Codependency and narcissism
As a codependent, an insatiable giver, you are the ideal target for the narcissist, the insatiable taker. From the outset of the relationship, your beliefs about yourself and the world are already programmed from previous experiences of abuse and trauma bonding.
Ordinarily part of the function of trauma bonding for the narcissist is to secure the power and control supply (the person giving them love and attention) they crave. As a codependent, however, you are primed to meet these needs from the get go.
How? Your internal dialogue has always told you that to be ‘good enough’, approval must be sought externally from others and achieved through giving, giving, giving. You now have a narcissist verbalising this as well, and demanding their needs be met. They feel entitled to this kind of admiration and attention. For narcissists, it’s all about them, their time and their needs. Of course, with narcissists, expectations of perfection and shifting goal posts mean you never can actually meet the needs they articulate.
In short, you endlessly cling to the idea of the person you first fell for to return, eradicating the abusive person you’ve come to know.
The initial show of ‘goodness’, and intermittent reappearance of this tactic, serves to reinforce that your hope is not without grounding.
Meanwhile the abuse you sustain continues (never getting your needs met, being criticised for what you do etc), and exacerbates, amplifying the reasons why getting back to the ‘good’ version of the narcissist is so critical.
You may even have experienced being discarded. Maybe once, twice, possibly several times, only to begin all over again… all because of hope.
Narcissists crave validation and they will ensure they have a constant supply of people who can meet this need. As the partner of a narcissist, you aren’t seen as a person with feelings and needs. You are seen for what you can offer them only. This is why many narcissists are dishonest and often unfaithful. Behind your back they will be maintaining sources of supply. Once they have another person in place, you are easily discarded.
Narcissists don’t consider other people’s needs unless it will benefit them in some way. They lack empathy and are very judgemental.
If you identify as a nurturer, a giver – be very careful about the type of partner you attract. Narcissists seem to almost possess a ‘6th sense’ when it comes to finding people who will sacrifice for love. They use this to its full extent.
You will NEVER satisfy a narcissist – they are generally unhappy people within themselves and they project this inner dissatisfaction onto others. Be aware that you are dealing with a damaged person who will end up damaging you emotionally if you don’t remove them from your life. If you find it too hard to completely remove them, you need to establish very firm boundaries!
As a codependent, understand that you don’t have to constantly give to others in order to prove yourself worthy or receive love. A happy healthy relationship should never be such hard work.