The 5 Step Exit – How to leave your sociopathic partner

Five Step ExitBook Review: The Five Step Exit The skills you need to leave a narcissist, psychopath or other toxic partner and recover your happiness now, by Amber Ault, Ph.D.

It’s the New Year. Did you make a New Year’s resolution to really, finally, emphatically, get out of your toxic relationship, once and for all?

If your answer is yes, or even if you’re still just thinking about putting an end to the madness, you need this book:

The Five Step Exit

The skills you need to leave a narcissist, psychopath or other toxic partner and recover your happiness now, by Amber Ault, Ph.D.

In this slim, wonderful book, Dr. Ault promises to take you, step by step, through the process of disengaging from an abusive partner and she delivers. This is the most clear, concise and helpful “how to” for breaking away from a toxic person that I have ever read.

The Five Step Exit is a collection of advice, strategies and exercises that will enable you to take your life where you want it to go.

So what are the five steps?

  1. Contemplation If you are uncertain about leaving, the exercises in this section will clarify your thinking.
  1. Preparation —Set priorities, seek assistance and anticipate blowback, so that you can make an effective action plan.
  1. Execution Skillful goodbye strategies, tailored to the type of toxic person that you are dealing with.
  1. Improvisation How to handle unpleasant, and perhaps even dangerous, reactions from your ex-partner.
  1. Recovery A multitude of suggestions for rebuilding your life through “exquisite self-care,” many of which are free.

Solid explanations and advice

From the explanations and advice in this book, it is evident that Dr. Ault knows exactly what she is talking about. In the section on “Preparation,” for example, she writes:

Toxic relationships have common dynamics but a wide range of circumstances. In extreme situations, people face physical violence or restrictions on their freedom to leave their homes or contact friends, family, and police. Exiting other situations may involve financial risk, downward mobility, threats of retaliation, and drama that will drag on for awhile. Sometimes, when we’re fortunate, ending a toxic relationship simply does come down to telling the other person that things are over. If you don’t live together, don’t have financial involvements or kids, and the person will be offended enough by your rejection that they won’t contact you again, consider yourself fortunate. Ultimately, only you know the details and dynamics of your particular situation, so you are in the best position to determine what kind of exit plan to make and how to set it in motion when the time comes.

Throughout the book, Dr. Ault asks questions to help you crystalize how you can move forward. For example:

What are your priorities? What is at risk? What are you willing to sacrifice? What needs to be protected?

Your ex may try to re-engage with you. What are the goals of your toxic ex in these efforts?

What if you get Hoovered, and you fall hook, line and sinker for one of your ex’s ploys to suck you in?

Dr. Ault helps you think through all of these situations, and more, so that you are as prepared as you can be for anything that may happen.


Getting out of the relationship is half of the battle. The other half is to “re-ground yourself in your own life, desires and wellbeing.”

The Recovery section of Dr. Ault’s book is full of healing suggestions to help you create life after the sociopath. She recognizes that some involvements with sociopaths of leave us in financial ruin, so many of her suggestions are free all they require are your time and attention. These include going outside, journaling and freedom rituals.

Some suggestions are surprising, like social dancing including ballroom, tango and country. Social dance “lets us make gentle physical and social contact with others in pleasant, affirming environments,” Dr. Ault says. “And it’s a lot of fun.”

Excellent guide

All in all, The Five Step Exit is chock-full of sound advice and solid strategies for getting out of the craziness and moving forward to the sane, peaceful and happy life that you truly deserve.

If you want to leave the sociopath, this slender book tells you exactly how to do it. Highly recommended.

The Five Step Exit is available on Amazon.com.



Comment on this article

45 Comments on "The 5 Step Exit – How to leave your sociopathic partner"

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Wow – I really need this. This involvement is so confusing.

Hi Icantbelieveit,

Please get this book if you are still with your abuser. Have it sent to a trusted friend or family members home for your safety.

One of the first things a sociopath does is isolates the victim. Most victims break relationships with their family & friends because of the sociopaths so reconnect with them now for support and share what is really going on in your relationship.

Contact your countries National & Local abuse center asap for free counseling & free women group meeting. This will open your eyes to the abuse you are enduring by this guy. In the USA 800-799-SAFE is the national domestic violence hotline (see their website also).

Did you know that the bulk of domestic abuse is emotional, mental & verbal abuse?

Manipulation, lying, omission etc = ARE ABUSE!!


Do a search on Lovefraud & on the net for the following:

Gas lighting abuse

no contact rule

low contact rule (if you have kids with this abuser)

sociopath triangulation

sociopath smear campaign

PLEASE KNOW YOU ARE NOT ALONE ANYMORE…WE HEAR YOU!! KEEP REACHING OUT FOR HELP…and come here to ask questions, vent & to educate yourself as to what is really going on in your relationship.

Take care.

ps watch Donna Anderson’s videos up at the top also.

Remember to clear your computer history each time you search a topic so that you are safe!!

The most dangerous time for a vicim of abuse is when she is planning to leave or has left her abuser. SO PLEASE contact your local abuse (& National) for an EXIT PLAN & SAFETY PLAN out of your relationship.


Domestic Abuse Exit Plan (then with the words you tube)

Domestic Abuse Safety plan (then again with the words you tube)

Dr Phil domestic abuse exit plan you tube

forgot to let you know that Donna Anderson site creator of Lovefraud also has a consultation program via phone for a small fee to talk with her about your relationship (see the contact tab up at the top for more info)

Icantbelieveit, (just moving your post back up to the top so you can read my response).

This has been helpful.

Dr. Ault says from a social psychological perspective, its hard to leave a relationship where you have given a lot.

I got the book. She says to shift your mood interact with babies, children, pets or plants. I find this helps.

Surely there was a misunderstanding. It would not be appropriate to use a baby or children. The thought of such a recommendation horrifies me.

Tony Robbins has a youtube video that shows how to change our state (mood) by tapping into our own memories and our own experiences of love and gratitude. I am not recommending Mr Robbins, only saying that we can find inspiration and help from many sources. And that this particular one of his is very helpful for me.

NotWhatHeSaidOfMe Dr. Ault says first to be kind to yourself using possible steps such as identifying the thought that is beneath the mood. She then says secondly there are many active practices to shift mood such as interacting with babies, children, pets or plants. I’m sure she meant to interact with babies in a way that would not in any way be harmful to them. A friend has an Anne Geddes calendar which she finds very uplifting. I’m sure there are many ways to shift mood and what one does is, of course, up to the individual.

Thanks for the clarification. As a child of a pedo, the idea of using kids for personal took my thoughts only in one way. You are so correct, the images of wee darlings always brings a smile. I enjoy watching them skate at the rink in our local mall. They are having the fun that I didn’t but… it makes me happy to see them happy. It’s anonymous and like you say, not harmful to them. My friends snapshots of their grandkids being funny or adorable or enjoying family time also makes me happy. In fact, just thinking about kids and these good times makes me feel joyful.

NotWhat I probably should have been more clear when I posted. Yes, seeing children skating is very pleasant and joyful.

Interacting with children and plants in right ways (not exploitative nor perverse) often involves caretaking and giving, which is usually healing and psychologically uplifting. For example, reading a story to children, taking grandchildren to the park, tending a garden, etc. When I was depressed or sad, I always found babysitting young children took my mind off my own troubles. They are innocent and full of joy, and eager to relate in their own way.

Sad that exploiters and perverts spoil the concept of right and balanced relationships.

I also find plants uplifting, especially tropical spiders which put out new plants.

I need all the help I can get. I’m emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially handcuffed.
I’m isolated with no friends for support.
I can’t break free.. even though he lives 500 miles away.
Thank you for sharing and being here. Any and ALL suggestions are helpful.
I have 3 children and am a little concerned at my 17 year old son lacking empathy, lack of compassion, belittling, and being disrespectful. My son is kind, sweet, and smart. I cannot decipher if he is just “being a teen” or possibly becoming a narcissist or sociopath. I’m worried.

Dr. Ault says animals can also lift mood. I was at the dog park enjoying the running dogs.

I also find music can lift your mood, especially the flute for me.

Animals can lift our mood. I just heard animal communicator Amelia Kincade on Coast to Coast radio. Interesting stuff.

Music can be uplifting. I really like Cheryl Lynn ‘It’s Going to Be Right’.

Dr. Ault says money can be a factor in leaving. For financial reasons, I must stay in contact with a narcissist for 2 more weeks, then I will leave.

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