There is one term that is strongly connected with narcissism, sociopathy, and psychopathy and it is codependency.
Codependency can be defined in numerous ways: a heightened sense of being responsible for the actions of other people, striving to do more and be more, getting hurt by people’s inconsiderate actions, fear of being alone and abandoned, and a toxic dependency on relationships.
And codependency is probably the main reason why you get stuck in unhealthy relationships.
It’s not that there is something bad or “pathological” about a person being codependent. Someone could stop being codependent just as easily as they became codependent in the first place. Whether it came from a series of toxic relationships, or a family abuse – there are many things that a person can do to help themselves regain their lost confidence, independence, and self-esteem.
However, if you started feeling codependent only after a relationship with a psychopath or a narcissist – please, don’t diagnose yourself as codependent. Because psychopaths breed addiction, jealousy, dependence, desire, desperation, and anxiety. It is in their nature.
So, if you are feeling codependent after the relationship with them, understand that it was their purpose to make you feel that way. In a way, it is like you are telling yourself that you have a clinical depression after a death of someone close to you. Yes, your depression is real, but it is also a normal part of the grieving process. Same is true with codependency.
Regardless of whether you are naïve, fragile, insecure, vulnerable, or you are a healthy human being, psychological exploitation and abuse are always bad. And no one deserves to be abused and exploited.
Moreover, abusers like to make you codependent because in that way they can put all the blame in you. They will tell you that you’ll never heal and grow if you don’t take the blame in the relationship. This is not true.
You can recover, grow, and heal without taking the blame for the abuser’s horrible behavior. That’s how you’ll build your boundaries and self-respect again. That’s how you’ll learn how to cease accepting any harmful and abusive behavior.
Finally, we all have unique experiences in life, so our healing processes are also unique. It is never too late to make changes for the better in your life. Don’t lose hope. We are all broken in one way or another.
Image: Ana Lora