Tag: narcissism

Narcissism and Codependence are Made For Each Other

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If my ex was a narcissist, what was I?

This question came up when I was in the midst of all these information about  Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

It seemed inevitable to ask what it was about me that made someone who has this personality disorder be `attracted’ to me?

Also, it seemed incomplete – now that I have found the truth about my ex – if I didn’t  find out the truth about myself.

Reading my journal from more than a decade ago revealed cringing details about how I looked at and devalued my self.

I thought of myself as “inferior.” I felt so insecure, I thought I looked “stupid,” “I hated myself” and even judged myself as “totally irrelevant.”

At 20, I felt so desperate for a relationship and was lonely. I felt no one could like me.

My negative self-beliefs trumped the hard truths I couldn’t see: that I am worthy, I am lovable, I am beautiful – I just didn’t believe I was.

From my journal entries I realized the following truths:

  • I had low self-esteem
  • I talked derogatorily towards myself
  • I hated myself
  • I was too hard on myself
  • I was mean to myself before my ex ever was
  • I idealized my ex
  • I saw my ex as I wanted to see him and not as what he really was
  • I dismissed my feelings of doubt and ambivalence about the relationship

 

Could I have attracted someone who thought and felt the same way I thought and felt about myself?

Was my ex attracted to me because he sensed my insecurity and knew he could manipulate this to his advantage?

Was I disrespectful towards my ex by idealizing him?

Was I being self-disrespectful by being too hard on myself? By calling myself stupid? By talking down on myself?

Was I dishonoring my own opinions, dismissing my own thoughts when I didn’t pay attention to the doubts I sensed about my ex and the relationship?

 

Along with my research about Narcissism, I also encountered the term Codependent and Inverted Narcissist.

In Sam Vaknin’s site, he defines codependents as:

 

Codependents

People who depend on other people for their emotional gratification and the performance of Ego or daily functions. They are needy, demanding, and submissive. They fear abandonment, cling and display immature behaviours in their effort to maintain the “relationship” with their companion or mate upon whom they depend. No matter what abuse is inflicted upon them – they remain in the relationship. By eagerly becoming victims, codependents seek to control their abusers.

Inverted Narcissist

Also called “covert narcissist”, this is a co-dependent who depends exclusively on narcissists (narcissist-co-dependent). If you are living with a narcissist, have a relationship with one, if you are married to one, if you are working with a narcissist, etc. – it does NOT mean that you are an inverted narcissist.

To “qualify” as an inverted narcissist, you must CRAVE to be in a relationship with a narcissist, regardless of any abuse inflicted on you by him/her. You must ACTIVELY seek relationships with narcissists and ONLY with narcissists, no matter what your (bitter and traumatic) past experience has been. You must feel EMPTY and UNHAPPY in relationships with ANY OTHER kind of person. Only then, and if you satisfy the other diagnostic criteria of a Dependent Personality Disorder, can you be safely labelled an “inverted narcissist”.

 

Melanie Tonia Evans, in her online radio show at BlogTalk Radio, describes Codependence and Narcissism and how these seem to go hand in hand.

Melanie Tonia discusses Narcissism and Co-dependence

Listen to internet radio with Empowered Love Radio on Blog Talk Radio

 

Melanie Tonia Evans’ website also offers a self-test questionnaire to assess how much codependent one is. Go to http://www.melanietoniaevans.com/articles/codependency-issues.htm

 

In the book Co-Dependence Healing the Human Condition by Charles L Whitfield, M.D. the following are a few definitions of Co-Dependence:

  • A multidimensional (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual) condition manifested by any suffering and dysfunction that is associated with or due to focusing on the needs and behavior of others. It may be mild to severe and most people have it. It can mimic, be associated with and aggravate many physical, psychological and spiritual conditions. It develops from turning the responsibility for our life and happiness over to our ego (false self) and to others. It is treatable and recovery is possible.

 

  • An exaggerated dependent pattern of learned behaviors, beliefs and feelings that make life painful. It is a dependence on people and things outside the self, along with neglect of the self to the point of having little self-identity.

 

  • A stress-induced preoccupation with another’s life, leading to mal-adaptive behavior.

 

  • Those self-defeating learned behaviors or character defects that result in a diminished capacity to initiate, or participate in, loving relationships.

 

  • A person who has let someone else’s behavior affect him or her, and is obsessed with controlling other people’s behavior.

 

  • Individuals who organize their lives – decision-making, perceptions, beliefs, values – around someone or something else.

 

  • A disease wherein a person has difficulty: experiencing appropriate levels of self-esteem; setting functional boundaries; owning and expressing their own reality; taking care of their adult needs and wants; experiencing and expressing their reality moderately.

 

  • A pattern of painful dependence on compulsive behaviors and on approval from others in an attempt to find safety, self-worth and a sense of identity. Recovery is possible.

 

  • A stressful learned behavior associated with an unhealthy focus on the needs of others and/or attempting to take responsibility for or control the thoughts, feelings or behavior of others..motivated by a need for safety, acceptance amd self-worth.

 

  • A learned behavior, expressed by dependencies on people and things outside the self; these dependencies include neglecting and diminishing of one’s own identity. The false self that emerges is often expressed through compulsive habits, addictions and other disorders that further increase alienation from the person’s true identity, fostering a sense of shame.

 

  • A maladaptive bonding within a family system. To survive psychologically and socially in this dysfunctional family, the child adopts patterns of thinking, acting and feeling that at first dull the pain but finally are self-negating in themselves. These patterns become internalized and form an essential part of the personality and world view of the individual. The child continues to practice these self-destructive patterns of thinking, behaving and feeling in adulthood and in so doing recreates over and over again the bonding in which the destructive patterns originated.

 

  • A particular form of unconscious loving..an agreement between people to stay locked in unconscious patterns..an unconscious conspiracy between two or more people to feel bad and limit each other’s potential, (wherein) the freedom of each is limited. Inequality is a hallmark.

 

  • An often-fatal disease of emotional confusion, marked by severe alienation from one’s own feelings. Living for and through others, due to the inadequate development of self-love as a true basis for loving others. Variously defined as: the addiction to living for others at the expense of one’s own development; the substitution of adaptation for honest self-expression; the vicious cycle of using and blaming that arises when we make others responsible for what we feel and do; the mechanism of control / controlling that locks people into futile dependencies and impossible demands; abuse and discontinuing disguised in the attitudes and gestures of love, loyalty, devotion, caretaking, people pleasing. Any combination of the above.

 

  • A spiritual condition, the shadow side of our love nature..a “dis-ease” of unequal relationships being acted out, of giving our power away.

 

Was I codependent?

I did depend on my ex for my emotional gratification and felt that he could complete me. I also felt I was nothing without his presence in my life.

I did stay in the relationship despite the overt and covert abuse I experienced all the while hoping he’d change, `fess up or be accountable – but he never did.

I did crave to be in a relationship with my ex regardless of the abuse he inflicted. At that time, I was afraid that if I left my ex, I’d be in a similar abusive relationship with someone else so I thought the devil I knew was better than the devil I didn’t.

I was also ambivalent in leaving the relationship yet was also unsure if I wanted to stay. I was afraid to be alone but I was also afraid to be out in the world on my own.

I depended on my ex to make me happy, to make me feel good.

I focused on how to help heal him but not how to help heal my Self.

I wanted to make him stop hurting me but I did nothing to stop myself from wanting to be with him.

I admit, yes I was codependent.

I acknowledge that I wanted to love and be loved. I realize that all human beings want to love and be loved but this should not trump self-safety and security. Abandoning my self for the sake of saving the relationship and for the sake of keeping my attachment towards my ex was not authentically loving myself and was therefore an unhealthy way to `love.’

Essentially, it was not love at all but pseudo-love.

It was not love that kept me from leaving – it was my addiction towards the relationship; it was my need to make him accountable; it was my desire for him to change; it was my desire for him to love me the way I wanted him to love me.

It was my beliefs and expectations that things can be better if I tried hard enough; it was my fears of being alone and facing the unknown that kept me in the relationship, not love.

I also had an unhealthy sense of self. I was too hard on myself. I didn’t acknowledge my own needs, safety and self-worth that I was lead on easily to any machinations and manipulations I received from my narcissist-ex who knew how to use my weaknesses to his advantage.

I only had the strength to let go when I felt I’ve finally had enough. I had to ultimately decide not to allow him to hurt me anymore. No more.

When I did let go, I realized that I needed to love myself authentically before anyone else could.

Admitting I was codependent was remarkably empowering. Though acknowledging it for the very first time was tremendously gut-wrenching.

 

Yet, knowing that my thoughts, actions, beliefs and perception towards my self conveniently fell under the traits of codependence helped me to be aware of how much I devalued my self, how I undervalued my worth, how I constantly looked outside to fill my feelings of lack, how I didn’t appreciate my self (no matter how much good qualities I have).

Admitting I was codependent made me mindful of how much I needed to take care of my Self for my own sake. It was only then that I realized how much I took myself for granted and how much I dismissed my own thoughts, my own feelings and my own value.

Knowledge about codependence also made me understand the fact that, if I allowed my ex to do all those things to me, imagine all the good things I can do FOR me.

Being aware and knowing that I had a hand in my situation, and that I am accountable for my actions and feelings gave me the freedom to be kind and compassionate towards my Self.

Honestly, it is scary not having anyone or anything to blame or put my dysfunctions on yet it is also liberating. It made me step up to the plate knowing and feeling that what I have I must take care of, who I am I must value, what I do I must be responsible for.

Knowing I was codependent was not a death sentence. It helped me look at myself honestly. It also forced me to treat myself better and to Love myself the way I should have long before.

Do you think you’re codependent too?

Being codependent is not something you need to feel ashamed of.  It is something you simply have to be aware of.

Once you are aware of your less-than feelings about your self or any codependent traits you possess, you give yourself permission to bring these to the light of your understanding.

Doing this gives you the power to choose whether you should continue being codependent or not. Ultimately, you then realize how taking care of YOU will always be for your best interest and that you can never go wrong once you begin loving your self authentically.

“You will never be truly free if you must depend on another for verification of who you are.” Frank Kinslow

 

Coming Soon:Know more of what codependents say and do, better yet find out if the codependent is you Ebook.

Photo Credit: Flavia Brandi via Photopin cc

 

What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Narcissus admiring his reflection as Echo looks on.

Echo and Narcissus (1903) by John William Waterhouse

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a condition wherein a person is pathologically self-centered and has no empathy towards others.

NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disordered) individuals or narcissists could not empathize because they could not connect.

They could not put themselves in another person’s shoes because they are too self-focused to do so.

The only time they put their attention onto others is when they are manipulating or convincing others to do their bidding;

when they are wooing others to their favor;

when they are managing other people’s perception about them.

Narcissists build an image of themselves as charming, likeable, personable, charismatic.

Some create an image of themselves as being unable to hurt a fly, as the typical boy-next-door, as a reliable individual or a person who has integrity and is altruistic.

All of these are merely impressions narcissists want to leave on you and which they exert constant effort to maintain. These images are all false.

It is these false images that move, breathe and interact with others. NPD individuals literally go through life through their false selves.

This false self consists mostly of mannerisms, attitudes, statements, actions collected from the environment and organized with the intent to build up a favorable identity.

Whatever identity narcissists choose, its purpose is to pull others towards them or to win others over.

Similar to a mask, this identity is a mere disguise, pretense. This put-on identity is similar to a costume worn for a show or an actor playing a character.

Every flourish of the hand a narcissist makes, any head movement, every stomp of their feet is an act.

Anything narcissists say comes from a script they memorized in their head which their false self decided they must say and do in order to function in the world; in order to blend in; in order to draw others to their cause.

 

Narcissists are good mimics

Similar to 4-year olds, narcissists build their false self by mimicking statements or mirroring beliefs, actions they see from others.

They impress onto their false self what they think people will like, admire, appreciate. They then pretend this false self is who they are.

In reality, what’s really inside them is an empty shell and a bottomless hollow emptiness no one and nothing could ever fill – not even themselves.

No amount of love, affection or care could fill this bottomless pit thus their constant need to acquire and to keep someone close to them – physically or otherwise.

This is why narcissists can’t let go. In turn, they choose partners who can’t say “No.”

 

NPD individuals could not comprehend intimacy.

They may know intimacy’s dictionary definition but they are unable to experience it.

They may know in their head what it looks like, but they don’t know how it feels.

Narcissists could only memorize events not assimilate it. They memorize the dates, the time, the circumstance because that is what they can only grasp. They are unable to experience the feeling of that event no matter how hard they try or pretend to.

 

Narcissists are confined inside a glass box.

Narcissists could touch you but they cannot feel you. They could kiss you but they cannot experience you.

They can say “I love you” but they cannot LOVE you.

 

Narcissists could never get enough

Nothing is enough, narcissists always need more, they always want more. When narcissists say “I couldn’t get enough of you,” it’s because they literally cannot get enough of you because no matter how hard they try, they cannot experience you – they do not know how to.

NPD individuals are constantly frustrated because they cannot get what they already have – thus their rage.

Imagine a pillow inside a bubble wrap. You know the color of the pillow, its size, its shape, you may have an idea of how soft or hard it is but you can’t feel the pillow or experience it.

You are unable to authentically know how it is to lay on the pillow so you settle instead to understand in your mind what you think the pillow feels like based on what you can see.

This is how narcissists `experience’ people and their immediate environment. Narcissists themselves are inside a bubble wrap so no amount of effort could tear down or break the bubble wrap or glass box they are in.

Inside the bubble wrap or glass box is an empty shell; a bottomless pit that needs constant filling via acquiring people’s attention, affection, reaction, presence.

Yet no matter how much more narcissists get, they simply cannot have enough.  For narcissists, nothing is ever enough –  thus their addiction for relationships and stimulation.

They could only be temporarily satiated but this lasts briefly. Once narcissists see the bottomless pit staring back at them, once they realize they are empty, they scour to fill themselves and get their fix once again.

They may be in a loving relationship but they cannot sense the depth of it.  They can only simulate the actions most people associate with love.

They can pretend to be in love and ACT loving, but they cannot actually BE loving or feel love, thus their rage.

They can look loving or appear loving with the intent to make people think they are loving.

(This is why you’re confused on why he is mean to you in the privacy of          your room but everyone else thinks he is a nice person.)

They rage towards others and they rage towards themselves. They are unable to experience joy – which in turn makes them project their frustration onto people.

 

Narcissists are in constant fear

Narcissists have the tremendous fear of feeling empty and alone. They are also in constant terror of being discovered for their deceit; and for their false selves to be exposed.

Thus, they are always on the lookout for people/individuals who will help build the identity they want to be known for.

They also use people to fill their emptiness (a mission no one in the world could accomplish, no matter how hard someone tries – even if that someone dies).

So narcissists flit from one person to another making sure that someone fills their feelings of lack and that someone empties herself out for the narcissist’s sake.

Once that person empties herself out, he moves onto another one, and another, and another with no care or concern for other people’s welfare.

Narcissists constantly work to maintain the image they want people to perceive about them. They are extremely sensitive to social rules/norms, technicalities and even legalities that they make a concerted effort to maintain an appearance of `goodness.’

They do not have the motive or the intent to be good. They are merely concerned to be thought of or be seen as `good.’

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There is no intimacy with narcissists

Narcissists do not know intimacy but they are experts in aping this. They are proficient in acting out / pretending to be intimate when actually, all they are doing is using this as a guise to extract supply.

They need to do this in order to get others to stay with them / be with them / to supply their wants and needs.

Narcissists could only know proximity not intimacy. They could only equate closeness by being physically near or being emotionally obsessed/hooked on someone or being mentally in someone’s head.

They need to be in contact with you in any manner or form. Thus they are boundary violators.

They have a constant need to be physically near you or emotionally/mentally haunt you.

That is why most narcissists constantly need to know where you always are, what you’re doing, why you’re doing it; why you’re not thinking of him; why you should always think of him.

They are afraid to lose their connection with you not because they deem you special, it’s because you are their fix.

It is not him connecting with you, it is him obsessing over you because he knows – even if he already has you – he can’t authentically BE with you.

 


 

 

Narcissistic Personality Disorder explained my experience up to the minutest detail. It made sense of my confusion.

Everything fell into place when I learned everything about NPD that I felt all the questions I had about the relationship I was in were answered. The puzzle was finally solved.

For a thorough description of narcissism from a self-professed narcissist, go to http://samvak.tripod.com/faq76.html and http://samvak.tripod.com/npdglance.html

The site ‘The Last Psychiatrist’ is where I learned how Narcissistic Personality Disordered individuals only feel shame, not guilt or authentic remorse.

Melanie Tonia Evans’ website offers a comprehensive list as well as descriptions of what a narcissist says and do http://www.melanietoniaevans.com/articles/narcissist-behaviours.htm, http://www.melanietoniaevans.com/articles/narcissism-understood.htm

 

Photo Credit: timtak via Photopin cc

Photo Credit: gato-gato-gato via Photopin cc

 

 

 

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