We aren’t victims of circumstance. We’re creators.

relationships

Are codependency, love addiction, and narcissism the same thing?

Narcissists, love addicts, and codependents share some central things in common:

  • they all need to be needed

  • they all struggle with feelings of not being good enough

  • they all have deep childhood wounds

Narcissists need to be adored and valued because they feel inferior. On the other end of the spectrum, codependents adore and value others in hopes that the object of their affection will give that same love and adoration back to them.

The general difference between people who are considered “codependent” versus who are considered “love addicts” is that even when a person has secured a loving relationship, it is not enough.

It is not enough that one person loves and adores a love addict, it is never enough.

“Love addicts” are on a quest to make everyone love them. They are trying to fill a deep emotional wound and, eventually, they discover it cannot be filled even with all of the love in the world because the one thing they lack is their own love and approval.

This is similar to the “charming” mask worn by narcissists. Narcissists are well aware that they “act” nice as a way of trying to make everyone like them. You see, narcissists are also seeking all the love and approval in the world. This is because they are growing in their own sea of negative emotions including insecurity and shame.

Some narcissists can actually recall when they purposely shut their feelings off because they felt too many negative emotions.


On the other end of this same spectrum, people with love addiction or codependency issues complain that they always hurt and cannot turn their feelings off. They feel EVERYTHING.

Codependent people are naturally pleasers and want to feel safe and protected. I suspect this is one of the central reasons these two opposite personality types find each other. Narcissists are naturally controllers. In other words, codependents and narcissists are opposite sides of the same coin.

When the codependent person is a passive woman and the narcissist is an aggressive male, we have the magic combination of potential domestic violence, though this same combination also applies to same sex couples.

It seems passive or codependent individuals are naturally attracted to the strong, aggressive narcissistic type. It’s natural for weaker or more passive people to want to feel protected.

And the smooth, debonair, sexy narcissists in their masks pretending to be cool and smooth attracts the codependent like a moth to the flame.

Narcissistic, aggressive types need to have power and control and the codependent, passive type need to feel like their partner is in control. This includes being in control of them. It brings the codependent a sense of secondary power to think that they are with someone who is powerful.

 power-and-control-wheel-updated-1011x1024

So, one way to consider this is that narcissists make up for their lack of self esteem by taking control and acting dominant and with their need for power and control comes a need for respect.

Codependents make up for their lack of self esteem by acting submissive. In this way, codependents and narcissists coming together are like two puzzle pieces fitting together.

 equality-wheel

If the narcissist and the codependent cannot grow and develop healthy boundaries together, the risk for physical violence and emotional abuse, etc will remain high.

Treatment and recovery are possible if both partners are willing to take off their masks and be vulnerable to each other. It takes honesty and vulnerability to achieve a truly fulfilling relationship for everyone involved.

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Reconnecting with the world around you

Stress Management

Mindfulness

One of the ways that we reconnect with the world around us is through Mindfulness. Simply put, mindfulness is staying present and in the moment without:

  • fantasizing or daydreaming to escape your life

  • blocking upsetting thoughts / feelings with constant music or tv

  • numbing your thoughts and feelings with drugs, alcohol, or self injury

Mindfulness is being in the moment. Feeling what you feel, seeing what you see, hearing what you hear, smelling what you smell, and tasting what you taste. It is experiencing your life using all senses available to you.


As I sit here I can hear birds, airplanes, wind chimes, an occasional car, a dog barking in the distance, and the clicking on my keyboard.

I feel cool air,  an occasional breeze from the open window, the firmness of my chair, the feel of my clothing against my skin.

I smell my coffee, incense

I see my computer screen, my dogs, a hummingbird, some bees, flowers, a tree, a roaming kitten

I taste my coffee, some chocolate, gum.


Ways to reconnect with the world around you:

  • play with a child
  • carve a pumpkin
  • turn off the tv
  • dance
  • draw
  • teach tricks to an animal
  • garden without a radio or iPod
  • practice carpentry
  • play with the pets
  • paint
  • put down your phone
  • turn off your electronics for an hour
  • wash dishes by hand
  • eat gobstoppers
  • Go on a walk without your phone
  • touch your food, feel the lettuce
  • walk barefoot
  • float in a pool of water and notice how the water feels on you
  • take a sculpting class
  • go stargazing
  • watch an eclipse
  • meditate outside in nature
  • make biscuits from scratch with your bare hands
  • find an outdoor yoga class

What is Social Anxiety?

Uncategorized

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Everyone, ok…well, almost everyone experiences fear or anxiety sometimes. Fear is a primary emotion and helps us prepare for danger. Therefore, we will never entirely rid ourselves of fear, nor should we want to.

Social Anxiety is about more than just being shy around others. “Many people are a little bit shy. If you’re shy, you might be somewhat uncomfortable in situations such as going to a party where you don’t know anyone, but you do it. You give yourself a push, you go to the party, after a while you relax and talk to people,” says Rudolf Hoehn-Saric, MD, who heads the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “The social phobic person, at the prospect of the same party, would be overwhelmed by such anxiety that [he or she] would have a physical reaction — perhaps nausea, sweating, heart racing, dizziness — and would avoid it if at all possible.”

Shyness and introversion are not the same thing, either. As stated above, Shy people experience discomfort, while introverts simply prefer less social stimulation. While shyness is internally painful, introversion is not distressing.

The problem with social anxiety (formerly known as social phobia) is that we become fearful when no clear or reasonable threat is present. 

Social anxiety can keep people from things they want and/or need to do. At the heart of social anxiety is an intense fear of being judged by people around you. This fear is so intense for some that they are unable to engage strangers in conversation and some people are too fearful to leave their own homes. Some people are unable to eat in public or use public restrooms. 

This intense anxiety typically lasts for about six months or more for an official diagnosis. 

Social anxiety shows significant improvement using Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Cognitive therapy teaches us how to think differently while behavior therapy teaches us how to act differently. It is generally recommended that we first learn the facts regarding anxiety in preparation for CBT interventions. 

Some people opt for individual therapy while others benefit from group therapy. One of the benefits of group therapy is that socially anxious people are able to see that it is not just them who suffer with anxiety. So often people with social anxiety feel like they are the only ones who are suffering when nothing could be further from the truth.

CBT interventions for social anxiety include making a list of all the areas where one feels social fear or social discomfort. Then, the therapist helps the client arrange the things which makes them fearful from least fearful to most fearful. The therapist (and client) would benefit from practicing relaxation skills or coping skills at this point so that the client can learn to control their fear reaction. Once the client is able to use coping skills, the therapist would then assist the client in repeatedly engaging in the least scary thing on the client’s list while the client uses his or her coping skills. 

When the client no longer has a fear reaction to the least scary thing on their list, the client moves up the list until he or she is able to perform all actions on their list without excessive fear.

Another approach besides CBT is called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) which is like a cross between CBT and Mindfulness. With ACT, the therapist suggests that the person may always have discomfort or feelings of anxiety and the client learns to not allow the feeling of fear to prevent them from going to a dinner party, or a public restroom.

Some individuals who struggle with ongoing anxiety choose to see a psychiatrist or their individual doctor regarding anti-anxiety medication as well as psychotherapy. Some people find medication helps them relax easier and get increased benefits from their individual or group therapy.

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