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How to Declare Your Independence from Narcissists

July 4, 2018

On this day 242 years ago, American revolutionaries took a bold stand against tyranny from England, then the most powerful nation on earth. They declared:

  1. All people have inalienable rights
  2. The British misused their power and violated American rights
  3. That after unsuccessfully trying to work it out with the British, the Americans felt their only choice was to sever relationships and declare themselves free

The Declaration of Independence was an elegant and ground-breaking document for human rights. Stating their willingness for the world to judge the truth, the Americans asked for nothing, threatened nothing and declared that they needed nothing.

If you have destructive narcissists in your life, you have the right to limit or end contact with them. One way to do this is to declare your independence, either from a specific narcissist or from all destructive narcissists.

I encourage you to write your own declaration of independence. Whether done for your eyes only or sent to a narcissist, you have the right to take a bold step against the tyranny of narcissistic behaviors.

Below is a sample declaration that loosely follows the American Declaration of 1776, borrowing from the words of Thomas Jefferson and others. Feel free to adapt this to your specific situation.


I hold these truths to be self-evident: all people are created equal, are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Adult relationships derive their existence from both parties’ consent. When a relationship becomes destructive it is the right, even duty, of any adult to seek change or leave the relationship to seek safety and happiness.

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for me to set boundaries, including limiting or ending contact with those who have not treated me well, it is my absolute right to do so.

The current relationship with [insert Narcissist’s name here] has included numerous instances of narcissistic behavior that have led to repeated injuries and violations of my rights. These include:

  • Denying or seeking to prevent my efforts to do what is healthy for myself
  • Seeking to prevent me from creating healthy relationships with other people
  • Badgering me or trying to dissuade me from self-care and personal growth
  • Failing to treat me fairly and compassionately
  • Denying that I have rights
  • Recruiting others to ridicule, intimidate or isolate me
  • Launching a barrage of nuisance and harassment tactics
  • Using intimidation to force my compliance
  • Threatening my emotional, financial or physical well-being
  • Seeking to isolate me from potential friends and allies
  • Making decisions that affect me without my knowledge or consent
  • Hurting me repeatedly without apology or amends
  • Taking resources from me without permission
  • Treating me like an enemy or inferior

[If desired, add additional violations]

Although I may have tolerated these behaviors, called attention to them, asked for change or sought compromise and communication, none of this has made a difference. This is unjust and unhealthy.

Therefore, I declare myself free and independent from any narcissistic person who seeks to reduce, control or take advantage of me, whether they be in my house or the White House, in my workplace or my community.

I declare that I are fully responsible for my decisions and actions. I further declare that I have the right to:

  • Choose with whom I associate
  • Remove myself from or prevent efforts to violate, abuse or take advantage of me
  • Question and dissent
  • Feel all my feelings and express them appropriately
  • Live my values, express my thoughts, and pursue my goals
  • Learn, grow and connect with others
  • Make mistakes, experiment and be uncertain
  • Pursue happiness, success and health
  • Love and be loved
  • Trust and earn others’ trust
  • Build self-respect and earn others’ respect

[If desired, add additional rights]



Of course, declaring independence in and of itself doesn’t make you free. The American revolutionaries found that out in 1776 when they declared independence but had to fight to secure it.

In declaring your independence from narcissists, you are likely to get push back and be tested or rejected. But it doesn’t matter what narcissists do, it matters what you do. Freedom isn’t always easy.

You are not alone. There are far more healthy people than narcissists. Seek them out. Pursue happiness. Cultivate health. Celebrate your liberty.


Photo credits:

Founding fathers by WikiImages
Narcissist sign by Kezza
Statue of Liberty by Kay2170
Fireworks by Atkim

How to Declare Your Independence from Narcissists

Dan Neuharth, Ph.D., MFT

Dan Neuharth, PhD, is a marriage and family therapist and best-selling author based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has more than 25 years’ experience providing individual, couples and family therapy. Dr. Neuharth is the author of If You Had Controlling Parents: How to Make Peace with Your Past and Take Your Place in the World. He writes two blogs for PsychCentral: Love Matters and Narcissism Decoded. He is licensed as a marriage and family therapist in California, Florida, Texas and Virginia. His website:

Please note: Dr. Neuharth's posts are for information and educational purposes only. These posts are not intended to be therapy or professional psychotherapeutic advice, and are not a replacement for psychotherapy. I cannot give psychotherapeutic advice about your individual situation outside of a therapist-client relationship. The posting of these blogs and the information therein does not constitute the formation of a therapist-client relationship. Please consult your physician or mental health provider for individual advice or support for your health and well-being. If you are in crisis, please call your local 24-hour crisis or mental health hotline or dial 911.

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APA Reference
Neuharth, D. (2018). How to Declare Your Independence from Narcissists. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2020, from


Last updated: 4 Jul 2018
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