This is quite a provocative subject but I believe that it is necessary to discuss because there is a fine line between being a victim and becoming a conscious participant. I was inspired to write this post after speaking to someone who said that they had been recovering from narcissistic abuse for 10 years, whilst they were still with the abuser, and they were not happy and had seen very little progression in their recovery. This post is not to shame anyone who may be in an awful situation that they feel they cannot escape from, it is meant to empower you and shine a light on the fact that we are sovereign beings who sometimes hand our power over to others for so long that we forget we have it.
It is true that anyone can be a victim of narcissistic abuse but as I have explored in previous posts, codependents, people-pleasers who have poor boundaries, and people who have been raised by toxic parents are often a perfect fit. There are a variety of reasons for this:
- The abusive behaviour feels familiar because it was experienced during childhood.
- Trauma bonding often takes place with the abuser making it harder to leave.
- Low-self esteem and a feeling that you will not be able to do any better.
- A lack of self-love and putting others ahead of yourself.
- They do not know what a healthy relationship with boundaries feels like, therefore they may believe that their current relationship is normal.
- They are financially dependent on the person or do not have another place to live.
- They hope to save the abuser. Many abusers are manipulative and know how to elicit sympathy from their partners. People can remain in abusive relationships in the hope that they can love their partner back to health.
Regardless of the circumstances that you grew up in, whether they were abusive, toxic, or loving, if you do not analyse your life with your conscious mind then it will be very easy to repeat these patterns. It has been proven many times that there is a high likelihood of children who grew up in abusive homes, to then become abusers. A terrified child would never believe that they would repeat the very thing that scared them, but if they are unconscious then it is possible.
This leads us to the subject of becoming a willing participant. If you are conscious of the abuse that is taking place and you know that it is unacceptable and you no longer want to be in that situation, you are the only person that can save yourself. Even if you are unable to leave immediately, your first point of call should be to look into what you can change within yourself. We have no control over others and the way that they behave but we can refuse to participate. Working on increasing your self love, having healthier boundaries, and exploring your childhood are things that you can do alone. However if you feel as though you need support you may want to seek counselling or speak to a friend that you can trust whilst you go through the healing process.
“Healing is not an over night process. It is a daily cleansing of pain, it is a daily healing of your life.”Leon Brown
The important thing to note is that now that you have become conscious of the abuse and the situation that you are in, you cannot go back to being unconscious. As you learn more information about the things that you can do to strengthen yourself and become a repellent to toxic personalities, your outward world will begin to reflect these changes. This work is not easy but it is necessary if you are seeking lasting change. As relationship dynamics change people may become annoyed with you, which may leave you feeling uncertain. It is important to proceed and continue to let go of the things that no longer serve you.
“Let go of that which no longer serves you, and make room for something beautiful.”Anonymous Golden Child
There is no set time frame for leaving, and subsequently healing from an abusive relationship, but you will have to use your own judgement to ensure that you are making progress. There will be moments when you feel as though your healing is moving forward in leaps and bounds, and other times when things seem to stagnate. This is fine but always keep in mind the end goal which is to heal yourself and have healthy boundaries so that you are no longer a match for narcissists or any other personality disordered individual.
“The trouble is that once you see it, you can’t unsee it.”Arundhati Roy
I believe that becoming a willing participant of an abusive relationship happens when you decide that you are not strong enough to do the work required of you, or you try to hide from the truths in front of you. Sometimes we become attached to the old narrative, which may be complaining to others about everything that you are going through, feeling like a victim, or feeling as though you do not deserve happiness. Whatever the reason may be it is paramount that you take some time to work through it.
“Today is a new day. Don’t let your history interfere with your destiny! Let today be the day you stop being a victim of your circumstances and start taking action towards the life you want.”Steve Maraboli
Anyone can become a victim, but the real power is in choosing not to remain in that position and not identifying with the title. You have the power to change your reality and the most powerful place is to begin within. Convince yourself that you deserve better, love yourself through the process and you will begin to witness positive changes.