We hear it all the time: “I can’t just turn my back on my husband or my daughter or my sister or my mom.” A fair question to them would be is, “Why not?” There is no reason to put up with abusive behavior from anybody. Ever. The only reason people put up with abusive behavior is because they have been conditioned to believe that this behavior is OK. It is not. There is nothing anywhere that states you have to continue relationships when they are toxic and abusive.
You may believe you are proving something to the narcissist by staying in the relationship. Well, you are. You’re proving they can treat you however they want and you’ll put up with it because their well-being matters to you more than your own. You’re telling them they don’t have to treat you any better because you don’t believe you deserve it. That is unhealthy and it is toxic. It’s also exactly what they want to hear. The narcissist wants you to set yourself on fire to keep them warm. They are bottomless pits of need, and nothing you do or give or show them will ever be enough.
In a very real way, they are like vampires. They are unable to sustain themselves or fulfill their own needs and must leech off of other people. The mechanism they employ to do this is usually abusive. Allowing that in your life is teaching the narcissist that this behavior is OK. More than that, you are teaching it to yourself. This makes it that much easier to keep putting up with it.