Why Can’t I Just Leave? A Guide to Waking Up and Walking Out of a Pathological Love Relationship

Available now in audiobook, ebook, paperback, and hardback:

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Advance Praise:

“Kristen Milstead provides a social psychological analysis of narcissistic abuse using the empathetic voice of a survivor. Survivors who read this book will be able to trust the “lightbulb” moments this rare perspective offers.”

—Bree Bonchay, LCSW, author of I Am Free: Healing Stories About Surviving Toxic Relationships with Narcissists and Sociopaths and founder of World Narcissistic Abuse Awareness Day (WNAAD)


“Kristen has a straightforward way of explaining the complex topic of narcissistic abuse. Her book shares both insights from her personal experiences and a clear and compassionate framework for understanding the complex ways that ostensibly loving relationships can morph into something utterly corrosive and dangerous.”

—Dan Partland, Emmy-award winning director of #UNFIT: The Psychology of Donald Trump


“In Why Can’t I Just Leave? author Kristen Milstead provides you with the answers you need to understand why you’re stuck in a relationship with a narcissist, sociopath, or other exploiter so you can finally make your escape.”

—Donna Andersen, author of and Red Flags of Love Fraud:
10 Signs You’re Dating a Sociopath


“The truth is often hard to face. Getting free from an emotionally abusive relationship and facing that truth will be the hardest thing you will ever do. This book is packed with been-in-the-trenches wisdom and the key to your freedom.”

—Tracy A. Malone, founder of Narcissist Abuse Support,
Author, and Coach


“With the courageous use of her own intimate relationship, Kristen Milstead provides both an exploration and explanation of every aspect of “pathological love relationships.” …Every aspect is covered in both practical and theoretical detail, as well as by example.”

—David M. Reiss, M.D., Psychiatrist (Private Practice—San Diego, Boston, NYC)
and Co-Author, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump

More than 60 million people have been in a pathological love relationship with someone who has an impaired conscience.  Are you one of them?

  • Do you feel fiercely loyal toward your partner although your partner has put you through unspeakable acts of cruelty and betrayal?
  • Has your partner lied so much that sometimes you aren’t sure you know what’s real or who your partner really is?
  • Have you tried to break off the relationship yet feel powerless to stop your partner from walking in and out of your life?
  • Do you alternate between believing that your partner is the love of your life and questioning your sanity or even feeling your life may be in danger?

Using the stories of survivors and social psychological research on compliance, cognitive dissonance, and thought control, Why Can’t I Just Leave? explains how relationships with pathological partners can create impossible dilemmas that trap you in a distorted dream-state and hijack your thoughts and emotions.

Learn what those who are conscience-impaired don’t want you to know and find out how to wake up and walk out of your partner’s invisible prison forever.

Foreword by Sandra L. Brown, M.A.

Women Who Love Psychopaths Book Cover

“Kristen Milstead has done an excellent, and more importantly, accurate job of explaining these relationships of ‘inevitable harm.’ While she is a survivor, her book is more than a tell-all book of ‘My Life with a Narcissist,’ which you can find in abundance anywhere. Her Ph.D. in Sociology lends a brilliant and professional view for survivors to understand the human interaction patterns behind these relationships that have left survivors either paralyzed from cognitive dissonance and intrusive thoughts, or wildly oscillating between loving and loathing, craving and repulsion, and wanting and not wanting.”

Sandra L. Brown, M.A.,
Author of Women Who Love Psychopaths 
Founder of The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction & Public Pathology Education
Current President of The Association for NPD/Psychopathy Survivor Treatment, Research & Education

Available now in audiobook, ebook, paperback, and hardback: