Narcissistic/Codependent Entanglements

I am not a psychiatrist. I do not have the authority to diagnose any sort of personality disorder. But I believe that the relationship that broke me was a Narcissistic/Codependent Entanglement. I see it everywhere -- in fact, most of the clients I attract know exactly what I'm talking about. We attract what we are, so when I work with my clients and these types of relationships come up, I am never surprised. I truly believe they find me in order for us to heal one another through our work together. It's so crazy how many of the same thoughts, experiences and feelings we share. And what's worse, how hard we all agree it is to deprogram ourselves after our discardment from the Narcissist. Because it really does feel like we become brainwashed within these relationships. There are actually studies that show that these dynamics cause brain damage in the Empath in the relationship, probably because of the constant fight-or-flight response they produce within the Empath's nervous system.

What constitutes a Narcissistic/Codependent relationship? It's a bond wherein a person with very low self-esteem chases, love-bombs and cuffs a person they believe can heal them (the Empath). Then, the Empathic person, who inherently lacks self-worth and is over-giving, places this "perfect" (Narcissistic) person on a pedestal because of their addiction to the initial intensity of the romance (love-bombing) and works tirelessly to keep that person happy in order to get their love "fix". When the love-bombing eventually stops, the Empath is worried they have fallen out of favor with the Narcissist and begins to work harder while the Narcissist gets more and more controlling and cruel. This cycle goes round and round until the Narcissist has gotten everything they can from the Empath and subsequently discards and replaces them to get their healing, their self-esteem, elsewhere. The Empath is left feeling completely worthless because their constant attempts to make the Narcissist happy failed, and because the Narcissist has already moved on, the Empath believes they are completely unlovable. Despite how hard they tried, they failed the person who loved them. They believe they weren't enough.

Sometimes after discardment, these behaviors are absorbed by the Empath because they associate love with this intensity, so they indefinitely recreate unhealthy dynamics in their future relationships. They can attempt to control their future partners because they long for the high highs of the relationship with the Narcissist and want to recreate that intensity. Yikes. Hurt people hurt people, pups. What they don't know is that real love is a slow, steady burn, not a forest fire followed by a flash flood.

Another gnarly truth is that both parties in this dynamic are codependent -- but one gets used up and the other gets bored and just moves on. The Empath gets used up because they relentlessly chase the unconditional love they lack for themselves, which they will never truly get from the Narcissist. The Narcissist discards the Empath, moves on quickly and begins the cycle with somebody else to take unconditional love from somebody they don't have to earn it from. With Narcissists, there's typically a trail of "crazy" exes behind them. Beware the person who has only "crazy" exes -- there's a lot of gaslighting involved when we're talking about people with these tendencies. Like, when somebody doesn't fall for the Narcissist's love-bombing, they employ the weapons of guilt, shame, victimhood, anything to manipulate the other into giving them what they want. For example, I was bullied by my exes friends, called a bitch for rejecting him because he was so good at pretending to be a heartbroken "nice guy", when really he was jealous, possessive, and controlling. He used his friends to shame me into giving him a chance.

One of the shittiest things about this dynamic is that the Narcissist can come back into the Empath's life at almost any time when they need a fix because the Empath is desperate for the validation that they really were good enough, they really were loved by the Narcissist. The Narcissist owns a piece of the Empath's heart indefinitely, until the Empath is able to see and take responsibility for the love they're so willing to give away. So it's very possible that the Empath is unable to fully move on, unable to get their life back on track because they are forever making allowances for the Narcissist to *maybe* come back and validate them. They keep tending to the feelings, wishes, judgments of the person who completely destroyed their sense of self from a distance. I see this a lot in what people refer to as the Twin Flame Journey. And it makes me physically ill. As someone who believes in the power of energy, I think the Narcissist continues to feed off the Empath indefinitely until the Empath reclaims their power and cuts the energetic "cord".

Oftentimes, people don't want to admit they were used, abused and discarded, especially if they consider themselves an intelligent, strong person. It can be a humiliating, tragic and heavy thing to acknowledge. There's a lot of grief in admitting that you let somebody who destroyed and abandoned you determine your value...and that you then thereby learned that love meant abandoning yourself. I know that was my case. I really, really wanted to avoid working on this stuff within myself, despite how much I LOVE "doing the work". It hurt my pride too much to acknowledge how badly I abandoned myself, why and for who. Every single day for years I looked for ways to heal without wanting to acknowledge the core issue -- that I had been tricked into falling in love with somebody who didn't actually know how. I wanted to believe that I had mattered to this person. I wanted to believe it was real, because goddamn it, it felt super real to me. I wanted to believe that I wasn't stupid or idealistic or naive to believe that this person had actually loved me. But I was, and I'm finally willing to admit that that's okay. It had to happen to me in order to see just how willing to abandon myself I was and to figure out why. It needed to happen so I could go on this crazy journey of self-discovery and find myself, to remember my value and worth. My 20s were very difficult, but I'd rather be empowered at this point in my life then wake up at 50 realizing that I made all of the wrong decisions for myself because I never learned how to be on my own side. So I'd like to thank my alleged Narcissist. Losing myself in you made me have to find myself again within me. Nothing can ever break me again.

If you or somebody you know has gone through this, it's very lonely, embarrassing, isolating and painful. I have tons of resources to get to the bottom of wherever this entanglement lives within you, and am passionate about helping people who have been victimized this way, helping them find themselves again. Or maybe for the first time. Please feel free to email me if you'd like to discuss your story and troubleshoot a way to move forward. As tough as it might be to believe, this happened FOR you, not TO you. You just have to take the red pill and go inside a little bit. I'll be right here for you 💖

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