Step Five:

Detachment Phase

I remember when I had made the decision to end the relationship with my narcissistic partner. This took a long time mostly because I had no idea I was in a relationship with an abusive man and I was trauma bonded to him. This Phase is the next step on your path to healing from a narcissistically abusive relationship. This phase is about leaving the abusive person in your life. This is how I detached from my malignant narcissistic partner and how you can too.

Although you may think it is easy to walk away from an abusive relationship, once you know it is abuse, it is not.

So first let me explain what detachment is. Detachment is the process of letting go because our outlook begins to change. When the emotions and dreadful fears that have paralyzed us, no longer affect us in the same way or have the same power then we start to see things the way they really are, not the way we wish them to be or how our narcissistic partner painted the illusion we called our relationship and life.

I was involved with a malignant narcissist and it made me doubt what my own senses told me. I thought I had invested so much and to walk away from all I had invested, a family, a house, a second paycheck, the emotional attachment I thought I had with my partner, this seemed unimaginable.

After everything I had been through, all the hoops I’d jumped through, all the sacrifices, and all the bad behavior I tolerated from him and still I could never have the loving relationship I wanted or needed.

It actually never entered my mind that there was something wrong with him. That makes it so much more difficult right there. I tried my best to figure out what was wrong with the relationship and even me. I dived into all the self-help books to try and figure out what the problem was. I did not figure out why he was incapable of intimacy and love at that time. I did not understand until later into the relationship that emotional abuse, verbal abuse, anger, control, manipulation, and lies were all abuse.

My brother-in-law told me once he is color blind. He sees everything in grays. He went through the first 25 years of his life believing that this is the way everyone perceived the same environment.

I love the world and all its magnificence and wondrous beauty, the colors of flowers, the sky, the oceans, fruits, clothing, the beauty of nature, and could not imagine not being able to see colors. My brother-in-law’s reality is outside of my consciousness. Just because I can’t understand what he perceives, does not change his reality.

It’s very difficult for us to grasp that there are people out there that are ‘emotionally blind,’ that they can’t feel the same emotions as the rest of us do, especially when we’ve been romantically involved with them and we have witnessed some kind moments.

My brother-in-law sees different shades of gray as colors in his reality and my narcissist partner had feelings of something – but it’s not love, not the way you and I know it, in his reality.

Once I accepted this and it did not come easily to me– that my narcissist partner would never truly love me, this was an important step on my way to detach.

Stages of Detachment

Stage One

The first stage of detachment begins when you stop taking the blame for everything in your relationship and you start to realize that there is something wrong with the person you’re involved with.  It’s starting to come into your awareness that your narcissist will never be able to give you the relationship that you deserve. It doesn’t mean that you have stopped caring, but it means that you are starting to see the truth, the reality.

Stage Two

Stage two arrives when you notice that the hope you once felt and your desire to please, has been replaced with resentment and anger. You still have feelings for your partner at this point, but you’re becoming more and more aware.

You will know that you are in stage two when:

  • You are feeling better about yourself.
  • The lies that you may have wanted to hear, no longer have any effect on you.
  • You start to believe that you deserve better treatment.
  • You stop responding to the manipulation tactics.
  • You start to fight back and there is a lot of conflict in your relationship.

Stage Three

The third stage of detachment is all about you. You’ve been thinking a lot and getting advice from your support group. You feel stronger emotionally and you’re thinking about your wants and needs and what your life would be like without your narcissistic partner.

You know you’re in stage three when:

  • The mere sight of your narcissistic partner makes you feel physically ill.
  • You’ve started engaging in activities outside of the relationship. You’re spending more time with anyone other than your abuser. You’ve joined a class or a gym.
  • You realize that the passion, love, and obsession you once felt for them is gone.
  • When he steps out of line you either don’t care or you go ballistic.
  • Every decision you make is for your own interest and you almost never consider their choices.
  • If you live together you’re starting to get things in order and you’re making preparations to end your relationship.

Stage Four

Stage four is simply ending your relationship. Your focus is entirely on you. You’ve physically moved away from your narcissist, you’ve cut all contact and you feel really good about your decision. You want nothing to do with him.

Small Things To Do For Big Results

Getting from stage one to four can be a long process. It is not uncommon to find you are stuck in one stage or the other. I believe I was stuck in stuck in Stage Two for years. There are some small things you can do that can help you move through the stages that leave big results for you:

  • As you start to go through the stages of freeing yourself from the stranglehold of your narcissist, you will begin to have some thoughts. and what we think about grows. I am a great believer in positive thoughts and affirmations, even if it only one that you repeat over and over like ” Everything is always working out for me. “
  • Write down all the good things that you have in your life.
  • Write down all the reasons why you are unhappy in your relationship with your partner and all the reasons why you should end it.
  • Write down all the qualities you want in a relationship and compare your list to your present reality
  • Get in the habit of putting yourself first and thinking about your goals and dreams.
  • Start reading inspirational and empowering books that motivate you and give you vitality.
  •  Listen to music that makes you happy
  •  Spend time with your friends or family members that love and support you.
  •  Write a letter to your narcissistic abuser and express all disappointment, your anger, frustration, pain, and anguish – get it all out – but don’t give it to him. This is only for you. It may sound dumb, but trust me it’s very therapeutic.
  •  Allow yourself to feel your feelings. They may feel intense and bad initially but this will pass. Many people will tell you to distract yourself from the feelings, but to truly heal, it is important to find what works for you to heal.

What to Expect When Ending Your Involvement Your Narcissist Partner

If you are the one to end the relationship, like I was, your narcissistic partner will not want to end things on anything but their terms. They will try their best to get you to change your mind, manipulate you, lie to you, hoover you. They may say and do exactly what they think you want to hear. Don’t be tricked by this. Narcissists are accomplished actors and you have heard it all before, all the empty promises that never go anywhere.

They may seem hurt, but they are not hurting for you. Losing a major source of narcissistic supply is a very stressful experience for a narcissist. That’s all it is, an act out of their desperation because their supply has come to an end.

If you both live in your house, give him a firm date on when he is expected to move out or in my case to sell our house. He purposefully delayed the sale of the house twice until the real estate agent finally caught on to what he was doing.

Living with a narcissist, you are trying to free yourself from, is like a recovering alcoholic moving into a bar. Unless you absolutely have to continue low contact with your narcissist partner because you share children together or business, don’t do it – it won’t work. Give him a date and if that date comes and goes and he’s still there, you will need to involve a lawyer or get the police involved and have him forcibly removed.

At this early stage, you may be thinking, that’s so harsh I don’t want to do that – trust me you have probably threatened to leave many times, he does not care and only wants his supply to continue.  

Eventually, my narcissistic partner had to comply and we sold the house. My mistake was not using low contact and so he continued to have supply from me until I finally realized much later on how to actually heal from this malignant narcissist.

A narcissist needs followers and the attention they bring, so he may bad mouth you with a smear campaign and in the retelling to anyone that will listen, expect that he will embellish or completely lie, spinning it, so the story depicts you as the evil one and the narcissist as the poor victim.

If you have made it clear that you are done, don’t expect him to be pining over you.

He will have acquired a new target before he has one foot out the door, expect that you will be dropped like a hot potato – which is actually the best news for you to have to happen.

Don’t engage in the drama, become the ice queen – do your very best to show no emotion, even if you still miss him or love him. Show nothing. Let him know under no uncertain terms that it’s over – the supply has run out. You are in control of yourself now.

Hold firm to your decision and don’t respond to all the bad-mouthing and character assassination. He wants a reaction from you, good or bad – give him nothing.  He will no doubt try to initiate contact at some point, it could be days, weeks, months even years but he will try.

No Contact is the only way to end a relationship and be free from your Narcissistic Partner.

Remember once you have shut the door keep it that way – and eventually, you will feel better and begin to enjoy your new healthy life without the narcissist. It is not complete healing but being away from his negative behaviors and emotions will help you immensely and is a step in the right direction.

I know it is painful but your life with your narcissistic partner was fake and he is fake. It was also excruciating living in this abusive relationship. It was an illusion, completely fake. He was only acting to get what he wanted from you to help fill the empty void he calls himself.

Please feel free to contact me even if it is to say hello or you would like some support. I have been where you are now. I healed from this narcissistic abuse. You can as well.

Go Here To Read Phase Six