For 12 years, our work has been online, offering a private, inexpensive alternative to marriage counselling. This began with the release of Back From the Looking Glass: 13 Steps to a Peaceful Home—our easy to read reference book—now in its 12th edition. Still our go-to-guide to single-handedly tackle the narcissism and codependency in your marriage (without your partner’s support or co-operation).
Do You Give Your Best but it is Never Enough?
Signs of Your Codependence
Has Your Relationship Become a Depressing Chore?
Codependency in Your Marriage Partner
Are You Treated Different in Private than in Public?
Narcissism in Your Marriage Partner
Are You Anxious and Exhausted From Hiding Your Shame?
Signs of Your Own Narcissism
Is Your Marriage Dysfunctional?
Is your marriage full of hurt, hard feelings, anger and disappointment: with little room left for love?
Narcissism and Codependency are patterns of behaviour that cause family dysfunction. They will cause chaos and disappointment in a marriage and eventually destroy love.
Many of us learned these patterns of behaviour growing up.
Codependency and Marriage
I often use the term Emotional Codependence rather than codependency because I feel it explains the problem a little better.
It’s wonderful to be loved and appreciated. However Codependency and Marriage are a disastrous mix. Needing someone’s love and approval to feel good about yourself and/or feeling a responsibility to “fix things” every time your partner feels angry or upset, will soon make married life a chore for your partner.
Narcissism and Marriage
Narcissism and Marriage are an even worse mix. People with Narcissistic tendencies won’t appreciate the way their codependent spouse goes about getting his or her emotional needs met. In love with the idea of being loved and adored, If they see that their marriage partner is unhappy, a narcissist will seek love and approval outside the marriage and treat other people much better than their spouse.
A narcissistic/codependent marriage does not mean your marriage must end. This website is the portal to a whole library of resources.
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Are Narcissism & Codependency Destroying Your Marriage?
At Home, do Either of These Roles Sound Like You?*
- When something goes wrong: even when you caused it, you immediately think of someone—or something—else you can blame.
- When someone is critical of you: you justify yourself by pointing out other people who behave the same or worse.
- You feel pressure to earn fame and/or recognition.
- You are often shocked at what life expects of you and consider yourself a victim.
Despite the name calling and sheer volume of misinformation on line, narcissism is a very common way of thinking and behaving.
Narcissism is often encouraged by society, including movies, our friends and TV. Advertising is one of the worst culprits*. Not only in ads. Product placement and persuasive manipulation are now included in the story lines of most movies and shows on TV. Without knowing it, advertising and marketing now influence almost every area of our lives.
In its most simple description, narcissism is about being self-centered, which is something we obviously need to look at if we expect our marriage will ever improve.
Narcissism, however, is not about loving ourselves.
Unhealthy narcissism is, instead, about loving a fantasy idea of ourselves. A fantasy that won’t allow us to accept our mistakes and grow as a real person.
Hanging onto this fantasy will not allow us to be loved for who we really are.
Do you crave love and admiration, even from strangers? Are you trying to fill an empty well?
Narcissism is easy to spot in other people but much harder to spot in ourselves.
*A focus on cheap prices in advertising is just one example. The message we receive behind this is to think only of ourselves, not about paying a fair price for what we buy that would allow a better quality of life for everyone involved in the exchange. Another unhealthy focus is to make us feel entitled to live beyond our means.
- When something goes wrong: no matter who caused the problem, you immediately feel guilty and blame yourself.
- When someone is critical of you: you become emotional and cannot relax until the critical person is happy with you again.
- You feel expected to keep everyone happy & keep the peace.
- You give your best to your marriage but your best is never enough.
Codependency describes a person who spends a large part of their life trying to keep other people happy. This is not entirely unselfish, however, as they do this hoping to get their own immature emotional needs met in return.
This pattern of behaviour is just as common as narcissism and likewise can seriously damage your marriage.
Codependency is often encouraged by society, including music, soap-operas, romance novels, movies, and TV. Advertising is one of the worst culprits.* Not only in ads. Product placement and persuasive manipulation are now included in the story lines of most movies and shows on TV. Without knowing it, advertising and marketing now influence almost every area of our lives.
A codependent’s thoughts and plans are centred on their partner.
Codependence however is not about genuine love and concern about this person, because subconsciously it is working to create an emotional debt.
Codependency is based on the dangerous myth that romantic love will heal a person’s insecurity and fear. “Allow me to love and heal you” it croons, “so you can then love and heal me.”
The truth is, insecurity and fear are things we need to learn to deal with ourselves. To create a happy marriage, we must be centred on our own needs as well as the needs of the people around us. Being other-centred can be just as hard to live with as being self-centred.
*How many things have you purchased recently hoping to gain more love from your family?
Narcissism & Codependency are learned family roles; they represent opposing views on life that will cause conflict, chaos and disappointment, eventually destroying love & companionship.
Kim Cooper – Author of Back from the Looking Glass
* Please note that most people have a mixture of narcissistic and codependent tendencies. Many men for instance will play the narcissistic role at home while acting codependently at work. Our aim here is to help you identify the patterns, not diagnose yourself or someone else.
You should also note that in most cases our team have found these labels to be stereotypes which do not represent the real person. Despite the pain and suffering these mindsets undoubtedly cause; our experience has shown them to be learned behaviour and NOT incurable psychiatric conditions. Couples can certainly outgrow narcissism and codependence as our story and work both demonstrate.