Walking away from a relationship that you’ve invested time and effort into is hard at the best of times, but when the person you were with is toxic it can make it dangerous.
Narcissists have their hooks deeply embedded into you and for them, the relationship only ends when they say so.
If or when you decide to leave these could be some of the reasons why it could prevent you or at times, make it appear nearly impossible to do so.
1. Love bombing
Love bombing is a tactic all narcissists use, they identify their target and then shower their target with gifts, compliments, love and you feel like the luckiest woman alive to have a man pay you so much attention.
The narcissist’s intentions are not pure, they are just showering you with their version of love to pull you into the false reality if you don’t respond the way they expect you to then the Jekyll and Hyde persona comes out.
They withdraw their attention, love, acts of kindness and you are left confused, they may even resort to the silent treatment or the opposite, verbal abuse.
This leaves you wondering what you have done wrong and you make extra effort to be who they think you should be, you end up not being who you are just to keep the peace and often you do it out of fear, so to leave is a terrifying thought.
Psychologist Perpetua Neo says that gratitude can keep people stuck in an abusive relationship with a narcissist because you believe no one can be bad all the time.
You find yourself thinking more about the good times as opposed to the bad times and you end up feeling grateful for the good times and push back the memories when they may have mentally or psychically abused you.
You think you can ‘fix’ the situation, the reality is you can’t and all that has happened is the narcissists has convinced you that you should be grateful they chose to be with you.
Tiny mistakes you make will be blown out of proportion and you will be made to feel that you are the cause of any problems in the relationship, they will literally hold you hostage to any minor mistakes.
3. You’re an empath
Narcissists often target those who show empathy to everyone, empaths are the fixers if life, they see people in pain and want to help them.
This combination of a narcissist with an empath is extremely destructive. The narcissist will drain the empath until they are empty, numb and nothing like they were at the beginning of the relationship.
Once the narcissist has no more use for the empath, they cast them aside and go on to the next victim.
It’s hard for an empath to make the first move to leave the relationship as they view it as they have failed, they have failed to help this man they believed is in so much pain and has been abused, it isn’t until after they have finally left that they see him for who he really is.
4. Trauma bonding
Psychological abuse is insidious it occurs over time, it is like being drip fed poison via an IV drip and during this time you have been bonded to the narcissist without realizing what was happening.
You’ve become addicted to what the narcissist gives you, the love, the good times and before you know it you have been pulled into the spider and the fly scenario.
Here, the narcissist will fool you into believing that they are putting all their efforts into the relationship and will often whine at you, along with the lines of ‘I’m doing all I can to keep us strong, why can’t you?’
The reality is they are just playing mind games and they are the cause of the problems but convince you that it is you.
You can’t read their mind, you have no idea what they are thinking, the narcissist is so adept and experienced at mind games they can often know exactly what you are thinking and play on that.
6. Downplaying abuse
You can guarantee that not long into the relationship they will commence gaslighting you, twisting the reality of your lives and you wonder if you are going crazy.
You may be subjected to psychical abuse and convince yourself that you deserved it, no one deserves any kind of abuse, ever, but the narcissist will say things like ‘I never hit you, you must have dreamed it’ or ‘ You made me do it, I’ve never hit a woman before you’.
Psychological abuse is harder to see, and this is what most narcissists tend to use. They will control every aspect of your life, the control damages in such a way that the woman finds it hard to leave the relationship as they have been convinced if they do, they could never survive.
7. Financial control
The narcissist often takes control of all the money, handing out small allowances, demanding proof of purchases to be given so he can keep track of what you have done with the money.
This is especially challenging for a woman with children who wants to leave as she fears she will not be able to care for her children if she has no money.
Narcissists often put debts into their partner’s name without them knowing until it is too late, this is done to ensure they are unable to get loans themselves in the future as a means of escape.
Slowly the courts are beginning to see what is the root cause of these situations and more domestic violence centres are in a position to correctly advise someone who needs to leave the home, but we are a long way from being able to stand up and make narcissists accountable for their actions.