It’s more complicated than that.
Codependents also have deep-seated insecurities.
A fear of abandonment. In some ways, we too have a troubled or at least, dysfunctional past.
We subconsciously feel someone who is damaged and needs us is unlikely to leave us.
When our abusive partner hurts us. Push us away. That fear is palpable.
We’ll do anything to get them back. Have them tell us they love us again.
Couple this with low self-esteem and abuse that’s diminishing it further.
We start to believe we are to blame.
It must be me
We stay. We push all our feelings down and focus on theirs. We need to make them happy again. It’s up to us to fix things.
The trouble is a narcissist’s need for approval, admiration, and adoration is like an empty bucket. You will never fill that need.
All those years of trying to do this, in the hope you’ll fix the relationship. Get that loving person you believe is trapped inside the back. It’s killing you instead.
Emotionally Overwhelmed. Feeling trapped
You’re left emotionally overwhelmed. Feeling trapped. Nothing you’ve tried has worked so far and now you’re spent. Wondering where the old you went.
That was me. I was a shell of myself.
The thought of leaving them is terrifying. Especially if there’s the complication of kids. But, the thought of enduring more of this pain and the rest of your life like this is gut-wrenching too.
No wonder you’re feeling trapped.
You need to try something else.
How about letting go? Stop trying to save them from themselves.
What about thinking about you for once? Where are you in all this? What about putting your needs first?
You are not his (or her) therapist. Their mother (or father). They are an adult capable of looking after themselves.
So, first things first. It’s time to take your focus away from them.
Look after you.
Stop wasting your energy, when it’s better used to heal you instead.
It’s time to take your power back.
If the fear of the future scares you. If big decisions about whether to leave them or not overwhelm you. Don’t think about that now. You don’t need to know all the answers just yet.
You just need to take the first baby steps to recovery and forging a healthier path.
First things first
This is what they are:
Do your best to detach from them and their behavior. It’s not your fault or responsibility.
Allow them to feel the consequences of their own actions. Instead of always picking up the pieces for them.
Put You First
Start by doing one nice thing for yourself every day. Whatever that is.
A surf. A walk with your dog on the beach. A bubble bath. A guilt-free purchase of something that makes you feel good. One nice thing every day.
Join a Support Group
Join a support group in person or online. That was invaluable for me.
Sharing and listening to others like me gave me a sense of relief. I wasn’t alone.
Many were further down the track than I was. I learned from them too. Applying their experience and knowledge to my own situation. I did and it worked.
Get Professional Help
Seek professional help and support. You can’t do this alone. Get professional advice and practical help. Including financial or legal advice to know where you stand. I’ve listed domestic abuse helplines here.
Knowledge is Power
Read every self-help book you can get your hands on. Knowledge is power. This is what I did.
Understanding narcissistic abuse and codependency gave me the tools I needed to break the cycle.
If you’re emotionally overwhelmed. Feeling trapped.
Focussing on you is the crucial first step. Getting support to build your self-esteem is the way to start getting your power back.
You don’t need to make big scary decisions like leaving your relationship right now.
When you need to know the answer to that, you’ll be strong enough to decide.