Understanding Today's Narcissist
Understanding Today's Narcissist

Episode 29 · 3 years ago

The Dysfunctional Bond Between Narcissists and Co-Dependents

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Megan and Ryan decided to go to marriage counseling after their last fight resulted in the police being called. After being married for 7 years, the marriage was falling apart, and Ryan now had a police record for domestic violence as a result.

The conflict did not start with Ryan hitting his wife, as the arrest record portrayed. Rather Megan was aggressive towards him – throwing things, hitting him, and physically blocking his only exit.  In an effort to defended himself and get away from her, he shoved her. But when the police arrived they saw a 6’ tall man, Ryan, and a 5’ tall woman, Megan, so he was arrested.

Desperate to make his marriage work, Ryan reached out for help from a therapist. Megan was more than happy to go to a therapist now that Ryan had a police record as she believed that inoculated her from any wrongdoing. But it wasn’t too long into the session that the therapist identified Megan as a narcissist and Ryan as a co-dependent.

Narcissists and people pleasers are strangely drawn towards each other. While opposites do attract, the bond between these personalities is strong as each unknowingly meets the dysfunctional needs of the other. Here is how:

Distorted perception. Narcissists think of themselves first and very little of others while people pleasers think of others and very little of themselves. Both, however, believe that their way of perceiving is correct. It is not. The neglect of others (narcissism) is selfish and causes unnecessary distance, confrontation and lack of intimacy. The neglect of self (people pleasing) creates unwanted exhaustion, increased anxiety and contributes to a lack of intimacy. Without a balance of self and others, a person cannot be fully intimate.

Driven to rescue. Narcissists and people pleasers love to rescue others however, they do it for very different reasons. Narcissists gain a sense of superiority from saving others because they were able to solve something the other person could not do on their own. In exchange for the help, narcissists demand unending loyalty. People pleasers gain a natural high from the same act as they love to feel needed. This strokes their ego and impression of self as a selfless person. In exchange, people pleasers expect friendship.

Craving admiration. This is the key to both personalities: the need to be admired by others. Narcissists believe they should be adored because of their expertise, superiority, beauty, intelligence, or accomplishments. It does not matter if they have achieved anything special, narcissists believe they are above others and deserve constant admiration. The term “people pleasers” defines the essential need for satisfying others and seeking their approval. Without admiration, people pleasers and narcissists become starved usually resulting in an emotional explosion.

Misguided affection. Affection is not intimacy. Sex is not intimacy. Affection is not sex. However, narcissists and people pleasers are unable to make these distinctions. They see all three as the same thing. Affection is showing tenderness, kindness, and gentleness towards another person. Sex is a physical act which is designed to bring pleasure to both parties. Intimacy is a deep connection between two people where they are equally transparent with one another. Narcissists and people pleasers crave affection but are frequently willing to settle for sex. Often the sex is one way: narcissists seek to satisfy themselves and aren’t concerned with pleasing others. People pleasers want to satisfy the other person and sacrifice themselves. Neither are comfortable being transparent with another person.

Need for control. Both parties have control issues. Narcissists control through demands, manipulation, and abuse. They are often very aggressive about insisting on their own way and expecting others to fall in line because they said so. Controlling others feeds their self-righteous ego. Because people pleasers cannot be seen as aggressive or assertive, they often use others to control through guilt trips, excessive kindness or passive-aggressive behavior. They are masters at concealing the need to control through niceness. They must control others to feed the desire to be liked by everyone.

A pattern of unforgiveness. Narcissists won’t ask for forgiveness instead they expect others to make excuses for their poor behavior. They also don’t grant forgiveness to others, even for the same offense, and instead, tend to be very vindictive. People pleasers grant forgiveness without being asked and ask for forgiveness even when it is not their fault. However, they are unwilling to forgive themselves for similar offenses. This unequal scale for both the narcissist and people pleaser stem from a belief that they are different than everyone else. The narcissist believes they are better and the people pleaser believes they not worthy.

Exposing these areas for Megan and Ryan took considerable time and effort. Both were highly resistant at first because at some level, their dysfunctional relationship worked for both of them. But to achieve the level of healing that they desired in their marriage, this dysfunction needed to be revealed, processed, and eliminated. Once it was done, they discovered a new functional attraction to one another that was far healthier than the trauma bond of before.

www.growwithchristine.com

Whether you're thinking of divorcing your narcissistic spouse, right in the middle of it or have finalized your divorce, the tactics are the same. If this sounds like you, you need to know about Christine Hammond's new master class series how to survive a divorce with a narcissist. In this four hour video series, Christine Hammond introduces the toxic tactics that narcissists use to abuse, humiliate and manipulate you and teaches you exactly how to recognize these tactics and navigate through them with mastery and confidence. How to survive a divorce with a narcissist is a deep dive, a master class that I'll show you how narcissists use tactics like bait and switch, scare tactics, roller coaster ride and child's play. It's how to survive a divorce with a narcissist, a four hour recorded video master class with Christine Hammond. For more information or to purchase to day, just go to grow with christinecom forward slash narcissism. That's grow with Christine dotcom forward slash narcissism. This master class will change your life again. That's grow with Christine Dot com forward slash narcissism. This is understanding today's narcissist, brought to you in part by Psych Centralcom and now here's your host, Christine Hammond. Today I want to talk to you about the dysfunctional bond that occurs between narcissists and codependence. So if you're listening to this and you are in a relationship with...

...a narcissist, you might be wandering why and how you got here. Well, this might be the answer. You might not like everything that you hear, so please go a little slowly as you're going through this, but it might help to explain why you keep attracting the narcissist in your life. So let's use a story that I have from Megan and Ryan. Megan and Ryan have been married for about seven years and they finally decided to go to marriage counseling after their last fight resulted in the police being called. Their marriage was falling apart and Ryan now had a police record for domestic violence as a result of the encounter. But the conflict didn't start with Ryan hitting his wife, as the arrest record portrayed. Rather, Megan was aggressive towards him. She actually threw things at him, she hid him and she physically blocked his only exit from the room. In an effort to defend himself and to get away from her, Ryan Shoved Megan, but when the police arrived, they saw a six foot tall man who was Ryan, and a five foot tall Megan, so they arrested him. It was an unfortunate incident that occurred and there was nothing that he could do about it. He did wind up spending the night in jail and then he finally came home. But Ryan was desperate to try to make his marriage work, so he reached out to a therapist. Megan was more than happy to go to a therapist. Now, in the past she was very resistant because Ryan now had a police record and she believed that that inoculated her from any wrongdoing. But it wasn't too long into the session that the therapist actually identified Megan as being the narcissist and Ryan as a CO dependent. So narcissist and codependence, or people pleasers, are strangely drawn...

...towards one another, while opposites do tend to attract. The bond between these personalities is so strong as each unknowingly meets the dysfunctional needs of the other. I'm going to explain to you how that works in just a second. So I'm going to go through a couple different examples for you. For Right now, I just want you to absorb the fact that Narcissus and codependence are weirdly drawn towards one another, and we're going to explore the different reasons as to why this is occurring. Okay, here's one of them. It's a distorted perception. So narcissists will think of themselves first and very little of others. We know this. That's it within the definition of narcissism, whereas people pleasers or codependence, and I'm going to use the two terms interchangeably, not trying to confuse you, it's just people pleasers is a much more commonly understood term than codependent. So people pleasers think of others first and very little of themselves. So they are the exact opposite of Narcissus. However, both the Narcissus e and the people pleasers believe that their way of perceiving things is the correct way. It's not. The neglect of others, which is narcissism, is selfish and causes unnecessary distance, confrontation and lack of intimacy. The neglect of self, which is people pleasing, creates unwanted exhaustion, increased anxiety and contributes to a lack of intimacy. So without a balance of self and others, a person cannot be fully intimate. So you have a relationship whether two are...

...drawn to one another, but they're drawn because their distorted perceptions are at the exact opposite end of the spectrum from one another. That's the attraction. The next one is driven to rescue. NARCISSISTS and people pleasers love to rescue others. They have this in common. However, they both do it for very different reasons. A narcissist will gain a sense of superiority from saving other people, because they were able to solve something that no one else could do on their own. In an exchange for the help, narcissist to me in this unending loyalty from you. At the opposite end of that, people pleasers gain a natural high. It's almost addictive for them from the exact same act of rescuing, as they love to feel needed by other people. This strokes their egos and impression of their self as being this selfless person. It actually feeds that selflessness attitude. In exchange, people pleasers expect friendship. So both of them are driven to rescue. Both of them are getting something out of it and both of them expect something in return, and when they don't get it, they both get equally angry and can sometimes retaliate. So the next thing is that they are driven to rescue, which is something that both narcissists and people pleasers have in common, which is another trait of why they have this tight bond with one another. All Right, the next point I'm going to make is craving admiration. This is actually the key to both of the personalities.

They both need to be admired by others. Now, this happens in very different ways. So narcissists believe that they should be adored because of their expertise, their superiority, their beauty, their intelligence or their accomplishments. Doesn't matter if they've actually achieved anything special. narcissists believe that they are above others and deserve constant admiration, even if it's just a fantasy. On the other side of that, the term people pleasers defines the essential need for satisfying others in seeking their approval. That's where we get the idea people pleasers from, and it's why I like that word better than codependency. Without admiration, people pleasers and narcissists becomes starved, usually resulting in an emotional explosion. So both the narcissist and the people pleaser needs to be admired and they crave this admiration from others. They go about it in very different ways, but they're both actually looking for the exact same thing. So, once again, that is why they're drawn towards each other, because they're meeting each other's need for admiration. The next point this is misguided affection. Both of them have a very misguided type of affection. You See, affection is not intimacy, sex is not intimacy and affection is not sex. However, narcissist and people pleasers are unable to make these distinctions. They see affection, sex and intimacy as the exact same thing. So let me explain to you the difference between each. Affection is showing tenderness, kindness and gentleness towards another person. Sex is the...

...physical act which is designed to bring pleasure to both parties. Intimacy is a deep connection between two people where they are equally transparent with one another. Narcissus and people pleasers crave affection, but they are frequently willing to settle for sex. So they crave the tenderness, kindness and gentleness, but they are willing to settle for sex as a substitute. Often, however, the sex is one way. narcissists are seeking to satisfy themselves and aren't concerned with pleasing others. People pleasers are willing to satisfy others and not willing to satisfy and willing to sacrifice themselves. Neither is really very comfortable with being fully transparent or actually intimate with the other person. That's why they are able to have such a tight bond with one another, because they both share that absolute fear of true intimacy with one another. People pleasers say they want that, but the closer they get, the further they push away. narcissays say that intimacy and sex are the same thing and they cannot separate out the two one from another. So misguided affection is actually another bond that binds them together. Let's look at another area. This is the need for control both parties. NARCISSISTS and people pleasers have control issues. narcissists are going to control through demands, manipulation and even abuse. They often are very aggressive, insisting their own way, and they expect others to fall in line just because they said so. Controlling others...

...feeds the narcissist self righteous ego. Now let's look at the people pleasers, because people pleasers cannot be seen as aggressive or assertive. That's not really being very people pleasing if you are. They often use others to control through guilt trips, excessive kindness or even passive aggressive behavior. Those are those cute little backhanded comments that aren't fully assertive but kind of leave you hanging at the end of it. In fact, people pleasers are masters at concealing the need to control through niceness. They must control, roll others to feed the desire to be liked by everyone. So they're constantly trying to control what other people think say do they take on excessive responsibility and that area, whereas narcissist could care less what other people think, say or do as long as they are in control of the conversation, and the conversation is usually about them. So this need for control in two very, very different ways. Is Yet another area of similarity between the narcissists and your people pleasers, and it is another way that that bond is so tight. The last way I'm going to explore is something called a pattern of unforgiveness. So narcissists won't ask for forgiveness. Instead, they expect others to make excuses for their poor behavior. They also don't grant forgiveness to others, even for the same offense, and instead tend to become very vindictive. People pleasers, on the other hand, will grant forgiveness without even being asked and ask for forgiveness even when it's not their fault. There are exactly the opposite of Narcissus, however. They are unwilling to forgive themselves for similar offenses. So that's where they get stuck. So there is...

...this unequal scale for both with the narcissist and the people pleaser, which stems from a belief that they are different than everyone else. The narcissist thinks that they are better than other people, while the people pleaser believes that they are not worthy and not good enough for other people. So they look at forgiveness from two completely different perspectives, and there is this pattern of unforgiveness, narcissist for other people and the people pleaser for themselves. That is yet another bond that winds up feeding both of their egos at the same time. So all of these areas that we just discussed, the distorted perception, the driven to rescue, craving admiration, misguided affection, need for control and a pattern of unforgiveness are what creates this dysfunctional bond between narcissists and codependence. So, going back to Megan and Ryan, exploring these areas for the two of them took considerable time and effort. Both of them were very resistant at first because at some level this dysfunctional relationship actually work for them. But to achieve the level of healing that they desired in their marriage, the dysfunction needed to be revealed, processed and even eliminated. Both Megan and Ryan, even though Megan was narcissistic and Ryan was a people pleaser, wanted their marriage to work. So they work through this and once it was done, they discovered a new functional attraction to one another that was far healthier than the trauma bond that existed before. There have been times when I have said that you don't always have to divorce a narcissist. You don't, but the narcissist has to be willing to give in some ways and you have to be willing to work in your own...

...ways. So if you're in a relationship with one and you're trying to figure out what to do, make sure that you're not falling into this trap yourself and then see if the narcissist isn't willing to work on these areas with you. If they're not, you might not be able to make the relationship work. If they are, which sometimes they surprise you, you just might be able to make this difficult relationship work. Thanks for listening to understanding. Today's narcissist with Christine Hammond brought to you in part by Psych Centralcom. For more information, visit grow with Christine dotcom.

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