We hear these terms a lot. He’s a narcissist. She’s being codependent. I would guess that these are two of the most common psychological terms used in everyday conversation. And I’d also bet, that many people use these terms very loosely and maybe even inaccurately. Like a lot of things, do we really know what these words mean? I guess as long as we’re all on the same page, or close, it doesn’t matter. So in this episode I use the terms loosely, like I hear them used in casual conversation.
We think of narcissists as being incredibly selfish, obsessed with their looks, and attracted to people who make them feel important. Narcissistic people are generally viewed with disdain and contempt and relationships with narcissists are viewed as unhealthy.
Extreme selfishness is easy to spot when someone bullies or abuses another, but mild narcissism is hard to differentiate. In fact, therapists teach that it is important to ‘put yourself first’ and ‘get your needs met’. So what’s the difference in someone who has a healthy self awareness and someone who is narcissistic?
Similarly, we are taught to have empathy for others and to provide help when we can. It is considered healthy to be of service to your family and community. Being a nurturing person is valued in most cultures, and being a caring person is considered a good quality; especially in a relationship. However, if you care ‘too much’, or let people take advantage of your caring nature, this is considered a fault. How do you know if you have the ‘right amount’ of consideration for others?
The fear is, being too selfish makes you a narcissistic a$$hole and being too nurturing makes you a codependent doormat. Certainly, in relationships these behaviors can intensify toward those endpoints if you’re not careful.
In this episode I share what I learned from my first marriage and the resulting divorce with respect to narcissistic and codependent tendencies, and the combination in relationships.
Original post with links to full audio and video: https://chrisburcher.com/2021/01/01/kew-episode-36-narcissism-codependency/
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