Leaving a toxic relationship is hard: 5 reasons why victims of narcissistic abuse choose to stay
People who haven’t experienced narcissistic abuse at first hand have no idea how hard it is to let go.
They believe the decision a toxic person’s victim has to make is simple – they either leave, or they accept being mistreated and stay. But the ones who have been trapped in a manipulative being’s mind games know just how difficult it is to walk away.
Moving on from a toxic relationship is far more challenging than people might think. It gets a tremendous amount of courage to break the chains of a narcissistic partner’s influence.
Letting go is hard not because you’re weak and can’t handle a breakup, but because you’ve been severely emotionally damaged by this person and you have little to no hopes you will ever heal from that trauma.
Here are 5 reasons why some victims of narcissistic abuse stay:
1. The decision to leave a toxic relationship is anxiety-infused.
Victims of long-term gaslighting, scapegoating, and cruel manipulation are often so emotionally hurt that they can’t tell if leaving such a hurtful relationship is the right thing to do. If their partners have gotten them to the point where they question their whole reality, they might find it extremely difficult to clearly see the amounts of abuse they are experiencing. Therefore, the choice to leave isn’t so obvious, since they are afraid to trust their own intuition after being manipulated for so long.
2. Confronting the problem can be deeply traumatic.
Since they have been put through psychological abuse for a long time, it’s completely understandable that victims of toxic partners are afraid to face their trauma. In order to protect themselves from worse damage than they have already experienced, they choose to stay and focus on the good sides of their relationship. This spares them the potential pain they would have to go through if they decide to stand up for themselves.
3. They convince themselves they deserve the abuse.
Oftentimes, after a long period of being mistreated by their partners, people tend to question their self-worth. They even reach the point where they start believing they deserve the pain they go through. This makes them see themselves through the eyes of their abuser. Some narcissists can even get their victims to a level of insecurity where they feel grateful that at least someone wants to be in a relationship with them.
4. They are afraid to face society’s judgment.
The thought of ‘what would people say’ is terrifying in such situations. People who have no idea what it’s like to find yourself trapped in someone’s cruel mind games are quick to judge those who have. This leaves the victims of abuse disheartened and makes them believe no one will support them if they decide to end their toxic relationship. They are afraid that if they fight back and speak up for themselves, they will meet nothing but shame and vicious accusations.
5. They aren’t mentally prepared to walk away.
Even the best piece of advice is powerless if a person who has been so ruthlessly mistreated isn’t emotionally ready to leave. Nothing will work until they feel the inner shift that will motivate them to put an end to the abuse. The first step towards freeing yourself from a toxic partner’s influence is to apprehend how much you’ve been hurt and to accept the fact that you allowed someone to treat you that way. The next step is to stop letting this someone control your life and mess up your reality. Once you realize you deserve better, you will finally have that push that will help you move on.