Codependency and Narcissism: 6 Ways Codependents Attract Narcissists

For someone who’s codependent, it can be a struggle to maintain his or her autonomy in a relationship. This becomes much more difficult when the codependent person is in a relationship with a narcissist.

Unfortunately, the codependent individual unwittingly provides the narcissist with fertile ground for another conquest.

It’s important that you know what the narcissist finds so attractive about the codependent to get out of a relationship with this abuser or to prevent a disastrous relationship from forming in the first place.

1. The codependent person makes his or her partner the whole world.

A codependent person is willing to give all of his or her attention to a partner, even at caring for himself or herself.

This person will put a partner on a pedestal, offering admiration and slathering affection upon his or her love interest. This complete giving of self for a relationship is a key trait of codependency.

On the other hand, the narcissist is self-absorbed. He or she must have constant admiration, especially from a partner.

This person believes that he or she is number one, and the codependent personality will be too happy to indulge the narcissist in this matter.

The narcissist is attracted to the codependent’s generosity and willingness to give. The narcissist will get his or her fix from the constant fawning over provided by the codependent.

In short, the codependent person is a giver, while the narcissist is a taker. As a couple, these behaviors create enmeshment and codependency on both sides that feed into each of these personalities.

2. The codependent wants to be rescued, making him or her an easy target for the narcissist.

Although the codependent personality may not be looking specifically for a knight in shining armor, he or she does want someone who gives them the affection and attention that he or she craves but is too insecure to ask for or expect.

After all, a codependent individual wants to be loved but often feels that he or she is unworthy of this. Anyone interested in forming a relationship with this person may be viewed as a hero.

The narcissist is prone to indulging a love interest by showering him or her with compliments and affection at the beginning of the relationship, often referred to as the honeymoon phase.

A narcissistic individual may see the codependent as someone who is lonely and lacking in self-esteem.

Since the narcissist always puts so much effort into impressing a prospective partner, pursuing a codependent person makes the narcissist’s job much easier.

The narcissist usually uses extensive flattery to win someone over; this attention is just what a codependent craves.

Unfortunately, this attention stops once the narcissist has won over the codependent.

The codependent automatically assumes that he or she has done something wrong or is just not good enough, which is something that the narcissist typically has to convince his or her partner of.

By taking on the blame, the codependent saves the narcissist some effort.

Now the codependent individual will work even harder to please the narcissist, and the narcissist can just sit back and soak up all the attention.

In this relationship, the codependent may see the narcissist as his or her rescuer, either emotional or psychological.

The narcissist will play into this belief by making the codependent believe that the narcissist has done so much for the codependent. The codependent should be grateful and show it.

3. Codependency involves a lack of boundaries.

When involved in a relationship, the codependent person wants to please his or her partner so that this individual may not hold to boundaries that he or she might have with others.

This person may let the narcissist talk him or her into doing something that he or she typically wouldn’t do, whether due to moral values or simply personal choice.

The codependent is likely to let the narcissist walk all over him or her.

This individual is not likely to stand up for himself or herself and may let the narcissist push him or her around even if the individual stands up to others when necessary.

It’s all about not disappointing a partner and keeping the relationship going no matter how difficult things might get for the codependent personality.

As for the narcissist, this person may have boundaries of his or her own, but the individual will cross the boundaries of others consistently.

It’s all about the narcissist getting what he or she wants at the moment.

Because the codependent is so eager to please a partner that he or she will disregard boundaries, the narcissist doesn’t have to manipulate the codependent as hard to get his or her way.

4. A codependent person will accept responsibility for his or her partner’s behavior.

To make the relationship go smoothly, the codependent is willing to take the blame for something a partner does to prevent an argument or outburst, even if it is something the codependent individual would never have done in the first place.

For the codependent, it’s much easier to take the blame than to chance to start a disagreement or confront the partner regarding the matter.

When it comes to the narcissist, this person never takes responsibility for anything bad.

If something good happens, the narcissist wants to take all of the credit, but for anything else, forget it.

This is one of the things that keeps the narcissist returning to the codependent because it fills this abuser’s need to avoid responsibility.

5. A codependent is willing to relinquish control to please his or her partner.

A codependent person is so caught up in each relationship that he or she is willing to take a back seat and let his or her partner make all of the decisions if it prevents an argument or keeps the partner happy.

Whether the codependent enjoys the decisions made by his or her partner doesn’t matter.

This person is so afraid of losing the relationship and being alone that he or she would rather suffer bad decisions made by a partner.

As you’ve probably already guessed, the narcissist is a control freak. Not only is it the narcissist’s way or the highway, but this person must also control every aspect of his or her partner’s life.

The ability to have control without making too much effort is very attractive to the narcissistic personality type.

6. The codependent individual is unwilling to let go of the relationship.

The codependent partner wants to regain the initial affection previously provided by the narcissist, so he or she will devote all attention to the relationship.

However, once a narcissist has secured a catch, he or she is done and ready to move on to the next conquest.

The narcissist will likely leave the relationship or keep the codependent waiting, stringing this person to come back to at every whim.

If a narcissist feels that a romantic partner is losing interest in the game or may leave for good, this individual will use what’s known as hoovering to keep the partner hanging on.

He or she will have some excuse or reason for an absence only to return to expect things to carry on where they left off.

Of course, the narcissist has no intention of sticking around permanently. He or she just wants to be sure that the other person is willing to take him or her back to provide attention whenever needed.

Being with a codependent makes the narcissist’s job easier. The codependent individual will gladly believe whatever the narcissist says to keep the relationship going.

Although the narcissist may spread around some crumbs here and there to keep the codependent hooked, this person isn’t likely to give the all-encompassing attention that was provided at the onset of the relationship.

A codependent person typically sees leaving a relationship as a failure that he or she can’t accept.

A relationship becomes the whole being of someone who is codependent, so without the relationship, the codependent would feel worthless.

This person may not feel like he or she can be alone.

Consequently, being in a relationship with a narcissist also makes the codependent feel worthless.

Unfortunately, this person will continue to try to save or fix the relationship, so he or she will be at the narcissist’s whim until he or she overcomes the codependent needs.

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