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.



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

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Music can be uplifting. The Song of the Angels Flute Choir will be performing in Glendale, CA tonight.

Art can be uplifting. The Macy’s fireworks are on TV tonight.

Nature can be uplifting. Dignity Health has a great utube ad showing a beautiful lake titled ‘ take 2 minutes’. You might check it out.

Animals can be uplifting. Friends are going to a nearby zoo,

Art can be uplifting. The Laguna Beach, CA art festival is great.

Music can be uplifting. The Hollywood Bowl has wonderful concerts. Some are on utube.

Dance can be uplifting. The American Contemporary Ballet is premiereing 2 new ballets at a highrise in Los Angeles, CA.

Speaking of ballet, you’re darn right, love! Dance can be VERY uplifting… indeed, downright exhilarating! Even if you have to do it all “backwards, in high heels,” the way Ginger Rogers did. Just check out this image here, for instance:


As an afterthought—as metaphorical as it is!—I’m sure every woman appreciates a man who would “lift her UP,” and NEVER “put her down”!

Redwald Thanks for the good link.

Redwald Thanks again for the great link on dance.

Again, dance can be uplifting. The West Hollywood Dance Festival is a week long festival including free community workshops and public performances.

You are so right, Sunnygal, about the uplifting effects of dancing. Two years post-sociopath, I took up salsa dancing, and it changed my life. Between salsa and Zumba, I lost 20 lbs and got a whole new outlook (though salsa is not without its drama, for those who remember my salsa years, but that it a different story….) It is nearly impossible to be dancing and not to be smiling. Dance helps so much with mood and endorphin levels.

The other thing that drastically changed my life after the sociopath was traveling out of the country. If you can afford to travel to some place in the US, then you can easily afford to travel to a place like Costa Rica. It’s so much cheaper to travel there than in the US, and plane fares are often not any more than traveling to another state. Something to consider. A lot of people feel they are too depressed to travel or to plan any adventure. But consider this: Even if you are depressed while traveling, traveling will make you a more interesting person. You will have interesting things to talk about when you get home. You will find other travelers and be able to talk about common experiences. You may even feel inspired to learn another language. This will raise your energy level and help with your healing, even without any effort on your part. I have now made four trips to Costa Rica including the original one, and it has added a whole new dimension to my life. I have begun writing about my adventures and retained some of my travel friends as Facebook friends. It has (literally) opened up a whole new world.

If you are not the type to travel to a foreign country where they speak a different language, consider taking road trips to small out-of-the-way towns you’ve never been to. Sit in diners and talk to the locals. A few years back, I read a historical novel called Empire of the Summer Moon. It is a true story about the role of the Comanches in the early history of this country, and the kidnapping of the white girl Cynthia Ann Parker at 8 years old. She was raised by Comanches and became part of their tribe. She went on to marry a Comanche and give birth to three children by him before she was “rescued” against her will by her white family, where she died shortly after. It’s a fascinating story – bear with me; there’s a reason I’m telling you this! Two of Cynthia Ann’s children died, but the third went on to become one of the last great Comanche warriors – Quanah Parker. Quanah eventually surrendered to the white man and spent his last years in a self-built home called Star House. Speaking both Comanche and English, he entertained such dignitaries as President Roosevelt in his Star house and brokered many deals for his people with the white man. On my last road trip, I made a small jaunt out of the way and visited the Star House. It was incredible to see this page out of history. I blogged about the road trip in its entirety, with the visit to Quanah Parker’s last home in the tiny town of Cache, OK being one of the highlights of the trip. This is a great example of a fun road trip that is life-enriching. Find a reason to travel to a small town and take in the local culture. It will get you outside of yourself and make you a more interesting person.

But don’t neglect taking quiet time for your own healing. Sometimes when you are out there living life and at least trying to have fun, waves of grief and memories come up. Take the time to fully feel those feelings and process them. Then go back to your life in progress. You will find that over the years, the healing process becomes part of who you are. You will find that as you heal yourself, you are naturally compassionate and wise with others. Your wisdom and insight, along with your ongoing life experiences, will help you to create a new story for your life – one that is not about being a victim but about being a strong and creative person. And this will, in turn, help others.

Don’t wait until you feel better to make a change in your life. Do it now, and watch how it changes your outlook. Don’t wait for the right feeling, attitude, therapist, or partner to come along. Just do it.

Sending a big hug to all.



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