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Codependency & Narcissists. Human magnets. We love people that hurt us...

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Through this whole breakup process I've been doing so much self reflecting. I've been looking into the patterns in my relationship vs previous relationships I've had. I see a lot of the same patterns. I tend to be drawn to the same kind of guys, and the relationship usually has the same kind of ending.


Sparks fly. We are drawn to each other, usually rather quickly. We fit together perfectly. It feels magical, fairy tale like. Almost all of the time, I gave way more than they do. I would do, say, buy, and act in kind ways and always want them to feel special. Although some of the time it was reciprocated, and the occasional nice thing was said back or nice thing was done for me, it was never even. The scale was always tipped my way and I was always the one giving more, doing more. Usually things would happen in the relationship where I felt as if I wasn't as important to the other person as they were to themselves. I always end up with selfish guys, who's feelings matter more to them than my feelings. These relationships always end with me being insecure, and getting angry over 'little' things. The relationship (after the fairy tale stage wears off) turns into a blow out fight...make up...blow out fight...make up. Off, on, off, on. I put up with things I shouldn't, but always feel like I can make it work, usually with little to no effort from them. I compromise. It's this dance of being hurt and let down, yet still feeling like I need to make somebody love me. Every time I either ended up being cheated on, or left.


Does that sound like you?


Here's the thing. I also looked at another pattern of mine. Constantly wanting and searching for that person to make me 'complete'. I know that human companionship is something that everybody wants. People don't want to be alone in general. But there's a difference between 'want' and 'need'. Even when I was in a relationship, if I was alone for a day. Not with my partner. If I was out with friends at a car show, and he wasn't there. I felt lonely. I felt like I was surrounded by 10 people, but if one wasn't him...I felt alone.


Last night I ran into a book by a guy named Ross Rosenberg titled "The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us". I started to watch his YouTube videos, and it clicked. He talks about codependency. What can cause it, what the cycles are, and the patterns/people codependents are subconsciously drawn to. Narcissists. Let me explain:


Codependents and narcissists usually experience similar (not the same) troubles as a child, which results in abandonment issues and the codependents and narcissists deal with those issues in opposite ways growing up. They cope differently.


Codependency and my childhood: When I was born, my parents were 17 years old. They had the best intentions for us as a family, but were way too young to be there 100% of the time. My mother was going to school full time and working part time. My father was working more than one job to be able to make ends meet. A lot of the time I was passed on to cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents to take care of me while my parents were taking on their daily tasks. I remember as a kid, no matter who watched me...when my parents would drop me off and leave, I would cry. Sometimes for hours. As I got older, and they were more financially stable and able to be around more and more, I always had a need for a friend. I remember when I was about 5 I had an imaginary friend named "Jesse" who had to be with me all the time. Getting into my preteen and teenage years, I noticed something else. My dad is kind-of an emotionless guy. He's not the most sensitive person in the world, and often was hard on us. I no doubt believe he loved us, always wanted the best, and cared about us more than anything...but he did it in a "you can do better" type of manner. Example: My list of chores around the age of 12-up consisted of cutting the grass, cleaning the dog waste in the yard, making sure the cars were clean, my room was clean, and any other tasks that were thrown my way. I was the only kid I know that didn't get an allowance. I was told "responsibilities are responsibilities and you'll learn in life you don't get rewarded for doing what you need to do." Also, nothing was ever good enough. I could spend an hour cleaning our 3 city lot yard of all the dog waste, but if I missed one spot I wouldn't hear about the good job I did with 98% of the yard...I would hear about the one spot that I missed and how I never give my 100% effort.


Codependency and the effects: This type of environment as a kid, growing up with these types of behaviors subconsciously turns you from a "human being" to a "human doing". It makes you feel like the only way you can get love, is to win love. It plants this seed in your head that you aren't ever good enough, and you constantly search for ways to make people love you. It makes you have this extreme sense of loneliness deep down, and you're constantly searching for ways to find something (usually someone) to fill that void and stop that feeling. When in a relationship, the codependent feels as if they constantly have to do things in order to know that they are loved. The have to prove their love, and usually they tend to feel let down, not cared for enough, and alone even when in a relationship. Usually because they are drawn to narcissists.


Narcissists and childhood: My latest ex-boyfriend had a few childhood experiences that definitely left him with some abandonment issues. I'm not too sure of the way these situations made him feel (because he never got too deep with it, but rather would let me know what happened...and that was about it.) When he was around the age of 12, his parents separated. They moved across town from their father, and the father stopped coming around for years. At the age of 17, his mother moved in with her latest husband, and left the house to my ex-boyfriend. He had to drop out of school to be able to afford to live on his own. When his father found out he didn't graduate from high school, he sued my -ex-boyfriend for the back child support. Around this time, my ex-boyfriend found out that the reason his mother and father split is because his father was gay and having an affair with his father's best friend (which was a family friend) during their marriage.


Narcissism and the effects: Narcissists experience a similar sense of abandonment during their developing years, but they respond to those issues in a different way. The narcissist won't talk about their feelings, but rather suppress them to keep the pain from coming up. They tend to care more about their feelings rather than the effects their actions will have on the feelings of others. Usually they can't see that something they have done may have been wrong, or hurt somebody else. When confronted about something, usually they tend to be defensive and pass the blame back onto the person they hurt rather than take responsibility for the action in which hurt somebody. They act this way because the shame and hurt from acknowledging they may have hurt somebody, would hurt them. They tend to have to 'be the best'. Narcissists have low self-esteem, but will not recognize it. Instead they pass judgment onto other people, and tend to act superior to those around them. Narcissists are usually never wrong, and have a hard time admitting fault in themselves.


Codependents and narcissists, the magnet: From the research I've done and videos I've watched, I've found that these two types of people tend to be drawn toward each other. The codependent and narcissist play their own roles in the destruction of the relationship. It's toxic, but makes both of them feel complete. The codependent feels that by proving their love, they are whole. They believe that when they are hurt by the narcissist they can manipulate them into seeing things their way. The narcissist however, feels complete with the codependent because the codependent gives them the sense of security and self-worth they lack. When the relationship ends, and the dance is done...usually the narcissist ends up with another codependent, and the codependent ends up with another narcissist.


I can't repeat that pattern. I see the things that happened in my relationship with him, and believe this to be 100% true. I was always wrong, he never was. Even if he did something wrong, I was wrong for feeling like it was wrong. His feelings came first 100% of the time, and he always had to feel superior. Nothing I did was ever as good or better than him. Nothing I ever owned was ever as good or better than him. He had a hard time congratulating me, yet wanted praise every time he did something good at work or had an accomplishment. I even look back at his relationship before the one with me, and his ex was a total codependent. He did the same exact things to his ex that he did to me. And here we are, one month after the break-up, and he's on Tinder looking for the next. I need to get help, and break this cycle. The only way I'll ever have a happy relationship is if I grab the bull by the horns and fix what needs fixed. It's about time my life changes for the better.


If anybody wants to look into this for themselves, watch some of Ross Rosenberg's videos on YouTube. See if any of these patterns also apply to you.

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Very insightful post. You are correct about narcissists and codependents; hit the nail right on the head.


I dated a narcissist as well...8 long years. Most of our relationship involved him and his feelings. He needed constant validation and support, and in the end, I just stopped giving it to him, as I was sick of being the "giver" almost all of the time.


Make sure you break your pattern. You will be stuck in a life of misery if you continue to date these types. There are good men out there; you are probably just used to this usual negative cycle.


Breaking this kind of pattern can be daunting, especially because it is unfamiliar. However, once you do, you will recognize how great life can be. And what happiness actually feels like.

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What you have labeled as narcissistic is probably more appropriately called struggling with abandonment and/or stubborn and/or sociopathic and/or a jerk.


What I mean is that labeling others isn't as important as understanding your own behaviors, motivations, and needs. Who you have dated, regardless of a label, is a reflection of what you felt you needed over time.


As you look into codependency for yourself, I would suggest trying to find ways for you to resolve your childhood issues and become more independent as an adult.


For example, you are talking about moving forward and yet you are looking at him being on Tinder. That's not important to you anymore. I would also give more thought about the "initial sparks flying." What made that so? Sometimes we have the greatest sexual attraction to people who actually look like they might fulfill our deepest desires. I mean, if you are meeting men on a hookup app it's sort of not surprising to end up with a less than emotionally satisfying relationship.


The other thing to remember is that relationships are voluntary. When you are not getting your emotional needs met, it's critical for you to move on. Not to try to "work with" a person who is not right for you. That's a difficult thing if you feel you have co-dependent tendencies.


Good luck to you.

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Ms. Darcy is correct. Yes, I also had a pattern and found myself repeatedly with people who were less than healthy for me to be in a relationship. I was however the other side of that coin myself and equally toxic in my own way. And that's something if you've come to the point of realizing you have a pattern of bad relationships, that you need to face and admit and change. We all run into bad people, fair enough, it's life. Not everyone in it is a good person.


BUT the difference is some of us let those people stay or even actively chase them. And at least in my case I finally realized I was addicted to the pattern, because if I was embroiled in drama with a relationship I did not have to face other parts of my life that desperately needed to be fixed. It's so much easier to blame one's troubles on that "cheating jerk or b that is making my life heck" than it is to say, "I am in a dead-end job, have hurts I have never addressed, some other major thing I need to fix."


So all I can tell you is what you can do is stop dating, take a break, and focus on other parts of your life. Not just the things that need fixing either, do things you wanted to always do but scared you or that take you out of your head and prove to you that yes you can survive in the larger world on your own. For me that meant things like whitewater rafting, learning to scuba dive (water scared me after a near drowning as a child), climbing a mountain and realizing I was able to even outstrip my guide in continuing on, running a marathon just to prove I could do it. These are things I did for myself, not anyone else. I also sought out things that made me happy, just me for me.


So that might be a path to healing that is better for you. It's easy to put labels on people and I do get that it gives a measure of comfort to be able to analyze and realize some of why a person might be the way they are. That is a part of healing too, but in the end it doesn't help you as much as just building your own self-esteem up. And that takes you paying attention to yourself. A good therapist never hurts either, but mine made me do things and get out, she didn't just listen to me. In fact, I can say she probably kicked my butt more than anyone I've ever known. And that was a good thing too.


When you feel good about yourself you're a whole lot likely to stick around someone who just isn't cutting it for you or doesn't fit in or even seems toxic. Scarcity in our larger lives can create a need or hunger to have someone give us that, but no one really can. This is just based on my own experiences, but maybe it's time to just decide to break the pattern. And a lot of that has to do with changing your own life, so people that are toxic just no longer appeal to you.

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You are 100 percent right with your post. I feel so connected with your story, I was the codependent and she was the narcissist. Same childhood for her and I. I always felt that I have to please others to make them love me. This come from my parents always expecting more from me, so yes, I also bought love. She'll do anything wrong and she won't admit it but will do a great job making me feel guilty. However, As one of my favorite quote say " Yes, the past can hurt you. But the way I see it you can either run from it or learn from it." I also remember watching a video of twins that their father was an alcoholic. One of the twin followed his steps and the other used this to become a better man. We can use these experiences to become a better version of our self and what to do and not to do in our next relationship.


More importantly, we need to start thinking of our self first we need to stop caring what they are or not doing, that's their business and this does not allow us to move on- We need to heal for our self as we deserve better.

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Wow... very good read! Lots to learn, for sure...


And I am glad that YOU have come to realize your own issue's and address them now.


I suggest you seek some prof help.. and do not get involved.. for a good while.

Sounds like you need some serious down time to work on yourself now... to see IF you can improve?


Yes, I know.. there are all kinds out there.


I've been on dating site for over 3 yrs.. and I came to realize how soooo many are 'damaged', either by their upbringing.. or past relationships ( failed marriages, etc).... so.. I now tread lightly.


Life.. is an experience.. and I have learned to catch things really early on now.. and have had, at times, to 'fight' my way out of something.. as I could 'feel' the bitterness he had --- hearing him talk abt his family, in general.. that i was being used, etc...

I knew.. eventually that was going to stem onto me. Do I want or need that? No.


I respect myself much more than that.. and knowing I have my own issue's.. I don't need his too.. to bring me down more


Take time for yourself now.. work on you.. so someday you CAN try and find someone who is not so damaged... and who will end up affecting you as well, with how THEY have experienced Life.


Gd luck!

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NOTE: apologies OP, I posted the video above in the wrong thread. I meant to post that our what are you listening to thread. I didn't notice what I'd done until it was too late to change. Whoops.


BTW if I didn't say it before your original post is very true. I was the child of an alcoholic, so yes seeking other toxic relationships and having to fight that inclination to become yet another cog in the wheel of codependent to someone else's emotional issues is something I've had to actively fight.


The first step though, and an important one always, is in self-awareness. You are already to that stage and that's a very good thing. This is actually a very good thread, very needed OP.

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