Narcissists and codependents are made for each other. They are the exact duality of one another - like the sun and the moon, laughing and crying, yin and yang.
A narcissist lacks empathy and is aware only of himself and his own needs, while a codependent drowns in so much empathy she is unable to see her Self at all.
The codependent has sacrifice set as his autopilot. He is the go-to therapist for friends to call and complain about their problems, the rescuer who will drive an hour to save a friend who locked himself out of a car, the caretaker who will spend his days volunteering at an organization or taking care of the ill.
The narcissist strategizes how she can use others to her own benefit. She identifies her victims by studying the depth to which they seek external validation, then crafts an entire case study mentally. She slowly feeds and withdraws feelings of approval, love and security to her prey, forging highs and lows like a human drug, draining him of life force and molding him further and further into her willing puppet. She is Pavlov.
The codependent feels she is just being a good person by trying to help others, not realizing she is often giving out of fear, obligation and guilt - either self-created or tools of the narcissist. She often has an ulterior motive through her giving, though she may be unaware of her behavior. Perhaps if she gives enough she will receive what she is giving in return. She expects reciprocity and is repeatedly disappointed.
The narcissist secretly envies the codependent’s ability to feel, her conscience, her goody-two-shoes purity. He has long since buried his own capacity to empathize from a childhood of trauma, neglect or being surrounded by parent narcissists. He attempts to mimic and learn from the codependent’s emotional behavior, like an actor rehearsing his script - this doubles as a strategy to manipulate his beloved source of energy supply and to perhaps break through the resistant wall of his own painful stoicism.
Both narcissists and codependents are not fully embodied within the Self. They provide each other with mirroring so uncomfortable, so hopeless, so volatile that they can only retreat within - to the Self. Neither can change the other, and until this lesson is learned there will be suffering. It is a job solely of the Self. The mirrors function only as a labyrinth - a gateway.
Each person is in fact a mix of both narcissistic and codependent traits, and only a high level of Self-realization will enable a person to identify these traits within herself. Like all polarities in life, the answer lies in balance and neutrality. A codependent can learn from the selfhood of the narcissist, and a narcissist can potentially learn from the empathy of the codependent (it is extremely difficult in the case of a narcissist to develop empathy though not impossible).
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