Life Advice



Barton Goldsmith: When a toxic narcissist finally leaves your life

Barton Goldsmith, Tribune News Service on

Published in Dating Advice

Getting rid of a toxic person in your life can be difficult and painful, but it’s well worth the effort. Most unfortunately and sadly, the person you would be better off staying away from may be a member of your own family or someone you live with.

The anxiety and depression that toxic narcissists project can be damaging to your psyche and soul. Being subjected to bullying, gaslighting and straight-up lying on a regular basis can make you question your own sanity.

According to MSNBC News, diagnosable narcissism is far more complex (and often dangerous) than mere selfishness or vanity. Someone with narcissistic personality disorder is like a big baby; a true narcissist is concerned with only themselves and their own needs.

“We all come into the world with needs that we want to be filled, and no one asks a baby [to reason with them]. They just say, ‘Oh here, let me feed you, let me cuddle you and sing to you,’" says Dr. Keith Humphreys, a psychiatrist and professor of psychiatry at Stanford Health Care. "As we grow up, we learn that other people need things, too. Now, we may have moments where we’re very selfish, but it’s on a continuum; not for narcissists, though. Narcissists are just stuck there in this bottomless, constant need.”

People often stay in toxic and abusive relationships out of financial concerns, but nothing is more expensive than losing your sanity. Maybe it will cost you all your available cash, or maybe you will have to borrow from someone who truly loves you and understands the situation, but whatever it takes, I urge you to do it. I know many people in their 30s and 40s who have moved back home to get out of a toxic relationship.


Once that toxic creature exits your life, what you get back is your peace of mind. Your mental health is the most important thing you have. Afterward, you may have some difficult feelings for a while. Like any injury, the hurt you’ve endured takes time to heal. Over time, however, the pain will decrease, and though you may still have moments of regret, they are only moments.

Narcissists can get better, learn about their behaviors and grow up, but it is very hard work, and some therapists refuse to even take them on as patients. Likewise, it’s pretty hard to get a narcissist to admit they have a problem: They’re too busy blaming you. As someone who is dealing with a narcissist, however, you can get support from a therapist. If you want to heal yourself and your family, I strongly urge you to seek one out.

This is not a behavior that you can live with without losing your sense of self and perhaps your own perspective and mental health.

And finally, if you’re worried you might be a narcissist, you probably are not one. Narcissists generally lack the kind of empathetic self-reflection that might make them wonder if they have a personality disorder.

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