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How Codependent Sees YOU (Intimate Partner)

Uploaded 12/28/2022, approx. 13 minute read

Okay, baby seal, this is my Christmas baby seal. And I'm with you today to discuss how does the codependent sees you, her intimate partner.

This is the third in a series of three videos. The first one is, how does the narcissist see you?

The second one is, how does the borderline see you? And now, how does the codependent see you?

It's reminiscent of the world series, only much more thrilling and much less predictable.

My name is Sam Vaknin, I'm the author of Melina and Self Love: Narcissism Revisited, and I'm also a professor of psychology in CIAPS, Center for International Advanced Professional Studies, the Outreach Program of the CIAPS Consortium of Universities.

Yep, this over, we can go straight into the codependency mind.

The codependent says to her intimate partner, "I need you. I depend on you. I won't survive without you.

I'm afraid that you will dump me." And her insistence in repeating these sentences borders on brainwashing or indoctrination.

She leverages learned helplessness into an art form. It is the equivalent of emotional blackmail.

The codependent says, "I can't make sense of the world without you. I need you to make decisions for me. I want you to rescue and protect me, especially from myself. I'm so unsure of who I am and what is the best course of action that you had become my lodestone."

Her clinginess and neediness are couched in words of wisdom.

She says, "I have so much ambition, so much energy and imagination and a lot of insight, but I lack self-confidence and it's holding me back.

I don't trust my own abilities and judgment and that is where you, my intimate partner, comes in as my alter ego, as my facilitator.

Tell me," she says, "just keep telling me that you love me. Tell me this all the time, unsolicited.

I need you to tell me this. I need you to reassure me because it feels so wonderful to love you. It feels so magnificent to be needed and wanted finally by someone. You're the only person in the world who cares about me and loves me and it makes me feel alive again without you.

So I want to become one with you. I want to merge with you. I want to fuse with you. I want us to be inseparable because I love myself through you.

I demand that you give me what I need because I always give you what you need and I do it unquestioningly. I do it unhesitatingly. I submit to you every whim and wish.

I never disagree with you. I never criticize you.

Doesn't this call for reciprocity?

Don't I deserve something for putting up with youessentially?

I love you. Don't ever leave me. Take me everywhere with you.

I wish I could fit into your pocket. I will do everything together always and I will be your child and you will keep me safe.

I call this in-house talkingby the way.

And the co-dependent continues her soliloquy.

She says, "Never mind what you do to me. I will always be here by your side. I will always have your back. I will save you. I will have pity on you when no one else will and I'll redeem you.

I feel guilty and responsible for your abuse because sometimes I'm considering to abandon youbut I never will rest assured.

It's only me saying stupid things. Don't pay attention. I cannot leave apart from you. I cannot have a life without you anymore.

I wish I could overcome you. I wish I could erase youbut this will never happen.

This is the co-dependence voice. This is how she sees her intimate bottom.

I wrote in the Open Site Encyclopedia the entry about co-dependent personality disorder and I said there the co-dependentmolds herself or himself and bends over backward.

To cater to the needs of her nearest and dearest and to satisfy their every whim, wish, expectation and demand.

Nothing is too unpleasant or too unacceptable if it serves to secure the uninterrupted presence of the co-dependence family and friends and the emotional sustenance that she can extract or extort from them.

Co-dependent does not feel fully alive when she is alone. She feels helpless, threatened, ill at ease and childlike.

This acute discomfort drives the co-dependent to hope from one relationship to another.

The sources of nurturance are interchangeable. To the co-dependentbeing with someone, with anyone, no matter who, is always preferable to agonizing solitude.

There are several types of co-dependency.

Co-dependency is a complex, multi-faceted and multi-dimensional defense against the co-dependency, fears and needs.

There are five categories of co-dependency stemming from the respective etiologies.


Number one, co-dependency that aims to fend off anxieties related to abandonment.

These co-dependence are clingy, smothering and prone to panic. They are plagued with ideas of referential ideation. They display self-negating submissiveness.

The main concern of these types of co-dependents is to prevent their victims, friends, spouses, family members from deserting them or from attaining true autonomy and independence.

These co-dependents merged with their loved ones and experienced any sign of abandonment, actual, threatened, anticipated or even imagined as a form of self-annihilation or amputation.

In this, the co-dependent is very similar to the borderline, resembles her.


The second type of co-dependency is geared to cope with the co-dependence fear of losing control.

By feigning helplessness and neediness, such co-dependents coerce their environment into ceaselessly catering to their needs, wishes and requirements.

This is control from the bottom.

These co-dependents are labiledrama queens and their life is a kaleidoscope of instability and chaos.

These co-dependents refuse to grow up. They force the nearest and dearest to treat them as emotional or as physical invalids. They deploy their self-imputed deficiencies and disabilities as weapons. They wield them as weapons.

But these types of co-dependents use emotional blackmail and, when necessary, they threaten to secure the presence and blind compliance of their suppliers one way or another.

Both types, by the way.


The first type and the second type do this.

Then there is the third type, the vicarious co-dependent.

Vicarious co-dependence live through others, like the moon with the sun reflected light. Vicarious co-dependence sacrifice themselves in order to glory in the accomplishments of their chosen targets. They subsist on reflected light, on secondhand applause and on derivative achievements. They have no personal history, having suspended their own lives, wishes, preferences and dreams in favor of someone else's.

One type of such vicarious co-dependent is the inverted narcissist.

I'm quoting from my book Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited, 10th edition.

An inverted narcissist, a subtype of covert narcissist, this is a co-dependent who depends exclusively on narcissists. A narcissist co-dependent.

If you are living with a narcissist, if you have a relationship with one, if you are married to one, if you are working with a narcissist, it does not mean that you are an inverted narcissist.

To qualify as an inverted narcissist, you must crave to be in a relationship with a narcissist regardless of any abuse inflicted on you by him or her.

You must actively seek relationships with narcissists and only with narcissists, no matter what your bitter and traumatic past experience has been.

You must feel empty and unhappy in relationships with any other kind of person except the narcissist.

Only then, and if you satisfy the other diagnostic criteria of dependent personality disorder, can you be safely labeled an inverted narcissist.

The fourth type of co-dependent is the borderline co-dependent or borderline narcissist.

These co-dependence oscillate between periods of clinging and other co-dependent behavior patternswhich they interpret as intimacy and periods of aloofness, detachment and emotional neglect and abandonmentwhich they regard as legitimate and the only possible manifestations of their personal autonomy and separateness.

Co-dependent or borderline narcissists also tend to form with their intimate partner a shared fantasy, a shared psychosis for their do.

These are all the outcomes of their overwhelming and all pervasive abandonment anxiety.

They either smother their partner in an attempt to forestall abandonment or they preemptively abandon she, thus avoiding hurt and maintaining an illusion of control over the situation.

I walked out on her and I dumped her, not the other way around.

The co-dependent deploys strategies such as merger, becoming one with her intimate partnerwhile renouncing all personal autonomy and independence of both of them up to the point of a shared fantasy.

So this is one strategy deployed by co-dependence.

There is another strategy known as co-extensivity, I call it the ventriloquist defense, insisting that the partner mind reads her and acts in ways that reflect her inner psychological states and moodswhich are not communicated.

Then there is shifting boundaries using behavioral unpredictability and ambient uncertainty to induce paralyzing dependence in the partner.

And finally, the fifth type of co-dependent is another form of dependence that is so subtle that it eluded detection until very recently.

So the fifth type of co-dependent is known as counter-dependent.

Counter-dependence reject and despise authority, they are contumacious and they often clash with authority figures such as parents, bosses, the law.

Their sense of self-worth and their very self-identity are premised on and they are derived from this autonomy.

In other words, they are dependent on these acts of bravura and defiance.

They are personal autonomy militants.

Counter-dependence are fiercely uncompromisingly independent on the surface.

They are controlling, they are self-centered, they are aggressive, but actually they are highly dependent on these displays of reactance.

Many of them are antisocial and use projective identification. They force people to behave in ways that buttress and affirm the counter-dependence view of the world and its expectations.

And these behavior patterns are often the result of deep-seated fear of intimacy.

In an intimate relationship, counter-dependence feel enslaved, ensnared, captive, shackled.

Counter-dependence are locked into approach, avoidance, repetition, compulsion cycles. Hesitant approach is followed by avoidance of commitment.

Counter-dependence are lone wolves and bad team players, but highly dependent on reacting to other people.

Counter-dependence is a reaction formation.

Counter-dependent dreads his own weaknesses. He seeks to overcome them by projecting an image of omnipotence, omniscience, success, self-sufficiency and superiority very similar to narcissism.

Most classical overt narcissists are actually counter-dependence. Their emotions and needs are buried under scar tissue, which had formed, coalesced and hardened during years of one form of abuse or another.

Grandiosity, a sense of entitlement, a lack of empathy and of a winning haughtiness usually hide knowing insecurity and a fluctuating sense of self-worth.

There may be a sixth form of codependency and I call it situational or late onset codependency.

Some people develop codependent behaviors and traits in the wake of a life crisis or trauma, especially a traumatic relationship, especially if it involves an abandonment and the resulting solitude, a divorce, an emptiness.

Such late onset codependency fosters a complex emotional and behavioral chain reaction whose role is to resolve the inner conflict by reading oneself of the emergent, undesirable codependent conduct.

Consciously, such a patient may at first feel liberated, but unconsciously being abruptly dumped and lonesome is a disorienting and disconcerting effect.

I have dedicated a whole video to situational codependency and late onset codependency. I recommend that you watch it.

Thank you for listening and Happy New Year!

Tomorrow a video about the best New Year resolution you can ever make.

Get rid of a fake friend.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like the following:

Codependency State Of Mind, Not State Of Affairs

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the relationship between narcissists and their intimate partners, explaining that narcissists only need their partners to provide them with sex, supply, sadistic and narcissistic services. He also clarifies the terms codependent, counterdependent, and independent and discusses dependent personality disorder. The pathogenesis of co-dependency is brought about by parents who teach their children to expect only conditional transactional love, leading to the child feeling rage and anger at the unjust mistreatment. To overcome codependency, one should realize that the world never ends when relationships do, analyze their addiction, make a plan of action, and seek social support.


Fight Abandonment and Separation Anxiety

Codependent behaviors such as clinging and smothering are rooted in a deep fear of abandonment and separation. To overcome this, codependents must confront their anxieties through psychotherapy, medication, and self-help methods such as meditation and engaging in meaningful activities. Codependents should also adopt a scientific approach to their relationships, construct alternative hypotheses, and test them before making impulsive decisions. The longevity of long-term relationships lies in being transparent and expressing emotions and concerns honestly. Finally, codependents should prepare detailed contingency plans for every eventuality to reduce anxiety and gain control.


Issues and Goals in the Treatment of Dependent Personality Disorder (Codependence, or Codependency)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses codependency, its various forms, and its impact on individuals. He explains the different categories of codependency, such as those related to abandonment anxiety, fear of losing control, vicarious codependents, and counter-dependence. He also delves into the psychological and emotional aspects of codependency, its roots in childhood experiences, and the potential for overcoming it through therapy and self-help.


Borderline Codependent: Clinging Child, Punitive Parent

Codependency in parents can lead to children who only receive conditional love based on their performance. This can result in a child who is objectified and treated as an extension of the parent. The child learns that to obtain affection, they must perform, leading to a lack of self-love. This can result in a psychopath, passive-aggressive personality disorder, masochistic adult, or an adult with depressive disorders. Codependents often experience extreme abandonment anxiety and swing between self-effacing and explosive behaviors due to divided loyalties between their partner and internalized parent.


Codependent's Inner Voice: "I Can’t Live Without Him/Her"

Co-dependence is an addiction that gives meaning to life and satisfies the need for excitement and thrills. It places the individual at the center of attention and allows them to manipulate people around them to do their bidding. Extreme cases require professional help, but most people with dependent traits and behaviors can help themselves by realizing that the world never comes to an end when relationships do. Analyzing addiction, writing down the worst possible scenario, making a list of all the consequences of the breakup, and sharing thoughts, fears, and emotions with friends and family can help.


Attention Whores, Impulse Control, and Munchausen by Narcissist

Attention-bores, mostly women with histrionic and borderline personality disorders, use male attention to regulate their sense of self-worth. They become flirtatious, seductive, and trade sex for even the most inconsequential signs of attention from a man. Male attention serves a few important psychodynamic functions with these women, including reassuring them of their irresistibility and attractiveness, reasserting control and power of a man via her sex, and adrenaline junkies. Impulsive behaviors are addictive, and recurrences and recidivism are very common. As these women grow older, most of the signs and symptoms of borderline and histrionic personality disorder recede, unfortunately only to be replaced with dysthymia, background depression.


How Borderline Lures, Captivates You

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the strategies that borderline personality disorder women use to keep their partners hooked. He explains that the borderline woman is multifarious, ephemeral, and shimmering, and that she uses drama, approach avoidance, idealization, triangulation, and other tactics to keep her partner addicted to her. He also notes that the borderline's neediness and clinging cater to the partner's grandiosity, and that the borderline's ability to impair the partner's reality testing is essentially unlimited. Finally, he warns that relationships with borderlines are exceedingly destructive for both parties.


Masochistic Personality Disorder (Masochism)

Masochists have been taught to hate themselves and consider themselves unworthy of love, leading to self-destructive behaviors. They avoid pleasurable experiences and seek suffering, pain, and hurt in relationships. They reject help and render attempts to assist futile. Masochists tend to choose people and circumstances that lead to failure and avoid those that result in success or gratification. They adopt unrealistic goals and generate underachievements, leading to rage, depression, and guilt.


Borderline to Narcissist: I Will Abandon You First

Narcissists and borderlines have archaic wounds, and they cater to each other's pathologies by activating or provoking these archaic wounds and then solving them. The borderline's focus on her intimate partner constitutes narcissistic supply, and the borderline's concentration, intensity, dedication, addiction, really, to her partner are irresistible to the narcissist. The dynamic unfolds in several stages, and the borderline goes through a phase where she becomes convinced that she had found the prince of her dreams, the knight in shining armor, the men. The borderline is obsessed with the issue of abandonment, and she has separation anxiety or abandonment anxiety.


Narcissist's Fantasy Sex Life

Narcissists and psychopaths often have a fantasy-based sex life that reflects their psychodynamic inner landscape, including fear of intimacy, misogyny, control-freak tendencies, auto-eroticism, latent sadism and masochism, problems of gender identity, and various sexual deviances or failures. Their fantasies often involve the aggressive or violent objectification of a faceless, nameless, and sometimes even sexless person, and they are always in unmitigated control of their environment and the people in it. The narcissist's self-exposure to their intimate partner often elicits reactions of horror, repulsion, and estrangement.

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