I have worked with codependents for many years and have witnessed first-hand the devastation that occurs when a cruel, self-centred individual breezes in and out of their life. Life is not the same for a while and self-confidence and a belief in ability to live life in a functional way is replaced by low self-esteem, self-doubt and constant self-blame. Even though the short three to six month relationship with such an individual, defined by a three stage process, can be catastrophic, I have also known relationships and marriages like this continue for decades, with the “narcissist type” completely in control using any manipulative tactics at his/her disposal.
I have been offering online therapy for over 10 years. During that time, I have built up a speciality in many areas of psychology (especially Codependency) and helped many clients move forward. Contact me for a free consultation. I engage fully with my clients to ensure the best possible chance of recovery. I firmly believe that awareness is important but action is the decisive element of recovery. I accompany my clients along that road not only by offering sessions focusing on their issues but as a resource between sessions too.
One of the key elements of recovery is to become aware of the fact that in such relationships, there is a high incidence of emotional, verbal, financial and sometimes physical abuse. The adulation stage is where the seeds are set for what is to follow. This is the “hook-in” phase where codependents have described strong feelings about their new partner while avoiding acting on any red flags that might be noticeable. They suddenly have everything they have never had before. Love, affection, understanding, patience is plentiful until a point that it isn’t and the mask and everything else drops into the abyss.
At this point, codependents will try to desperately cling onto someone who is emotionally and physically withdrawing and maybe even targeting his next victim. They do not realise that their relationship was doomed from the first moment they met their new partner. They were targeted for something they possessed or were and that made them attractive. Like a parasite, the “narcissist type” will drain the victim of everything they need and walk away. In the case of longer relationships, they will only stay because the codependent learns to adapt and enable, often thinking that they might be able to change them eventually.
It is always hard to see someone destroyed in this way. They did nothing except hope for a connection that they had always hoped would come, something they had never experienced. This is the main issue and one that often “narcissist types” target. Many, if not all codependents I have dealt with have described a childhood void of real connection with their parents. There was either abuse, neglect, alcoholism or in fact narcissism. This meant that often the child becomes an adult before time and goes into adulthood with no real knowledge of how relationships work. Then, it is not surprising that they are fodder for people willing and able to take advantage.
Much of my work is done revisiting, reframing and reparenting the lost child and dealing with the thinking parts that develop from defence mechanisms. In a way, it is trying to help the child to “belong” and feel that someone truly wants to connect and love them. much of our self-talk and the way we see the world results from the thinking parts trying to protect in the same way they did as a child. The skill is to make them redundant!