Narcissism is only one side of the dance.
It is much easier to blame your partner, but can you face the 6 signs of your codependency in yourself?
▢ Low Self Esteem
- You need the support and approval of other people to feel good about yourself and move forward with your plans and goals?
- Your happiness and ability to work towards your goals are closely tied to what your spouse thinks of you?
▢ Low Self Love and Personal Care
- Have you suffered from an illness that was perhaps psychosomatic; where you became sick because you believed you were not getting enough love and attention?
- Do you long for a ‘hero’ to save you?
- You spend your life waiting for your partner to call?
▢ Lack of Personal Responsibility
- You avoid facing your addictions and instead blame them on your mother, father, husband, wife or children’s bad behaviour?
- You are emotionally demanding—using moods to get your partner to give you love? i.e. “I am sad, so you should take care of me!”
- Do you often feel your marriage partner has stolen—and is hence responsible for—your happiness?
▢ Misplaced Responsibility
- You feel responsible for your husband or wife’s negative feelings?
- If someone is upset with you saying, “No” to them—even when they are not around—you find it difficult to stay focused on your own life and goals?
▢ You Expect Others to Read Your Mind
- Do you believe someone guessing your needs is a sign of love?
- Have you expected support from your partner without asking?
▢ Misplaced Trust
- Have you expected people in your life to play fair when you have no good reason to trust them?
~ Select any text on this page to see our share on Twitter and Facebook function ~
If you would like to address the signs of your codependence, please begin with our easy to read book; titled “10 Steps to Overcome Codependence”. If you don’t have a lot of time, the steps in this concise book are an excellent place to start. Simple guidelines to shift your life away from this unhealthy way of looking at relationships.
If you have more time, I suggest that you sign up for our online tutorial and allow me to guide you through the steps in our program. This will also make you eligible for introductory specials on our eBooks.
Learn the 3 bad habits—most codependents do every day—that will eventually destroy your marriage:
This Post Has 18 Comments
I can sincerely say this to everyone . . . .
The true success story behind our work is Kim’s ability to see her own codependence. Once Kim understood the unhealthy pattern we created together, she was able to make the courageous changes in her life and in her outlook that was able to begin the process that eventually brought peace to our home.
I recognise so many of my past relationship behaviours in this list; it is fascinating to look back on that part of my life from where I am now. You are absolutely right – the key to progress (and healing) is change. In my case, I took a long hard look at myself and decided that the pain of changing would cause less emotional turmoil than the pain of staying stuck in a co dependent relationship with a narcissist. You will understand that this was much harder than it sounds put down in that one sentence and happened over several tough years. I did a lot of research and using your website was part of that. Two years on and I have made many changes; I have dumped the narcissist (he was unwilling to accept that I had changed or the boundaries I put in place and stuck to). I am now engaged to a kind, loving man with whom I have an open and honest relationship built on love and trust. My happiness, peace and gratitude come from within and I have a renewed faith in God, myself and life. Thank you for your part in that journey
Thanks for sharing Clare and so glad to hear that you have found the silver lining ￼
HI, Yes…..It takes two to tangle. N and C are attracted and both need help, not just one person. It is hard when I hear people say they are the victim always and don’t realize their part in the match. The N maybe the predator when dating, but if the C was not so easy to con/charm and they if they knew the red flags and if they were a whole person they would move on and not marry the N. or learn better how to make it work perhaps. I feel sorry for both the N and C. Both want a good life and not know how to get it. N/C in marriage may both get hurt, not getting what they hoped for. To demonize the N and not think the C has anything to do with it is blind. Many on Youtube want to think only the N is the problem. They vent and if you point out they are part of the problem they think you are abusing the victim all over again. They want validation for the hell they went through and don’t want anyone saying they are part of the problem and need to also change. If the C doesn’t change they will attract another N and get more hell. Thanks for being the model couple to help others! I appreciate all your awesome help! Happiness….
Psyschosomatic is usually a term doctors use when they don’t know how to help a person who is not feeling well. Narcisissist and codependents maybe undiagnosed Celiac which may cause many brain/body health issues. Most doctors are blind to Celiac and don’t even mention it and tests may not work to diagnose it. I need no gluten (wheat/barley/rye…oats may act like gluten with avenin)…vitamins/good oils/minerals…probiotic…LDN..detoxing to be ok. Stress may use up B vitamins and zinc. Gluten may hurt the intestines so less nutrients absorb..then cells are not made right to work right and health issues may kick in. Gluten may lower the immune system and thyroid/adrenals etc. All cells are affected in the brain/body by Celiac. Cyrex lab tests may work better than other tests for Celiac. Tests may say a person is not Celiac, when they are. Biospies may not help. Not eating gluten for a few weeks and then eating it again may help a person see if it is affecting them. Hidden gluten in nuts not sold in the shell/meat basting/some spices/food in a box/label…and certified gluten free may have 20ppm of gluten which may hurt. Microscopic gluten may hurt people. Celiac people may have addictions/abuse/have depression/be suicidal/have low energy/lose hair and get many health issues. Any person who goes to a counselor may be Celiac since it affects the brain.
Yes…people may want a Hero and someone who makes them happy and meets their needs like the movies. Marriage with an equal partner is good. Wanting a Hero maybe like wanting the partner to parent them.
I watch a N flirt with many women and all dress up for him. He may make them all think he is their soul mate as he mirrors them and compliments them. It is sad to see since all these women may end up being dumped by him eventually and the “high” will be eventually “low” for the rest of their life thinking he was the best guy ever in their life and they can’t date others due to their experience with him which was not “normal”, but was a act that he used to attract them and try to keep them in his life since he is lonely. He wants all women and back up, but all may get real sad eventually. He is like a predator that brings sunshine into their lives and then hell as he runs when they like him too much.
My ex husband was mildly N and I paid all the bills/cleaned/helped the kids etc…easily ride for him and he left when I got sick…health collapsed due to undiagnosed Celiac and food/sex ran out and eventually I lost my job and insurance ran out. When all the supply ran out he wanted a divorce. I don’t want him back after figuring out my health, but yes a “sick” relationship can make a person sick, but usually they were already undiagnosed Celiac, but no one helped them with that. I have heavy metals build up/low thyroid/MS/Lyme/depression etc. due to being Celiac. I worked 90 hours a week/tried to be a “superwomen” and burned out and health gave out after having 2 babies in a row which drained vitamins/good oils out of me and I was already low in nutrients due to intestines not absorbing due to gluten hurting me due to Celiac. People may heal their Celiac and then find a healthy relationship next time if they can not be attracted still to the N.. due to unresolved issue with parents.
Thanks for your awesome help. You were the first person to help me understand what I was dealing with and give it a name and get me starting in my healing. I appreciate your wisdom/information/insights. Happiness….
Thanks Shasha, It is great that you have recovered and are strong again ￼ Your messages made me smile – it is nice to hear from you and so good that you are sounding so strong and positive ￼
Thank yoou for allowinng me to be a part of tnis survey.
Do you have addictions that you blame on the bad behaviour of husband, wife or children?
Do you find yourself expecting your husband or wife to be kind and play fair even after they have given you no reason to trust them?
HMMMMM. I WOULD NOT CALL IT ‘EXPECTING’ BUT I STILL DO PRAY! AND HOPE! 🙂 AND MY HOPE HAS BEEN RENEWED SINCE BEGINNING TO READ YOUR MATERIALS A FEW YEARS AGO AND APPLY THE PRINCIPLES! 🙂 THANKS!
Do you need your husband or wife’s approval to feel good about yourself and able to move on with your own goals and plans?
Are your happiness and goals closely tied to what your spouse thinks of you?
NO NOT AT ALL.
Do you feel responsible for your husband or wife’s negative feelings?
If someone in your family is upset with you (or in a bad mood) do you find it difficult to stay focused on your own life and goals?
NOT NECESSARILY IF THEY ARE UPSET WITH ‘ME’ BUT IF THEY ARE UPSET OR HURT OR DOWN AT ALL.
WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT THAT? I FEEL ‘SELFISH’ TURNING A DEAF EAR/EYE TO THEIR NEEDS.
I OFTEN DROP EVERYTHING I AM DOING AND ATTEND TO THEM EMOTIONALLY OR PHYSICALLY (TRUTHFULLY EXCEPT! FOR MY N HUSBAND. FOR HIM I DON’T DO IT! INTERESTING….. JUST REALIZING THAT. HUH.)
Do you believe your partner guessing your needs is a sign of love?
WELL, I DO BELIEVE THAT HEALTHY HUMANS HAVE EMPATHY, THE ABILITY TO CARE ENOUGH TO FIGURE OUT WHAT OTHERS ARE FEELING. I REALIZE THAT ‘N’S CANNOT DO THAT. BUT I REFUSE TO BELIEVE THEY WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO DO THAT. STEVE, DO YOU DO THAT NOW? HAVE YOU DEVELOPED EMPATHY OF SOME SORT? IT SEEMS YOU HAVE……..BUT I COULD BE WRONG. I REFUSE TO ‘ACCEPT’ THAT MY ‘N’ CANNOT CHANGE ‘SOMEDAY’. FOR HIS SAKE! AS WELL AS ALL OF OURS! HE DOESN’T HAVE TO ‘GUESS’ MY NEEDS B/C I HAVE TOLD THEM TO HIM AND CONTINUE TO DO SO IN LOVE. HE OFTEN WILL DO WHAT I ASK HIM TO DO B/C HE CARES ABOUT ME (NOW) AS BEST HE CAN. I GIVE HIM ALOT OF SLACK BUT I DON’T WANT TO ‘LABEL’ HIM IN SUCH A WAY AS HE WILL ‘ALWAYS’ BE THIS WAY. I AM HOPEFUL HE WILL GROW AS STEVE HAS! 🙂 BUT YES, OVERALL, I DO BELIEVE THAT SOMEONE WHO ‘REALLY’ LOVES ME WILL ‘READ’ ME/STUDY ME AND BE ABLE TO KNOW HOW TO LOVE ME BETTER (IN WAYS THAT MEAN LOVE TO ME. 🙂 THAT IS ALSO HOW I LOVE OTHERS. TRYING TO STUDY THEM AND ANTICIPATE NEEDS. TRULY SELFLESSLY BLESS THEM……
Do you expect support from your partner without asking, and get upset if they don’t guess what you need?
I GET WHAT YOU ARE GETTING AT HERE AND I CERTAINLY AGREE THAT NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO PLAY A GUESSING GAME WITH US TO DETERMINE WHAT WE NEED/WANT. BUT, AS I SAID ABOVE, I THINK IN A HEALTHY MARRIAGE BOTH PARTNERS SEEK TO CARE FOR EACHOTHER. THAT IS THE GOAL. THOUGH N’S FAIL AT THIS (MORE THAN NON N’S) IT IS STILL ‘RIGHT’ AND ‘GOOD’ TO DO (SUPPORT EACHOTHER)
I AM DEALING WITH SOME ISSUES NOW IN MY EXTENDED FAMILY AND I WANT TO SHARE WITH MY N HUSBAND BUT SADLY I KNOW HIS RESPONSE WILL BE ANGER. SO I DON’T SHARE WITH HIM (YET) BUT SOME DAY I DO HOPE TO BE ABLE TO SHARE WITH HIM AND HAVE HIM CARE AND MAYBE PRAY WITH ME OR AT LEAST CONNECT ABOUT IT/SEE HIM BEAR SOME OF THIS BURDEN WITH ME. (ESP ABOUT SOME OF OUR KIDS DOING WAYWARD THINGS) ANYWAY……..
Are you emotionally demanding – using your moods to manipulate your partner into giving you love? i.e. “I am sad, so you should take care of me!”
NOPE. NOT ANY MORE. 🙂
Do you suffer from an illness that is perhaps psychosomatic, where you have become sick because you are not getting the love and attention you feel you need?
HMMMMMM THIS IS AN INTERSTING ONE. I AM SUCH A MARTYR TYPE PERSONALITY TYPE BEFORE EVEN MEETING MY HUSBAND THAT IT IS HARD TO TELL IF SOME OF MY ISSUES TODAY ARE DUE TO LIVING WITH HIM? OR THINGS FROM BEFORE HIM? BUT I DO HAVE TMJ /CLENCHING ISSUES. 🙁 SO MAYBE????? BUT DOESNT PSYCHOSOMATIC MEAN THAT THEY ARE ALL IN MY HEAD? B/C THIS IS FOR SURE IN MY JAW ! ITS A MESS 🙁 I USUALLY HAVE HAD TO HAVE OTHER FRIENDS/FAMILY MEMBERS TELL ME THAT MY HUSBAND IS NOT TREATING ‘ME’ RIGHT. I TEND TO ONLY HAVE NOTICED OVER THE YEARS THAT HE ISN’T TREATING KIDS RIGHT. OR OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS. OR WORK ASSOCIATES OR OR OR. I DON’T TEND TO THINK ‘HE ISN’T TREATING ME RIGHT’ UNTIL RECENTLY. AND IN A GOOD WAY. IN A WAY THAT IS MAKING ME TAKE MORE PROACTIVE ‘ACTION’ AND NOT JUST ‘BE TREATED’ THAT WAY. IT’S WORKING! I LOOK FORWARD TO FINDING OUT WHAT IS CAUSING THE CLENCHING ‘SOME DAY’ OR HAVING IT MIRACULOUSLY HEAL ITSELF ALL TOGETHER! 🙂
Do you feel that your marriage partner has stolen your happiness?
Do you long for a ‘hero’ to save you?
NO. ONLY JESUS HAS SAVED ME! YAY! 🙂
Do you spend your life just waiting for your partner to call?
HMMMM. THIS IS INTERSTING. WITH ALL I HAVE READ HERE I STILL DO WONDER ABOUT THIS ONE.
ON THE ONE HAND I TEND TO INITIATE ANY KIND OF CLOSENESS. BUT THER ARE DAYS (LIKE LATELY) WHERE I DO WISH! HE WOULD INITIATE ‘SOMETHING’. A DATE OR TALK TIME OR SOMETHING.
I HAVE NOTICED THAT I HAVE COME TO ENJOY MY ALONE TIME TOO MUCH (!) AND SO WHEN HE IS DISTANT/SELFISH I HAVE LEARNED TO DO ‘ME’ TIME. AND I ENJOY IT.
BUT I KNOW OUR MARRIAGE NEEDS WORK/TALKING /SPENDING TIME TOGETHER.
SO I KNOW I SHOULD BE INTIATING (AND WHEN I DO IT IS GOOD) BUT I FIND I OFTEN SELFISHLY DON’T WANT TO! ENJOYING MY ALONE ‘ME’ TIME A LITTLE TOO MUCH!
I KNOW I SHOULD APPROACH HUBBY FOR SOME ‘US’ TIME BUT I DONT WANT TO.
SO I GUESS IN A WAY I AM ‘WAITING’ FOR HIM TO INITIATE SOME TIME. I AM NOT PUNISHING HIM THOUGH (LIKE I HAVE DONE IN THE WAY PAST) INSTEAD IT IS JUST A COMFORTABLE SORT OF ARRANGEMENT THAT WE ARE VERY SEPARATE IN THE E VENINGS. BUT I DO HOPE THAT I WILL BE ABLE TO GET STRONG AND BEGIN TO INITIATE MORE. B/C IT REALLY DOES HELP ‘US’. I AM JUST BEING SELFISH ENJOYING MY ALONE TIME TO READ BLOGS LIKE THIS! HA HA
THANKS FOR THIS SURVEY. SOME GOOD REMINDERS. 🙂 THANKS FOR YOUR WONDERFUL MINISTRY. IT HAS HELPED ME ALOT!
Have you had success over the years with your n?
Being married to a narcissist for 35 years & separating 4 years ago (almost) my husband still stays in contact with me. I am your typical co-dependant. Just when I think I am ready to move on he pleads with me to come home. It has been hard to leave behind my beautiful home in the country & live a frugal existence & I still feel so tempted to give it one last try. But when the time comes to give it a try I find an internal struggle that paralyses me. Perhaps I sound like a very needy person but I try to keep these struggles to myself. 35 years is a long time to be controlled by someone else in an adult/child relationship as although we have been separated he still managed to control in his own way & it’s not easy to break free. Feeling very worn out & tired. Feeling like I have lost my sparkle. I usually hide my true feelings & tomorrow I will probably feel guilty for being so honest.
Hi Pam, There is no guilt in honesty! It takes patience and time to learn emotional regulation. This is when we learn to NOT to let our emotions dictate our actions in the moment – but we DO take time out later to consider what they are telling us and decide what course of action is necessary.
I wonder what it would take for you to learn to interact with your husband without allowing him to control you?
I am just looking at Julie C’s survey results and other than the prayer part, I do identify with her comments. Having made personal progress, I can say that I am much less co-dependent in my 40 year marriage. However, in taking care of myself, I find it does create a distance in our relationship – but that is part of my self survival & has helped me stay in the relationship. “It takes 2”. I do feel that my husband loves me and we have great kids and grandkids. If I could a would wish away the “distance” and also wish I could sleep better when a blowout does occur.
My situation is unique and I am trying to figure out if there is truth to taming the “N”. We are not married. He was very special to me in childhood. My childhood love. He sought me out in our 20’s ( I was in a relationship) and then again now in my 40’s. It didn’t take me long to figure out he was a “N”. I understand his past and what got him to this point. I know I can’t fix him. Everything says to run as fast as you can. I truly love him for him, “N” and all. I honestly can say I can walk away. I know he wants a “normal” (lol) life. This is one question I have and maybe Steve can answer. He does treat me differently than others in the past. (kinds odd to say but not as abusive or manipulating) He will rage a bit, but that one has even been tamed some as it really doesn’t bother me, especially once I learned about his anger/control/”N”. He does the silence thing, but with me that has been it so far. I wonder if our connection from his childhood could allow him to “feel” something different. Like pre complete inhalation of his self. We had a really special young love. Its just odd, that he treats me differently. He said earlier on that I deserved better and he wasn’t good enough ( pre me knowing “N”) and he should walk away he did not want to hurt me. Not sure if that was just seeking ego stroke but…I remember feeling it odd the way he said it. (like hurt me how?)…now I get it! Lastly, when I called him out on all this, I have to admit I did it horribly. Handled was wrong. But he never left. He retreated a bit but he knows I know and he is still around. I am really wanting to “enjoy” life with this man am I just crazy? I am not someone who wants to be destroyed or hurt, yet I feel I am strong and willing to accept what he has become if he is willing to work on healing too. I know personally I have become a stronger better person with lots of self reflection and change. I don’t fully believe this notion that a “N” can’t change. I think anyone can if they really want to (that is the hard part!) Any feedback would be great.
Do you have addictions that you blame on the bad behaviour of your husband, wife or children? No
Do you find yourself expecting your husband or wife to be kind and play fair even after they have given you no reason to trust them?- No, but I wish I could. This is the first time I have been in a relationship where unkindness has come up. Typically, I would be out the door. But I understand that there is more to this man. For example, silent treatment-kinda not so bad I can live with it now that I understand it, but its hard when you miss the person during that time. But so far I feel he will always come back.
Do you need your husband or wife’s approval to feel good about yourself and able to move on with your own goals and plans? No
Are your happiness and goals closely tied to what your spouse thinks of you? In some ways, I don’t think its my happiness inside (self esteem) but who knows maybe a bit…of course I want him to think good things of me. But words don’t degrade me easily. And so far he doesn’t degrade me. (always waiting for that one) But I feel confident in myself independently.
Do you feel responsible for your husband or wife’s negative feelings? No, not unless I cause them directly. (ex. me saying something that wasn’t kind or pushing an issue too much)
If someone in your family is upset with you (or in a bad mood) do you find it difficult to stay focused on your own life and goals? No
Do you believe your partner guessing your needs is a sign of love? No, but it is nice if they can read you to some level. With N I’m not thinking that will ever happen, but hopeful…lol
Do you expect support from your partner without asking, and get upset if they don’t guess what you need? No, I am ok with asking for help, I do find it nice if he could just do something nice but…again…I keep expectations real.
Are you emotionally demanding – using moods to get your partner to give you love? i.e. “I am sad, so you should take care of me!” Not usually.
Do you suffer from an illness that is perhaps psychosomatic; where you have become sick because you feel you are not getting the love and attention you need? No
Do you feel that your marriage partner has stolen your happiness? No, can’t see that he would but…
Do you long for a ‘hero’ to save you? not really, never been into fairy tales.
Do you spend your life waiting for your partner to call? No
Hey Sara – First thing here is we don’t call people N’s 🙂 This is patterns of behaviour we are talking about not a different species of human!
I don’t buy it that we cannot change people’s behaviour with our own actions. If that was the truth what would be the point of dressing up and preparing for a job interview?
I would say your male friend is drawn to your strength because he knows he needs someone strong enough to set boundaries with him and help tame him. I know Steve choose me for my strength (there was 10 prettier girls chasing him when we met).
If you accept this challenge it is going to probably be a lot harder than you think. It won’t be a nice time – instead it will be character building and push you out of your comfort zone plenty to learn just how strong you are.
Just curious if the N’s all share the trait of financial frugality?
Thank you! I totally agree on the calling the “N” thing 🙂 I’m not comfortable with it either. I wish I came across your site earlier before I was bombarded with all the horrors. Honestly, what made me seek out the term “taming” in my web search was I realized I had hurt his ego by aggressively saying the truth. Trying to over power it (yep strong women syndrome came out 🙁 ) As it soaked in I realized that this is not the approach that would work. So I felt I needed to find another. He is an amazing man in so many ways. I think from the depth of what I have felt all my life for this person I can’t accept that he doesn’t deserve more and he has to live alone and empty forever. I’m not willing to accept he can’t reflectively become a better person when he is ready. Which I feel he is if I handle it right. I feel I have a lot of work to do. I know it will only benefit me in the long run as well, no matter what. So I have nothing to lose! I look forward to reading your materials.
What do you do when you live with folks, who are often codependent and they don’t see it as a problem. I see both my folks with these issues and it just seems impossible to get them to understand the stressfulness… I just realized the impact of my mother’s behaviours just has its limits. I am right now trying to pick up the pieces of my own life. After 4 years of a disaster in which I created to an extent. I also realized the impact of my parent’s raising me had such an impact that it basically caused me to feel like I can’t function on my own. I was asking my folks for some help with transportation because after my car accident thing took a turn for me. It was something I needed especially if you live in an area where you have to drive. I feel like I just keep hitting a dead end with them. Yet, I am trying to search for solutions elsewhere and that isn’t going anywhere.
I do try and set boundaries with my own parents, yet somehow they cross the boundaries after multiple time crossing them. When I say No, the word No means, “Ok, I just find it a challenge to push harder.” it becomes an ongoing battle. Although I live with them. I try to work on finding a solution but it really isn’t when codependent individuals don’t believe what they are doing is wrong. They feel like they always need something to be fixated on. Yet, the damage that is being done to the other person. It can take its toll on the other person’s psyche. For me, I am trying to get my life back on track. Be able to work again and somehow save money to purchase a car. I feel like I cannot ask to borrow their car even though they have a state to do so. Whenever I ask for help it becomes a problem, basically, a dramatic fight that doesn’t make any sense or try to dominate the situation. It doesn’t work because later on, they complain about how nothing changes. The situation I am in also destroyed some of my friendships that I cared about because of the circumstance I cannot change on my own. It literally became a problem for me. If I don’t show attention or attuned to my parent’s emotional needs they call me the “bad daughter” or “mean” or a “bitch”. I feel exceptionally frustrated when it comes to dealing with people who just don’t seem to get that other person to have needs. Sometimes the fights can get ugly,… I mean literally, I can’t always be that person to clean up after them or be their personal Servant. I have to get on with my life. But I can’t do that if I can’t get help for it. It is about looking for that solution, that solution that would help benefit both sides of the relationships, not just being it one-sided. if I don’t meet my parent’s demands, If I don’t meet my parent’s demands I get the silent treatment. Or the cold shoulder response. I literally feel overwhelmed by the way they go about things. I just want to solve problems not cause more issues. It’s one thing to be stubborn but it is another where you just can’t seem to reason them. I just don’t know what to do…
Hi Ik – Great question. A big part of dealing with other people’s codependence (and narcissism for that matter) is learning to say no despite the fact it will make them angry. You might even say, “I know you probably wont like it but if this or this comes up I am not going to be able to help you with it, and so it would be best you get used to that idea now.” Then if they do get angry etc. you can say – sorry I warned you about this, but I am sorry my answer is no.
Dallas and I have a saying about dealing with this with children which is “tears and anger are the sign of learning in progress.”
An example from my own life is my codependent mother who wanted us to facilitate her dying at home. It wasn’t a fair or reasonable request and we were not equiped to do it. She was angry and disappointed until the day she died. What I am saying is sometimes there is nothing you can do about it except to toughen up and be clear about (and okay in yourself) what you can offer and what you cannot.