Victims in abusive or toxic relationships stay for a variety of reasons from fear of the unknown, fear of being single , possibly unemployed parent, lack of financial resources and housing, to lack of support and certainly lack of confidence & self worth. Due to years of abuse the brainwashing and mind games take a toll and the victims feels exhausted in every form. Many wonder if anyone would believe them if they did tell their story especially with a narcissist who’s actions are truly unbelievable.
For some they fear what might happen once they do leave.
My abusive narcissist was arrested and a protection order was administered and served and that helped to resolve the situation and ease some of this tension, nevertheless the fear was real. The most important thing for anyone who may find themselves feeling overwhelmed and or stuck by settling for less is to know you are not to blame, you are not alone, help is available, and to understand the alternative of staying is much worse than the consequences of leaving. Sometimes having that reassurance and validation in helping someone get professional help in getting out is all they need. I had friends literally who had their voices permanently silenced because of domestic violence and abuse and it always was in the back of my mind and I know families that have children that grew up believing this type of behavior was the norm. Abuse is never ok regardless of gender and the cycle can be stopped before it becomes a generational problem.
You can make the change and you can take back your power. You have the ability to decide what you will or will not accept and the choice ultimately lies with you.
First and foremost it’s of upmost importance that when leaving an abusive relationship you take every precaution necessary for your own safety and well being and for those closely connected to you including your loved ones. Secondly upon leaving it’s the most critical and dangerous time so make sure you let others close to you know of your plans and contact the proper authorities, get professional help, or find help within the legal system in your area. Resources are available to help you in all areas including governmental assistance, housing, transportation, education funding, food, clothing, etc. Make sure you connect with those that can better serve your needs and provide the support with people who have your best interest in mind and who will help you progress safely through the process of leaving the abusive situation.
So often in these types of relationships the victim feels alone. The narcissist will try to take away their personal connections causing them to feel this way. They want the victim to feel as though they are dependent upon the narcissist and for that reason many find it difficult to leave. In my own situation I recall my narcissist making me feel as though I couldn’t manage my life w/o him. That I was incapable of even the most basic task and that I needed permission to complete certain tasks or errands ironically I graduated with high honors and a Masters degree . Narcissists will make the basic household chores seem like true accomplishments that only he or she could achieve because they believe they are highly intelligent and far superior than everyone else. Don’t fall for this façade because you are perfectly capable and in fact can probably do the work better than the narcissist. Narcissists have this ability to make things appear bigger than they truly are and once you leave you will learn what they magnified was absolutely nothing for you to master.
A healthy relationship involves free will, building one another up not tearing each other down, it involves support and unconditional love and attention. It’s not one sided, it’s not based on fear tactics or brain washing, it’s real and true to the heart. It involves emotions and soulful feelings and sharing your experiences . It cannot be mirrored or projected it must be felt from within and displayed openly and freely between two people. Love never hurts and is never shameful or embarrassing. How often I avoided being seen in public because of my narcissist actions. How often we must walk on eggshells to please our partners? Think how everything appeared to be one sided w/o discussion or conversation and always blaming just one.
It takes two loving, understanding,& committed adults who accept responsibility for their own actions and behaviors to have a relationship.
In the beginning of the initial honeymoon phase the narc will bombard you with flattery, with the love letters, txt, and will smother you with affection. This is all a façade to win you over and make you believe in the fantasy that you are “The ONE” . I’m not a professional but I can tell you from personal experience even after being discarded and devalued with a new supply in place my narc was still sending emails begging me to come back and telling me their was still a lot of love and that I was the ONE. Narcissist love to proclaim their feelings but they are not heartfelt or real. They are mirrored and projected and you don’t have to go far to learn the trail of destruction is vast and real and cannot be denied. Once you learn the truth the narcissist will try everything to keep you confined and under their control and power while living in the fog which is nothing more than a black hole and bottomless pit. Narcissist need constant supplies and constant admiration, praise, and will do whatever it takes to keep you as well as every other previous partners . Spouses, children, and close connections are viewed as mere extensions for the narcissists. The time spent with a narcissist even if long term means nothing to them. They view relationships as benefits for themselves and for those who married the certificate is nothing more than a piece of paper. They simply use targets, supplies and victims for their own selfish gains.
As time goes on you may notice you seem to be ignoring your own needs for the benefit of your relationship. This is termed co-dependency and it’s very damaging. Never lose yourself and your self worth and pride for another human being. With narcissism everything must be for his/her best interest but the feelings are never mutual. They expect you to be there for their every need and when things are going good they will be there to take the credit but the minute you are having problems or need assistance they magically disappear and find fault in your behavior or actions towards them. Victims will often try to alter their own behavior and do things they ordinarily wouldn’t do simply to try to keep the peace and keep the narcissist happy. The problem with always working to exhaustion to please another is that it’s never noticed, appreciated , or reciprocated by a narcissist and the more you do the more they will take. Narcissist are incapable of loving another person in the true sense of the world love and in time this breeds terrible resentment, anger, and hurt for the victim who gave so much of themselves to someone who cares so little in return for them. Healthy relationships take responsibility and are based on communication, trust, and understanding with shared decisions in order to accommodate both parties involved. Relationships are never perfect and trying to please someone to the point of having the perfect life for them is not healthy.
In a loving relationship you will never have to feel a constant need to explain yourself or defend your every actions . You should never feel a need to try to win someone’s love or attention. It’s freely given and freely received. It’s not healthy to have someone constantly bringing you down in order for them to lift themselves up. Narcissists will never applaud you , they will never praise you for accomplishments, they are not supportive in fact they despise anyone better than them. They feel they are god like and expect others to believe in their special talents. Narcissists try to portray themselves as well groomed, well liked, high members of society and nothing could be further from the truth. They are honestly pro cons, chameleons, don juans,, or princesses that have enlarged grandiose egos of superiority. They are very convincing and are able to use the victim card to elate sympathy and empathy. People unaware of narcissism will feel pity for them and naturally want to help them. Often narcissists will tell everyone their past failed relationships weren’t their fault. It’s the crazy ex husbands, wives, jilted lovers fault. They will never take blame or criticism lightly and will deflect the problems placing blame elsewhere. Their is no relationship with a narc as it’s built not on a solid foundation of love , trust, or mutual respect but anger, confusion, lies, infidelity, brainwashing , mistrust, and deceit. With a narc your voice is never heard, your complaints, your needs, your wants, your criticism, your very essence is ignored.
Narcissist know how to keep victims locked in by using emotional blackmail, threats, intimidation, fear, brainwashing, and unfortunately the victim feels less empowered to leave. Victims often second guess themselves, making excuses for the narcs behavior, blaming themselves for the narcs actions. This is not healthy.
Healthy relationships involve giving and taking. Giving and receiving. It’s not a matter of right and wrong. True relationships take time to build and take work to maintain. If you feel you are in a relationship with a child , feeling like you have to change your ways to accommodate and please another, have lost yourself, or are fearful to leave than you are in an abusive and toxic relationship.
One such author (Marc Chernoff) in discussing toxic relationships entitled, “10 Toxic Relationships Mentally Strong People Avoid” noted it best: “Nothing you can give is more appreciated than your sincere, focused attention – your full presence. Being with someone, listening without a clock and without anticipation of the next event is the ultimate compliment. It is indeed the most valued gesture you can make to another human being.”