What comes to mind when you think of a narcissist? A selfish person who uses their victim for self-gain, right? In contrast, we see a codependent person as excessively selfless and an easy victim to a narcissist. Yet, both the narcissist and the codependent person have unhealthy views of themselves. See, they share similar needs but portray them through opposite behaviors. In a nutshell, a narcissist can be codependent.
Codependency vs. Narcissism
Three aspects make it possible for a narcissist to be codependent. These three factors facilitate the bond between a codependent person and a narcissist. They are: –
#1: A History of Trauma and Abuse
Many narcissists come from a childhood background characterized by neglect, parents who are inconsistent or abusive. This unhealed trauma results in unresolved shadow emotions. It sets up the narcissist to display codependent traits towards those around them. The same applies to codependent persons recovering from abusive relationships or upbringing.
#2: Undefined View of Self
Both a narcissist and a codependent person struggle with their identities. In turn, they rely on those around them to dictate who they are. For example, a narcissist values what their victim says about their strengths. However, a codependent person pegs their self-worth on the current mood of their narcissistic partner.
#3: Extreme Focus on Others vs. Self
Narcissists are self-centered. They hardly show empathy to those in need. More so, they only display concern for others if it will benefit them in some way. For example, a narcissist will help their victim to get the recognition that inflates their self-esteem.
A codependent person focuses on others to the point of trying to control the other person’s behavior. This individual is always looking for opportunities to serve others. In turn, they peg their identity on how this other person responds to them.
How Do Narcissists Become Codependent?
Note that codependency is a pattern that makes a person prone to getting stuck in a narcissistic relationship. Yet, a narcissist relies more on their victims for their narcissistic supply and validation. Hence, there are instances when the narcissist looks to their partner for reassurance, displaying their codependency tendencies.
How Does a Relationship with a Codependent Narcissist Look Like?
A narcissist can be in a relationship with a codependent person if the two depend on each other to feed needs that sustain their harmful behaviors. Here, a narcissist exploits the codependent person in achieving their selfish goals. And, the codependent person is over-dependent on the narcissist to make decisions for them. This interaction reinforces their negative traits like alcohol and drug addiction, domestic violence, or self-harm.
Trauma Bonding with a Codependent Narcissist
A relationship with a codependent narcissist has trauma bonding as its underlying foundation. It features typical behaviors like dismissiveness, invalidation, and thoughts of worthlessness. For example, someone who is struggling with negative beliefs about themselves becomes prone to trauma bonding.
As a result, they get confused when in a narcissistic relationship. In the process, they feel that they need to be more than enough to keep their narcissistic partners happy. Next, they get stuck even though the narcissist needs them more than they need the narcissist.
Do you identify your codependent person? And, are you currently in a relationship with a narcissist? If so, you need to make lifestyle changes that free you from the cycle of this toxic relationship. This association with a codependent narcissist makes you derive your sense of self and identity from your partner’s ups and downs.
Here are some healthy habits you can develop: –
#1: Speak up
Often, we can tell when we are in a toxic relationship. If you suspect abuse, talk to a friend or other family members. Let them give you their opinion about your current situation.
#2: Learn all you can about a codependent narcissist
This knowledge helps you appreciate how they think and view you.
#3: Channel your emotions appropriately
Indeed, there are days when you wake up feeling sad, angry, or disgusted. When these emotions overwhelm you, avoid looking up to the narcissist for validation. Instead, exercise or engage in a hobby to release this surge of negative emotions.
#3: Invest in self-care routines
These are healthy habits that shift your focus from the narcissist. They help you appreciate your strengths and accept your weaknesses.
#4: Go for psychotherapy
More so, if your relationship is draining your mental and physical health. Get professional guidance to help you overcome addictions, emotional and physical abuse in your current relationship.
#5: Set healthy boundaries
By having clear boundaries on what you accept or refuse, you limit narcissistic abuse.
#6: Know when to call it quits
If your relationship includes instances of name-calling, yelling, false accusations, public humiliation, and threats, you could be in physical danger. Here, reach out to your local shelters or service providers for temporary refuge from the immediate risk. Then, engage a counselor, family member, or the local authorities to end the relationship peacefully.
What Happens When You End a Relationship With a Codependent Narcissist?
A codependent narcissist gets stuck in a toxic relationship for a long time. Still, should their victims end the relationship; this narcissist will look for someone else to replace them right away.
See, a codependent narcissist often has a past or current history of addiction. This person gets enraged and needy towards their partners on any given day. Their anger feelings come about since they need their partners for their narcissistic supply. And they feel needy because they are scared that their partner can leave them. Hence, when the relationship ends, the codependent narcissist struggles to stay alone.
A codependent narcissist is always in a toxic relationship with those around them. And a codependent person is an easy target to a narcissist. Both persons find it almost impossible to end the relationship. So, if you suspect that you are relating to a codependent narcissist, take time to understand their behavior. And since a narcissistic abuse recovery takes time, practice self-care and reach out for professional help to facilitate your recovery journey. That way, you will be more prepared to deal with them or manage the daily narcissistic situations for better living.