Changing Codependent Dynamics in Abusive Relationships

Many codependents are in abusive relationships with addicts , or individuals suffering from mental illness. The signs of codependency can trigger the dysfunctional dynamics of the relationships that in turn makes the symptoms of codependency worse. This is logical when we consider that codependency can be defined, and the fact that codependents suffer from a “lost self,” in that their thought and behavior depend on someone else.


As a result of dysfunctional parenting Codependents have lost touch with their ability to interpret their internal signals. They’ve been taught that they’re insignificant and that what they think, feel about, want, or require is not important. It’s their shame that they hide behind. Because of this, they have an underlying belief that they don’t merit to be loved just for being who they are and that they need to be able to earn it. This creates a sense of insecurity and the fear of being left behind.

Codependency originates in childhood, including core indicators of shame (including low self-esteem, depression dependence control, including caretaking, dysfunctional communication, and unbalanced boundaries. How these traits set the foundation for painful relationships is explained by the author in Conquering Shame and Codependency.

The Role Codependency in Relationships

Because many codependents have become disengaged from their feelings and emotions, an intimate relationship with someone addicted or mentally disordered can feel energizing or familiar if their past was similar. In addition, people who are addicted and with narcissistic personality disorders (NPD) and borderline personality disorder (BPD) tend to be attractive and romantic. They are able to seduce and shower their partner with promises, compliments, and even gestures of affection. The codependents long for the love of their lives and being desired makes them feel loved. But their dependency and low self-esteem makes them susceptible to seduction, and they confuse romance with real love.

Codependents cope with fears of rejection, rejection, and abandonment by giving, understanding, pleasing,and being helpful. The relationship they share with their partner is defined by them and they work to get along and maintain the relationship. They admire the narcissist’s courage conviction, conviction, and strength (qualities they themselves lack) and are enthralled by a supportive role and feeling taken care of. For addicts and people with BPD who suffer from BPD, they are usually in the role of a helper and caretaker. For codependents, feeling needed feels like love. It helps boost their self-esteem and assures them that they will never be abandoned. But, those who are addicted and with NPD and BPD suffer from deep shame which is why they frequently project their inner fears onto the person who is in love with them and trying to help them.

Codependents’ reactive role amplifies their attention to their partner, while they conceal who they are. They are increasingly trying to control the uncontrollable, sacrifice themselves, and try harder to be liked and accepted. While at first, they were considered ideal, now they’re considered to be devalued. A person with BPD vacillates between idealizing-caring behavior and devaluing-rejecting behavior. Instead of acting as those suffering from BPD or NPD, those suffering from NPD are impulsive and may be remote and emotionally cold. There are those who show affection towards their partner, while others remain critical and insensitive. The more that you are unable to express your love or even be consistent and codependents are more likely to win it, falling into the trap of surrendering their self-esteem and sense of well-being to their partner. They do not feel comfortable enough while revealing their hidden shame.

How Abusive Relationships Worsen Codependency

This unspoken contract works for a period of time as codependents can provide security and stability for an emotional anxious, insecure addict or partner with BPD and provide missing warmth and connection to a person with NPD. However, due to their own insecurity and weak boundaries, they take on responsibility, shame and shame dished out by abusers. They are powerless to assist and satisfy their partner, being resentful of the “mistakes” they’re accused of and angry that their efforts go unnoticed and ultimately fail. When the relationship is deteriorating and the sense of self-worth that codependents have.

Every symptom of codependency play a role in the dysfunctional relationship, which when not treated, can become worse with time. The codependents who are dependent become more distant from themselves and enter into the later stages of disease. These very qualities which made the relationship work are now the reason for its breakdown.

The dynamics of abusive relationships increase codependents’ stress levels and intensify their efforts to please and assist their partner. The reality of an addiction or personality disordered patient is able to influence the codependent’s self-concept and their perception of reality. Self-esteem suffers and they feel more stressed and depleted trying to ease an issue, avoid abuse, and hold the codependent relationship to keep the relationship together.

As they try to adapt to and control another person’s behaviour so that they can feel better, codependents move away from the real solutions. They have a false belief that they’re the ones responsible for their partner’s needs and wants, while neglecting their own. Their behavior reinforces their partner’s false notion that they’re the ones to blame and are the cause of their addiction and suffering. The longer codependents stay in this pattern and the more severe their behavior gets. They both hide their hurt and keep the other person from taking responsibility for their behavior, needs, and feelings and also from seeking help. This is called “enabling.” Codependents ‘ denial obscures reality that they’re mindset and behaviour cause them to be unhappy and they do have the option to improve their lives.

Changing the Dynamics in Abusive Relationships

The solution is to do things that are completely contrary to what comes naturally to the codependent. I write from my personal and professional experience. It’s really difficult to change the dynamic of the abusive relationship without external support.

It is the first step to look at an alternative view of reality because people become separated and confused by the threats, assaults, and skewed reality of addicts or those with BPD as well as NPD. It is essential to know all you can about addiction , these diseases as well as codependency. Change isn’t likely to begin when partners focus on their own recoveryand not focusing on the other person, for whom they’re not able to exert any power. It doesn’t mean that they’re not in charge or control, but it’s in their control over their actions and lives.

The knowledge of the effects of addiction BPD in addition to NPD being able to accept these realities at the deepest level allow people to let go from what someone else decides to make them feel like they’re uncomfortable in their skin. They are able to recognize that, although their words could be hurtful, they’re not the truth. Detaching doesn’t require leaving or being indifferent. It’s like having an invisible, protecting force field. Instead of reacting and reacting, they learn to be mindful of what they need, feel and desire. They look to meet those requirements from those who are supportive and safe. As their self-worth grows and they develop confidence, they are able to be confident. Their
Limits increase, and they demand what they want, and then set the boundaries of what they can and cannot do.

It’s not easy, but the strength of their recovery increases. They may be enough strength to insist that their partner receive treatment. If they don’t however, they find how much their lives have become more enjoyable, because they’ve taken charge of their own self-esteem as well as sense of well-being.

Parenting a Child who has BPD or NPD

Because codependents lack communication skills and boundaries, parents respond to their child’s behavior in negative ways. Their child is used to satisfying demands and running the show, often without accountability. Every child needs boundaries that are consistent in their punishment particularly those suffering from NPD or BPD. Sometimes parents blow up in frustration, which makes them feel guilty and shame their child. To compensate, they might be reluctant to enforce a boundary, which can make things even more difficult. In no way should punishments or consequences be imposed with anger, however, they should be done in a calm tone and, ideally, should relate to the incident; e.g., “If you throw food, you must clean it up (or leave the table).”

Children need support and their emotions are mirrored, but not indulged. They must learn empathy as well as the effect of their behavior on others. It’s important to model this and accept their feelings. Make them aware that their actions affect other people whether in positive or negative ways. For example: “How would it feel if your friend stole your toy)? Would you be hurt or angry? What about when your friend shares a toy? When you take your friend’s toy, he won’t want to play with you.” Children who suffer from BPD should learn self-soothing methods and be taught in the gradual progression to the independence they desire and to be self-sufficient.

Parents don’t realize their power and the leverage they have to demand that your child behave, attend counsel, finish chores, or find a job. They often fear that their child with BPD will be killed or committed suicide. Their fears make them easier to manipulate. When they don’t react, children will see that manipulative strategies do not work anymore. However, it takes tremendous courage for parents to stay steadfast regardless. It’s not easy to keep cool and loving children who are constantly unruly, intimidating, and saying cruel things. Support from outside is vital. If addiction is a factor Find a suitable gathering for the relatives of addicts.

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