As someone who endured an abusive relationship (and a narcissistic one) for a year and a half, I can tell you firsthand that leaving can often be harder than staying. There were a lot of things you have to consider with a breakup, but it is the love/hate dynamic of a toxic relationship that further complicates the situation and hinders your ability to see things clearly. But also speaking as someone who got out of one, it is possible to escape and come out stronger than ever. Though it might be one of the most difficult things you do, you’ll thank yourself in the years to come when you think back on what you went through.
And keep in mind that a relationship doesn’t have to be physically or even verbally abusive in order for it to be considered unhealthy. According to the Gabriella, signs of abuse can include any act in which your partner attempts to intimidate you or take control of the relationship. That can include constantly monitoring your texts and calls, showing extreme jealousy when you spend time with others, putting you down, controlling who you see and where you go, etc.
If you’re looking for a way out of your own relationship, see below for guidance.
Give yourself a reality check.
It’s easy to get sucked back in the same vicious cycle of fighting and making up. But know that the longer you stay, the harder it will be to leave. Have an honest conversation with yourself without making any excuses for your partner. Does he or she put you down in any way? Are you unhappy in your relationship? Do you feel unsafe? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, you are not in a healthy situation. If you want to leave but your partner won’t let you, reach out for help.
“NEVER BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP.”
Seek relationship counseling.
Address your concerns with your significant other, and if they’re receptive to what you have to say, suggest seeing a professional. He or she can then serve as a mediator and provide impartial feedback on how both of you can improve your relationship. If your partner returns with anger and stubbornness, you may want to consider reevaluating your relationship. According to relationship expert Dr. Jane Greer, it’s typically a red flag when a partner is unwilling to take any responsibility or refuses to see their wrongdoings. Things will most likely remain the same if both parties aren’t open-minded. Red flags for people like me are no longer red flags but lessons I had to instill in my mind each time there’s a prospective guy who comes along.
Reach out for help
If your partner has turned you against your friends and loved ones over the course of your relationship, don’t lose hope. Despite shutting them out, you never know who’s been waiting for you to reach out. I know for me, it was mainly an issue of pride, but once I realized that I was only hurting myself, I made the decision to accept the extended hand. Ask anyone who’s willing to help for a place to stay while you transition, for moving assistance, or any other ways they can ease the process. And if you don’t have available help, there’s Hopeline which may be reached at (02) 804-4673; 0917-5584673; and 2919 for Globe and TM subscribers.
Have a bag packed.
In case the need to leave your household becomes more urgent, pack a few essentials into a small bag or backpack. You should include a small amount of cash, a phone charger, a list of contacts, pajamas, and overnight clothes. But do not wait until things get worse. This is only meant to prepare you if leaving ASAP isn’t currently an option.
Have a contingency plan.
You may want to think ahead in case your relationship doesn’t show signs of improvement or worsens. Have a potential new residence lined up, ask a friend or family member if they’d be willing to give you a spare key for times you just need to separate yourself from your partner, etc. It’s always best to be prepared as much as possible so that you feel you have options when and if you want or need them.
Block him off on all social media platforms.
Never resort into “trauma bond” or Stockholm Syndrome. When you connected with your narcissist (just like I did), did you feel like finally you had met true love? Was the connection so intense and powerful that you believed your love was truly meant to be for ever, regardless of the pain your experienced?
Stockholm syndrome has been widely documented, and proven to be a very real deal. The conditions of narcissistic abuse are ripe to create this phenomenon.
Firstly the victim feels that they cannot escape the relationship, this is for the reasons of not wanting to shatter the glorious dream of ‘what this relationship is meant to be’, the loss of lifestyle, finances, security, children’s well-being etc., or because of the very real threat of how disastrous life may become when trying to leave and inciting a narcissistic injury within the narcissist, which inevitably brings revenge and destruction.
Therefore, automatically the roles have become prisoner and persecutor. The prisoner’s well-being depends heavily on how the persecutor is treating her or him on a daily basis. The prisoner knows that there is a very real threat of cruelty and pain being inflicted by the narcissist, and therefore will try to minimize the torture, by firstly focusing a great deal of attention on ‘the enemy’, and then trying to find a heartfelt connection with the narcissist to procure nicer treatment.
Victims who suffer Stockholm syndrome within narcissistic abuse are significantly detached from the real world around them, and are instead enmeshed in the narcissist’s demand, emotions and tormented world.
This often happens as a result of self isolation preferred by the victim, regarding loss of self-esteem, deep inner shame, and the not wishing to confront the outer world which is full of questions regarding the victim’s apparent reclusive behavior and disconnection from previous interests, friends and family – as well as, of course, the narcissist’s wrath for having any interests that don’t pertain to the narcissist.
In a nutshell, although it’s often a lengthy and inconvenient process, your safety, mental health, and wellness are priceless. And remember, staying is not your only option.