What’s running rampant on the planet in this day and age – whether in couples, families, at work, in spirituality or on a larger socio-political level: the destructive dynamics of co-dependent / narcissistic relationships and behaviour patterns.
Co-dependent / narcissistic relationship dynamics are complex. In essence, the two parties involved – whether romantic partners or child/parent, boss/staff, guru/student or government/people – develop complementary roles to serve each other’s needs. For example specific material / worldly benefits or more subtle aspects such as life-force energy and company to avoid loneliness and abandonment fears. Nevertheless the relationship is traumatic. Its structure is dysfunctional and particularly harmful for the co-dependant. And it is typically the co-dependent that becomes aware and pulls out.
In an intimate relationship the narcissistic / co-dependent partners have regularly destabilising and anxiety-inducing conflicts as they trigger each other’s suppressed emotional wounds. Both carry unhealed trauma imprints (from formative years and past lives) but each has developed a different coping strategy. The narcissist tends to be self-centred, self-entitled, vain, cool and controlling, while the co-dependent tends to be over-giving, self-sacrificial, modest, compassionate and gullible.
Adults who are part of narcissistic / co-dependent dynamics have inner healing work to do, otherwise their original trauma wounds get deepened further and further. You may research ‘PTSD / post-traumatic stress disorder’, ‘recovery from narcissistic abuse’ and how to avoid ‘re-traumatisation’.
A big issue is, that the narcissist usually can not see the need for change and therapy. Then it is up to the co-dependent to pull out, detach and move on. Awareness, a calm mind and nervous system as well as courage and new choices are needed to return to true self and divine life flow. Staying in the destructive relationship comes at a high price, namely the loss of one’s self and soul, clarity and creativity (embodiment of true self is not even possible). Also loss of health (as well as risk of “unexplainable” infertility).
Note: When our personal boundaries are crashed, acute danger or chronic stress occur – e.g. abuse, neglect, parents’ divorce, fighting parents, abandonment, bullying at school, accident, war etc., which happens to most people immediately in the formative years between birth and adolescence –, then our inner system naturally attempts to cope with it as good as it can. Depending on the situation at hand and own disposition, we react with one (or a combination) of the four basic trauma responses: Fight, Flight, Freeze, Flatter (or Fawn, a term coined by Pete Walker ) – running away / fleeing, aggression / anger, no move / no choice or pleasing / appeasing. These reactions don’t happen consciously but are part of an automated self-protection mechanism. And although we most likely forget the original shock over time, our body does remember. We manage a trauma, survive and move on, but at the same time a part of us tends to dissociate, withdraw and deny what happened. That is why every traumatic experience leaves us internally divided (fragmented) and invisibly wounded to varying degrees. And as adults with unhealed trauma imprints, we then have either codependent or narcissistic behaviour patterns.
Extracts from my guest talk for a group of hypnotherapy students (5 mins.):