Co-Dependent Narcissist Relationships: Identifying Codependency

Written by Angela Atkinson



Victims of narcissism often call themselves “people-pleasers” or “diplomats,” but the truth is, they are often so downtrodden in relationships that they just become changed, reactive versions of their former selves.

What is codependency?

When you hear someone use the word “codependent,” often the first thing you think about is someone who is in a relationship with an alcoholic or drug addict. That’s because the term was developed specifically for this kind of relationship – initially.

“Codependency” is defined as an unhealthy relationship where partners are overly reliant on one another. As a result, a dysfunctional pattern of living and problem-solving develops between the two.

What is narcissism?

It’s important to recognize that narcissism isn’t always a bad thing. So, let’s first define healthy narcissism. Every thinking person has a certain amount of narcissism in their personality. At its most basic level, narcissism is simply “self-interest” and it is why we feed ourselves, clothe ourselves and get out and do what we have to do to live. Having a high opinion of yourself doesn’t make you a toxic narcissist, but healthy narcissism does still allow for empathy and concern for others.

Toxic narcissism is excessive self-focus that involves a marked lack of empathy for others. In some cases, toxic narcissists will also be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder.

While narcissistic personality disorder is not considered to be a “mental illness,” it is defined as a personality disorder on the cluster B spectrum that manifests in an inflated sense of importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.

Codependency and Narcissism in Relationships: A Toxic Combo

As you might expect, this is also a common phenomenon among people who are in relationships with narcissists. This is because the narcissist has such unreachable standards in any relationship that the “supply” is treated as an extension of the narcissist’s self when it’s convenient – and as nothing, when it’s not.

When two people have a very close relationship, it’s natural and mentally healthy to depend on each other for certain things. However, if one of you loses sight of who you are, in order to please only the other person, the relationship can become very unhealthy. One of the most troubling relationship elements is codependency.

How to Go About Breaking the Cycle of Codependency

Here’s the part no one will tell you about breaking your cycle of codependency. There are so many complicated elements to the narcissist/codependent relationship dynamic. It is difficult to fully wrap your head around it if you haven’t experienced it – and often, even when you have. In this video, I’ll share with you the most important things you need to know to fully disengage and exactly how to go about breaking the cycle of toxic relationships in your own life – and ideally, in the lives of those who come after you (see our LOVE Mission for more information on our larger mission here at QueenBeeing).

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Author

  • Angela Atkinson is a certified trauma counselor and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery, and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships since 2006, she has a popular narcissistic abuse recovery YouTube channel. Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own. Atkinson offers trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coaching and has certifications in trauma counseling, life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation, and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves. Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse here at QueenBeeing.com and at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.

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