It’s tremendously difficult to be in a toxic relationship. And the worst part is, you might not even know you’re in one until you get hurt.
Being with a partner who does not help you grow, but instead brings you down and affects your emotional and mental well-being is draining in all aspects. This is a sign that you need to leave the relationships and move forward with your life.
At first glance, you might not know that you’re dealing with a psychopath for a significant other. Especially because the term “psychopath” is used too much on a day-to-day basis, the thin line between toxicity and psychopathy can be blurred.
In this article, we’ve rounded up all the information you need to find out if you’re dealing with a psychopath, how your relationship is draining you mentally emotionally, and psychologically, and how you can end your relationship and move forward.
How to Know You’re Dating a Psychopath: 4 Signs
Psychopaths view the world, including relationships, differently from the way “normal people” do. They lack empathy for others and usually see people only for their own personal benefit.
Chances are, you’re here because you suspect that you’re in a relationship with a psychopath, but you aren’t sure yet. Here are 4 signs that you might be.
They Lack Empathy
By nature, psychopaths do not have a sense of empathy. They don’t care about anyone else other than themselves, nor do they feel anything towards other people’s pain.
Because of this lack of empathy, they tend to do or say things that can be emotionally damaging, without regard to how the other person would feel. They don’t say sorry, give up a fight, or accept any responsibility for their actions.
They Play With Your Emotions
Despite their lack of empathy, psychopaths understand emotion very well. Although they themselves do not feel it, they know how to play with people’s emotions and use them to manipulate others, gain sympathy, or advance a personal agenda.
If your partner constantly uses flattery or guilt trips to play with your emotions or get you to do things for them without regard to your feelings, you might be dealing with a psychopath.
They Don’t Feel Guilty When They Mess Up
A relationship with a psychopath can get very toxic, mainly because they have no remorse or conscience for their wrong actions. They can cheat, lie, manipulate, and hurt without feeling guilty for what they have done.
Everything a psychopath does is for their own personal gain — and they will do anything to meet their own agendas, regardless of who gets hurt along the process.
They Think They’re Better Than Everyone Else
The reason they have no regard for other people’s emotions or well-being is that they think they’re the alpha. They naturally believe that they are smarter and better than everyone else, which gives them a false sense of entitlement.
How Being in a Relationship With a Psychopath Affects You
Being in a relationship with a psychopath is emotionally, mentally, and psychologically taxing. It’s a toxic union that breaks you and weighs you down. You constantly give without getting anything in return and are constantly hurt without getting an apology.
Being in a relationship with someone like that can be a traumatic experience. If you don’t see the above signs in your partner, then you might be able to see the effects of their actions on yourself.
Your Fears and Insecurities Are Being Used Against you
Psychopaths prey on emotions. They make it a habit to get to know you and your weaknesses, only to use it against you in your relationship. They do so to control you, entrap you, and manipulate you.
You may be dealing with a psychopath if your partner has a habit of using your fears and insecurities to win against you in fights. They gain the upper hand by attacking you instead of understanding the problem and finding a solution.
You Feel Trapped
Psychopaths are very possessive. Even if they aren’t necessarily still in love with you, they might do everything they can to keep you. They entrap you while they themselves remain free.
There are many ways they can do this, such as isolating you from your friends and family, getting you addicted to emotion and intimacy, doing everything to get you back but still treating you wrongly when you get back together, etc.
You Feel Exhausted By Your Relationship
When we said that being in a relationship with a psychopath is emotionally, physically, and mentally draining, we weren’t kidding. Psychopaths have a tendency to use up all your energy, affection, and feelings, draining the life out of you.
Most times, you will feel tired of fighting and just admit defeat. You find yourself staying silent despite hurting only to avoid an argument because you are too tired to fight.
This is a sign that your partner is depleting your energy. And you should leave now before you have nothing else to give and they get the opportunity to discard you in their own cruel way.
Can Psychopaths Be “Fixed”?
Psychopaths see the world differently than others do, owing to the differences in how their brains function. As far as scientists and doctors know, there is no cure for psychopathy.
You may have a belief that you can cure them, as do all victims. However, there is no amount of love, affection, or regard you can give that can change a psychopath. The issue lies deeper than just emotional strain or trauma, and it’s something that you cannot fix or cure.
How to Break Up With a Psychopath
You are the victim in a relationship with a psychopath. To them, you are prey and your relationship is a tool to gain personal benefit and advance their own dirty agendas.
If you’re in a relationship with a psychopath, you need to leave now. Otherwise, you may end up scarred for life, drained of all your emotions, and suffering crippling and traumatic aftermath.
It’s understandable that breaking up with a psychopath is easier said than done. After all, you two shared some memories, you were in love at some point, and they loved you back. You might also have other reasons, such as:
- Fear, in case of abusive relationships
But in these situations, you need to think of yourself. This toxic relationship is no longer worth fighting for. And our advice is to get out before you can’t.
Breaking up with a psychopath is going to be a battle, but it’s one you have to go through for the sake of your health and well-being. Here are 7 steps to break up with a psychopath.
1. Rip Off the Band-Aid
Delaying a breakup with a psychopath is delaying the inevitable. The more you wait, the more you could get hurt in your relationship. It’s crucial to understand that a relationship with a psychopath is not going to get better, especially considering that you can’t change them.
It’s always more advisable to do it sooner or later. Just rip the band-aid off and begin your transition and growth as early as possible. To break up with your psychopathic partner, you have to be careful. Think of how you will approach them.
The best thing you can do is to break up with them and not give any reasons. Doing so will only put them and you in an offense and defense situation that may trap you. Remember, they have a way with words and they will be able to find an excuse if you give a reason for your breakup.
Avoiding giving reasons can be beneficial for a number of reasons:
- If you were in a long-term relationship, they probably already know which arguments you keep on having. Using it as a reason to break up will just cause you to argue again.
- They will argue with your reasoning and the conversation may just circle back to nothing.
- They may blackmail you and make you out to become the villain even if you are not. Giving them a reason is similar to giving them the ammo they need to hurt you.
When breaking up with a psychopath, it’s important to stand your ground, know that you’re sure of your decision, and be firm in what you want. Don’t allow them to lure you back in with flattering remarks, gifts, or insincere acts of love.
Because now you understand the tendencies of your psychopathic partner, you are in a much better position to know what’s genuine or not and you can come out of this breakup with the upper hand.
If you were in an abusive relationship, having a conversation or telling your ex-partner that you want to break up may put you in a vulnerable position. You may be afraid of physical or emotional abuse.
In these scenarios and only in the case of abusive relationships, it’s valid to just leave without words or excuses in order to protect you and ensure your safety.
2. Plan Your Life Moving Forward
Breaking up with a psychopath needs to be planned in advance, if possible. You need to have a safety net and know exactly where you will position yourself after the breakup. Otherwise, you’ll easily be swayed by their futile attempts to get you back.
If you’re dependent on your partner and live under the same roof, you need to think of where you will live after the breakup, how you will make a living, what possessions you need to take with you, etc. Plan your life ahead and make it a point to do so with the permanence of the breakup in mind.
If you have been hurt or abused in the relationship, this step becomes all the more important. Plan your life and make arrangements for your transition but be careful that they don’t find out. Every precautionary step must be taken to ensure your safety and security.
Secure all your important things, don’t tell anyone who may expose your plans, and make sure to leave no stone unturned. Some of the things you need to plan include:
- Where you will live – you can stay with a family member or friend temporarily, somewhere your ex-partner cannot find you.
- How you will leave or be in extremely abusive relationships, how you will escape
- How you will make a living
- Consider any no-contact injunctions or other court orders that can protect you.
3. Have the Goal of Independence in Mind
This step is particularly harder for those who depend on their partners a lot — whether it be financially, emotionally, or even physically. Your partner may be the one who owns the home you live in, pays the bills, makes a living, etc.
But if you really want to break free from this toxic relationship, you have to condition yourself to be independent — whatever that might mean for you. It may be getting a job, raising your child as a single parent, moving out, etc.
Having the goal of independence makes you more confident in your decision and ensures that you don’t fall back to the same toxic relationship just because you need it financially or in other aspects of your life.
Know how to survive and thrive on your own and without the assistance of your partner. Independence, in whatever aspect of life, is your first step to breaking free from your partner and gaining freedom.
If you don’t learn how to be independent or don’t set the goal to do so, you’ll just end up running back to your partner because you highly depend on them. And this just brings you back to the toxic relationship.
But if you know and believe that you can be free from them financially, emotionally, physically, and mentally, then you will understand your worth and the importance of you leaving them behind. It all starts with knowing your worth and value and that you deserve more than you are given.
Even if they do provide you with everything you need for your daily living, if they don’t take care of you emotionally, it could sabotage your mental and emotional health.
4. Tell Your Family and Close Friends
Victims have a habit of keeping breakups to themselves if only to preserve the memory of the relationship or to keep doors open in case of another shot at making things work.
Telling your family and close friends about the breakup, or your plans to do so, will make things more apparent. It also gives you the support you need emotionally, mentally, and psychologically.
Your family should also know about any sort of abuse or mistreatment that you received from your ex-partner. This is so that they know how to protect you and help you avoid it from happening again.
Sometimes, there is a tendency for people to assist broken-up couples to get back together, putting them in situations where they can communicate or spark their love for each other once again. But this is not a situation you want to be in if your ex was a psychopath.
This is where the importance of telling your family and close friends lies. If they understand why you have broken up and what you have been through, they can be better equipped to protect you. They can ensure that your partner does not find out where you are and how to contact you.
The important people in your life can help you with the process, supporting you in the areas where you need it. If you’re afraid for your safety or your partner has threatened you in any way, don’t be afraid to inform the authorities.
There are court orders and injunctions that you can seek to protect your person against your abusive ex-partner. Domestic abuse is a crime that can be punished — and deserves to be after all that your ex put you through.
5. Join Support Groups or Talk to a Therapist
There’s no doubting that your breakup is going to be difficult. It’s going to take an emotional toll on you, which can hinder you from moving on in life.
In fact, victims who were in a relationship with psychopaths often end up being depressed and resort to alcohol, drugs, and other vices for comfort.
Instead of looking to vices to comfort you or to help you forget and move on, speak to someone about it. Sessions with therapists can help you understand how to move forward and ease your trauma.
No matter how things went down during your breakup, don’t be afraid to engage with a therapist or a support group. Having professionals or people who went through the same things support you through this stage of your life will make a world of difference.
They can offer you the emotional, psychological, and mental support you need to keep going and move on from this traumatic phase of your life.
Plus, you get to meet people who went through the same things and understand exactly how you feel when other people in your life can’t just quite grasp the severity of what you’ve been through. Having a shared experience brings people together and paves the path for them to grow.
You also have new people who can help protect you from your ex-partner and prevent you from making bad decisions that won’t help your recovery.
6. Avoid Communication With Your Ex-Partner
Psychopaths have a knack for being very alluring and manipulative. Though they treat you wrongly during the relationship, they will do everything it takes to get you back, especially if they’re not done benefiting from you.
Psychopaths have the tendency to use flattering words, do grand gestures, etc. to get you back. Sometimes, they may even resort to blackmail. And considering that you do love them or did at some point, these can easily sway you.
But after you have made the decision to end the relationship and leave your psychopathic partner, cut off all communication with them. This helps you avoid any attempt to get you lured back into your toxic relationships.
If you have children, make it a point to communicate only about the children. If you see fit, you can file a restraining order to limit interaction with your ex.
You finally got out of that toxic and abusive relationship and trust us when we say that you don’t want to put yourself back in it. Your emotions may say otherwise, but don’t let your feelings put you in the traumatic situation you were once in again.
7. Focus on Yourself (and/or Your Kids)
Especially if you’ve been in that toxic relationship for years, it’s going to take some time to move on. After your break up, make it a point to focus on yourself. Refuel your emotional, psychological, and mental health.
Don’t rush your healing. Trust in the process and take your time to recover. This is the time for you to learn how to live independently, to rediscover the beauty of love and life, to learn new things, adopt new hobbies, etc.
Your toxic relationship may have restrained you. But now, it’s time for you to be free and to do the things that bring you joy. Your wounds will heal in time, but for now, give yourself the love and care that you deserve.
Being in a relationship with a psychopath messes with you emotionally, mentally, psychologically — sometimes, even physically. You need to know that you don’t deserve this kind of treatment. There are better things out there for you that your partner is only hindering you from achieving.
The first step to ending a toxic relationship is realizing your self-worth and knowing that you deserve better. Have the courage to leave and move forward with your life. Only make room for things that allow you to grow and be your best self.