Narcissistic Control - and a Metaphor for Freedom....
Power and control typically live at the very epicentre of narcissistic manipulation .... spreading outwards with different and sometimes subtle manifestations of abuse..... surrounded by the threat of violence and/or actual violence, if/when a partner doesn't comply with an abuser's demands.
When you love someone, it's often difficult to accept that your relationship may have turned into something like this.... especially when it may not have started out that way.... and, while people around you may try to point out what they see, they are on the outside looking in.... while you are on the inside looking out, so your perspectives will be different. This may also make you feel guarded and defensive and a combination of these variables can make it difficult to break free - as those living with an abuser begin to reject the very people trying to support them; seeing it as interference instead.
Many people living in such an environment try hard to cope in different ways according to the situation they are in at the time. For example, submitting to an abuser's demands, covering or lying for them, trying to understand or change them, trying to change themselves in some way; appearance, demeanour, social circles, going back repeatedly after a relationship break-up and/or, trying to take a stand. In more serious circumstances, this can also include retracting statements or witness testimony. All of these reactions are attempts to limit abusive behaviour from escalating and becoming increasingly more lethal over time as the power of an abuser takes hold, yet in reality.... although some strategies may work in the short-term, the cost to yourself is huge; a gradual erosion of identity, self-esteem and overall ability to manage alone. The more direct the resistance is, the greater the risk of eventual violence becomes - because an abuser will react to defiance by increasing control measures further in a never-ending bid to maintain their authority.
There's been a tall(ish) dense conifer hedge in my garden for the past 20 years, where a rose has struggled to push through year upon year. When I've coaxed it through and into the light, it's managed to display the odd bloom or two but never that many. Last year however, I decided to have the conifers cut down.... and some time afterwards, noticed the rose had started to reach up towards the sun because there was no longer anything holding it back; nothing to weigh it down and nothing to block out the light. It struck me as a powerful metaphor that a number of people could relate to.... for many different reasons..... and to reinforce the message that it's never to late to bloom.
When you no longer have the strength to push through the debris, counselling and psychotherapy can support you through that journey.