Narcissist Math and Codependent Math dovetail perfectly. It’s incredibly unhealthy, but they go together. Many codependents, particularly those who were parentified as children by abusive parent(s), learned that the path to love was to ignore your needs and do whatever it takes to make your abuser happy. And that’s what abusers want, whether they’re consciously aware of it or not, voluntary victims.
Narcissists want victims who willingly (or after some bullying, guilting and shaming) sacrifice themselves, their relationships with their family and friends, their hobbies, their passions, their careers, etc., in the service of the narcissist’s ego and insatiable need for control, flattery, worship, self-manufactured dramas and addictions. Think of it as human sacrifices jumping into the volcano to satiate the Vulcan overlord. The volcano god requires regular sacrifices. It’s never a one-time deal, so invest in flame retardant jumpsuits if you plan to stay in your abusive relationship.
People who love and respect themselves with healthy boundaries and don’t allow themselves to be manipulated are just too much work for narcissists. Codependents, on the other hand, are just right.
Diligent codependents will keep jumping into that volcano until you have nothing left to give or to sacrifice. Then you shut down and withdraw. That’s no fun for the narcissist. They want someone who will fawn all over them and ask, “How high?” when they stomp their cloven hooves and say, “JUMP!”
And then what happens?
That’s usually when the narcissistic volcano god finds a more robust replacement and discards you. Many of my clients who find themselves in this position torture themselves wondering what more they could have done or sacrificed in order to finally be appreciated and loved. As hard as you try, you’ll never reach that finish line. If that were possible, then the narcissist would no longer be in the power seat. “Not good enough” is what keeps you on the hamster wheel.
What many codependents don’t understand is that anyone who requires that you hurt yourself in order to prove your love doesn’t really love you. Anyone who is self-absorbed to the point where they don’t see or care how their behavior impacts you doesn’t love you. What more could you have done? You could have dumped their abusive ass a long time ago.
But it’s not too late. You can do that now. Start by taking care of yourself. The stronger and healthier you are, the more likely you are to find someone who truly appreciates you. Someone who appreciates you not for how easily they can exploit and manipulate you, but who appreciates you as a whole person, who wants you to be happy and can reciprocate love, kindness and support.
Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries.
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