I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge, so as I am embracing the desire to break free of narcissistic abuse and find happiness I am now reading everything I can to understand what has been happing to me and why it is so hard to break free. I have discovered that I have a condition that is called codependency, which makes me especially vulnerable to narcissistic abuse. As I am reading all about that condition I have come across the writings of popular writer on the subject and he advances and idea that seems to have a great deal of merit to it.
The idea is basically that the reason it is so hard for someone who is codependent to break free of narcissistic abuse is because they don’t want to. In other words without even realizing it we are choosing to be abused. Now you might be saying that this idea is crazy. There is no way anyone would choose to be abused, and that this writer has no idea what he is talking about, but I would say hold on a minute and think about it for a second.
Let’s ask a couple of questions first. Why is the narc so dangerous? Because they pretend to be what we want to suck us in and because we are just good and loving people we fall for it, so that when the abusive behavior starts we are completely addicted to them and once addicted that addiction drives our behavior. Why then do we become so addicted to someone who is hurting us so badly and can’t leave them? The answer is a hard one to accept, because the answer is we don’t want to leave. After all there are lots of people who start in relationships that are wonderful at first but then turn crappy so the people just leave with no problem. A bit of crying and some angry yelling and maybe eating a gallon of ice cream and the normal person is over it. Why can’t we? Because we don’t want to leave.
I have been asked by my best friend, Professor K, for fifteen years give or take, why do I say in an abusive relationship, and I have given her loads of different answers, but basically the answer was I don’t know. Now the Professor K is struggle with her own narcissistic abuse I am asking her why do you stay, and she just looks and me confused and says, I don’t know. It is basically just this general I can’t leave answer that doesn’t really make much sense to those on the outside, but if you have ever been in that situation you know it is something you definitely feel. For some reason that doesn’t make sense, even though you are horrible unhappy and in pain, you just can’t walk away. You just can’t leave it alone and you don’t know why. The answer my friends is that we are asking the wrong question. We are asking why are not letting go and getting the hell out of there, but that is wrong. The question we should be asking is, what is it about me that makes me think that this is a relationship I want to be in? Because if you didn’t want to be in that relationship you wouldn’t, so you are clearly choosing to be in an abusive relationship even though you know it is abusive.
I am going to ask it again so it can really sink in. The question we should be asking is, what is it about me that makes me think that this is a relationship I want to be in?
If we cut through all the psycho-babble and dispense with the long words we would just have to look up anyway the answer to that question is because we don’t know any better. Now it is time for the explaining.
It all goes back to our childhood and what our home family environment was like growing up. If you had a healthy, normal family life growing up you learned healthy relationship skills, but if your family life was dysfunctional you learned those dysfunctional relationship skills. Those learned relationship skills become your basis for your relationships as an adult. If they were dysfunctional then you are wired to think dysfunctional and unhealthy relationships are not only acceptable, but normal. It is what you know, it’s were you are comfortable, so you crave a magically, passionate relationship with lots of fire, so when the narc gives that to you in the beginning you fall for it, because that is what you think is normal. When it goes all wrong and the abuse sets in you accept it, because to you it is normal. You then become a willing participate in the abuse cycle, which makes you become addicted to the relationship even though you know it is bad. You hold on to the abuse and the abuser because you don’t know any better, and you allow it to happen, and in some cases even openly pursue and crave it. It is easy to see if this is the case for you by just looking at your relationship history. If it is filled with dysfunctional relationships then this is you and what you have been doing in your adult life. I know it is true for me, because in my adult life I have only had dysfunctional relationships, and after 28 years of pain with my narc I find myself saying, maybe she is that bad.
Let me use myself as an example. My mother was a 5’8” red-headed Irish tornado. I often start by describing her as a force of nature. I have seen her reduce the toughest of teamsters to tears with just a few words and a withering stare. Yet she went from abusive relationship to abusive relationship her whole life. The man who so horribly abused me was only about 5’3” if I am being generous, and yet my mother allowed him to horribly abuse both her children and her as well. She could have broken him like a twig if she wanted to, but yet she didn’t. Why? Because she had no idea what a healthy relationship was so she did what she thought you had to do to make a relationship work. She allowed herself and her children to be abused, because she didn’t know any better.
My sister was like and erupting volcano with blonde hair who didn’t take shit off nobody, and her marriage was horrible!! She allowed herself to be abused by her husband. Why? She didn’t know any better otherwise why else would she take that crap when she wouldn’t take it from anybody else.
Then there is me. My abuser is a 5’ black woman who is tiny! Yet I put up with the abuse for years and years. Why? Because I honestly thought I was in a real relationship and this is what you have to do to make a happy home. I thought it was normal and we just had a few issues to work out. No it was narcissistic abuse and I was a willing participate! I crave a normal, loving relationship, but I know I have to learn how to fix my own ideas of what a healthy relationship is in my mind and my heart in order to have it otherwise the pattern of abuse will just continue because I will just keep making the same bad choices because I don’t know anything else.
We are all much stronger then we think. We have self-image issues so in order to try and get the love we crave we willing give our power away to our abusers in the hope that we will get love in return. When that doesn’t happen we keep trying because we had a brief glimpse of what we think is what we want so we keep chasing it, and we accept the abuse.