Save Yourself: Finding Your Personal Catalyst to Escape Narcissistic Abuse in a Toxic Relationship

Written by Angela Atkinson

If you’ve ever been in an emotionally abusive relationship with a narcissist, then you know exactly what I mean when I talk about how stressful the idea of attempting to “right” the situation can be. While on one hand, you KNOW you want and deserve better for yourself (and, if you have them, maybe your kids), on the other hand, you also KNOW how difficult it’s going to be if you try to escape from a relationship with a narcissist.

How to Save Yourself From Narcissistic Abuse in a Toxic Relationship

For a lot of survivors of narcissistic abuse, a number of factors keep them feeling stuck in narcissistic abuse situations. For example, you might have small children to worry about, or you might have concerns about how you’ll survive financially after leaving. There are also fewer practical concerns, such as the fear of abandonment and worrying about being alone for the rest of your life.  This is when you’ve got to buckle down and find your catalyst for getting yourself free – a reason to save yourself. Start here.

Stop Feeling Like a Victim

I know things are difficult, and I know how tough it can feel to make such a life-changing decision – it sucks. And you deserve to be loved, comforted, cherished – just like we all do.

But right now? It’s not the time to feel sorry for yourself – it’s time to stand up and take ACTION toward improving your life. This is the time to put your emotions aside and look at everything logically. We will work on healing your emotional stuff later.

Know That You Have Value.

It’s time to stop letting the narcissist treat you like a commodity (as in narcissistic supply) that only exists to be a part of their grand scheme, whether you’re the shiny thing he shows off to all his friends, or you’re the proverbial punching bag for his verbal and emotional abuse and manipulation tactics. Or, maybe you’re the safe person – the go-to “dumping ground” for the narcissist’s insecurity, venom and hate.

Yes, You DO Deserve Better

Here’s the thing that you might not know — you deserve better.

I know. You’re reading right now, thinking to yourself that I can’t possibly KNOW that you deserve better. I mean, I don’t know you personally – and the truth is that you could literally be anyone. So how do I know you deserve better if I don’t know you personally?

Because everyone deserves to be treated with respect. It’s time to save yourself.

How to Discover Your Personal Catalyst for Motivation

Inspiration to Save Yourself from a Narcissist’s Abuse

What is a catalyst?

A catalyst can be something that you experience – such as an event, or it can be words spoken by another person, or a book or a movie that causes you to alter your life in some way.

Some catalysts are simple – such as a man who gets fired because he’s always late. Losing the job can be a catalyst for that man to make sure he gets to his next job on time, or find a job that gives him so much personal satisfaction, he never wants to let his company down.

The event of getting fired, often at an inopportune time, caused him to make a change in how he acts in life.

Leaving Your Comfort Zone

Change is hard. It’s easier to do what you’ve always done because there’s comfort in familiarity.

Leaving your comfort zone thrusts you into new situations and forces you to deal with new ideas and new ways of handling various aspects of life. It’s scary and no one wants to go through it voluntarily.

If you were to take a survey of random strangers and ask them, “Are you happy with your life?” you would get more no answers than you would yes ones. There are a lot of people who aren’t happy with their lives, but it’s not always obvious on the outside.

And, when you’re dealing with the roller-coaster ride that is a relationship with a narcissist, you may realize that life could eventually get easier if you just left already – but you may also be afraid of what’s coming next, and let’s be honest – you might worry about how you’ll manage without him or her – especially if the narcissist is currently supporting or helping to support you financially.

Related: Learn more about financial abuse and how to recover from it.

Some people don’t know how to change it. They don’t understand how they can find a catalyst to motivate and inspire themselves toward the kind of life they want.

Sometimes a catalyst enters your life, and you’re too focused on the ordinary, that you miss it completely. You may have to train yourself to watch for opportunities if you want to raise yourself to a higher level of success and happiness.

Change Begins and Ends with You

If you take the time to look over your life at this moment, what would you think about it? Think about the people in your life – those who you’re in an intimate relationship with.

  • Is it everything you wanted it to be and hoped it could be?
  • What about where you are in life?
  • Do you wish things were different?
  • Does it create a hunger within you to have more?
  • Do you wish you made different choices?
  • Do you feel alone in the world?

Is your toxic relationship making you miserable? 

Maybe you don’t think you deserve better. Or maybe you’ve given up on the idea that there could be more – that you deserve more or that changing things is even worth the effort. If you dislike what’s going on in your life right now, but you don’t change anything about it, you will still be miserable in three months, six months or a year down the road.

You will have lost time and you will have missed the opportunity to make changes during that timeframe. None of us is getting any younger.

If you want more out of life – if you feel that you should have more – and the unhappiness with your life sits like a rock in the pit of your stomach, then you need to take steps to make changes. You must find the catalyst that will propel you into getting free from your abuser. 

You Deserve What You Choose to Deserve: Choose Wisely

Physical signs like that are always indicators that something isn’t the way you want it to be – that it needs to be addressed. And ignoring these physical signs can lead to emotional complications as the stress of the matter weighs heavily on you.

Related: Learn about PTSD and how it affects you – plus, what you can do to cope.

Staying where you are in a life you’re not happy with will lead to feelings of depression, sadness and resignation.

That hole inside of you that aches for something more, for something better will never be filled. 

That’s not what you deserve. It’s not what anyone deserves. Life is not meant to be something that’s just endured. It’s meant to be lived with excitement because it’s an adventure if you decide that it is.

Resources for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support


  • Angela Atkinson

    Angela Atkinson is a certified trauma counselor and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery, and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships since 2006, she has a popular narcissistic abuse recovery YouTube channel. Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own. Atkinson offers trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coaching and has certifications in trauma counseling, life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation, and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves. Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse here at and at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.

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