So many children of narcissistic parents end up in many abusive relationships over the course of their lives. It starts out with abusive parents, then moves on to friends, later adding in co-workers & often eventually marrying a narcissist often from an equally narcissistic family.
As if the additional abuse isn’t bad enough, we also tend to verbally abuse ourselves about the situation. We beat ourselves up for getting involved with people who are so much like our abusive parents. We think we’re stupid, hopeless & much more. We can’t imagine why we would do such a thing. The aim of this post is to explain some possible reasons why we end up with these abusive people.
One reason is abuse is normal to us. We’re so accustomed to it, if a person isn’t abusive, we simply don’t know what to think of that sort of behavior. We choose an abuser over a safe, not abusive person simply because it’s familiar. There is a degree of comfort in familiarity, even when it is abusive. Thankfully, the more we heal from childhood, the more abnormal abuse becomes, & we stop attracting & being attracted to abusive people.
Children of narcissists grow up trying to find love, the love we never received as children. In a romantic relationship, this can give an abusive person a great deal of power & control. Until you recognize the signs of abuse, their power & control comes across as confidence, which can make you feel safe & loved, even there isn’t anything safe or loving about someone being controlling.
We also don’t really recognize what healthy love looks like. It’s not like a narcissistic mom & dad could provide good example of that. We think being loved means being abused, even though nothing could be further from the truth. When someone comes along & claims to love you, even if that person treats you like dirt, you think that person actually loves you.
Children of narcissists also settle. My mother told me no man would ever want me, so when my ex husband pursued me when we were in the eleventh grade, I felt like I shouldn’t pass up this opportunity even though he really wasn’t the type of guy I found attractive at all. After all, no one else would ever want me, I thought. Even dating other men after high school didn’t change that false belief I had. Many other adult children of narcissists I’ve spoken with have had similar experiences, & like me, settled for someone they didn’t love & who was abusive.
Gaslighting is your norm. You are so accustomed to being manipulated that you don’t recognize it as a problem. Since you don’t recognize this problem, the abuser can manipulate you in any way he or she sees fit. One common way narcissists keep their victim/spouse down is to make that person think that they are the problem in the relationship. When a person has low (or no) self-esteem, believing they are the problem will make that person feel as if they have to work hard to please their partner to make up for all of the misery they put that partner through.
If you too have experienced abusive relationships, then please stop beating yourself up! As you can see, it’s understandable! What matters is you escaped the abuse & learned from the awful experience. You’ll also find that the healthier you get & the more you learn, the more narcissists & other abusers will leave you alone.