How to Stop the Codependency Narcissist Relationship Trap
Learn how to break the pattern of codependency/narcissism with my guest Savannah Grey, Codependency Coach.
Savannah Grey is a Freelance Writer, Hypnotherapist, Codependency Coach, Sports Fanatic and Philosopher. She has a degree in Psychology and is the founder of esteemology.com, a website dedicated to educating and healing survivors of abusive relationships. She’s currently working on an online course geared to helping people overcome their codependency.
Check out highlights below for episode #273: How to Break the Pattern of Narcissistic/Codependent Relationships.
How to Stop the Codependency/Narcissist Relationship Trap
What motivated you to do this work?
I was involved with a narcissist for ten years, and when looking for what was wrong with him, I realized there was something wrong with me.
I started reading about narcissism, and I learned that it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Attracting emotionally unavailable partners is due to your behaviors. To attract healthier relationships, I had to do the work to free myself of the restraints of codependency.
What is Codependency and how does it affect someone’s ability to have a healthy relationship?
Codependents don’t act, they adapt. As children growing up in dysfunctional homes, you can’t leave your environment, so you stay and adapt.
If you were mistreated in childhood (meaning emotional abuse or neglect or an emotionally unavailable or critical parent, a feeling of abandonment, a feeling that your needs are not important), you get attention or affection by giving more, doing more, and being more.
It becomes a quest for negativity. “I’m lacking. I’m not good enough.”
This becomes the blueprint for your adult relationships. That is your normal. And you look for this in adulthood.
You believe you’re not worthy of love. Your self-esteem is low.
I had a critical mother who was not emotionally present. I made everything my fault. I believed there must be something wrong with me. I carried a core belief that I was not worthy. When you come from a place where you’re treated as ‘less than’, you’re looking for that treatment in adult relationships.
You develop a number of behavior patterns:
Low self-esteem. You’re used to being shamed, insulted, and belittled.
People pleasing. You’re trying to get approval and attention by jumping through hoops.
Poor boundaries. Emotional manipulators don’t like boundaries. They want to make you responsible. They don’t want you to have autonomy. You feel responsible for other people’s behavior, mood, and feelings.
Reactivity. You have inappropriate freak outs. You absorb things that don’t belong to you. You take on too much or get really defensive. Your feelings can overwhelm you.
Care-taking. There’s a difference between care-taking and caregiving. Caregiving you do for your children or elderly parents, out of love without expectations. Care-taking is because of inadequacies and you do so much, it gives you the illusion of control. You need to rescue as your only level of power.
Communication problems. Stems from not being able to freely speak about your needs or wants as children. You’re afraid to anger your partner, and you walk on eggshells.
Dependency. You fear abandonment. You stay because you’re afraid to leave. You’re so used to adapting to negative behavior and relationships not feeling good, you will stay.
Denial. You think you’re so loving and giving, and there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s important to identify your share of the issue so you can begin to heal.
Why do Codependents seems to attract Narcissists?
Narcissists and codependents are similar and feed off of each other. They do a dance where one is taking, one is giving. One is parasitic, looking for resources to exploit.
In a healthy relationship, people have separate lives. In a narc/codependent relationship, you’re no longer doing what you enjoy. It’s a dominant/submissive power play. Each are trying to change the other.
A narcissist is looking for attention and admiration, looking to feed off of someone, and it’s always one way. The codependent is in a fog, always giving, trying to please, never being able to reach that goal.
What are some ways one can learn to manage their Codependency?
Get out of denial. Realize you have a real issue. It affects the decisions you make, your confidence, and how you behave and react.
Get out of the relationship so you can cure it. Read blogs, buy books, watch videos and learn everything you can.
I help clients with the critical parent voice. It’s always trying to sabotage you and keep you stuck. It wants to lead you to a place of hurt. It makes you feel shame and guilt, responsible for other people’s behavior.
Realize you’re not that voice in your head. That voice is your codependency. Learn how to recognize it. Be mindful when that voice comes over you. Observe it. Be mindful when it’s trying to make you feel bad. Take a step back.
Once you’re able to label it (ie. that’s my disease of codependency talking), you take away its power. The subconscious mind learns through repetition. Keep on practicing, and eventually, it will become ingrained. You won’t let it overwhelm you.
I also recommend what I call ‘the pass back’: when people come at you with negativity and want to blame you, be like teflon and don’t absorb it.
Teach yourself things you weren’t taught as a child, such as how to create healthy boundaries, clearly communicate your feelings and needs, and identify the patterns of abuse.