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Codependents are Narcissists?

Old 03-19-2013, 02:14 PM
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I don't think most narcissists would be willing to give up the spotlight to an alcoholic. Their dramas are SOOO much more interesting...
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Old 03-19-2013, 02:32 PM
  # 22 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
I don't think most narcissists would be willing to give up the spotlight to an alcoholic. Their dramas are SOOO much more interesting...
Now there's some insight! Just about spit all over the monitor. That rings very true...guess we can all stop running off to self-diagnosing "narcissistic self tests" sites now...
like a true codie the first thought i have is--oh my gawd--is the problem me?
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Old 03-19-2013, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by choublak View Post
You realize most narcissists would not touch this reading material, right?

Perfect choublak!

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Old 03-19-2013, 02:59 PM
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Actually I find the author rather condescending and presumptive.
Yes! Me too.

I just wanted to hide it, to pretend that my life was normal.
I have done some version of this hiding since I was a small child. Narcissism? Hardly, for me it was about survival.

Beth

(Fascinating discussion.)
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:34 AM
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This is very interesting. I might consider that there are narcissistic (though not clinically diagnosable) traits to codependency. However, the black/white thinking and categorization (including the A as "bad" and the Codependent as "good") could look a lot like some of the available diagnostic criteria of Borderline Personality Disorder. Pick another "disorder" and we could make the same argument about that diagnosis, too.

It will be interesting to hear about the next version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders which comes out later this year. We're no doubt ALL categorized somewhere in there, because "disorders" are on a spectrum. And that's a very big book...

Carry on,
posie
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:53 AM
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Dear Posie, I have heard that Narcissistic Personality Disorder is not going to be in the New DSMD. Apparently there has been some controversy about the validity of this disorder.

Has anyone else heard anything????

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Old 03-20-2013, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by dandylion View Post
Dear Posie, I have heard that Narcissistic Personality Disorder is not going to be in the New DSMD. Apparently there has been some controversy about the validity of this disorder.

Has anyone else heard anything????

dandylion
Yes, I've heard that from my therapist and from reading a few books on NPD, too. This has been an interesting discussion!
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:23 AM
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Yes, I've heard that from my therapist and from reading a few books on NPD, too. This has been an interesting discussion!
My understanding is that instead of this being a pat diagnosis, they will put people on a range, basically, based on the number of symptoms they adhere to and with what severity. Think of autism, where there are many different presentations of autism, but people are "on the spectrum."

I have mixed feelings about this. It's difficult to get insurance coverage for people if they're "on the spectrum" and without an "official diagnosis" for one -- and I believe this is one of the primary reasons that this is up for debate within professional circles as a precedent-setting method of diagnosis -- but also because NAMING this cluster of maddening symptoms was very important to my understanding of my relationship with my Ex and how to handle it into the future.

We go around about whether or not it's important to "name" alcoholism as friends and family -- and it was the same for me and the XNPD -- but for me it's pretty important because it gave me permission to pursue recovery, to "call" the problem, a way of understanding what I'd been through, and a direction to pursue resources.
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:41 AM
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This doesn't necessarily mean that these personality disorders will be dismissed and not acknowledged. On the far scale of narcissism, behaviors are very like those of a sociopath. There is a recent book by a Harvard psychiatrist and a criminal lawyer called Almost a Psychopath that deals with some of this.

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Old 03-20-2013, 08:49 AM
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The problem is, narcissists don't "believe" in any of this information. Kind of like how my father doesn't "believe" in therapists: "They just listen to you and then take your money".
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Old 03-22-2013, 11:43 AM
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Insulted at the idea that my co dependancy is compared to a narcissist. I have no idea what narcissist would put up with being like the invisable woman who doesn't even know what she likes anymore and entire life shattered by the alcoholic.

Maybe a narcissist wrote the article/book, they have it together enough to write a put down for co depts ... great

and not great in the normal great way either

I am usually very confused by all the things the alcohlic does and the reprecussions of it into everyone in our family

Is it a co dept is so selfish to make the world revolve around crazy?
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Old 03-22-2013, 11:55 AM
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Well, I freely admit that I wanted my AH to change so that I could get what I wanted. And I also admit that I felt a certain superiority to him since I wasn't the one screwing things up all the time. And I discovered that spending all my time focused on his (mis)behavior was in many ways a convenient way to avoid looking at my own.

I have no idea if that makes me a narcissist, but I have learned to look at my motivations and my need to control.

L
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by LaTeeDa View Post
Well, I freely admit that I wanted my AH to change so that I could get what I wanted. And I also admit that I felt a certain superiority to him since I wasn't the one screwing things up all the time. And I discovered that spending all my time focused on his (mis)behavior was in many ways a convenient way to avoid looking at my own.

I have no idea if that makes me a narcissist, but I have learned to look at my motivations and my need to control.

L
Yeah, I have a lot of truth in this too. I was in an Al Anon meeting yesterday and the topic was forgiveness. The reading we talked about was from Courage to Change, March 15. One thing that stuck out for me was this part: When I behave self-righteously, I'm the one who suffers-I separate myself from my fellow human beings, focus on others, and keep busy with hateful and negative thoughts.

It started with: Before Al Anon, forgiveness meant power to me. I could judge the offender(the person who wasn't doing what I wanted) and then exercise my power by showing that I could rise above the offense and magnanimously bestow forgiveness.

After being in the meeting last night and hearing the way long timers shared on this, I realize that I have a long way to go. Does that make me a narcissist? I don't think so, but it definitely makes me manipulative and controlling, even if I was controlling to spare myself from negative emotions or consequences.
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Old 03-22-2013, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by LaTeeDa View Post
I have no idea if that makes me a narcissist, but I have learned to look at my motivations and my need to control.
But a true bona-fide narcissist won't learn to do that, IME.
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Old 03-22-2013, 01:47 PM
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I must say that I think we're getting way off track here by sorting through whether our co-dependence is narcissistic.

First of all, the definition of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and the definition of co-dependence are clearly at odds with each other. The 8 character traits and behaviors used to diagnose NPD are RARELY dominant in a co-dependent's behavior. (I posted the traits on the first page of this thread.) The real way to see if you are a narcissist is to go to the source and read that post and see if you fit those 8 diagnostic traits.

Second, as co-dependents, we do have unwelcome and sometimes objectionable behavior and perspectives. That is true. We can be martyrs, we can be self-righteous; we can focus on others' behavior to shield ourselves from looking at our own behavior; we can seek and get praise from others by our willingness to "sacrifice" or our willingness to "put others first, no matter what the cost". We can want to control people to get what we think is the best result FOR THEM. And on and on.

As co-dependents, we have lots of emotional and behavioral work to do.

Third, it is however, a real red herring to get caught in the contemplation of whether or not we are narcissists. What matters is getting the root of the issues of why our beliefs and behavior are not producing productive and happy lives for us, and often, for those around us.

A true narcissist does NOT HAVE THE CAPACITY OR INCLINATION for introspection like this. Their attitude is "Why bother with all this? I'm fine - actually I'm superb - just as I am; it's YOU who has the problem." They just can't fathom - for real - that they could be less than perfect. They can't process why THEY should look at whether they are responsible for anything. When you're perfect, you only own the perfect consequences; the rest belong to someone else.

This is not us. This is the antithesis of co-dependence. We have trouble imagining, let alone defining, ourselves as separate individuals. We feel defined by what others' think. Our emotional health and our boundaries are easily overwhelmed. We think of ourselves "as in the context of someone else", not as independent sole beings. How we feel is tied to how others around us feel and how they treat us, and to how they feel about us.

So what is the fascination here with thinking maybe we are narcissists too, on top of every other failing and flaw we see in ourselves?

Remember, a certain level of narcissism is good, necessary for all of us to take care of ourselves, if you define that as a healthy self-interest that doesn't violate other peoples' needs. The problem here is that there isn't a good word for that lower level of what might be called "good" narcissism.

The Alanon focus is on ourselves in the sense that we need to understand who we are, connect with our true selves, establish viable boundaries that protect our true selves, and take responsibility for our own beings and our own actions.

Let's leave the labels and head-talk behind and get down to brass tacks.

What behaviors do we have that are self-defeating and hurtful to ourselves and others?

What behaviors do we want to have to get to be whole and healthy and productive, happy people?

What do we have to do to get there?

Sorry about my irritation about this. I think it just hits too close to home, having lived with a narcissist par excellence.

I mean, my STBXAH was an abusive alcoholic who taunted me with porn and his suicide and huge emotional abuse, and after 20 years, I only escaped when his behavior was waved in front of my nose like a red flag by my credit card company Fraud Squad asking me to verify that his over $1200 purchases for porn prostitutes was okay with me.

If you can do the following, as he is, then you may qualify for NPD.

In his divorce settlement proposal to the Court on Monday, he basically erased my participation and financial contributions to our 20 year marriage, and took back everything. I actually contributed more money to our finances than he did. He claimed solely a house we jointly paid for; he claimed all of the retirement income he earned during our marriage, all of his pension, earned while we were married, and the lions' share of our investment accounts. He claimed my diamond and ruby engagement ring, the baby grand piano my mother and aunt gave me, and the Hammond organ my aunt left to me as an inheritance. (He can play chop-sticks.) He claimed the mink coat he bought me 20 years ago on our honeymoon. (Don't think it will fit him.)

When I asked him why, he said "because they have monetary value".

If after 20 years with a spouse who had taken care of you through severe life threatening medical problems, been loyal and faithful, lived where you wanted and how you wanted, watched your TV shows, generally lived how you wanted to, given you all their money so you could "manage" and "invest" all the funds, many in risky adventures; in short, if you had mainly had your way for 20 years, and all the love, attention and caring that your spouse could give you, is this the divorce settlement you would propose?

Taking as absolute much of everything he defined as "having monetary value" is the emotional underpinning of how he wants to end this marriage.

If yes, then you may want to see a doctor about your NPD.

I can't imagine a co-dependent doing anything like this.

The question for me, and I've been answering it since I walked out last July 4th, is why did I allow myself to fall into major depression 18 years ago, and become so non-functional for such a long period of time? Of course, I could say that he drove me to it, but in the end, I chose it; I let it happen. He was selling, and I was buying.

I did it; I own it; and I will fix it. I am a recovering co-dependent. But HE is a narcissist.

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