There are parts of us that would rather be punished by unkind people than have to spend one minute being alone, because the only way these same parts in us can exist is if they have someone to resent or somehow fear. In this case we remain in these ruinous relationships because the fear or emptiness we feel in even considering leaving them seems to be too much to bear on our own.
Here's the key to escaping this captivity: This familiar fear -- of being alone in life -- feels real, no doubt; but it belongs to an imagined self. We must now act on what we know is the truth of our condition, instead of remaining its captive. Translation: walk away from anyone who "helps" you to feel that it's necessary for you to hurt; leave anyone who causes you pain for "your own good." Here's the rule to remember: Never accept as natural or necessary any relationship outwardly -- or inwardly -- with a person or psychological state that punishes you. Say "no" and just go! A whole new and independent life awaits you.