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

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  • Ashleigh Jenkins

    June 25, 2017 at 10:04 am Reply

    Please help. I was involved in one of these horrible situations. Nearly everything about the guy, I now see, is NPD. I am certain I am a victim of this abuse. I can’t stop thinking about it, even though it’s been a month and a half since he and I last spoke.
    It is driving me crazy and I am suffering from deep depression.
    The funny things I don’t understand about the whole thing I really need some clarity on, to help me move forward. I would purchase a consultation in a heartbeat, but during this entire drama with this man, I lost my job and I am currently unemployed.
    He would never call me his girlfriend, just a special friend. He claimed he was emotionally unavailable, never knew if he would be ready for a relationship again. We were involved for nearly a year. The beginning was amazing but a few months in is when the hot and cold and silent treatments began. Just all the typical things you talk about in your articles. In the end I found out he had a girlfriend, became engaged, then married and expecting a child during the time he was also with me. He ended up completely abandoning me when I told his wife everything, changing his phone number, which he threatened he would do if I told. What I don’t understand is why he told me he loves her an not me? Why would he marry her and claim her but not me or anyone else? He would also show a lot of signs that he was aware what he was doing was wrong/told me I deserve better. He would claim he had bipolar disorder, but didn’t show symptoms of that. He said his wife understood how to handle his “bipolarness” and I didn’t. Do these things still indicate he is in fact a narcissist? He admitted he knew he has something wrong with him and he’s crazy. I just really need help to understand. I also don’t feel I will ever hear from him again, based on how I ruined his game. I just pray for peace inside my tormented mind.

    • Zari Ballard

      July 10, 2017 at 1:45 am Reply

      Hi Ashleigh…I responded to your earlier post first. Sorry it has taken me so long to get back…xo

  • 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

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