Dating, Loving, and Leaving a Narcissist: Essential Tools for Improving or Leaving Narcissistic and Abusive Relationships

$ 9.95

Buy a PDF here. Order a paperback from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or ask your local store to order it.  Get the audiobook version on GooglePlay. For Apple, Kobo, and other devices here.

The problem in relationships with narcissists is that they prioritize power and sacrifice the relationship to get it, while their partners prioritize the relationship and sacrifice themselves to keep it.

Dating, Loving, and Leaving a Narcissist is unique among voices that exhort leaving a narcissist. It is insightful, researched, and empathetic and offers hope and help for loved ones to restore their self-esteem and rebalance a narcissistic relationship. It includes Essential Tools for Staying and Leaving and provides an in-depth analysis of the relationship, how to make changes, and how to assess its prognosis.

This workbook is packed with healing exercises and checklists to enlighten and motivate you. It suggests lists of actions, including a strategic, step-by-step plan with scripts to confront abuse and get your needs met.

Dating, Loving, and Leaving a Narcissist will help you take back your power and independence. You will reclaim yourself and improve your relationship, whether the narcissist is your partner, parent, child, sibling, or co-worker, or doesn’t have a narcissistic personality disorder. In sum, you will have a better relationship with yourself and your loved one and be able to decide whether and how to leave the relationship. You will be able to:

  • Discover the diagnosis, type, and deep motivations of a narcissist
  • Recognize the red flags when dating a narcissist and know what to do
  • Identify narcissistic behavior and know how to handle it
  • Understand your role and attraction to a narcissist
  • Regain your autonomy and self-esteem
  • Rebalance the power in the relationship
  • Learn how to confront abuse effectively
  • Assess your relationship and whether to stay or leave
  • Prepare to leave

Read customer reviews on Amazon here


  1. Amaris McKinney

    I bought the book and read it in 2 days. It was a good read, but I would have liked to see more about what to do when the NPD is someone other than a partner. In my case, it was my mother. I cut her off a while ago to keep my own sanity, but the book also helped me to realize to what extent as she refused to stick with counseling; she saw it as an opportunity to have a captive audience to make up a bunch of lies. It wasn’t until she was incarcerated that her former counselor realized she’d lied about everything. It would also be helpful to know what to do when the person is someone you work with like a supervisor. After reading your book, I realized I did/am doing everything I could to deal with the ones that I must. Even as a well educated professional, sometimes detaching and the Q-Tip method is easier said than done when they try to wear you down. Thank you for providing this resource and it affirms some of the actions we must take for self preservation.

    • Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT

      Detaching isn’t easy and, intellect notwithstanding, it involves acceptance and grief. You can use the Strategic Transactional Communication steps with anyone. Also, please do the exercises to manifest change. IMO, individual counseling is preferable with a narcissist (unless the couples counselor is very experienced with NPD). By changing your reactions, you can improve the relationship for yourself.

  2. Cami

    I was in a mentally and sometimes physically abusive relationship with a narcissist for 11 yrs. I was and believe still am trauma bonded. He cheated lied, and broke me down to nothing then after me fighting so many years. He met another woman and married her I. 3 months. I was devastated, humiliated, pissef and very broken. He left in 2022 and I know it was best or I’d probably still be on that hamster wheel but I also cannot remember the last time I felt happiness. I thought I would be healed by now, I’m much better but I’m still extremely moody and mostly sad and lonely. I ve read tons and nothing helps, I hope this one is different

    • Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT

      This book can help you understand the narcissist’s mindset and motivations, and why he left. It’s too bad you didn’t start your recovery before he did and ended the relationship yourself. Of course, there’s grief, PTSD, and the pain of rejection and feeling replaced, which can trigger underlying shame. I recommend this blog about trauma, listening to my Breakup Recovery MP3, doing the exercises in Conquering Shame, and see my several blogs on breakups. If you haven’t already, do start therapy to begin your journey of recovery.

  3. Ana

    I wish i could read this for free. It would be nice to just know how to deal with a narcissist and how to get over them and leave them completely. But always have to buy something in order to learn or find out how to handle these type of situations. Which are very hard and severely hard to do. ??

    • Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT

      That would be nice, but there was labor and costs involved in producing and marketing this book, about $8,000. Try asking your local library to order the book. Also, I post many blogs that would be helpful. Do attend meetings, which are free, take steps to build your self-esteem and autonomy, and start some therapy for support.

  4. Allison

    Hello, I like to listen audiobooks in the car while driving. I did not learn how to listen audio on google play though as always concern about downloading too much on my phone. I wish you would also sell this book on DVD’s.

    • Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT

      Most audiobooks are digital. You can download it to your PC or phone from Googleplay. The file size is 235MB or 118MB Then burn a DVD if you like.
      Here are instructions to listen online via iPhone or tablet, android, or PC:

  5. Teresa

    Darlene, My grandson who just turned 19 has a girlfriend that has taken him away from his family, she has a very fruitful job and gets paid weekly, she will not pay any of the bills and has my grandson ask his parents ( My daughter and son-in law) constantly for money to pay for them to live the lifestyle she wants which is quite outrages’. she males over 5,000. a month, gets paid on a weekly basis and spends it before it hits the bank. if my daughter dose not send money, she takes it out on my grandson, she is very abusive and hurtful towards him, I know my daughter is enabling her, but she is afraid of the consequences her son will have to pay. she has moved them to MN and he has not been allowed to see his family now going on 2 years. she fits all the personality traits of a Narcissists and a bit Pyco. she is much older and very controlling I pray every day that my grandson leaves her, but she seems to have some kind of hold on him. he knows it’s a toxic relationship, but he feels stuck. I am scared for him. his family is in Colorado.

  6. Brooke

    I just broke up with my narcissistic boyfriend. We were together for 4 1/2 years. It took the death of my ex-husband to bring his narcissism to light. I was trying to grieve the loss of my ex-husband/father of my kids, but my boyfriend was making it extremely difficult. I felt like I had to hide my feelings and pretend that I was okay because he was so jealous. I hadn’t been with my ex-husband for about 8 years. Since he died, more and more narcissistic traits have shown bright. I blocked him and deleted him. He has contacted my sister, my grandson’s mother and contacted me on my work phone. My grandson is not biologically his grandson. He has not reached out to me for about 2 weeks but my guard is up. I tend to date narcissists and I’m excited to give this workbook a try to find out why I am attracted to narcissists. I want to be able to spot their traits early on. I am fearful every but I attempt to date will be narcissistic.

    • Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT

      The book should help you answer that question and also avoid dating narcissistsl

  7. Brad

    I grew up in a narcissist household. My grandmother on the non-narcissist side was an empath. I was the only child in my family to be born an empath. Now I feel like I am a magnet to narcissists. I married a narcissist and now have children who are narcissistic. The girlfriend I am with now is narcissistic and extremely abusive. I believe in people and have been trying to make the relationship work for 10 years. It seems like the women who chase me are dangerous as the love bombing is so wonderful. How do I break this curse? I have been abused my whole life. I thought it would end when I was away from my childhood family, but it has followed me into my old age. I am in the process of leaving the woman I am with now. I know the curse of narcissistic family will never end. However, I would like to find a mentally healthy woman, to have some peace in my last days. I’m afraid I just don’t know how.

    • Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT

      Your story is sad but not uncommon. The key is learning to love yourself. Study this and my other books, get therapy for your trauma, and attend meetings.

  8. Tori D

    Would this book be beneficial for a mother daughter relationship? I’m not sure how to move forward with my mom. I can’t take this crushing cycles of pain anymore… I’m not sure if I cut her out or what to do… thanks

    • Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT

      Absolutely. Other than one chapter on dating, which also may be of help, the rest of the book can definitely be helpful – even the chapters on breaking up and letting go will be helpful if you decide to go no contact.

  9. Regan Nally

    Darlene Lancer’s work on Dating, Loving, and Leaving a Narcissist has been the most useful read for my situation personally. Her deep understanding of their wiring and suggestions to avoid heightened reactivity actually worked. I have read many a book on the topic and this one is at the top of my list. It restored functionality to a dysfunctional dynamic. I can feel better about myself in the relationship by not reacting. The tools presented actually work!! Thank you Darlene for sharing your life’s work.

    • Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT

      You’re very welcome. I’m glad it was helpful!

  10. Stephanie

    Finally a positive and knowledgeable approach understanding and healing.

  11. Antionette

    Hello Darlene I have been dating a narcissist going on 4 yrs he blames me for everything he doesn’t hold himself accountable for nothing I’m tired of the lies the cheating and bashing me as a person I want to leave and some days I want to stay he doesn’t have any empathy feelings regrets for his behavior but if I leave him I know he will hurt himself I love him but I also love my self it’s difficult communicating with him it has gotten to the point where I take the blame for everything just how can I restore myself or relationship or is it too late

    • Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT

      It sounds like you’re trauma-bonded. Get outside support through meetings and therapy. It’s hard to leave an abusive relationship as my book explains. Follow the steps and exercises in it.

  12. Denise Devoe

    The hardest part about the decision to leave is that it has to come from you, without input from the narcissist. If you go to them with your new revelations about your relationship and how to “ work” on it together they will use all of that as fuel for gaslighting. It is a loud war when you engage with them and it becomes a silent war when you stop engaging and begin to build your own confidence to eventually know your own reality. Once they sense this power shift they will do everything to sabotage your new sense of confidence. They will prey on your weaknesses and childhood traumas that keep you in the cycle. Only the very strong make it out. This book is a huge asset to building your strength to reclaim your life.

    • Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT

      Beautifully explained!

  13. Kathleen A. Viens

    What if the person denies it, because this person I’m with does and it’s hard to kick him out since it’s my house and he uses religion, too.

    • Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT

      I’m not sure what he’s denying, but that’s a defensive tactic and should not sway your decision-making. Boundaries are for you, and the other person, especially a narcissist, may push back and not like them. If you use the steps and scripts in my book, you’ll see that their denial is irrelevant to what you need to say — so are their religious views.

  14. Esther G Williams

    Hello Darlene, I have been in a relationship with a Narcissists, and even though I have left the relationship 2 years, but I still would see him but would not have anymore intimate encounter with him, I still had cravings and longing to be with him I would resist and fight against those feelings. He tried to woo me back so many times, but I knew that if I came back it would be the same thing lying and cheating which never stopped. So I made up my mind this New Year 2023 I never want to go through another abusive relationship like that again. It’s been 2 years but am still having good days and bad days struggling. It’s like a Narcissists does something in your brain and your head where you can’t seem to get them out of your head, but am still Praying to God and detach myself completely away from him. I block all contacts with him, but he got his Neice and sister phone and contact me through it. And I answered thinking it’s them and it’s him. Thus is a New Year and I think I need to disconnect from them as well. I still need help at times. What do you suggest?

    • Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT

      Do the exercises in my new book, Dating, Loving, and Leaving a Narcissist: Essential Tools for Staying or Leaving Narcissistic and Abusive Relationships, and study the section on hoovering, which is what your ex is doing. Also attend meetings or see a therapist for support.

  15. Pam

    Awesome!! I live with a NPD, We have been together for 3yrs and an alcoholic, now Im drinking heavaly and I am leaving him for good, what do i need to do to stay away from him for good? Thanks Pam.

    • Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT

      Do the exercises and take the actions recommended in the book. Go to Al-Anon meetings. You need to detach, emotionally unbond, and get support.

  16. Susan

    Good quality.

  17. Sherry Gaba, LCSW, Author of Love Smacked and host of The Fix Podcast

    “Lancer has written an insightful and comprehensive book that is transformative for loved ones of narcissists. Like her books on shame and codependency, she remarkably breaks down deep psychological concepts into empathetic and practical strategies for anyone wanting to improve their relationship and/or decide whether to leave.”

  18. Beverly Engel, Author of Escaping Emotional Abuse: Healing from the Shame You Don’t Deserve

    “I am extremely impressed with this book and highly recommend it to anyone who has a narcissist in their life. Lancer takes the courageous and enlightened perspective that even a relationship with a narcissist can be improved if you can gain sufficient understanding of them and yourself. Instead of demonizing narcissists, Lancer focuses on changing the relationship dynamics, offering hope and healing for anyone dealing with a narcissist.”

  19. Jean ‘Shayna’ Lester, LMFT, Prison Chaplain, Spiritual Director, Teacher of Ethics & Sacred Therapy

    “Lancer is not only a scholar of codependency and narcissism, she’s been a victim of narcissism and healed from it. I’m grateful for her expertise and personal wisdom and highly recommend her books to my clients.”

  20. Katherine Woodward Thomas, NYT Bestselling Author of Calling in “The One“

    “Darlene Lancer has created a “must have” manual for those who suffer from the nasty habit of getting into bed with a narcissist. This book will enlighten you about the subtle and seductive methods that have been used to reel you in, and will provide you with the concrete steps to make you narcissist-proof moving forward, liberating you to finally create the mutually loving relationship you long for.”

  21. Hackie Reitman, M.D.,

    “Darlene Lancer’s expertise on narcissism and its impact on relationships is unequalled. She understands the differences in our brains, and has insight that all could benefit from.”

  22. ~ Lisa A. Romano Life Coach and Bestselling Author of The Codependency Manifesto

    “Darlene Lancer’s book will help you regain your sense of self and restore your right to believe in yourself again. It will help you make sense of the nonsensical experiences you have experienced with someone you believe may have either been a narcissist or possessed high narcissistic traits.

  23. Randi Kreger, Author of Stop Walking on Eggshells

    “Darlene Lancer understands the DNA of people with narcissistic personality disorder, including their relationships. Her clinical credentials and personal experience make this a book that is not to be missed if you have a partner with NPD, whether you’re staying in the relationship or leaving.”

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