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.

Empathy and love addiction

relationships

What the heck is an empath?

Simply put an empath is someone who is very sensitive to the people around them. They pick up the mood, energy, and body language of others. Because of this extra sensitivity, they often get their feelings hurt by things other people may not even notice.

Love Addiction and the Highly Sensitive Person

Because many empaths and other highly-sensitive people have an almost Spidey-Sense to any perceived slights against them, many of them turn to sex at an early age to “fit in”. This is a desperate attempt to avoid possible abandonment or rejection by their peers.

As a result, empaths and other highly-sensitive people who do not feel supported fall easily into peer pressure as an attempt at validation. They may fall into unwanted or unfulfilling sexual activities, drinking, smoking, or drug use as a desperate attempt at finding a connection with others.

These behaviors make empaths easy targets for people who only want to use them. When empaths realize that others do not truly like them, but only tolerate them for what can be gained, the empaths are further hurt at the abandonment and rejection that follows fueling a vicious and hurtful cycle.

Empathy and substance abuse

Continued abandonment and rejection is too hurtful to bear which leads to further substance use and substance abuse as a way of numbing the emotional pain that comes from being so sensitive and empathic.

Non-supported Empaths just feel so overwhelmed and they do not what to do there is all this chaos swirling around them so they try sex, they try alcohol, they try SLAA, they try a new city, they try a new job, they try religion, they try therapy, they try CODA, they try drugs, and none of it seems to work.

What’s the lesson?

Our own validation can only come from ourselves. Our own acceptance must come from us. We cannot heal by finding the right city or the right job or the right mate. We are our mate. We are our own first love.

We must first accept and validate  ourselves before love and acceptance from others can feel real.  Healing can only come from ourselves.

As empaths, we must hear this message over and over before we get it. It took us years to turn against ourselves. We are not going to heal all of that in 2-3 therapy sessions. We need reminders of our own innate goodness.

We are good (enough)

Some helpful reminders, affirmations and mantras:

~You did the best with what you had at the time

~You are enough

~You are valuable

~Do not let the inability of others to see your worth trick you into thinking you have none.

~You are the one you’ve been waiting for

~I love who I am because I have fought to become her / him

~I am worthy of respect

~I am my priority