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  • Nawal Houghton - Your Divorce Coach

The Narcissist and the Codependent Dance

Dance you say? What on earth are you talking about ? Yes, if you find yourself in a relationship or have just come out of an abusive relationship with a Narc, it is highly likely you have been "dancing" this whole time.


The Dance requires two opposites.


This highly dysfunctional relationship requires two opposites in order to dance. There is the giver/fixer ( the Co dependent) and then the controller/taker ( the Narc)


The Codependent is the giver, the people pleaser, the provider of emotional support, the one that sacrifices, but is also unable to identify when they are entering or are in an unhealthy, toxic relationship. They are unable to disconnect from it. They form relationships with those that are selfish, self centred and controlling. They find themselves a dance partner that is perfectly opposite. to them. The reality is Codependents are naturally attracted to these powerful, overpowering partners.


When the Narc and the Codependent dance this is how their relationship unfolds.


The Narc will always take the lead and the Codependent will always follow. The Codependent is happy to give in, to allow their power to be taken away. They always end up giving so much more than the Narc is prepared to give to them. The Codependent will continue to do this despite the lack of reciprocity but they become depressed, bitter, and unfortunately hang on the naive thought that the Narc will eventually give back.


They don't.


The Codependents' needs are never met. Codependents are desperate for love, but because they have not chosen wisely in their dance partner they get left with heartbreak and sadness after a life with someone who only knows how to take. The concern here is that this pattern repeats itself unless the Codependent becomes aware of what they are doing. The Codependent continues to dance but they are sad, unhappy and lonely within. They continue down a path of this codependency with increased self doubt, low self esteem and are unable to leave their dance partner alone on the floor.


So what about the Narc?


The Narc is attracted to a Codependent, just like the Codependent is attracted to the Narc. They long for a partner what will allow them to lead and control. The Narc feels at their most comfortable when their dancing partner has low self worth and low confidence as it allows the dance to continue with them always controlling and leading. They not only control the Codependent, they control the dance; the relationship


It is because of this low self esteem and self doubt that the Codependent doesn't leave the dance. The loneliness is too painful to bear so they would prefer to stay in this lonely dance because at least it is something. They are unable to see their self worth and realise that they can have balanced, healthy relationships because they are too frightened of the pain they may feel, being on their own. The sadness here is that Codependents often choose the Narc as a dance partner because it resonates with a dysfunctional narc/codependent dance that most probably existed in their childhood.


Codependents are unable to choose mutually giving and unconditional partners.


It is an unconscious choice, one based on past familiarity. Codependents are fearful of being alone, have a desperate need to control and fix and often do play the martyr. This dance will forever continue until the Codependent becomes aware of the dysfunctional relationship as well as their own psychological wounds. The key is awareness and then healing.


Articles are often written about the Narc and how to identify one, leave one, manage one etc, but we must realise that a relationship takes two, and the need to identify the actions of the Codependent are essential. We must be able to self reflect.




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