Changing Codependent Dynamics in Abusive Relationships

A lot of codependents are in unhealthy relationships with addicts or those suffering from mental illness. Codependency symptoms can lead to the dysfunctional dynamics of the relationships that then increases the severity of codependency symptoms. This is logical when we look at what codependency means, and codependents are thought to have an “lost self,” in that their thoughts and actions are influenced by someone else.


Because of dysfunctional parenting Codependents have lost the ability to react to their internal signals. They’ve come to believe they’re not worthy and that what they think, feel or need aren’t important. This is their secret shame. In the end, they believe that they don’t really merit to be loved just because of who they are however, they must be able to earn it. This creates a sense of insecurity and fear of being rejected.

Codependency is a symptom of the early years of childhood, and includes primary signs of shame (including self-esteem issues, denial of dependency, caretaking, dysfunctional communication and a lack of boundaries. The way these characteristics set the foundation for painful relationships is discussed within Conquering Shame and Codependency.

The Role Codependency in Relationships

Since many codependents are disconnected from their emotions and emotions, being in a relationship with someone who is addicted or mentally disordered may feel stimulating or familiar if their past was like theirs. In addition, people who are addicted and who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) as well as borderline personality disorder (BPD) tend to be charming and romantic. They are often seductive and lavish their partner with promises, compliments, and even gestures of affection. They crave connections and love, and being loved can make them feel loved. However, their dependence and low self-esteem makes them vulnerable to being seduced, and they can confuse romance with genuine love.

Codependents deal with the fear of rejection, criticism, and abandonment by offering compassion, praising, and being helpful. The person they are with defines their relationship and they work to maintain the relationship. They admire the narcissist’s courage conviction, conviction, and power (qualities that they lack) and appreciate a caring role and feeling well taken care of. For addicts and people with BPD They are often in the role of a helper and caregiver. For the codependent, feeling loved and needed is a feeling of love. It increases their self-esteem and makes them feel confident that they will never be left behind. But, those who are addicted and who suffer from NPD and BPD suffer from deep shame as they project the personal fears onto the person who cares about and tries to support them.

The role of the codependent is reactive, which increases their attention on their partner, and they cover up who they really are. They are increasingly trying to manage the uncontrollable, give up themselves, and strive to be liked and accepted. While at first, they were portrayed as ideal, they’ve since been marginalized. Someone with BPD is prone to a tiffany between idealizing caring behaviour and rejecting it as devalued. Instead of being a needy person as people who suffers from BPD individuals with NPD appear naive and be distant and emotionally distant. There are those who show affection towards their spouse, while others remain critical and snide. If affection is stifled or not expressed the more codependents attempt to win it, and fall in the trap of transferring their self-esteem and feelings of wellbeing to their spouse. They don’t feel confident enough and they are able to hide their shame.

How Abusive Relationships Worsen Codependency

The unspoken agreement works for a time because codependents offer safety and stability to an emotionally unstable addict or a partner with BPD and also provide the missing warmth and connection to a person who suffers from NPD. However, due to their own vulnerability and lack of boundaries, they take on all the guilt, blame, and shame that are poured out by the abusers. They are unable to help and please their partner, feeling guilty for “mistakes” they’re accused of and angry that their efforts are not appreciated and are deemed ineffective. As the relationship declines and the sense of self-worth that codependents have.

The symptoms of codependency are a part of the relationship being dysfunctional, and when not treated, can become worse as time passes. Codependents are further disengaged from their own lives and progress into the latter stages of their disease. The same traits that helped make the relationship successful end up being the cause of its failure.

The dynamic of abusive relationships increase codependents’ anxiety and increase their efforts to please and assist their codependent. The reality of an person who is an addict or suffers from personality disorders begins to affect the codependents’ self-concept as well as their perception of reality. The self-esteem of the codependent is diminished and they feel more stressed and exhausted trying to manage the stress, stay away from violence, and keep the codependent relationship to keep the relationship together.

In their efforts to adjust to and control another person to make them be happier, codependents shift away from the real solutions. They believe that they are responsible for their partner’s emotions and wants, while neglecting their own. Their actions reinforce the false beliefs of their partner that they’re the ones to blame and responsible for their addiction and suffering. The longer they continue to codepend on each other and the more severe their behavior gets. They both hide their suffering and block their co-dependent partner from taking responsibility for their behavior or needs and from seeking assistance. This is known as “enabling.” Denial of codependency blinds them to reality that they’re thoughts and actions cause them to be unhappy and they do have the option to make changes.

Changing the Dynamics in Abusive Relationships

The solution is to do exactly the opposite of what is natural to the codependent. I write from both my professional and personal experience. It is extremely difficult to alter the dynamic of the abusive relationship without external support.

The first and most important thing is to see an alternative view of reality as partners are disoriented and lost in the threats, attacks, and distortions of addiction or those with BPD and NPD. It is essential to know all you can about addiction and conditions as well as codependency. The process of change doesn’t begin until the partners concentrate on their own recoveryand not on changing the other person, who they’re basically powerless. This doesn’t mean they aren’t in control or choice, but they do have control in their control over their choices and actions.

Understanding the concepts of the effects of addiction BPD and NPD as well as accepting the facts at an underlying level allows people to let go and not be a victim of whatever someone else chooses to say just because they’re uncomfortable in their skin. They realize that even though their words might be hurtful, they’re not the truth. It’s not necessary to leave or staying in a secluded position. It’s similar to having an invisible protecting force field. Instead of reacting the way they do, they learn to respect the things they feel, need and desire. They seek to satisfy those requirements from those who are supportive and safe. As they gain confidence in themselves they become confident. Their
The boundaries are heightened, and they demand what they want, and then set boundaries on what they will and won’t do.

It’s not easy, but the strength of their recovery increases. They may be sufficient strength to leave or insist on our partner getting treatment. If they don’t however, they find they live lives more enjoyable since they’ve taken control of their self-esteem and feeling of wellbeing.

Parenting a child with BPD or NPD

Since codependents aren’t able to communicate as well as boundaries. Parents respond to their child’s behavior in negative ways. The child is used to achieving demands and taking over the show, usually without responsibility. Every child needs limits that are consistent in their punishment particularly those who suffer from NPD or BPD. Parents can get slammed in anger, which causes them to feel guilty and shame their child. In order to compensate, they may abandon a boundary, making things more difficult. The punishment and consequences must never be imposed with anger, however, they should be done in a calm tone and should be ideally tied to the offender; e.g., “If you throw food, you must clean it up (or leave the table).”

Children require support and have their emotions are mirrored, but not embraced. Children especially require to learn empathy as well as the consequences of their actions on others. It is important to show this behavior and be respectful of their emotions. Make them aware that their actions impact others either in positive or negative ways. For instance: “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 suffering from BPD require self-soothing methods and be taught to gradually progress towards autonomy and independence.

Parents aren’t aware of the power and influence they can use to make their child be behave, receive counseling, do their chores or find a job. They often fear that their child suffering from BPD may be killed or committed suicide. These fears make them more prone to manipulate. In the absence of reactivity, children are likely to realize that the tricks they used to manipulate them are no longer effective. But it requires a lot of determination for parents to remain unwavering in the face of. It’s difficult to stay peace and be loving to the child who is in rebellion, making threats, or making threats. External support is crucial. If addiction is a factor you should find a suitable meeting with relatives of those who abuse substances.

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