Making a clean getaway

That moment when you realize you’re in the presence of a malignant personality, and you make the decision to bow out quietly and make a clean getaway, is probably one of the most naive moments you’ll ever have.

So you think you can just fade away into their past, unscathed?


It might take them a while, but they’ll figure out you have dropped off of their radar. They will seek you out. They will hunt you down and they will force you to tell them why you don’t like them anymore, even if it means they do it with everyone BUT you.

I have experienced this phenomena more times than I care to share.

The average, normal person handles this kind of rejection in a much more civilized manner. For instance, when I realize someone has stopped being friendly, I might send them a note asking if things are okay.

If they don’t answer, I leave it at that.

I tried.

If they do answer with a laundry list of my transgressions, I might try to salvage the friendship by promising to do better, or I might just decide their expectations of me were much too high and unrealistic. Perhaps they’re better off finding my replacement.

Either of these two paths are accurate and healthy choices.

The psychopath, however, takes it to the extreme.

They might call and call and call, maybe even letting your old landline ring at least a hundred times. They might send text after text after text, nasty emails rewriting history or letters in the mail. They might call low-rent talk shows and have the producers contact you or send you bogus magazine subscriptions. They might even write a song about you or periodically (depending on whether the moon is full, or not) tell people you ruined their life.

Oh, the angst of being a psychopath must be tremendous and consuming. I cannot even imagine it.

I have been successful at fading into the background for only a few months at a time. My longest fade on record was two years before the psychopath started asking all of our mutual friends why we weren’t friends anymore. She was diabolical because she did it in such a way that my friends thought it behooved them to get involved and try to fix the situation. I was totally not on board with any of their suggestions.

I was quite happy to remain in the background.

Here’s how fading into the background goes:

  1. You stop contacting them.
  2. You stop reading their emails or taking their calls.
  3. You stop hanging out at gatherings where they might be present. Sometimes you can show up, but make sure not to engage them on any level deeper than a “hello” or you’re just asking to be back in the foreground again.
  4. You slowly disengage on every level until they can’t see you and you can’t see them.
  5. Continue on with your life.

This kind of split is usually prefaced after being abused in some form or fashion. Whether its being constantly lied to, humiliated, manipulated or verbally abused in a passive/aggressive way, the split is always justifiable.

One of my friends tried to convince me to see it through and try to work it out.

That’s ridiculous advice.

When you are in the middle of an abusive and toxic connection to another human being the only thing you need to do for yourself is to get away from it as quickly and as painlessly as you can muster. Even though you are successful in escaping, you need to be prepared for their reappearance, because they will come back until you have made it clear they are not welcome.

Why do they do it?

That answer is very simple. So simple, it will shock you.

They keep coming back for one reason and that is Control.

Once they realize they have lost their control over you, they will do anything to get you back under control. They will take great and embarrassing strides to woo you back. It won’t matter to them if you’re coming back on bended knees, begging for forgiveness, or if you’re taking a swing at their jaw with your fist. Either way suits them just fine because you’re engaged and, believe it or not, you are back under their control.

The best advice anyone can give you is to never let them back in. Do not engage them on any level. Ignore the calls, the texts and the pleas from misinformed friends to patch things up.

Do Not Engage.

Cut Off All Contact.

Most importantly, be prepared for their unwelcome reentry to your life.

How do you prepare for something like this? You might have just spent 3 blissful months not having to deal with them and now you have to deal with them again? How in the world are you supposed to handle this new situation? Especially since now the psychopath’s attention is focused solely on you…the one that got away?

Every incident is different, but the overall best defense is not to let it become anything more than a blip on your radar. Ignoring them is still the way to go.

You don’t have to take their calls or answer their emails. You don’t even have to listen to the fifty voicemails they leave or read the emails they clog your Inbox with. Delete the voicemails without listening to them and set up the filtering controls on your email account to put anything they send you right into the Trash file.

I think it goes without saying that they add nothing to your life. They only take away from it. So nothing they have to say after all this time is even worth responding to.

You owe them nothing.

You owe it to yourself to remember why you faded into the background in the first place.

Until next time, this is Madeline Laughs, fading into the background where the psychopaths can’t get to her.

You can find this and many other entries about living with and recovering from narcissistic abuse in my book, Life After the Narcissist written by Katy Shultz. Available on, Barnes and and all fine retailers.

About Madeline Scribes

A writer with a sense of humor. If anyone can laugh at life, it's me.
This entry was posted in All kinds of Advice, Personal Boundaries Primer and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Making a clean getaway

  1. Regyna Longlank says:

    Wow. Well apparently I am that psychopath, so let me speak to the why. When someone you love cuts you off without warning or explanation it hurts. It is human and natural to want to know why, to try to fix it, to win back their love.

    If you can’t give them the human dignity of sitting down with them and honestly sharing why you left maybe you never loved them to begin with.

    It’s not about control. It’s about understanding what is happening to your life. You needing to disappear without explanation or respect seems more like a control trip to me. You are making a choice about my life that I have no input into or influence over. You are making the decision to do so without me and then informing me of it and wondering why I am so butt hurt. Well it could be because you left me out of the equation.

    I guess if that’s how you roll being my friend wasn’t going to work out anyways. But it would have been nice to be in on that choice you made. For me.

    Just sayin.


    • Regyna Longlank says:

      I guess. The behavior you describe sounds an awful lot like me. I realize you weren’t talking about me at all, but it still rings true. So if that behavior is wrong then I guess E was right to cut me out of his life. I’m just not so sure it’s that simple.


      • Regyna Longlank says:

        Ok fine. I still feel crazy. But I’m always glad you called, even when I’m crying too hard to pick up the phone. It just hurts so bad to be rejected this way. Make sure it’s really the right thing to do, not just a way to avoid growth and change because you don’t like hearing the truth about yourself.


      • I never reject people easily, so when I do it, I do it with a lot of thought. Cutting people out of your life should never be something you do lightly. I am sending wishes that your hurt goes away quickly. Hopefully you’ll do the right thing one day and pay us back the $711.00 we loaned you to get your teeth fixed. Until then, don’t expect anymore tea and sympathy from us.


  2. nikki says:

    I have one of those…only he does things very secretively…in the background…I only know about it when it is too late…I have removed myself…found a new place…only to find out that he is now in that place…he moves in, takes over, and sucks all the air out…time to move on again…this time to a place that he cannot touch…people are crazy…I personally don’t have the time to sit and figure out how to make someone else miserable…


  3. afteramerica says:

    May I please repost your article? Do not be offended with what I am about to say. I belong to a middle aged group of men. Some are still married, some are divorced. They stay with their spouse because they love them. Their only sexual outlet is “masturbation.” This article is amazing and a lot of these men have had to deal with the type of personality in your article. If it’s okay I’ll post it, if not I won’t God bless you and keep up the great work.


    • Hi there afteramerica 🙂 It’s good to see you back and yes, by all means, repost to your heart’s content. Thank you so much for taking a look and I haven’t forgotten that I owe you an email. Getting right on that today!


  4. Daphne Ogyen says:

    new show title: “So You Think You Can Fade.” bwahahahahahaha


  5. Many thanks for mentioning my post (“The Pyshco … ahem … Psychopath Test”) in your ‘Related articles’ shirttail.


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