Tag Archives: Emotional abuse

Co-Dependency

Co-dependency is a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive. The disorder was first identified about ten years ago as the result of years of studying interpersonal relationships in families of alcoholics. Co-dependent behavior is learned by watching and imitating other family members who display this type of behavior.

Who Does Co-dependency Affect?

Co-dependency often affects a spouse, a parent, sibling, friend, or co-worker of a person afflicted with alcohol or drug dependence. Originally, co-dependent was a term used to describe partners in chemical dependency, persons living with, or in a relationship with an addicted person. Similar patterns have been seen in people in relationships with chronically or mentally ill individuals. Today, however, the term has broadened to describe any co-dependent person from any dysfunctional family.

What is a Dysfunctional Family and How Does it Lead to Co-dependency?

A dysfunctional family is one in which members suffer from fear, anger, pain, or shame that is ignored or denied. Underlying problems may include any of the following:

  • An addiction by a family member to drugs, alcohol, relationships, work, food, sex, or gambling.
  • The existence of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse.
  • The presence of a family member suffering from a chronic mental or physical illness.

Dysfunctional families do not acknowledge that problems exist. They don’t talk about them or confront them. As a result, family members learn to repress emotions and disregard their own needs. They become “survivors.” They develop behaviors that help them deny, ignore, or avoid difficult emotions. They detach themselves. They don’t talk. They don’t touch. They don’t confront. They don’t feel. They don’t trust. The identity and emotional development of the members of a dysfunctional family are often inhibited

Attention and energy focus on the family member who is ill or addicted. The co-dependent person typically sacrifices his or her needs to take care of a person who is sick. When co-dependents place other people’s health, welfare and safety before their own, they can lose contact with their own needs, desires, and sense of self.

How Do Co-dependent People Behave?

Co-dependents have low self-esteem and look for anything outside of themselves to make them feel better. They find it hard to “be themselves.” Some try to feel better through alcohol, drugs or nicotine – and become addicted. Others may develop compulsive behaviors like workaholism, gambling, or indiscriminate sexual activity.

They have good intentions. They try to take care of a person who is experiencing difficulty, but the caretaking becomes compulsive and defeating. Co-dependents often take on a martyr’s role and become “benefactors” to an individual in need. A wife may cover for her alcoholic husband; a mother may make excuses for a truant child; or a father may “pull some strings” to keep his child from suffering the consequences of delinquent behavior.

The problem is that these repeated rescue attempts allow the needy individual to continue on a destructive course and to become even more dependent on the unhealthy caretaking of the “benefactor.” As this reliance increases, the co-dependent develops a sense of reward and satisfaction from “being needed.” When the caretaking becomes compulsive, the co-dependent feels choiceless and helpless in the relationship, but is unable to break away from the cycle of behavior that causes it. Co-dependents view themselves as victims and are attracted to that same weakness in the love and friendship relationships.

Characteristics of Co-dependent People Are:

  • An exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others
  • A tendency to confuse love and pity, with the tendency to “love” people they can pity and rescue
  • A tendency to do more than their share, all of the time
  • A tendency to become hurt when people don’t recognize their efforts
  • An unhealthy dependence on relationships. The co-dependent will do anything to hold on to a relationship; to avoid the feeling of abandonment
  • An extreme need for approval and recognition
  • A sense of guilt when asserting themselves
  • A compelling need to control others
  • Lack of trust in self and/or others
  • Fear of being abandoned or alone
  • Difficulty identifying feelings
  • Rigidity/difficulty adjusting to change
  • Problems with intimacy/boundaries
  • Chronic anger
  • Lying/dishonesty
  • Poor communications
  • Difficulty making decisions

Questionnaire To Identify Signs Of Co-dependency

This condition appears to run in different degrees, whereby the intensity of symptoms are on a spectrum of severity, as opposed to an all or nothing scale. Please note that only a qualified professional can make a diagnosis of co-dependency; not everyone experiencing these symptoms suffers from co-dependency.

1. Do you keep quiet to avoid arguments?

2. Are you always worried about others’ opinions of you?

3. Have you ever lived with someone with an alcohol or drug problem?

4. Have you ever lived with someone who hits or belittles you?

5. Are the opinions of others more important than your own?

6. Do you have difficulty adjusting to changes at work or home?

7. Do you feel rejected when significant others spend time with friends?

8. Do you doubt your ability to be who you want to be?

9. Are you uncomfortable expressing your true feelings to others?

10. Have you ever felt inadequate?

11. Do you feel like a “bad person” when you make a mistake?

12. Do you have difficulty taking compliments or gifts?

13. Do you feel humiliation when your child or spouse makes a mistake?

14. Do you think people in your life would go downhill without your constant efforts?

15. Do you frequently wish someone could help you get things done?

16. Do you have difficulty talking to people in authority, such as the police or your boss?

17. Are you confused about who you are or where you are going with your life?

18. Do you have trouble saying “no” when asked for help?

19. Do you have trouble asking for help?

20. Do you have so many things going at once that you can’t do justice to any of them?

If you identify with several of these symptoms; are dissatisfied with yourself or your relationships; you should consider seeking professional help. Arrange for a diagnostic evaluation with a licensed physician or psychologist experienced in treating co-dependency.

How is Co-dependency Treated?

Because co-dependency is usually rooted in a person’s childhood, treatment often involves exploration into early childhood issues and their relationship to current destructive behavior patterns. Treatment includes education, experiential groups, and individual and group therapy through which co-dependents rediscover themselves and identify self-defeating behavior patterns. Treatment also focuses on helping patients getting in touch with feelings that have been buried during childhood and on reconstructing family dynamics. The goal is to allow them to experience their full range of feelings again.

When Co-dependency Hits Home

The first step in changing unhealthy behavior is to understand it. It is important for co-dependents and their family members to educate themselves about the course and cycle of addiction and how it extends into their relationships. Libraries, drug and alcohol abuse treatment centers and mental health centers often offer educational materials and programs to the public.

A lot of change and growth is necessary for the co-dependent and his or her family. Any caretaking behavior that allows or enables abuse to continue in the family needs to be recognized and stopped. The co-dependent must identify and embrace his or her feelings and needs. This may include learning to say “no,” to be loving yet tough, and learning to be self-reliant. People find freedom, love, and serenity in their recovery.

Hope lies in learning more. The more you understand co-dependency the better you can cope with its effects. Reaching out for information and assistance can help someone live a healthier, more fulfilling life.

 

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How Does Narcissistic Parenting Affect Children?

 

How Does Narcissistic Parenting Affect Children? by Karyl McBride Ph.D. – https://wp.me/p4PKwE-Tk

Narcissists raise children who suffer from crippling self-doubt.

Why does it matter if a parent is a narcissist? How does that hurt a child? You may be asking these questions if you are a person co-parenting with a narcissistic ex; someone raised by a narcissistic parent; one who is in a relationship with a narcissist; or maybe a divorceprofessional working on a case that involves a narcissistic parent. Given my research and clinical experience, I want to provide some education and awareness about how this disorder hurts children.

First, let me explain that narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is misunderstood when applied to someone who is just boastful, arrogant, and all about themselves. While these traits are annoying and not fun to be around, narcissism is a deeper, more destructive disorder that has devastating effects on the people in relationships with the individual. It’s a difficult disorder to treat; many believe it is untreatable. The cornerstones of the disorder are a lack of empathy and the inability to tune into the emotional world of others.

So how does narcissistic parenting affect children?

• The child won’t feel heard or seen.

• The child’s feelings and reality will not be acknowledged.

• The child will be treated like an accessory to the parent, rather than a person.

• The child will be more valued for what they do (usually for the parent) than for who they are as a person.

• The child will not learn to identify or trust their own feelings and will grow up with crippling self-doubt.

• The child will be taught that how they look is more important than how they feel.

• The child will feel used and manipulated.

• The child will be there for the parent, rather than the other way around, as it should be.

• The child’s emotional development will be stunted.

• The child will feel criticized and judged, rather than accepted and loved.

• The child will grow frustrated trying to seek love, approval, and attention to no avail.

The child will grow up feeling “not good enough.”

• The child will not have a role model for healthy emotional connections.

• The child will not learn appropriate boundaries for relationships.

• The child will not learn healthy self-care, but instead will be at risk of becoming co-dependent (taking care of others to the exclusion of taking care of self).

• The child will have difficulty with the necessary individuation from the parent as he or she grows older.

• The child will be taught to seek external validation versus internal validation.

• The child will get a mixed and crazy-making message of “do well to make me proud as an extension of the parent, but don’t do too well and outshine me.”

• The child, if outshining the parent, may experience jealousy from the parent.

• The child is not taught to give credit to self when deserved.

• The child will ultimately suffer from some level of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and/or anxiety in adulthood.

• The child will grow up believing he or she is unworthy and unlovable, because if my parent can’t love me, who will?

• The child is often shamed and humiliated by a narcissistic parent and will grow up with poor self-esteem.

• The child often will become either a high achiever or a self-saboteur, or both.

• The child will need trauma recovery and will have to re-parent themselves in adulthood.

Being raised by a narcissistic parent is emotionally and psychologically abusive and causes debilitating, long-lasting effects to children. It is often missed by professionals, because narcissists can be charming in their presentation, displaying an image of how they wish to be seen. Behind closed doors, the children feel the suffocation of self and struggle with loneliness and pain. The narcissist is not accountable for their own mistakes or behavior, so the child believes they are to blame and that they flunked childhood. Having worked as a mental health provider with thousands of children, as well as the adult children of narcissistic parents, I see the above symptoms again and again. The lifestyles differ, and the stories differ, but they all wave the same emotional banners. It’s quite a list. It takes serious recovery work to get better and feel better.

If you are the other parent, or part of the extended family, and are trying to ward off the effects of a narcissistic parent, you will have double duty as the responsible one. The best approach is to parent with empathy — the antithesis of narcissism. If you are a divorce professional working with a case that involves a narcissist, help the kids by first really understanding the dynamics of this disorder. Don’t minimize it. Make sure the children are in therapy and are learning assertiveness skills to use with a parent who does not emotionally tune into them. Put the kids first.

     Note: Narcissism is a spectrum disorder, so think of it as a continuum ranging from low-level traits that we all have to some degree to a full-blown personality disorder. The higher the level of traits, the more damage gets done to children.

Karyl McBride, Ph.D., is a licensed marriage and family therapist and author of Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers.

 

Mirroring and Projection in the Cycle of Narcissistic Abuse

The Last Chardonnay

Excerpts taken from: https://narcissistfamilyfiles.com/2017/10/03/narcissistics-fun-house-mirrors-projection/

Life with a narcissist is a lot like living in a house of mirrors. Unreal reflections and projections meet you at every turn. At first you may feel dazzled, seduced by what the narcissist is showing you about yourself and him/her. But before long you feel trapped in a maze of grotesque distortions, with no apparent exit.

Narcissistic Mirroring

Mirroring, or reflecting back what others say and do, is a common behavior that many of us engage in, often unconsciously, to create rapport and show feelings of connectedness with others. We may, for example, adopt another person’s (or animal’s) energy level, facial expressions, body language, and tone to show understanding and empathy.

People with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), on the other hand, take mirroring to extremes. Because early childhood circumstances prevent them from establishing a core sense of identity and self-worth, narcissists forever look to external…

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The Effects of Gaslighting

The Last Chardonnay

Sharing another informative article that can be found on narcissisticbehavior.net. It is long, but well worth the read. The original article and more can also be found at the link below.

https://narcissisticbehavior.net/the-effects-of-gaslighting-in-narcissistic-victim-syndrome/

by Christine

The Effects of Gaslighting in Narcissistic Victim Syndrome

What is “Gaslighting”?

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse used by narcissists in order to instill in their victim’s an extreme sense of anxiety and confusion to the point where they no longer trust their own memory, perception or judgment. The techniques used in “Gaslighting” by the narcissist are similar to those used in brainwashing, interrogation, and torture that have been used in psychological warfare by intelligence operative, law enforcement and other forces for decades.

“What Is Gaslighting?”

(RECOGNISE THE NARCISSIST’S COVERT   METHODS OF CONTROL)

The intention is to, in a systematic way, target the victim’s mental equilibrium, self confidence, and self esteem so that they…

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