Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Blaming the Targets - The Myth of Co-Dependency

The term "co-dependency" is a controversial one. It first came into widespread use during the 1970's. I've never really understood quite what this label means. What I can glean is that it's often used to describe a caring person who puts others first. There is nothing wrong with doing that, to a point. Those of us with Christian backgrounds have been raised to serve others and to love our neighbor as ourselves. We are taught to bear with one another and to forgive.

It's important to remember that narcissists take advantage of people who like to help others, and of those who like to ease people's burden's, rather than add to them. We all have difficulties in our lives. Everyone you meet is fighting one type of battle or another. The problems that many people face seem almost insurmountable these days.

Being kind and generous is not a fault. Many targets possess these qualities. It's troubling to read material online that seems to imply the targets are the ones with the problem. The truth of the matter is that we now have a lot of malignant narcissists walking among us. (One estimate puts this figure at 1 out of every 25 people.) These folks are clever and sneaky, in ways the rest of us cannot even dream of being. So we shouldn't feel too bad when we get taken in by one of these charlatans. Even the professionals can be fooled by high-functioning covert narcissists.

That's why I don't like the term "co-dependency." It implies that the target, and not the abuser, is really at fault. Such terminology takes the issue of accountability off of the abuser and further victimizes the target.

However, as we recover from abuse, it doesn't hurt us to take a look at our weak spots, in order to firm them up a bit. This will, hopefully, prevent us from falling into another relationship with a malignant narcissist/sociopath. Learning as much as you can about this disorder is the best way to protect yourself.

We should embrace our kindness and not feel guilty because extend ourselves to others. So many people right now need a kind word or gesture.

Flickr photo by alexisnyal

1 comment:

  1. I look it in this way, that some people are brainwashed to tend to the need of the selfish narcissist, and to defend the narcissist more then to defend themselves. It's NOT the brainwashed persons fault that he/she has been brainwashed, as it's the sneaky narcissist doing this to them.

    Many times it's done to children so small they have no defense against it. It would be VERY nasty to blame a child for being brainwashed into putting the selfish narcissist's needs before their own and to always defend the narcissist from any attacks from others.

    So in short, narcissists need co-dependant people around them to both serve them, but also to take all the blame. They need servants and scapegoats, as they are lazy and hate to admit to doing anything wrong.

    And I too really dislike guilt being tossed at co-dependant people, but anyone still under the spell, acting co-dependant, will hurt other "victims" as they are still defending the narcissist. Once a co-dependant person has truly broken the spell, they will stop defending the narcissists, and attacking people hurt by them.

    Co-dependency is very real and is equal to trauma bonding or Stockholm Syndrome. It is curable though, and all you need to do is to realize you have these loyal emotions towards this bully and step away from defending them.