Toxic Codependency – Am I the Narcissist?
By Candace van Dell.
Have you ever found yourself in a relationship and asked yourself if YOU are the narcissist? Many clients have come to me over the years perplexed by this. They get confused that their behavior can actually mirror the narcissist in one relationship and then in the other they find themselves more codependent. If you can relate to this ROLE FLIPPING stay tuned for the rest of this article.
This is a common occurrence when we have unhealed inner wounds. When you think about the codependent and the narcissist, they are two sides of the same coin. Both had to abandon the self. One abandoned the self and adopted a false self that they spent their lives validating externally and defending to the highest degree. The narcissist has a full time job of fighting for the false self in efforts to never resurrect the truth of who they are. They fear their true self as it was destroyed in childhood. Their focus becomes entirely on THEMSELVES.
The codependent or (unhealed empath) had to abandon the self for OTHERS from a very young age. They still have their true self but it is buried beneath the shame of having their own needs and desires. Therefore the focus is on OTHER. They lack boundaries and feel guilty when they focus too much on themselves for any length of time. Self sabotage happens when they get too close to their light and refuse to shine.
When the codependent is in a relationship with a narcissist they feel very safe at the beginning because they love focusing on others and the narcissist demands the attention be on them. Win-win right? It seems so for a while until the manipulation and control and devaluing kick in. Then the codependent finds themself in the old cycle of earning love and approval. This is what they know and it allows them to feel less shame as the narc is clearly the difficult one they get to try and fix.
However when the codependent finds themselves in a relationship with someone more codependent than them, they can start to exhibit traits that surprise them. They start to have to balance all of this selflessness and it brings up anger. They start to get angry that the other codependent is doting on them and focusing on them. It brings up guilt and frustration. You start to push them away and feel they are weak. After all, you like the narcissist’s way of guiding and directing you as you were separated from your own inner guidance early on. Imagine the stress that comes up when your partner is putting all the focus on you. You have been conditioned to think this is wrong and bad and it feels uncomfortable and brings up aggressive and self sabotaging traits in you.
You are not a narcissist, you are just an unhealed empath. You have some work to do on coming home to the SELF so that when others want to care for you, you allow it instead of deflecting their love. You are always looking for a permission slip to love yourself from someone who is not available or dependable on true love. The key is to come back to self. Little by little spend time focusing on self care, longer periods of time not avoiding yourself for others. Make it a discipline by writing down the things you will do to focus on you and better yourself, your body, your mind, your business each day. This will become less and less foreign to you as you feel more and more safe in this new way of being. We get to drop the belief that we do not deserve to be in our bodies and feel our needs, wants and desires. It is not scary to do you, that was the lie to keep the focus on them. It is ultimately scary to abandon self and live for others.
Candace van Dell, Spiritual Coach, Relationship Coach, Highly Sensitive Person expert. Learn more about Candace’s work in healing emotional wounds and toxic relationship dynamics in her 12 week course EMOTIONAL REHAB (now on demand) https://emotionalrehab.candacevandell.com