Narcissism and co-dependency


Yesterday I received a text from a friend’s ex-partner whom I had met in person only one time. My friend and her ex are in a custody battle, and honestly, I’ve been deeply disturbed by it since they are both members of a conscious community and there’s a baby involved. I’ve wondered, how can I help bring unity?


This text had only one thing -- no message, no context, no request. Just this: a YouTube link to a video titled: “How narcissist have to destroy you to leave you.”


My recovering lawyer brain wondered if this was his attempt to respond to my comment on my friend’s gratitude fb post last month where I witnessed the utter hell she had been through with a new baby. My bias is that no woman should ever be in a fight or flight emotional pattern with baby, especially initiated by actions of the father. It just goes against everything in my body and my care for the future generation as well the sacred role the masculine has with the feminine.


I immediately replied to him with, “Call me.”


He didn’t….yet. But it did get me thinking.


This is an important conversation, and, for the benefit of all, I’d like to share what I’ve learned about narcissism --not in a clinical way -- there are plenty of YouTube videos for that -- but in a way that might refine our collective understanding and advance our spiritual maturity.


The truth is that I’m no stranger to a narcissistic ex. I haven’t discussed this publicly because I take 100% responsibility for sourcing it. In the end, the nuclear blow up between us was one of the deepest wake-up calls I have ever received. Today, we have made amends, and even though we do not talk, we have acknowledged each other as one of our greatest teachers. We had the privilege of going the all the way to completion, and I don’t take that gift lightly.


But it was quite a journey from there to here. Here’s the story.


In a multi-year push/pull relationship, he showed up at my house one spring day to declare that he had been watching YouTube videos and realized that he fit the profile of a sociopath. I responded, “I don’t think so. Narcissist maybe. Selfish for sure. Sociopath, I don’t think so.” He returned a day or so later revising his diagnosis: “I’m not a sociopath, I’m a narcissist.”


At that point in the conversation, I HAD NO IDEA WHAT BEING A NARCISSIST MEANT. I was super naïve. If you know me, you know that I’m direct, practical, straightforward. Despite my sometimes hard-ass demeanor in the past, my achilles heel had been empathy coupled with a lack of boundaries due to my own cracked beliefs about my worth. I got a chance to clean that up.


Suffice it to say that the conversation between me and my ex didn’t stop there. He kept showing up and revealing himself. Because that was what I deeply desired, I took the bait. Thus, the drama began. If I ever care enough, I’ll write a book about it, for it was one of the most profound initiations of my life where I understood Jesus’s descent into the transmutational fire for 3 days and subsequent resurrection. It gave new meaning to the text I grew up with.


For now, I’ll skip to the point of this blog:


In a nutshell I learned these 3 things:


* CO-DEPENDENCY - What we call narcissism in the context of a drama-filled romantic relationship (ie, a repeated pattern of breaking up and getting back together) is a co-dependent relationship. While every relationship with a narcissist IS co-dependent, not every co-dependent relationship involves a narcissist.


It feels wise to make this distinction because a lot of people are being called narcissists by their former exes when, in reality, the two of them are/were in a deeply co-dependent pattern. In co-dependent patterns people lie, cheat, fight, hit, call names, withhold, and do many other shitty things. It can be quite toxic to themselves, others, and their children. But it’s not necessarily narcissism. There’s a lot to say about this, and I’ve had to go on my own deep dive, but for the sake of space, I’ll leave it to you to explore from here. (NB: I highly recommend attachment work.)


* LYING - Just because you or the other person lied doesn’t mean you or the other is a narcissist. Again, I would bet money that all narcissists lie -- it’s just part of how they create their own context of reality and project it outward onto others without being able to receive feedback or conflicting data. They have a lot of judgments about other people and almost no ability to look inward, truly see another human, or feel empathy. Thus, it goes beyond being selfish, which we all are to some degree, if we’re willing to admit it.


* GASLIGHTING - The programming partner of narcissism is gaslighting. Gaslighting is beyond lying. Gaslighting goes like this: “No, I didn’t cheat on you. I told you I would never do that (anymore). You’ve got some trauma work to do. It’s your insecure attachment that is making you so suspicious [or insert the reason it’s your fault].”


Turns out it was my f*cking INTUITION.


What a lesson!


At the end of the day, I’m clear that I get to choose. I chose pretty crappy relationships when I felt crappy about myself, and I got to clean that up. I gave myself a second chance. I went on a deep inner healing journey to decide that I was worthy of love, which sounds so easy and trite, but it was over a year long process of grieving, introspection, and journey work with plant medicine so I could touch the childhood pain. I believe every person who goes on this journey can be healed enough to experience harmony -- narcissist or empath. So, yes, tell your story. It’s good for the collective to hear the truth so that we evolve. But consider telling it when you’ve come full circle to embrace the choices you made, not as blame or shame, but as the grace that comes from being responsible for one’s own life -- the true privilege of our incarnation. And, until then, keep on the healing journey. You will make it because the work works.


To my friends who are suffering and using the narcissist label against another as a cry for help, I see you. You might be right; I don’t know. What I do know is this -- get help unhooking from the co-dependent dynamic you’re in. Go inward to transmute your pain. One way to start is by doing the Feed Your Demon practice with Lama Tsultrim. It’s an epic transmutational practice that really works. You can find Lama's hour long video teaching this practice on YouTube.


Big love 💜 May all beings benefit from the merits of our efforts. 💎









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