Why Do People Stay In An Abusive Relationship.

Don’t tell me how easy it is to get out of an abusive relationship when you’ve never been in one.

Once out, we might even start to question ourselves as to why did we stay? Some of the smartest, intelligent, intuitive people who get entangled with a narcissist struggle to break free, and when we look back often remember those moments when we just knew something was off and questioned the relationship within ourselves. Yet, still, we stayed, sometimes before any cracks even appeared, our instincts shouted up, it’s incredibly complicated as to why people stay, it’s hard enough for those who’ve lived it to understand why they would stay, Those who haven’t just don’t seem to get it.

Narcissistic people enjoy convincing you, you’re worthless without them, you’re nothing without them, you’ll never find anyone else like them, you’ll never be loved, you’ll never be anything, you’ll never get yourself together, you’ll never be enough, and you’ll never be free. They enjoy going around destroying people and making you think, so long as you behave, all will be ok, yet as soon as you walk free, all hell will break loose. Breaking free will save you. Just do so carefully, you are enough, you are worthy, you are special, you’ll find someone worthy of you, you will be happy, you will get yourself together, you will be free.

Unless people have lived life first-hand with a narcissist, they will never truly understand exactly what went on, and the ‘friendly’ advice of “why don’t you just leave.” Or how unhelpful that friendly advice is.

Why do people stay? The narcissist’s thinking and what you can do if you’re trying to get out.

First is the love bombing. They start their manipulation from the very start by mirroring you, matching you like for like. They are your perfect match, too good to be true. Yet, we know this can happen. Two ‘healthy’ people can meet, click and live long, happy lives together. The soulmate we’ve met has shown us no evidence that they have malicious intentions towards us. Or that they have a personality disorder. The reality we lived at the start is reality, and it is perfect. This can start those doubts within ourselves before the relationship is a few months in. Our instincts might kick in, as we can not see exactly what they are telling us, and this partnership is perfect. We look for outside reasons and excuses. Hurts from past relationships. We are blaming ourselves for having doubts. Even when the things they say don’t quite add up, we begin to question ourselves and not them as there is no evidence to say otherwise.

When that first issue hits, we know in our beliefs that relationships have ups and downs, and we can cling to those beliefs throughout the relationship.

Most narcissistic people don’t know who they indeed are, so they go around stealing others’ qualities and passing them off as their own.

For the future, learn your boundaries, know when you need to say no and stick to your no, genuine people will not try to break your boundaries, your no will become a deal-breaker, learn who you are, asking yourself, “who am I.” Activities and things you enjoy for yourself, learn to love yourself, raise your standards.

  • They open up our attachment system, and this is developed in early childhood with our primary caregivers. The attachment system, if developed, opens our ability to attach to another on an emotional and physical level. When you are emotionally connected to someone, it becomes harder just to walk away.

Somewhere narcissists don’t develop this attachment system, or they lose it, meaning they can simply walk away without a care.

Take your time in future, don’t drag it out, yet don’t rush in. Someone like you would be happy to take it slow and really get to know each other.

  • We have object consistency developed within ourselves from early childhood, meaning we have the ability to care for others even when there is distance or conflicts. As we can maintain an emotional bond, we can bounce back from the negatives and forgive them.

Narcissistic people are often missing this object consistency, and they are unable to maintain deep emotional connections with others.

Write down all those times they’ve hurt you, not been there for you, walked away from you, caused you pain, every time you doubt yourself, look at it and remind yourself who they indeed are.

  • Fear plays a big part in keeping most people with a narcissist if that narcissist is a family member or partner.

Fear of letting the family down, fear of judgment from others, fear of failure, fear of mistakes, fear of losing your identity (which you’ve already lost, so now your character is reliant upon the relationship.), fear of financial survival, fear of being lonely.

The narcissist keeps you trapped with their plays of reward and punishment. You fear their reactions and change who you are, walking on eggshells to please them, then when they reward, it confirms in your mind that’s it’s your fault. (It was never your fault.)

Fear from threats they make that could be the covet. “You’ll wish you didn’t do that.” To the overt. ” you’ll never see the children again.”

Fear of where you’ll live, especially if they’ve taken over all control of finances.

The narcissist has a profoundly wounded ego, and they fear losing control. They fear being inferior and unimportant. So they threaten others to keep control.

Fear is one of the biggest things in life that keeps people trapped in all areas, fear of failure, fear of success. Now it’s not so easy when you’re being threatened, but when you jump over fear, stop thinking about the worst that could happen and start focusing on the best, stay safe, don’t let them know you’re leaving, get out safely, start calling authorities now, get protection orders, refuges—all the help and support you can.

Fear of judgment, it’s time to start thinking, “who cares what others think. I’m a good caring person with good intentions.” they have not lived your life, genuine people will support you, those who judge you have their own issues, and they are not for you.

  • Ego and pride, which also falls under fear, fear of judgment from your family, worries, judgment and prejudice from others, how could you, of all people, stay in an abusive relationship? Why could you not see? Why could you not help them? There’s got to be a way to help them and make this work. What can you do to change the dynamics of the relationship and make it work? You’re pride and ego is to help others, support others and do your personal best.

A narcissist’s pride and ego helps themselves, as nobody falls in love faster than a narcissistic person who needs to prove to all others they are not the one at fault. Why most hop from relationship to relationship. (Caring hurt people can also jump into relationships; we all make mistakes and have errors in our own judgment.)

Learn you are far from alone. Narcissistic people have tried to destroy some of the most loving, empathetic, intelligent people. People will understand you. People have had eerily similar experiences and know how you feel.

  • Guilt also plays a part, especially if it’s your parents or you have a child with the narcissist.

A narcissist does not feel guilt shame in a moment, which they will project to escape accountability and escape taking any responsibility.

You have to let the guilt go, or it’ll eat you up. Remember what you did in given moments was with the right intentions. Forgiveness is for you. Forgive your past mistakes, let them go and take the lesson with you. None of this was your fault, and you did what you believed to be best at that moment in time.

  • Gratitude. They will continue through the reward stage to show you how nice they can be when you behave. As they are not bad all the time, meaning you can find the evidence of when they are reasonable, you’ve lived the reality of when they treat you so well, and they are the person that treats you better than anyone ever has, yet worse than anyone ever has. They idealise, devalue and then discard. They will over exaggerate the times they treat you well, and they will underplay, deny, blame-shift the times they mistreated you. Things like if they have destroyed property. “You made me do it.” Or “at least I didn’t punch you.”

Narcissists believe they deserve to get without having to give.

Write down the negatives. Ask yourself. What did they indeed do for me?

  • Empathy. As you have high levels of understanding and narcissists might say things like. “I wish I could be a better person for you.” Or “I’ll change with your help.” You have a lot of compassion, forgiveness, and want to help heal people.

A narcissist either has very low levels of empathy or no empathy; they simply only act like they care if it meets a need of their own.

Turn inwards and give your empathy to you, help you heal, put yourself first, then you’ll give the best of yourself to those who deserve you.

  • Altruism. As they exaggerate all their good points and downplay all their bad points, you believe that if you try harder, then they do genuinely care and put effort into the relationship.
  • Blame. As they project all their faults into you and blame shift all those negative, you are led to believe it’s all your fault.
  • Changing reality on you. As you live the two faces of the narcissist, the admiration face and the envy face, the one where they shower you to get admiration and the one where they destroy you as they are envious of you, you live, see and believe the realities which leave you conflicted.

They switch reality to suit them, often believing their own lies. You will not get the whole truth from a narcissist in a straightforward way. They might tell on themselves, yet this is never directly.

Write down the reality of what truly happened.

  • Trauma bonding. Due to those highs and lows of the relationship that release cortisol from the lows and the stress and dopamine from the highs, you become addicted to the abuse from the natural chemicals released into the body. You are, in essence, weaning yourself off a drug.

Narcissistic people are addicted to hitting those highs and will continuously look for new targets to achieve these, or they’ll have other addictions.

No contact is the best if you have children, grey rock, limited contact, and the information. Business like dull, get yourself some new hobbies, new routines, things that fill your time in positive ways.

  • Financial control. Most will control you financially, they’ll either become dependent on you and suck you dry, get you into heaps of debt, some taking loans in your name without you knowing, or they’ll get you to give up your home and your job, so you’ve nowhere to go.

Narcissists believe they are entitled. Their mindset is. “What’s yours is mine, what’s mines my own, and if I give you something that’s still mine.”

Call helplines to find somewhere safe to go. The step of getting out is the most important. The rest will follow, you can, and you will build yourself back you, change passwords on your bank, take passports and important documents with you. Try to save some money on one side, if you can do so safely.

  • Repetition compulsion. If you’ve had a similar relationship in past that failed and didn’t get the knowledge as to why you try your best to heal the past by making sure it doesn’t happen again.

Narcissistic people have a pattern, a pattern of repeat, and they blame others. The problem is never within themselves.

Learning who you are, understanding that nobody deserves to be abused no matter what. It is knowing and re knowing until you get it. This was never your fault.

  • Lack of knowledge. Not knowing what you are indeed are dealing with and who they truly are, believing you can help them and make it work, while they slowly sink you and leave you confused. It’s hard enough for those who’ve lived it to understand it, and it’s even harder if you’ve never seen it before.

Some narcissistic people know exactly who they are and are extremely calculated in what they do. Others it’s Instinctive and impulsive.

Learning about the disorder, understanding what you’ve been through, that it did not start with you, it will not end with you, and you can not help them. You can, however, help you.

  • Reactive abuse, if they’ve prodded and poked and chipped away at you, even the best of people have their limit if you’ve reacted, it’s hard not to blame yourself. They may have also filmed it to use it against you.

The narcissist relies on your reactions so they can twist the story.

  • Cognitive dissonance is where your beliefs don’t match your realities. Yet, as they show you one reality that matched your beliefs, especially in the beginning, it’s hard to see what’s truly happening and causes inner conflict within your own mind.
  • Beliefs. You should stand by and help your parents that raised you, you should keep the family together, and children should have two parents together.

Narcissists Reality to them is a reality, and they do not care for others’ opinions. Narcissist beliefs are they are better and more important than all others. They will seek to destroy those who don’t conform to their demands.

Writing down both realities you lived, understanding the difference, knowing that you don’t want to live that way anymore, learning about your beliefs and who you are.

  • Gaslighting is an insidious form of mental torture, slowly designed to brainwash you over a period of time, to not be able to get to grips with reality, to confuse your state of mind, to leave you feeling crazy, anxious, lonely, depressed.

Narcissistic people use this to keep you trapped and to keep you hooked on them, to go to them for those reality checks.

Write down things that are said, so you can look for your own reality checks, look for obstacles you’ve overcome in the past, find the positives in life. Know you are not crazy; you just fell for someone who drove you to the point of no longer knowing who you are. This is a new chapter to walk free, deal with the emotions, understand your feelings and you better, learn about yourself, develop who you are.

  • Brain damage, psychological abuse over a prolonged period of time causes brain damage, and it shrinks your hippocampus, which houses your memory. With all the gaslighting, it makes it incredibly hard to see and remember facts. It also grows your amygdala which houses your emotions, so all your feelings are in a constant state of high, good and bad. With the narcissist playing nice, those good emotions are heightened to an extreme. When they hurt you, those negative emotions are also heightened to extremes. So you end up running on a lack of memory with an emotional rollercoaster of extreme highs and lows.

Once you walk free, these can begin to go back to their normal size. This takes time. It’s happening, though, so trust and believe in yourself, you can piece reality back together, and you can level your own emotions back out again. It is possible people have done this before you, and you can do this too.

  • Human needs. As Tony Robbins said, anything you do, any actions, feelings or emotions that meet three of your human needs, either negatively, neutrality or positivity and you will become addicted. These are a certainty. You’re certain you’re in a relationship, uncertainty, you never know what’s happening next, significance, you are usually doing all you can to provide and help them, contribution, you give all of yourself to them and trying to make the relationship work, growth, temporary when you get it right, the relationship goes well. Those false promises from the narcissist has you believing they will change, and your dreams will come true. Love and connection, when they play nice, you feel loved. Due to your empathy, attachment system and object consistency, you feel genuinely connected to them.

Narcissistic people fill their human needs in a negative, quick fix and sometimes violent ways. They feel significance, certainty and connection when they are threatening others.

Fill your needs with you, start working within, love and connect within yourself, and find new hobbies that fulfil these needs.

A couple of last theories that is my personal opinion. Even if you were around a narcissist where those around you sensed something wasn’t quite right with them, told you to leave, tried to explain its time to get out and stay out. You could see the good side of the narcissistic person now. It could very well be the gaslighting and blame-shifting that makes you blame yourself. Still, you are aware and open to your own insecurities, vulnerabilities, faults and flaws, as you understand that you are not perfect as most of us are all imperfectly perfect in our own right, we simply care for others want to help those, want to understand more about them, don’t want to quit, until we’ve exhausted every single option to change, then and only then can we walk away and bolt the door shut to the past. Begin to learn more about ourselves, within ourselves of who we are, who we want to be, what makes us work, what makes us and others do what they do, feel how they feel, care on a deep level and learn to help ourselves first then those who want to be helped, and walk away from those who just seek to destroy others.

We have a great view of perceptions and can see others’ ideas viewpoints. Now a narcissistic person can only see their own, whereas we are open to ideas and taking on board other people’s points of view.

Now is the time to work on you, believe in you, you are worthy, you are special, you are loving, you are kind, you do deserve so much better, someone who is willing to try all they can to help these people, to hurt even though they know it’s time to walk away, to develop themselves and to learn, to let go of the past, to be able to look into it and understand it and move forward without regrets, you did all you could at those times with good intentions with the knowledge you had. You have greatness within you and miss the time to develop it for you.

Not seeing red flags.

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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.

Click here for Elizabeth Shaw’s Recommended reading list for more information on recovery from narcissistic abuse.


Help getting out.

Is a narcissist capable of love?

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