The Loyalty Trap: Why You Feel Disloyal for Being Happy After Toxic Abuse

The Loyalty Trap: Why You Feel Disloyal for Being Happy After Toxic Abuse the loyalty trap: why you feel disloyal for being happy after toxic abuse
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Ever felt bad for feeling happy and liberated after leaving a toxic situation? Like you’re being disloyal or betraying someone by finally experiencing a better life without them?

That unreasonable guilt sneaks in when things are looking much better for you without them. You may be taking care of yourself, pursuing something you love, and feeling really hopeful about the future, but there’s still that niggling feeling that you don’t need to be doing that or to be happy. It’s this twisted “loyalty trap” where your mind gets all tangled up trying to stay “loyal” to the person who mistreated you.

See, when you’re stuck in an unhealthy, abusive cycle for a long time, your identity becomes entangle in it. The psychological trauma bonds you to your abuser in weird ways. So, when you break free and start healing or experiencing life without them, you weirdly feel like you’re doing something wrong.

It’s almost like there’s a voice in your head which keeps saying, “But we stuck by them through the hard times, how can we just walk away now?” Or “If I’m thriving without them, does that make me a bad person?” or “How can I be happy when they’re suffering?”

You logically know the relationship was not the best place for you and it was pretty messed up. You know you didn’t deserve the crap you went through. But still, some part of you is kind of feeling disloyal for wanting to be happy and free or even just building a good life for yourself. This also applies when you leave a toxic workplace. You may feel like they really paid your salary for years and you’re simply abandoning them. Or when you say no to your mom, who educated you and sacrificed her life for you to get to ‘where you were’.

Let me tell you something — that’s the tricks your mind is playing, and you don’t need to listen to it! You have every right to be happy, healthy and free from abuse. Feeling good about escaping an unhealthy isn’t disloyal at all.

In fact, it’s one of the loyal things you can do for yourself. You’ve neglected yourself, knowingly or unknowingly, for a very long time. When you’re about to do something for you, your mind brings forth those voices of your tormentors, trying to guilt-trip you into not taking care of yourself.

You may hear that voice saying, “You’re being selfish for going on that trip with your friends” or “Your ex-partner is suffering, and here you are happy.” It’s a voice pulling you towards languishing in suffering, just like everyone else.

Do not listen to it but keep moving and healing until those voices seem like dry echoes from a distant past.

Broken Vow Implant

See, when we’re stuck in a toxic situation, our minds can develop what I call a “broken vow implant.” It’s like a hidden promise we make to ourselves to stay loyal to the abuser or the abusive environment, even though it hurts us. This promise is so strong that it feels like we’re spiritually bound to them, no matter how badly they treat us.

Even if we logically understand how hurtful the situation is, there’s a deep inner belief that keeps running in our heads: “But I promised I’d never leave them, no matter what.” This belief gets stronger and stronger every time we give in to their abusive ways, every time we put their needs before our own sanity and peace of mind.

After finally finding the courage to leave, we carry with us that deeply ingrained “vow” and this is what causes feelings of shame and disloyalty whenever we start to live a better kind of life. It’s as if our soul still believes we’re betraying them by allowing ourselves to be happy away from that toxic environment.

That’s why many people, after leaving those relationships, may not create a better life for themselves. Instead, they end up sabotaging or creating an environment where they continue to hurt themselves. Some sneaky ways this can happen include being overly frugal, not because they lack money, but because they feel guilty spending on themselves, thinking it’s disloyal to their difficult upbringing.

Conscious Reprogramming to Reclaim Your Loyalty

The only way to break free from those chains is to become very aware of how our wounded ego affects us. Then, we need to consciously challenge those core beliefs by doing things that show we value and care for ourselves, even if it means going against our old loyalties. It means catching yourself anytime the backward guilt tries sneaking in, and urgently reminding yourself: “My decision to finally leave wasn’t a personal betrayal, but the bravest stance of loyalty to my humanity I could take.” It means allowing yourself to feel shame or any uncomfortable emotion which arises when you take care of yourself, but not letting it overwhelm you for more than a moment.

The more you take care of yourself, the more you’re being loyal to the one person who deserves it the most, which is you. And gradually, by not giving any more attention to that old “vow,” it will fade away, no longer able to weigh you down with its toxic influence. So feel the joy, feel the light, feel the deep connection of becoming more intimately bonded with your truth, free of imprisonment. That’s the reconnection worth remaining infinitely faithful to.

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, 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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