You’re getting there. You’ve started to see that Jerkface isn’t a normal person with a normal heart. It feels like their relationship with you is a game, a lie, a selfish arrangement. You wonder if they’ve lied to you just to keep you trapped in their web. And you may finally have had enough.
Congratulations. You’re getting ready to take your life back. And this post is here to help. The leaving part is easy when you have the below three things in place. But these must be in place before you pick a date, or you risk being pulled back into the evil.
These steps are less about the tactics of finding an apartment and financial 101, and more about the emotional preparation you’ll need in order to get out and never go back.
Step 1: Understand Jerkface will never be sorry or care about you the way you need to be cared about.
They’re not just selfish, or controlling, or demanding (though they certainly may be those things too) – they’re ABUSIVE and they’re never going to change for you.
Once you can acknowledge that at their core, a Jerkface is content to be a Jerkface and has no intentions of being a real partner, you stop trying to do the impossible and change them through your love and kindness.
You decide there are better ways to live your life and share your gifts. You’re done.
Step 2: Understand that you don’t owe Jerkface an explanation or even a warning that you’re leaving forever
Even though you’re done, you may think Jerkface at least deserves to know that you’re leaving them or possibly even to know why. They don’t. They don’t deserve anything from you. For once, this is about you. This is about you taking your life back.
Jerkface has proven that they do not have your best interests at heart, that they will cajole, lie, promise, threaten to make sure you never get what you need.
Why bring this person in on this decision, when they’ve shown their top priority is to sabotage it?
The day I left Jerkface, I left my apartment as if I were going to work, but instead I went to my parents’ house and waited until I knew he would have left for work. Then the great escape happened. I didn’t give him a single sign that I was done. I didn’t call him, or hint, or tell his brother. I simply left him a note.
I knew from years of horrible experience that trying to explain myself resulted in three things: 1) me crying, 2) me coming back, 3) me apologizing to him, and I was done with those things.
When regular (non-abusive, non-narcisisstic) people wrong you, of course you try to work it out with them. Those people care about you and coming to a shared agreement. Jerkface does not, cannot, will not do that.
Pretending that is possible is harmful to you. You must put yourself first. You must protect yourself and your mission of having a happy life. Talking to Jerkface about why you’re leaving puts your ability to leave at risk. They will use your discussion to twist everything around so that you end up staying and even apologizing.
Oh, and by the way, once Jerkface knew I was actually, truly done with him, he didn’t even care that I had left him. Once he knew the usual tricks and lies would be lost on me, the mask came off and I saw how little he had ever cared for me — if at all. The first time I talked to him on the phone after I’d left, all he said was, “Ok, so we’re getting a divorce now?”
Step 3: A support system so that you never go back.
If this one has you in despair, don’t worry. Maybe you’re an introvert. Maybe your Jerkface has alienated you from your friends and family. Maybe you don’t have a job. But you need some sort of support system, and it doesn’t have to be massive. Start with Twitter communities, shelters, hotlines, books. Something. Anything so you understand three things: 1) you’re not alone, 2) you will get over Jerkface, 3) other people have done this and so can you.
Maybe your support system is just a set of rules and activities: no contact, applying for jobs, getting on Twitter, journaling.
Maybe you have friends who can take you in. Maybe you have a good job and can find your own place. The point is, there are so many ways to successfully leave Jerkface and never go back. You just need to be honest with yourself about weak spots and get in front of them before Jerkface does.
Here are some great posts that can help you leave Jerkface forever:
Books to Get You Through: The Empath’s Survival Guide from Divorcing a Narcissist
The Abusive Marriage – What Happened to Me? from Backbone Power
No Contact Absolute and What It Means – Leaving a Narcissist Family and the Life You Once Knew from No Contact Survivor
Readers who have left abusers: please comment and share if you’re so inclined. Your experience can help someone get their life back!