Mayo Clinic defines NPD as a “mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.”

Keep in mind that NPD occurs on a spectrum. One person may lack empathy and seek constant attention, which can make it tough to be in a relationship with them. Another person may lack empathy, seek constant attention, and emotionally and verbally abuse their partner.

Regardless of the severity of NPD, if you’re in a relationship with a narcissist or manipulative person, and you want to break up with them, it will help if you have a plan. You’ll also want to do whatever you can to boost your courage and support as you break ties with this person.


7 Red Flags That You Are With a Narcissist

You may wonder if your partner is a true narcissist. While you may not be able to make a diagnosis like a counselor could, there are some signs that you're in a toxic relationship with someone struggling with narcissism. The following are several signs:

1. Name Calling

If your partner calls you terrible and demising names, it’s a red flag. A sad reality in this world today is that people call other people derogatory names daily. Even if you grew up where this happened often in your family, the truth is that name calling is a form of verbal abuse. 

Does your partner call you names? Put you down? Make you feel terrible about the littlest mistake? If so, that is verbal abuse and you do not have to put up with it.

2. Excessive Control

If you feel that your partner always needs to be in control of everything you do, this is a red flag.

Does your partner constantly go through your phone, spy on you, or go through your personal belongings? This means that your partner feels that they must always be in control. Jealousy and control are two toxic ingredients in a relationship that ought to be dealt with as soon as possible.

3. Excessive Need For Attention

If your partner needs constant attention or admiration, this could be a sign of narcissism.

They need to be validated continually, as it helps boost their ego.

4. Physical Violence

Have you ever found yourself in a big fight and your partner slapped you across the face to force you to stop talking?

Has your partner pinned you down because you would not submit to them? Kicked you? Hit you? Pushed you? Spit on you? Does it take a lot for your partner to hold back when you are fighting? If this sounds like your relationship, these are serious red flags.

Need help now? Go to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

5. Sexual Coercion Or Sexual Abuse

It’s never alright to be coerced to have sex or be sexually abused in any way.

6. Superiority

Narcissists tend to think they are superior to all others.

They’re arrogant and they’ll let you know that they deserve special treatment. Putting them down can cause them to become angry and/or abusive.

7. Manipulation or Gaslighting

Are you being manipulated or gaslit?

When you try to stand up for yourself or set a boundary, does a conflict ensues where you end up apologizing? Do they twist your words? Do you feel crazy during arguments?


5 Tips on Breaking Up With a Narcissist

It’s not always easy breaking up with a narcissist.

You may have already tried and failed. At the very least, you’ve probably thought about breaking up with this person many times. The thought of it may cause you anxiety, as you probably don't want to have to deal with the conflict or consequences that follow.

The following are five tips that can help you end the relationship with this person.

1. Create A Plan

While it's tempting to just break up with your partner abruptly, start creating your plan now to leave in the near future.

You'll want to figure out some things.

  • Are you going to stay or leave the home? 
  • Be sure you have a financial plan.
  • Think through how they're going to react.
  • Do you fear that there will be physical violence?
  • Do you have a safe place to go?
  • Who are the safe people you can go talk with?

Try your best to come up with a plan and stick with it.

2. Know Your Whys

You might want to make a list of exactly why you're breaking up with this person.

This isn't a list that you want to show your partner. It's simply your reasons for wanting out of this toxic relationship. It's highly likely that you will question yourself either during the breakup or shortly thereafter.

You'll wonder if you made the right decision. The other person may say and do all sorts of things to win you back.

They may cause you to question your reality, painting the relationship in a good light or promising you how they're going to change. Write down the reasons you want out of this relationship and keep it handy for yourself.

3. Have Your Support System Handy

If you're like many people who end up in a relationship with a narcissist, you may have dwindled down your friendships or time with family members to little to none.

If you've alienated yourself from those you can count on, it's time to get your support system in order before you leave your partner. This could be friends that you feel safe with, family members, a support group, or even a therapist.

4. Join A Narcissist Abuse Support Group

You may be able to find a local or online narcissist abuse support group.

Having the support of others who have been in your shoes can be quite therapeutic and give you courage to leave.

5. Reach Out To A Therapist

You may want to reach out to a professional therapist to have them give you the support that you need to break up with your partner.

They'll be familiar with narcissistic personality disorder and will be able to help you prepare for what you may encounter as you end the relationship. It will also be helpful once you break up with them.

Oftentimes, the aftermath of being alone and being up in your head about whether this was the right decision or not is where you need the most support. You can see a therapist online, in the community, or both.

Take as much time as you need with this therapist to sift and sort out the grief that you may feel, the unanswered questions, and opening yourself up to a new chapter in your life.


What Will Happen After the Breakup?

It's not always easy to know what to expect after breaking up with a narcissist.

It will depend on what kind of narcissist they are. For example, a grandiose narcissist tends to mainly be with someone as their shiny trophy and are not emotionally invested. These types may be the easiest to break up with because they'll just move on to someone else quickly.

A narcissist who has a lot of insecurity or anger within may erupt in a fit of rage after the breakup. The breakup may cause their ego to feel completely worthless, and they'll take those feelings out on you. It's best if you can just stick to your boundaries and go no contact with them.

Regardless of what happens after the relationship on their end, be sure that you stick to your plan. Remind yourself often of why you ended the relationship. And, reach out for support regularly so you don’t feel so alone.


It’s not easy breaking up with a narcissist. That’s for sure.

However, over time, you’ll be thankful you did. It may seem incredibly challenging now, but over time, you’ll come to realize that this was the best decision for you. At the same time, use this as an opportunity to learn valuable lessons about yourself and relationships in general.

Take time to grieve the end of the relationship and do the necessary inner work to heal.

Keep learning about narcissistic abuse recovery. Be gentle with yourself and practice self-care. You may feel bad about ending the relationship at times, but know that you did so for your best interest. 

And, should you begin to date again one day, you’ll be much more apt to notice narcissistic red flags and steer clear of them.

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels


2 comments on “5 Important Tips For Breaking Up With a Narcissist or Manipulative Person”

  1. The articles that I read on the site, I find to be extremely helpful. It’s probably the next best thing to speak into a therapist. I’ve gained great insight to some personal situations that I’ve been dealing with and these articles give me hope that there’s always a new tomorrow and a way out to a better life.

    Thank you for creating this site and I feel blessed to have found it.

    1. We're so happy to hear that you've found our site helpful Michelle. It's people like you who we hope to connect with and provide information for. We are wishing you so much happiness and love to have you in the community. 🙂

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