Being in an intimate relationship with a narcissist can be dreadful but leaving and establishing your own life is often a daunting task. It’s important to think logically and to map out your moves rather than letting your emotions guide you.
There are certain circumstances where it’s unwise to stay in an intimate relationship with a narcissist. For the most part, people leave a narcissistic partner or divorce him because they feel unsafe or abused in the relationship. In other words, the person with narcissism threatened them and/or their children’s safety, security, or well-being. Coming out from the shadow of this type of toxic dynamic can take time and survivors can use strategies to draw from.
By definition, a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) feels entitled to certain privileges and their sense of entitlement may make them prone to punishing partners and/or children who don’t show them respect, admiration or attention. So one of the main aspects of recovering from a partnership with a narcissist is setting firm boundaries and protecting yourself and your children. Keep in mind, that a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) lacks empathy or concern for others so you can’t expect them to negotiate fairly or to keep your children’s best interests in mind.
In most cases, trying to co-parent cooperatively or have an amicable relationship with an ex who has NPD is problematic and not a realistic expectation because they’re so focused on themselves and their needs. According to family therapist Virginia Gilbert, MFT, attempts to co-parent with a narcissist will keep you engaged in a battle. She writes: “Targets of high-conflict personalities need to accept that it isn’t wise to be “authentic” with their ex. Strategic, limited disclosures and iron-clad boundaries are essential in managing a high-conflict divorce.”