"It will be ruthless and never-ending." When you tell a narcissist you're leaving him.

Most individuals opt for divorce as a sad or unfortunate resolution to a long-suffering relationship. Yet narcissists view divorce as the beginning of the game. There will be no negotiation. There will be no fair settlement.

It will be a raging war.

It will involve control, punishment, and winning.

It will be ruthless and never-ending.

It will bring unpredictability and chaos.

It will instill the type of fear used to dominate.

Even worse, you will possess nothing in your emotional arsenal to combat it.

Because you have never withstood this degree of ruthlessness.

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One of the saddest aspects of freeing yourself from a narcissist is you initially believe you are actually doing just that. You believe you can extricate yourself from them. You believe you can leave them in your past.

But that is not satisfying or gratifying to the pathological narcissist.

Their world exists because you allowed them to revolve around your world. You centered them. You ensured all their needs were met. You did as they wanted. You kept the peace.

In fact, you enabled their power.

Only back then you didn’t recognise it as that.

You thought them attractive, charming, and successful. You found wonder in this magnetic being. They seemed enchanting. You felt lucky.


Who knew one day you would feel the antithesis of that.

That you would be begging people to understand the complexity and hopelessness of your situation.

Pleading for help to escape this emotionally abusive person. And hoping they would lose interest in continuing to punish you for daring to leave them.

You will have to painfully listen as some say you can’t fully move forward — when you know the truth. That you are more controlled in divorce than you were in the marriage. When the narcissist was less threatening because they felt you were still under their influence.

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Of course, there will be those who fully understand.

But there will be others who could never imagine what it is like to battle for your freedom — under the snare of one who does not possess empathy.

A person who will use, confuse, and abuse anything and anyone who keeps them from winning.

Again, few will find this believable.

Because in the years you kept their world ‘them-centric’ they were happy. They were in control. They were the centre of their world.

They were in hiding.

At least from the rest of the world.

By leaving them — you ‘outed’ them.

More importantly, you took control. No, you took your power back. But this is beyond threatening to the narcissist.

Only you who have dared to leave. Dared to free yourself. Dared to set limits — realises the truth.

You naively left one emotionally abusive situation…

For another.

The feature image used is a stock photo. 

This post originally appeared on Medium and was republished here with full permission. You can read more from Colleen Sheehy Orme on Medium, or find her on Instagram and Facebook.