Narcissists and Co-Dependents
There is an old saying that opposites attract. I think there can be a fair bit of truth in that, particularly between narcissists and co-dependents. The common trait between them both however is an unhealthy relationship with themselves.
Co-dependant people have a poor relationship with themselves. Relying on others to validate their experiences and worth, they put others needs before themselves. They can feel that having boundaries and needs of their own are selfish. They give everyone the benefit of the doubt and find it difficult to assert themselves.
Narcissists on the other hand put themselves above and before everyone else. They use others for their own ends. They exploit weaknesses and faults in others without any shame or guilt. Narcissists don’t accept responsibility for their own actions but rather blame other people for having agendas and make themselves the victim. This self-absorbed relationship with themselves and lack of empathy for others is also unhealthy.
With this in mind it can be easy to see how narcissists and co-dependents can end up together. The co-dependant’s attitude of ‘That was really good you enjoyed that. Did I?’ suits the narcissists, ‘I’ll tell you what your experience was when I decide it.’
When a co-dependant person learns to value themselves, begins to take ownership of their own thoughts, feelings and actions, and begins to set and reinforce boundaries the relationship generally starts to unravel. The co-dependant person has a level of sensitivity which can find it difficult not to sympathize with the narcissist and may try to reason with them. The narcissist lacks sensitivity and empathy and only sees their own power base being undermined. Some even perform a ‘you’re alright as you are you don’t need to change look how happy you are’ dance with the recovering co-dependant. If the co-dependant person reinforces their boundaries then the narcissist tends to play the victim, claiming the other is selfish and ungrateful and so on.
Counselling can help recognise, manage and address difficult thoughts and feelings, helping change unhelpful and self-defeating behaviours. It can help utilize and explore your capacity for change and improvement. It can help with the uncoupling process from what might be a difficult toxic relationship.
This article was written by sentientcounselling