This short blog may shine some light for those in relationship with someone who rides a bit higher on the narcissism scale. We are all on the narcissistic spectrum to some extent because in order to be emotionally healthy, we must have an ego. Those who are further up the scale of narcissistic behaviors have not learned to manage their ego so much, and it is running the show.
Codependents and those with more narcissistic tendencies tend to be drawn to one another. They are a perfect fit actually – the narc is in need of affection and attention to feel good about themselves and the codependent is often hyper-focused on others with their identity attached around serving the needs of others to the extent that they disregard their own feelings and emotional needs. So the two fit together like a two puzzle pieces.
Here is why I believe many codependents often fear that THEY are the narcissist… both these ways of dealing with core wounds are based in and OTHER ORIENTATION.
Both are about lack of a healthy sense of self. Each struggles to get a sense of who they truly are and their identities are much defined by the opinions, behaviors and words of others. YES! Almost everyone wants to feel loved and important. Narcissists and codependents create excessive reliance of others’ approval to meet these needs.
According to Melanie Tonia Evans (who I highly encourage you to check out if you suspect you are in a relationship with a narcissist or energy vampire of any kind) says that both these approaches to dealing with emotional wounding share some commonalities: shame, denial, control, dependency and dysfunctional communications and boundaries. These are all just coping mechanisms to trauma of some sort. We ALL have trauma – it’s a wound, a scar where our flexibility is reduced in our response to the world. These responses are symptoms of what we need to heal in ourselves on some level. It’s a gateway.
When we get ready to take responsibility for our own wounds, our own triggers, our reactions in relationships, THEN we can move toward knowing the fullness of who we are, on our own terms rather than based on how others view us. Reliance on the view of others to know ourselves is so precarious! They can’t possibly see us with complete clarity nor can we depend on them to focus on us as their sole mission! Being responsible for how we see ourselves is crucial to our happiness, our relationships and our well-being.
This process is not about ‘becoming’ someone or something. It’s about REVEALING our true light, our true nature that’s been there all along. We don’t need to hide who we are in approval seeking or acceptance by others. We only need this to the extent that we are not giving it to ourselves. Healing isn't about changing who you are. It's about changing how you FEEL about who you are.
If you are reading this, my solid guess is that you are not the narcissist in your relationship. But you do have an opportunity to get on firmer ground with knowing the beautiful essence of who you are, without being reliant on the approval of others of who you are. The great news is that you already have everything you need to this.
Sandy Edie Hansen
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