One of the hardest things for people in narcissistically abusive relationships is deciding whether to stay or go. Some people have almost as much heartache over this as they do over the chronic abuse in the relationship. And when you look closer in at their deliberation, it often is an expression of the very dysfunctional dynamics that they seek to end.
In their search, many people ask for the advice of others. But at the end of the day, there is only one person knowing what’s best for oneself. I trust you know who that is.
The person standing in the shoes of the abused…the person on the receiving end of the narcissistically abusive control dynamics. The person who has willingly stepped into the gripping glue that binds the dysfunctional relationship in the first place.
What’s Love Got to Do with It
Initially, it may look like one’s love for one’s partner is a key factor in their decision. I believe it is what keeps one in the relationship well beyond what might be practically safe. If we were to take all the other social, financial and political factors impacting this decision off the table and just look at the “love” factor, we would better appreciate the life cycle of these relationships.
I don’t think it has anything to do with love or the absence of love for one’s partner. Rather, it is about love for oneself. You can love someone deeply and at the same time know this person to be a danger to your health and well-being. As they evidence this again and again, one reaches a point in which you recognize, “What’s love got to do with it.” Answer: Nothing. It’s all about safety.
Safety and Love
As Anaire Nin states so eloquently, “…And the day came when the desire to remain the same was more painful than the risk to grow.”
This is the breaking point where one says, what is can be no more. You realize that the status quo is not safe…and from here, people make changes.
Some people will seek to end the relationship, all together. Others will separate and demand change. Those already living separately may take a stand on no further abusive control antics and remain unheard indefinitely. The core driving variable to the decision to interrupt the status quo is about safety. Period. Not love of other; rather love for oneself.
Once you fully embrace this, you more easily ride the waves of the turmoil inherent narcissistic romance. If you are in a narcissistically abusive relationship, know that safety and love can be two words used in the same sentence, once you realize what’s love got to do with it.
For more information on interrupting partner narcissistic domestic abuse dynamics, visit http://www.preventabusiverelationships.com/narcissistic_abuse.php . Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people worldwide recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse.
©Dr Jeanne King — Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention
I have been in my relationship for over 15 years. We got married 4 years ago and his major mental state changed. He told me of his sexual abuse by his older brother when he was a child and the mistrust he had. I thought this was why he was so controlling. He has major anger issues and we have gotten therapy but he thought it was for me and he didn’t need it. My therapist even told me it wasn’t going to get better and that I should leave. Have a safety plan. But in the end, i thought “doesn’t he deserve to be loved too?” I tried to deal with his control and tried to “make him happy’. July of 2018 I ended up with breast cancer and had double mastectomy. I quit my job of 25 years (retired) and in may of 2019 left him and got divorce. I am still lost. Wondering if I did the right thing. He was great to me when he wasn’t mad but I never knew when I would do something to upset him. I “should love him enough to not do things to irritate him”. I should know what bothers him because of his issues and stop doing it”. He says I am evil and never loved him. I struggle with this because I believe I did. I spent 14 years trying and now that we are divorced I am struggling with moving forward. Am I evil? He says I have issues and I know I do but I think most of it is because of him. I have walked on eggshells for many years. He did treat me wonderful – drawn bubble baths, buying me clothes, buying me flowers, always thinking of me and what treats I may like. Was I the one in the wrong? He has nothing but hate for me now and says I am evil. Is this part of his continued games? I still feel a little lost and my confidence is non existent. I am trying though. I have the support of my children and siblings. For that I am grateful
Thank you for sharing your experience in a controlling abusive relationship. I wouldn’t call you evil. Sounds more like you are raw. Take good care of yourself. This is about compassion, not blame. Time will heal and, in the meantime, consider talking with someone who understands domestic abuse and trauma healing. We are here to help and support you.
This is such a fantastic article! It really helps me to clarify my motives for whichever choice I make. Thank you, Dr. King!
You are so welcome. Thank you for your comment.
You are welcome. I’m happy it offers clarity for you.
Wow, I can truly relate to her