Why they stay in a toxic relationship

Psychologist Gabrielle Rubin suggests the mechanisms that force victims to remain in a relationship with their executioner

Do you have a low opinion of yourself? Do you think you do not deserve to share your life with a good one? A simple lack of self-confidence can be a breeding ground for harmful conditions. Even to keep poisonous couples. This is the terrible observation made by psychoanalyst Gabrielle Rubin. We’ll talk about it with her.

To suffer from inhibition is to think oneself mediocre when one is not. It means systematically choosing the partner that suits us the least. Correct yourself to never be completely happy, and sometimes even to live in unhappiness. IN Why do others succeed and not me? Essay on our imaginary prisons (Ed. Payot), psychoanalyst Gabrielle Rubin takes stock of the origins of what paralyzes us. It also explains why the victims stay with their executioners. And the other way around.

Le Figaro.fr/madame. – How is inhibition a breeding ground for domestic violence?
Gabrielle Rubin. –
I see men and women who have great abilities but who have never been and never feel valued. They lock themselves inside a mental prison, which I call “imaginary prison”. For example, it prevents them from asking their superiors for a pay raise or starting a relationship with someone they like. “I’m not good enough for this person”, “I do not deserve this promotion” … they tend to demean each other on a professional, friendly and sentimental level. This feeling of inhibition can be especially illustrated by the choice of life partner. We will turn to a companion as opposed to our personality because we are not capable of passing a fair judgment on what we are. And this choice can be crucial in cases of domestic violence, whether it is mental or physical. Especially because a balance of power is exercised and the victim reproduces a pattern in which she systematically demeans herself.

“Because the executioner makes them inferior, they think they are to blame” Photo by Petek Arici / E + / Getty

Executioner and victim, often fused together

In a merging couple, the abandonment of one would lead to the destruction of the other. Photo Valentin Casarca / Vetta / Getty

Why does the victim often stay with the one who has become his executioner?
Inhibition becomes a force that hinders us. In some tragic cases, it goes so far as to force the victims of abuse or prey too perverse to not be able to escape their executioners. Because the executioner subordinates them, they think they are to blame. They feel guilty, which undermines their narcissism and causes them to lose their self-esteem. They then become even more humble, which excites the sadism of their peers and makes them more and more aggressive. They lose the little self-confidence they have left and the cycle repeats itself, sometimes until it is irreparable. The repetition of this vicious circle very often finds its origin in childhood or adolescence. Two reasons can be crucial. It can first be explained by the lack of maternal love, whereas mutual love between a mother and her child is supposed to be natural. Rejection in adolescence from someone who really matters, a teacher or a referent for example, can also trigger systematic humiliation. In both cases a persistent idea: “I suck” and therefore always guilt.

While the executioner belittles his victim, why does he not get rid of it?
The figure of the executioner often corresponds to the concept of narcissistic pervert. This notion applies to behaviors that differ in their expression, but which have in common that they are both perverted and unable to feel different. It happens that the executioner can not do without his victim. This is especially the case in what I call “fusion pairs”. For example, in the couple formed by André Gide and his wife. He was a perverted and narcissistic pedophile whose inseparable wife was ready to find herself in anything, in other words a perfect masochist. An imperishable couple because the abandonment of one would have resulted in the destruction of the other. If the executioner and the victim appear to be two different persons, they are internally fused and so entangled in each other that the separation, after destroying the victim, destroys his executioner. This is evident from the strange cases in which the scapegoat, after reaching the end of what was tolerable, kills without really wanting it, and even without knowing it, an executioner whom she loves passionately.

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