• When you can’t leave a narcissist, it may be because they have isolated you from friends and family.
Narcissists are like vampires; they suck the life out of your social circle. They use manipulation tactics to convince their victims that nobody else cares about them except for the narcissist themselves. So if you’re feeling trapped with no one to turn to, don’t blame yourself—blame the bloodsucker!
• The narcissist may use emotional manipulation to make leaving seem impossible or undesirable.
Gaslighting is a real thing, people! Narcissists will do anything in their power to make their victim feel crazy or undeserving of love. They’ll twist words around until nothing makes sense anymore, all so that you stay put and continue being their punching bag. Don’t fall for it—you deserve better than this!
• Financial dependence on the narcissist can also make leaving difficult.
It’s hard enough trying not to spend all your money on avocado toast and pumpkin spice lattes, but when your partner controls every penny coming in and going out? Forget about it! It’s easy for someone who has financial control over another person to manipulate them into staying in an abusive relationship by threatening economic ruin if they try to leave.
• Fear of physical harm or retaliation from the narcissist is another reason why someone might feel stuck in the relationship.
Nobody wants a black eye or broken bones as souvenirs from a toxic relationship souvenir shop. But sometimes fear keeps us locked up tighter than Fort Knox. If violence is involved, please seek help immediately before things get worse—and trust me—they will get worse.
• Codependency and low self-esteem can keep a person trapped in an unhealthy dynamic with a narcissistic partner.
Codependency isn’t just something Chandler Bing joked about—it’s very real (cue Ross’ “I KNOW” moment). People who lack confidence often find themselves drawn towards narcissists who give them a sense of purpose and worth. But this is all just an illusion; the only person you need to depend on is yourself.
• Trauma bonding, where positive experiences are interspersed with negative ones, can create feelings of attachment and loyalty to the abuser.
It’s like Stockholm Syndrome but without any funky Scandinavian accents. Narcissists will use intermittent reinforcement (a fancy term for “I love you one minute and hate your guts the next”) to keep their victims hooked on their toxic rollercoaster ride. Don’t fall for it—there’s nothing fun about feeling nauseous 24/7!
• Gaslighting tactics employed by the narcissist can cause confusion about what is real and prevent victims from trusting their own perceptions.
Ever feel like you’re going crazy? That’s because someone else wants you to think that way! Gaslighting involves making someone doubt their own reality so that they become completely dependent on the gaslighter for guidance. If this sounds familiar, please seek help immediately before things get even more confusing than Ross’ sandwich debacle on Friends.
• Shame or guilt for wanting to leave, especially if there are children involved, may also contribute to feeling stuck in the relationship.
Nobody likes being labeled as a quitter—but sometimes quitting is exactly what we have to do in order to survive. It’s not selfish or wrong—it’s necessary! And don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for putting yourself first (except maybe Chandler Bing—he’ll always be quick with a joke).
• The narcissist may threaten harm themselves or others if victim tries leaving
Ah yes—the classic suicide threat card pulled out when all other methods fail. This tactic preys upon our human nature which makes us want take care of those around us—even at our own expense. Remember: You cannot control another person’s actions—you’re responsible only for your own safety.
• Lack of support from law enforcement, family court systems, and mental health professionals can make leaving a narcissist seem futile.
It’s like trying to navigate through the Upside Down without Eleven—nearly impossible! But don’t give up hope just yet. There are support groups out there that specialize in helping victims of narcissistic abuse. Don’t be afraid to seek them out!
• Victims may feel trapped in their relationship due to cultural or religious beliefs that prioritize marriage and family over individual happiness.
Sometimes what we believe is holding us together is actually tearing us apart. If you’re feeling stuck because of societal pressure, take a step back and re-evaluate your priorities. You deserve to be happy—and if anyone tells you otherwise? Just tell them Joey doesn’t share food.
• The fear of being alone or starting over after years of emotional abuse can be overwhelming for some victims.
Change isn’t easy—but it’s necessary for growth (cue Ross’ “WE WERE ON A BREAK” moment). Being alone might sound scary at first but think about all the amazing things you’ll get to do on your own terms! Plus—it beats having someone constantly bring you down every chance they get.
• Narcissists often use tactics such as love bombing, flattery, and gifts to maintain control over their partners even when they want to leave.
Ah yes—the classic “I’m sorry baby—I didn’t mean it” routine followed by an expensive bouquet of flowers (which will probably die within two days anyway). Don’t fall for this trap; remember why you wanted out in the first place!
• Lack of access to financial resources like bank accounts, credit cards, and other assets owned by both parties can prevent a person from leaving an abusive partner who controls those resources.
Money makes the world go ’round—but sometimes it also keeps people locked inside toxic relationships with no way out. If money is preventing you from escaping your abuser, seek help from a financial advisor or attorney who specializes in domestic abuse cases. And remember—Ross and Rachel were on a break!
P.S. You should check out these leaving narcissist books at Amazon. (affiliate link)