Notes From Kristen

Why People Stay in Abusive Relationships

A Video Interview for Narcissist Abuse Support

“Why didn’t you leave?”  

“Why didn’t you leave sooner?”

These are questions people sometimes ask, and questions we even ask ourselves. There are so many reasons why people don’t leave sooner, and yet it can be difficult to explain to someone who has never been in one of these relationships.

In this video, Tracy Malone from Narcissist Abuse Support at interviewed me and she and I discussed the many reasons why it’s so hard for men and women to leave abusive relationships, particularly if they’re with individuals who have exhibited narcissistic behavior patterns.

You’ll hear us discuss the physical barriers and the emotional turmoil surrounding leaving the relationship. We also expand on many of the ideas I’ve talked about in some of the articles on my blog, such as the psychological tactics that make it difficult to leave.

I hope you enjoy this video.


The workbook Tracy references at the end of the video about things to think about when it comes to preparing to leave a narcissist can be found here.

There are also many other tools on the website at Narcissist Abuse Support, to help understand, support, and survive relationships with narcissists and thrive in the aftermath.

If you could tell people about something about narcissistic abuse and why you didn’t leave, what would you want them to know?  Please feel free to add your voice to the conversation and comment below.

Kristen Milstead

Instagram: fairytaleshadows

3 thoughts on “Why People Stay in Abusive Relationships

  1. I didn’t leave because I didn’t realise he was lying!
    I felt he was controlling, and I thought he was acting a bit weird , I never thought I was being played ! The person I first met said all the right things , the abuse was gradual but by the end of the relationship, it was amped up . I was a mess by this stage , it was a combination of things that was happening , starting a fight over nothing , then not talking to me for days , then distancing from me then talking about our future, like that was still in place , then start a fight again , could be I didn’t answer my ph when it rang or I didn’t message him enough , it never stopped , but by this time I was in a fog , I really feel like this wasn’t a normal break up , but something sinister and manipulated.

  2. I don’t leave because he is literally the only adult I can talk to…when he is available. My mother and sister live very close but have no idea what I’ve been going through. I lost my job 9 months ago. I don’t like blaming my problems on others, but he was constantly calling me, thennit , and just basically abusing me while I was trying to work. I couldn’t get my work done and was eventually terminated. I have been job hunting most of the past 9 months to no avail. There’s s lot more to that aspect of my story, but it is Jewel st too much for now. So here I am, I did move out from our home, in with a relative mostly for the sake of my children. I still go back to him when I can and if he’s being decent, no, tolerable. I miss his touch, his talk, just being away. I hate myself for continuing to let him have me when it’s convenient, but I have nothing else to lose. He’s ruined me.

  3. I want to add to my previous post. I went off on a tangent. (I used to be focused and eloquent). My thoughts are a whirlwind 98% of the time since my husband flipped my world and spun it. Let me back up.
    Initially I stayed because I wanted to help him. I thought it was my duty as his wife to stay by him no matter what. ( my first husband left quickly as soon as times got a little tough and I got depressed). I was not going to abandon my new husband. He knew how hard I was willing to work to maintain our marriage. Well, then he abandoned ME! Cut me off financially, accused me of every indiscretion in the book, bought a car, bought guns, bought drugs, and constantly berated me for buying groceries for my kids. So I stayed gone…for about a month. He came at me with “apologies”and stories of how he never meant to have me separated from my children. ( he told my ex husband I was on drugs. Now lawyers are involved). He told my ex all kinds of stories that were apparently very believable. He knew EVERYTHING about me. My past. My hopes and dreams. So I listened to his apologies, he gradually lured me back, but not all the way. I KNEW deep down that we could never work out after all the insane shit he did and said to me, my family, my kids, my ex! …but I still wanted to see him. I thought I could get the best of him. My plan was to ruin him the way he did me…until I realized a few things….1. I am not cruel, 2. He wasn’t emotionally attached to much of anything or anyone. I slowly took back all my ‘things’ he took and put in his new apartment. I never should’ve gone there in the first place. I wish I would’ve known what he was. He fed me more lies and drugs. I became addicted to them and to him. It’s like a roller coaster that you hate most of the time but you keep riding it again. I’m addicted to the pain maybe? The utter hopelessness of my situation coupled with the escape from sex and drugs. I’ve been suicidal (only in thought, never action, I wouldn’t hurt my kids like that) I bounce from complete failure to joyful when I’m with my kids. My one hope now is that someone somewhere will hire me. I need a distraction and of course money. I’ve sold everything, my family is going through their savings for lawyers and my bills and my kids. My husband has given me about $500 TOTAL over the past year and a half. My family, tens of thousands of dollars I’d bet. Now my family is done with me, I have no friends. I don’t go anywhere. I have my narc. And I hate him most of the time. Most days I can feel the wedge between us getting bigger. This can’t last. I wish it would go away quicker, despite the inevitable pain.

    Again, I ramble. I apologize and hope I answered the question better this time.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: