“Why do you stay?” This question makes the victim of Narcissistic abuse uncomfortable, to say the least. Personally, I find it offensive. I feel that it’s thoughtless, sometimes cruel and judgmental, ugly words disguised as concern. The end result for the victim of Narcissistic abuse if asked this question is quite naturally a feeling of shame.
Why does anyone stay in a marriage? They stay because it is their life, it’s a commitment that they made, and they are in love.
I’m sure that from the outside looking in it’s easy to pass judgment, after all, the relationship is obviously dysfunctional. What the person on the outside sees is an unhealthy relationship. The victim sees a future without the Narcissist as terrifying, and quite hopeless. The Narcissist has chipped away at the self-esteem of their victim until the victim no longer trusts themselves to make decisions, be independent or happy without the Narcissist. Their love has morphed into dependency. They feel powerless to make a decision, especially a decision that would lead to a life without the Narcissist because they no longer know who they are, their sense of identity has been stripped away.
They are now unlovable, they believe that they are helpless. They have been brainwashed and believe that without the Narcissist they cannot survive.