Does your partner make you feel like your needs aren't as important as theirs? Does it feel like your entire relationship is about them?

Christine Quinn is sitting on a sofa saying,

Learn how to identify if you're in a narcissistic relationship, know when it's time to leave, and be aware of the steps you can take to end the relationship.

What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a mental health diagnosis in which a person lacks empathy, expects admiration from others, and has a sense of entitlement.  

For more information on the signs and symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder, check out the Byte How do I deal with a narcissist partner?

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How Do I Know If My Partner is a Narcissist?

A comic strip that asks,

You may be in a narcissistic relationship if your partner...

  • acts entitled

  • isn't empathetic to your needs

  • acts superior to others

  • thinks people are jealous of them

  • is manipulative

  • always blames others for their mistakes

  • has to be admired

  • focuses on their needs coming first

  • acts aggressively

  • can't handle feedback

  • is obsessed with success

  • doesn't pay attention to your needs

How Do I Know It's Time to Leave My Partner? suggests that it's time to leave your narcissistic partner if you're experiencing any of the following:

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  • You’ve withdrawn from friends and family

  • You're experiencing ongoing anxiety and/or depression because of your relationship

  • Your relationship is impacting school or work

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  • You’re being physically or sexually abused

  • Your partner is constantly monitoring you

  • Your partner is excessively jealous

  • You're afraid to have your own interests


Stan's partner Walt hates it when Stan spends time with anyone else. He checks Stans phone to see who he texts with each day. Stan begins to avoid friends and family so Walt won't be angry with him. Which warning signs are present?

Why It’s Hard to Break Up With a Narcissist

Leaving a narcissist is challenging! When you try to leave, your partner may:

  • make you feel like they need you

  • make you feel like you'll be lost without them

  • manipulate you into feeling like you're the one with the problem

  • say/do things that lower your self-esteem

It's Time to Leave

If you decide that it's time to leave your narcissistic partner, these important steps will help support you during the break-up and beyond.

Flaticon Icon Make A List

  • Include examples of why you want to leave

  • Include examples of how your life has changed because of this relationship

  • Don't share the list with your partner

Flaticon Icon Have A Plan

  • Think through how you'll share the news with your partner

  • Know where you'll go or if you'll ask them to leave (if you're living together)

  • This will help you think clearly during a stressful time

Flaticon Icon Get Rid of Relationship Reminders

  • Pictures of trips and gifts can make it difficult to remember why you left your partner

  • Put items in a box if you want to keep them

  • Be mindful not to slip into the "it wasn't that bad" mindset

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  • Reconnect with friends and family

  • Share your plans to leave your partner

  • Ask your supporters to check in with you daily for a few weeks

  • Spend time with friends and family during the first few weeks after you leave your partner

Flaticon Icon Find a Supportive Therapist

  • Will help you identify issues, even when unpleasant, in a way that feels supportive

  • Can guide you as you rebuild your self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-worth

  • Will help you explore what led you to a relationship with a narcissistic partner

  • Can help you explore ways to experience a healthy relationship


After writing a pro/con list related to her relationship, Joan has decided it's time to leave her narcissistic partner. She has created a plan, connected with friends, and hidden all relationship reminders. What else can she do to prepare?

Take Action

Leaving a narcissistic partner isn't easy.

If you decide to leave, remember that you'll get through this with a plan and support from those who care about you!

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