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Many men stay in toxic abusive relationships (TAR) due to a variety of complex reasons and deep-seated fears. 

One primary reason is the tendency for men to view themselves as “fixers.” Men often cling to the hope that they can repair the relationship, even when it becomes evident that their efforts are futile. This belief can trap them in an endless loop of wasted time and increased trauma, as they hope for improvement that never comes. 

Societal programming also plays a significant role. Men are often conditioned to deny their vulnerability to avoid shame and stigma. While women may openly discuss their emotional struggles with friends and family, men typically keep conversations light and avoid revealing their true feelings. During difficult times, men might overindulge in self-destructive behaviors or work excessively to mask their pain. Losing a primary confidante in a relationship can lead to devastating long-term effects due to this reluctance to open up.

Fear of conflict is another factor. Ending a committed relationship is inherently conflict-laden, and the longer the relationship, the more complicated the process. Many men stay in unhappy relationships far too long because they fear the pain involved in breaking up and moving on. Some might even be attracted to toxic relationships because they are unaware of healthier alternatives.

Complacency and inertia also play significant roles. Men may become too comfortable with the status quo, even if it involves abuse. Sir Isaac Newton’s first law of motion, which describes inertia, can be applied metaphorically: an object (or person) remains in its current state unless acted upon by an external force. In the context of toxic relationships, this external force must come from within, involving a decision to set boundaries, break unhealthy habits, and move away from complacency.

Fear of change and uncertainty can also keep men in toxic relationships. The status quo might feel like a safer option, even if it is damaging. However, embracing change is essential for personal growth and moving away from harmful situations.

Without access to appropriate mental health services, some men might believe they do not deserve better. This lack of awareness and fear can lead them to repeatedly seek out toxic relationships. This cycle can be broken with proper support and care.

Some men may also stay in toxic relationships due to a misguided belief that their role as a caretaker or martyr has emotional or psychological benefits. They might feel undeserving of a healthier relationship.

The consequences of remaining in a TAR are severe and far-reaching. Victims may experience anxiety, depression, severe trauma, and suicidal thoughts. They might develop a distrust of people, emotional distance, and complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD). Isolation from friends and family and an inability to set healthy boundaries are also common effects.

Survivors of toxic relationships need to understand these behaviors to cope with their pain. Seeking help from therapists and support groups like the CPTSD Foundation and Parental Alienation Anonymous (PA-A) can be crucial in learning to manage their trauma in healthy ways.

Recognizing that you are in a toxic abusive relationship is the first critical step. Here are practical steps and resources for men to seek support and start the healing process:

Acknowledge the Situation

Understand and admit that you are in a toxic situation. Denial can prolong suffering and make it harder to seek help. Take time to reflect on your feelings and the reality of your relationship. Journaling can help articulate thoughts and emotions.

Reach Out for Support!

Share your experiences with trusted individuals who can provide emotional support and perspective.

Join TAR Anon, a free support group every Monday and Wednesday at 6 PM EDT via  These groups offer a sense of community and shared experiences. 

Watch for free a webinar, with a groundbreaking session titled “Men! Have You Stepped in TAR?” For all men, and women who know of a man who has stepped in TAR.

Watch for free here :

Men in toxic abusive relationships face unique challenges, but recognizing the problem and taking proactive steps to seek help is crucial. By reaching out for support, creating a safety plan, setting boundaries, and focusing on self-care, men can start the journey toward healing and a healthier future. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, and there are resources and communities ready to support you through this process.

Ultimately, every experience, no matter how painful, shapes us. While the journey out of a toxic relationship is challenging, it is a step towards a better future. Understanding that you deserve better and moving on from the past is essential. Your life story is yours to write, and it is never too late to start a new chapter.



TAR Network™ is a 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to bringing worldwide awareness and treatment to those whose emotional reality has been distorted by narcissistic abuse. The mission of TAR Network is to support men, women, the LGBTQ+ community, tweens & teens, families, parents who are alienated from their children, workers, and caregivers going through or emerging from TAR. With subject matter experts, affiliates, organizations with supportive resources, and our individual donor community our programs will help you out of the fog and into the light. TAR Network is currently developing several innovative projects: TAR Tales – a safe place to share your truth TAR Centers – a safe place to get vital CPTSD treatment TAR Anon – a safe and nonjudgmental worldwide support network. There is strength in numbers. We’ve all suffered from trauma and abuse at the hands of someone close. Please join us in this worldwide effort toward recovery.

1 Comment

  1. Christ I ne Andrews Reply

    Men and women stay in a toxic relationship because of ; 1. Believing that the other person truly love him or her. 2. They can’t make it on his or her own 3. The other person may threaten to harm his or her family, children, pets, and or friend.
    I speak from experience. I am a domestic violence and abuse survivor of multiple times.

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