Narcissism and Codependency : The Love Addiction

Among my patient group (and circle of friends), there are people who continually allow others to take advantage of them, continue to give and stay in very toxic relationships. They attempt to make themselves indispensable for their partners (and everyone else) and become the local and family martyr. They are the codependents who keep on giving. It is also very often the case that these people are either in or have been in a relationship with someone who has narcissist tendencies. In fact there are studies that suggest that they might even seek out such types.

There is a dance in codependency that involves the intimate relationship between codependents and narcissistic types. Codependents lack a healthy relationship with self. They are prone to put others first before their own needs. This is unhealthy.

Narcissists also have an unhealthy relationship with self. They put themselves above all else. They use others toward their own ends and exploit relationships without feelings of guilt or remorse. They push blame off on others and are unable to see their own part in wrong doing. It is easy to see how codependents and narcissists get hooked up. It is like two pieces of the puzzle coming together. One is the easy mark for the other.

Codependents have an external point of reference and find it hard to set emotional and psychological boundaries. They often obsess about what their narcissist partner is or isn’t doing. They generally constantly try to find empathy and compassion in people who are unable to show this. They continually give the narcissist the benefit of the doubt as it is difficult sometimes as humans to believe such behavior exists. The cycle starts and continues until the narcissist has complete control over the relationship.

The narcissist, being generally bereft of the ability to show true emotion and empathy saps emotional energy from the codependent. The narcissist’s relationship is with him/herself; he sees a partner as an extension of him/her self and they need to simply fit in. Partners of narcissists are often times confused, hurt and feel abandoned. Yet they stay with them because the narcissist will lure the partner back in by occasionally exhibiting once more the charm, excitement and attention they initially gave, leaving the partner with a sense of hope that things will get better. In public, narcissists display their charismatic feigned self. People are drawn to them and find them charming and entertaining. Back at home they show their true colors and revert back to belittling their partner and perhaps the person they were just entertaining.

The good news is that codependents can be helped in therapy. As they tend to shoulder responsibility for all and everything, setting of healthy boundaries can eventually help them draw away from the narcissist. This is often difficult initially due to the unhealthy patterns of interaction that have been set. As for the narcissist, they are stuck in their own world of non blame and hence are pathological unable to change. How can one change if they are unable to see that there is anything wrong with them?

Are you in a relationship with a narcissist? Do you need to move on? Contact me using the form below.

  11 comments for “Narcissism and Codependency : The Love Addiction

  1. July 29, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    this post was enlightening . 🙂

    • July 29, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      • July 29, 2014 at 12:29 pm

        You are welcome dear friend . And it was indeed a good post ! Thank you

  2. July 30, 2014 at 4:12 am

    Reblogged this on SamilzSays and commented:
    What an eye opener!

  3. July 30, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Reblogged this on C PTSD – A Way Out and commented:
    I do not reblog much, however this is insightful and those with childhood trauma, attract this type narcissist at times.

  4. July 30, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Goodness I have noticed this more than ever this week. Need to look at this closer.

  5. July 30, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Really needed to hear this… I didn’t know I was co-dependent until now. A real eye-opener. THANK YOU!!!

  6. July 24, 2015 at 11:27 pm

    Reblogged this on Emmagc75's Blog and commented:
    Great article!

  7. Laura
    September 28, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    Thank you for the information. I want to grow beyond where I am now. Need more courage and confidence.

  8. Jodi
    January 10, 2017 at 9:24 am

    Thankyou for this article.
    I always knew I had tendencies to give too much, take responsibility for others, not think of my own needs etc in friendships and relationships but it’s taken my latest relationship to realise I’m codepentant.
    I’ve just left a 4 year relationship with a narcissist with a drug habit. It has taken every ounce of my strength to leave but I knew it would kill me in the end. I look back and I cannot believe all the second chances I gave, the excuses I made, the worse he got the harder I tried to fix things and to fix him to a point where I becane his mother.
    If I’m totally honest with myself my self esteem is terrible, I simply don’t know what a want in a relationship so I’m flexible, and end up resentful and feeling empty because my needs are not met and I’m busy worrying about someone else’s happiness.
    I was sexually abused by a family friend as a small child and I was never able to tell my parents as I was frightened of my abuser. When I was 16 I finally told them and they didn’t believe me so it was brushed under the carpet. I wonder if this is the root if my codependency. I also see my parents relationship playing out in my life. I’d love to have a healthy relationship I guess awareness is the guest step

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