Cognitive Dissonance — How Your Mind Tricks You to Stick to Your Abusive Relationships

Cognitive Dissonance — How Your Mind Tricks You to Stick to Your Abusive Relationships cognitive dissonance — how your mind tricks you to stick to your abusive relationships
Photo by Faris Mohammed on Unsplash

Cognitive dissonance occurs when someone simultaneously holds two related but contradictory beliefs. This feeling creates discomfort and, to ease it, compels someone to take actions that alleviate the discomfort. It’s essentially an internal conflict between opposing beliefs, and an individual chooses to search for reasons or justifications that one belief is truer than the other.

It’s those times when your mind plays tricks on you, contradicting how you truly feel about something. It plays a significant role in keeping someone trapped in a narcissistic relationship. I’m going to explore how it works and how to permanently resolve it.

A narcissist will manipulate, gaslight, verbally abuse, intimidate, or even physically abuse someone in their pursuit of meeting their needs. They subject you to various psychological torments beyond human understanding, yet individuals choose to stay and continue fulfilling their needs, even justifying why they’re doing so. How can someone willingly stay and even rationalize sacrificing themselves while they’re in pain? That’s the power of cognitive dissonance — it compels you to deceive yourself and cling to that deception while you’re internally suffering.

So, your emotional being is screaming and crying for help, signaling that you’re being abused and your well-being is deteriorating if you remain with your abusive partner. However, your mind opposes this, quieting those screams by finding “excuses” and justifications for staying in that relationship. These reasons might include:

“They’re behaving this way because of their traumatic childhood; it’s not their fault.”
“I’m sure they didn’t mean that. The world’s chaos lately is triggering their depression.”
“The connection we share is so strong that no one else will understand it.”
“If I leave, I don’t know how I’ll manage on my own.”
“I’ve seen some improvements; I think they’re changing. I just need to give them more time.”
“There aren’t better options out there.”
“I’m too old to find someone else.”

These are just a few of the “justifications” that the mind feeds us to bolster our unconscious beliefs, legitimizing our stay in that toxic relationship. We justify our actions in our minds while ignoring our emotional truth. Therefore, our actions align with these reasons, while our inner being contradicts them.

Why do we listen to the ‘truth’ in our minds while ignoring our emotions, which reflect how we truly feel deep inside?

It’s due to our deeply ingrained subconscious beliefs or programming.

It doesn’t matter how much logic you apply to cognitive dissonance or how you attempt to explain the falsehood of these justifications. The mind chooses the path that reinforces your deeply held beliefs. This leads you to “lie” to yourself and make excuses for their behavior.

These beliefs reside deep within your subconscious mind, most of which you’re not even conscious of. Being in a narcissistic relationship and staying in it align with these beliefs. Our subconscious beliefs drive our lives, connecting us with people, situations, and events that reinforce those beliefs. Our traumatic pasts shape beliefs like: “I am unworthy of love,” “Something must be wrong with me,” and “Those I love always hurt me.”*et9czc*_ga*MTkxNjcxMDU2NC4xNjg1MDA1MjYw*_ga_6LJN6D94N6*MTY5ODczNDU3OC4yMjQuMC4xNjk4NzM0NTc4LjAuMC4w

These subconscious beliefs run behind the scenes, guiding your current reality (actions and behaviors) to be in line with these deeply ingrained beliefs. This is why no logical explanation can truly address cognitive dissonance, because the cognitive brain defaults to agreement with the subconscious programming.

It’s as if your mind comes up with various excuses and justifications to reinforce the identity imposed by traumatic programming. This is where minimization, rationalization, and justification stem from.

So, How Can You Resolve Cognitive Dissonance?

Cognitive dissonance cannot be resolved through intellectual or logical understanding alone, as the issue doesn’t reside in the cognitive part of the brain — it’s within the subconscious.*et9czc*_ga*MTkxNjcxMDU2NC4xNjg1MDA1MjYw*_ga_6LJN6D94N6*MTY5ODczNDU3OC4yMjQuMC4xNjk4NzM0NTc4LjAuMC4w

In simple terms, resolving cognitive dissonance involves being deeply grounded in the reality of your present experience, regardless of what your thoughts are telling you. While your thoughts offer a different narrative, you become aware of their deception and focus on what you perceive as reality, not what you think.

Of course, this is easier said than done, as the subconscious is quite powerful, even overriding your attempts at mindfulness. Your thoughts, justifications, and current actions are mere symptoms of something deeply entrenched within you.

Discussing it and gaining understanding might provide a temporary solution; your thoughts and actions might change temporarily, but those old thoughts will likely resurface after some time.

This is why cognitive dissonance must be resolved by dismantling those inner beliefs associated with your notions of love and relationships. It’s about going inward and making peace with past wounds once and for all. A profound inner transformation is necessary, where your thoughts, actions, and behaviors follow suit.

It’s crucial to delve deeper so that you can break free from the chains of narcissistic abuse. I hope you now comprehend why you might engage in certain behaviors and actions even though you’re internally in pain — it’s the potent force of subconscious programming that’s at play.

If you’re weary of the pain and ready to dissolve that stagnant identity and those unconscious patterns for good, you can always reach out so that I can safely guide you in this journey of exploring those things in your ‘basement.’

Without the past holding sway over your present life, you’ll be able to perceive someone for who they truly are, not through the lens of past painful experiences. You’ll establish a profound connection with your authentic self, where you’re acutely aware of your present actions and behaviors.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns (in less than 2 months) , then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.




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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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