Narcissist Abuse & Our Codependency to Hope


Why do we develop such a twisted codependency to the narcissistic nonsense? Well, I believe that it starts with the passive-aggressive conditioning put upon us by the narcissist/psychopath – conditioning that is fully intended to make us feel desperate and insecure within the relationship. Since desperation and insecurity are two of the biggest catalysts for codependency, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to make the connection. We, ourselves, become part of the chaos and turmoil and, during the invoking of a silent treatment, we become part of the deafening silence. In essence, we turn our hope for a happy ending into a codependency that never ends happily.

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Our codependency to the narcissistic game of cat and mouse builds gradually – just as the narcissist intends. The more gradual the build, the less likely we are to even notice our demise until we are smack dab in the middle of the shit! At that point, we are almost powerless to pull out because there’s always more to do, to find out, to investigate, and  more bullshit to put up with. We hope and pray that this time it will be different…that we can love the narcissist out of his bad behavior. But we never can and we never will.

The victim of narcissistic abuse spends a good deal of her waking life in a relationship with a person who neglects her and will, in a moment’s notice, abandon her. She is forever trying to figure out “the secrets” – of which there are many (although he will state otherwise) – and this can take hour after consuming hour as the desperation mounts. Keeping the codependency alive and strong in his victim/partner is very much a requirement of the narcissist’s pathological agenda. The victim, in much the same way, actually becomes addicted to the agenda as well but receives far less pleasure than the narcissist or psychopath who literally thrives off of his partner’s suffering.

Codependency in relationships is hard enough without the other partner having a personality disorder that can never be fixed. When narcissism becomes part of the equation, life takes a much sharper and far  more deadlier turn than ever before. Codependents will usually accept themselves as being damaged in order to “fix” another person. Codependents are typically neglectful of their own personal boundaries, allowing the manipulative partner to breach them over and over in the cruelest of ways. Narcissists are famous for their fondness of crossing the most private, off-limits, button-pushing, pain-inducing boundaries possible on the persons who love them.

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In fact, personal boundaries – when protected – are pretty much the only protection against narcissism for anyone.

Breaking this type of codependency is difficult because we associate the desperation that we feel with our love for the perpetrator. This causes mental confusion and a anxious willingness to hang in there…. to try it one more time because maybe he’ll change. Then, before we know it, years have passed and everything is exactly the same as its always been.

Like any addiction to a bad thing, our codependency to the narcissistic behaviors and tactics of our partner must be dealt with seriously and in an effective manner that will give us lasting results.

For our own sanity, we must certainly be accountable.

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Zari Ballard, EzineArticles Basic Author


  • Patrick Smith

    April 8, 2016 at 11:30 pm Reply

    Hi I need some help or advice here please here my wife cheated on me about 5 years ago I tried to forgive her but I cheated on her 3 months ago and she freaked and threw me out. Anyways she was always telling me I am a Narcissist so I started to read and Lo and behold she came leaping off the pages at me. [1] The lack of empathy , I had a kidney stone attack. I was home watching the kids when I let her know it was coming on she shuts off her phone ? I had the flu recently and I said I need some TLC she was like not from me , I was abandoned well hurts a child so it brought up some deep triggers, if this was post my affair but no sadly that has been going on for years and now its like my affair gave her a license to be mean. And she says she wants reconciliation but in 3 months she gave me one peck and sometimes hugs sometimes not, but mostly just snappy mean disrespectful behaviour , when I seriously said I was done she cried and begged me not too her behaviour changed for a few days but that did not last.. { I feel like a mouse being toyed with by a cat.} of course I am hyper dependant on that. [2] Well at couples therapy when I wanted to talk about my childhood medical issue that tied into her lack of empathy , She said we talked a bout this last week she already heard it. I asked the therapist and she was like no she never. …. isn’t this called gas lighting ?? She frequently try to convince me that things did not happen like they did IE: she now says her affair was only a text thing , although when I caught her she had flown him to a hotel. I just feel beaten, broken chewed up and discarded I have never felt this slf loathing like i have after separating ??? I am confused ok thanks

    • Zari Ballard

      April 9, 2016 at 2:16 am Reply

      Hi Patrick,

      It seems to me that you’ve been granted a golden opportunity – YOU’RE ALREADY OUT! Why go back to that? She sure sounds like a female narc to me and they are the worst of the worst. OF COURSE she will accuse you of being a narcissist…they always do that. In fact, they constantly accuse you of exactly what they are and what they’re doing at the time. Like little children, they give themselves away. And when they’re not accusing, they’re distracting and gaslighting you so that u don’t know down from up, truth from lie….but your gut knows and it tells you whats up all the time. We must learn to always pay attention. Your intuition is never ever wrong.

      And yes, the affair has become her justification to CONTROL and TORMENT and basically DEVALUE you until the end of time if you allow it. Narcissists LOVE to have just one incident that they can hold over your head…an incident that, in their mind, cancels out all of their bad behaviors up to and even after that point. Doesn’t matter that she had an affair or TEN affairs…you had one and that’s the end of that. Therapy doesn’t help because narcissists don’t care about anything. They know right from wrong…they just don’t give a shit.

      My recommendation is to cancel couples therapy, file for a divorce, get therapy for the childhood thing if you must and begin your new life. If you’re already out, be glad you got that out of the way! Legally, make sure you get to see the kids and don’t play into her game about that. Don’t talk shit about her…in fact, the more silent you remain, the worse she looks to the rest of the world. It just didn’t work out and yeah, I had an affair. Ooops! Oh well! So did she! Keep all interaction with her to ten minutes and no more and only if its about the kids and only if its necessary. Be done with her. Why are you self-loathing? because of the affair? Who cares??? She’s not a nice person and she has been manipulating you for years. If there was one affair, there were many many more. She just happened to get caught on that one. Narcs don’t change. The love and tenderness you are waiting for will never come. Get out now and stick up for yourself.

      Zari xo

  • Elisabeth

    February 2, 2014 at 7:22 pm Reply

    Yes the most difficult part is realizing that there is no real hope that things would be normal and that the happiness is real and permanent,you want it to be what you hoped for but it just would not work out and what a nightmare it is to get to the acceptance part where there is only darkness in the relationship and the light and hope is just gone and you realize this is not the person that you fell in love with.

    • Zari

      February 3, 2014 at 4:51 am Reply

      Hi Elisabeth,

      You wrote..”and what a nightmare it is to get to the acceptance part where there is only darkness in the relationship and the light and hope is just gone and you realize this is not the person that you fell in love with.”….agreed…it is a moment that becomes sadder than sad. I remember it well – I simply threw up. In a split second, I not only realized what he was, I also realized that it could never be fixed. It’s a surreal moment in time that definitely changes us.

      • Melissa

        February 10, 2015 at 4:46 am Reply

        I am here now. This is the silent treatment after hovering number three. It’s a year later. Are you doing better?

        • Zari Ballard

          February 12, 2015 at 11:46 pm Reply

          Hi Melissa,

          It’s been two years and three months since the narcissist in my life walked out one day and never came back. For the first time ever, I didn’t go searching for him, driving around all hours of the night, and I didn’t write letter upon letter trying to get him to respond. I just let it go and I’m doing just fine. Time really does heal all wounds but you have to let it do it’s work. Please, if you get a chance, download my book When Love Is a Lie and maybe even Stop Spinning, Start Breathing from Amazon because they will go into detail about how I handled the process and what I went through long before it was over. You will relate to all of it.

          Stay strong! You deserve to be happy, my friend:)

          Zari xo

        • Christine

          February 21, 2015 at 8:44 am Reply

          Hi there Zari and company! I’ve been a bit MIA lately but wanted to just check in (been crazy busy with moving to a new place in the new year). I just wanted to give encouragement that once you let time do its thing, there truly is light on the other side. It’s been 6 months since I left my N, and I can’t believe how far I’ve come. I have a new lease on life now with a new place and even new love (dating a nice guy now. I obviously don’t recommend anyone jump into a new relationship right away but, over time, it is possible). Oh hell, after what I went through with the N, I feel like any normal relationship will be a cake walk by comparison. I don’t even mind run-of-the-mill assholes any more, because at least with them, you know up front what you’re getting.

          Lately the only thought I had about the N was wishing I could break no contact just once, to let him know how wrong he was about me and puncture his ego just a little. It turns out, I don’t need his divine guidance after all and can live perfectly fine without him–no, actually, better than just fine, but even leading a better life without him. However, then I realized it wouldn’t be worth the effort. I think my silence in all this time and not groveling back to him will probably send the message clearly enough anyhow.

          We can break our codependency to false hope, without breaking our spirits. It’s like this lyric in a Pink song, “we’re not broken just bent”. Keep the faith and keep strong everyone.

          • Zari Ballard

            February 23, 2015 at 8:30 pm

            Christine wrote...It turns out, I don’t need his divine guidance after all and can live perfectly fine without him–no, actually, better than just fine, but even leading a better life without him. However, then I realized it wouldn’t be worth the effort. I think my silence in all this time and not groveling back to him will probably send the message clearly enough anyhow.

            Well said, girlfriend!

            Zari xo

  • Elisabeth

    January 29, 2014 at 9:02 am Reply

    Awesome to see similarities in all our stories there is nothing so uplifting to discover that you can learn from each others real experiences and to know there is hope for sure!!

    • Zari

      January 31, 2014 at 1:27 am Reply

      Yes, I agree about being able to see your story in all the others! I can’t tell you how that very thing saved me from insanity when I first discovered what and who he really was.

  • Shasha

    December 2, 2013 at 4:27 am Reply

    HI, Just reading books/seeing video etc.on Narcissism/abuse/relationships. is keeping the Narcissist in my mind 24 hours a day..nonstop..every minute. I am still trying to figure him and myself out and how to be in relationships in general with anyone. I did feel desperate/insecure. It was “cat and mouse” game. He loved drama. I don’t “fight” or defend myself. He saw I was not playing his game…then wanted to move on from me. I did not qualify to be in his life. What did others have that I did not have that made him want to be with that other person? Some were younger/more happy/more passive/more positive/more matching his ideas/opinions. I watched him flirt with others…use the same “pick up line” and knew they would go through the same cycle as me. I felt sorry for the other women he charmed. He seemed to “fall in love” with all “love sick” with them at first. The women would buy him flowers then. I agree…neglected. When my dad was dying…he didn’t read my e mails since he didn’t want to hear about anything sad. He lied and pretended he never got the e mails. To be abandoned during a hard time in my life was sad. He only wanted happy people in his life and those who matched him perfectly and agreed with him on all things and someone who needed him to be a hero in their life…needed his help. I was too independent. I agree…I figured I was “damaged goods” and I tried to make the relationship work..but did not change my opinions to match his. I did try to explain my Christianity since he threw away church/Jesus/Bible. I watched him enjoy other women in front of me…loved it if they went crazy over him like someone would do for the “Beatles” or “Elvis”. I agree…I did not have good boundaries. I also push people away and run from love and try to help too much/gifts/advise/tell the truth too much and more. If he had really chased me I would have run. That would have stopped my longing to be with him which still lingers, even though I know better and want only a healthy relationship with a guy.

    • Zari

      December 11, 2013 at 6:12 am Reply

      Have you read my book When Love Is a Lie? If you do, you will see a scenario for every key point you have written in your posts to this website. All of our stories are sadly – and amazingly – interchangeable! We can only keep writing to each other and supporting each other in these difficult times. Bless you!



    • Elizabeth

      July 1, 2014 at 2:47 am Reply

      Hi Shasha I am also constantly on the internet reading stories and advice on these N’s that’s been in our lives. How we all feel exactly the same and how most of all are in nature thinking the same way. We are honest,sincere,loving and we are there for them but in turn we got the opposite. They abuse,cheat and lie to us leaving us in the middle of nowhere always floating from one miserable cloud to the other. My N would be online chatting to me and the same time chatting to someone else, I read texts on his phone and could see he repeats exactly what he texted me to the other person, how shocking. On the other hand that is nothing to them as long as they can lie and cheat and make us a mess they are in a better place. I really struggle to get over him now attempting again after seven months of hell, happiness,sadness no happiness with him was lasting.Triangulations with his ex is one of the miserable facts that I tried to cope with. I hated his ex to an extend because she was attacking me because of his stories he told her about me and visa versa,we hated each other but we are on the same side, if we had a breakup he immediately turns to her and does the same with her. How I will get through this time will tell I failed too many a time and hated myself for it and then when we are happy afterwards I was glad that I tried again only to learn after a short while that I just could not trust him and that he had no intentions to be faithful to me ever. So many apologies so many promises with no sincerity. If others could get through this so can I that is my goal.

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