Codependents & Narcissists in a relationship. Why are they so attracted to each other?

Happy Monday to all of you! It’s the 1st of August today and time seems to have flown by so quickly!

Today’s post is about another topic very close to my heart, due to my own healing journey from codependency to healthy love. It most definetely wasn’t easy to get to where I am. It required perseverance, determination and a little bit of hope.

To heal from dysfunctional relationships & codependency, there are 5 steps that are important to take.Having a therapist who specialises in healing from codepedency, is important in guiding you.

  • The first step is becoming AWARE that your choices or actions are dysfunctional.
  • The second step to changing dysfunction is understanding the source of the dysfunction, so where did it come from?
  • The 3rd step is grieving the loss of a healthy childhood. An abusive childhood usually leads to poor choices in relationships & life in general. Without a stable & nurturing childhood you never learn healthy love, healthy boundaries & your emotional regulation is damaged.
  • The 4th step is understanding the complexity of changing self-defeating behaviours & changing certain defense mechanisms, that protected you in your childhood but no longer serve you in adulthood. It takes time, patience and self-compassion.
  • The 5th step is actually trying out new relationships when you have made progress in your healing. You have to make a few more mistakes and discuss these with a therapist by your side, so you can see where you went wrong and how to improve this next time.

When I first found out I was codependent back in 2008, it was like the blindfold was taken off my eyes for the first time. Before learning this, I had a suspicion that something wasn’t right in my relationships but I had no idea how to change this.

I felt like I was in an emotional maze and had no idea which way to go. Everytime I thought I was making better choices in regards to who I was in a relationship with, the more unbearable the heartbreak became.I desperately wanted to be loved but wasn’t able to figure out this painful puzzle! At some point I was so exhausted from the traumatic end of each relationship & the subsequent self abandonment, that I decided to move countries! I wanted a new start…I hoped that I might meet my future husband if I moved away but I never in a million years thought I actually would..Sometimes you need a little bit of luck too!

When I moved back home to Greece after 11 years of living in the UK, I was met with more drama, a flare up of my CPTSD and a father who abandoned me over and over again. I was back in therapy again with a new therapist and was finally diagnosed with CPTSD. I was told both my parents were ’emotionally handicapped’ but that therapist never told me my parents were narcissistic. Maybe she decided at the time that it wasn’t relevant to me.

Despite this she looked after me very well. Each step I took into uncertainty, she held my hand.

I was also entered into a group psychotherapy group and it was extremely beneficial. I was in a group with 5 other people that also had similar backgrounds and it was very healing.

Support is crucial in healing. Without all this I would never have made progress.

The video above is a simple explanation (I hope) of the general dynamics of a codependent & narcissist in a relationship. Maybe you will see yourself in this and get curious. If you do, then please connect with me and I would be happy to have a chat with you.

Please feel free to re-blog this post so it reaches more people! Thank you 🙂

Much Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

 

Speak your truth..

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Speak your truth, be yourself and if people don’t accept you then it is their loss, not yours!

If people don’t value your reality, your kindness, your honesty then they don’t deserve your time or your love.

When speaking your truth, have you ever felt overwhelmed with emotion? What has the emotion been? Anger, frustration, sadness, loss, disappointment?

The worst of all these for me was always frustration and then deep sadness..

When talking to a narcissistic parent, you feel all of these times 10!

Continuing to speak your truth despite the pain, frustration, loss and anger is very important…Don’t ever let anyone keep you silent..

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

New YouTube videos-Love addiction

This is the 2nd blog entry I am doing on love addiction, as I know how much of a struggle it is for many of you. I created 2 Youtube videos that cover the most important areas.

Pleae note that there are 2 types of 12 step programmes for love addiction.

One is called Love Addicts Anonymous (LAA) and the other is called ‘Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous’ (SLAA).

I hope you find these useful!

Love Athina ♥

 

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

Are you a chronic over-explainer?

Where does over-explaining stem from?

People naturally feel the need to make sure their point of view is clearly understood when in conversation with someone else. Nobody wants to be misunderstood when expressing an opinion or thought.

What happens however when someone feels the need to always over-explain something?

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Is this something that stems from an underlying anxiety, that they will be misunderstood?

Yes

Is this also something that happens because in the past they might have been misunderstood quite a lot and for this reason they have to make sure it doesn’t happen again?

Absolutely..

Does over-explaining ever make you think, that the person doing the over-explaining, must think that the person they are over-explaining to must be stupid. Does this make sense?

I have been on both sides of this. I have over-explained to someone who got what I was saying from the first sentence and said I didn’t need to explain further. They said, I am not stupid, I get it. I have also been over-explained to and could immediately tell that the other person was anxious and insecure about something.

In my experience, many individuals who suffer from low self-esteem or people-pleasing, have an almost compulsive need to over-explain. This usually stems from childhood abuse, where either 1 or both parents were unable to meet the child’s needs and were unable to understand the child’s feelings. If parents don’t have empathy, are self-centered and dont have the ability to genuinely listen and understand, then a child will chronically feel frustrated, misunderstood and alone.

Have you ever tried to explain a simple concept such as sadness or feeling alone to a person who lacks empathy?

The reply is usually uncaring and hurtful.

Have you ever tried to reason with someone who has a low IQ and has intellectual disabilities?

They are not able to understand certain simple concepts because they just aren’t able to and if you insist on trying to make them understand, you can make yourself feel crazy with frustration.

When does over-explaining become chronic?

This usually happens when someone is unable to simply state something, that doesn’t need explaining, to someone who hasn’t even asked for an explanation. It becomes chronic when a person feels the need to explain in great detail and repeats themselves over and over again.It becomes chronic when it is a habitual thing that someone does all the time, even with people that are understanding and empathetic.

The particular thing I would like to highlight in this post, is that over-explaining becomes habitual for people who have suffered narcissistic abuse. If you are constantly around someone who makes you doubt yourself by gaslighting you, who doesn’t validate and understand your feelings and always tries to manipulate you, then it is only natural that you will be chronically frustrated when communicating..

I would love to hear your thoughts on this..

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

Much Love Athina ♥

Blogger recognition award-I am humbled!

 

This blog post today is to officially accept my nomination for the ‘Blogger recognition award‘ by the lovely https://perceptionschange.wordpress.com

I am very humbled by the nomination, especially as this blogger is a mental health blogger. She writes about her own experience with depression & anxiety, offers tips on what helped her and this is very useful for others who also struggle and might find some solace in her writings.

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Rules for participating in the Blogger Recognition Award

Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
Write a post to show your award.

Attach the award to the post.

Give a brief story on how your blog started.

Give a piece of advice or two to new bloggers.

Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to.

Comment on each blog and let them know you nominated them

TIPS FOR NEW BLOGGERS

If you have the time to interact with your followers, then do so.

If you are able to keep an open mind and be encouraging and positive, then do so.

Make sure you write an  ABOUT ME section on your blog, as it gives the reader a little background on who you are and why you write. I find this very important when checking out new blogs as I feel better connected to the content when I know a little about the writer.

WHAT IS THIS BLOG ABOUT & WHY DID I START IT

This blog is all about sharing free information to help those of you affected by mental illness, abuse from dysfunctional relationships and for those of you who are also interested in personal coaching. This blog is a result of my recent qualification as a life coach and I would be humbled to reach many more people that might need coaching to make changes in their lives. My particular focus is promoting self-care, self-compassion, changing negative thinking patterns & assisting anyone who is struggling with dysfunctional relationships and needs to break free. I create videos on YouTube which are also aimed at providing free advice on many different topics and I hope to help people in the same way I was helped over the years by mental health professionals & other empathetic people

NOMINATIONS

The 15 bloggers I will nominate are inspiring & courageous! Check them out!

https://runrabbitrunptsd.wordpress.com/

www.therichnessofasimplelife.wordpress.com

https://recoverytowellness.wordpress.com/

https://bethanykays.com/

https://atribeuntangled.com/

https://brokenfingernails.com/

https://piecesofbipolar.wordpress.com/

https://frombehindglass.wordpress.com/

https://hannahbolly.wordpress.com/

https://theroamingmind.com/

https://emergingfromthedarknight.wordpress.com/

https://thejourneytowardhealing.wordpress.com/

https://charsgirl.wordpress.com/

https://brokenyetcherished.com/

https://illyspeaks.wordpress.com/

The stages of healing-Victim, Survivor, Thriver

For those of you healing from child abuse (narcissistic abuse), this video includes the differences between each healing stage, as listed by Barbara Harris & Charles Whitfield. I found this very useful in my own healing. I am luckily mostly thriving now, with the exception of a few hiccups, here and there. Where do you see yourself on your journey of recovery?

If you find this video useful in any way, then please share on social media ♥

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

 

Dealing with elderly narcissistic parents

As narcissists start ageing, things actually get much much worse.When they are no longer able to charm others with their good looks, good health & successful business, they start losing control over others and their mask starts to fall.

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Narcissistic people live their life as pathological liars and bullies, so as they age further, instead of maturing, they just get worse. They become more demanding, more cruel and more horrible in their elderly years.They still try to manipulate others but aren’t very good at remembering the lies they have told, so people  catch them out in their lies.Their immaturity and tantrums become even more evident and healthy colleagues,friends & family start distancing themselves even more.

If you are someone who is emotionally struggling with an ageing narcissistic parent, just remember that you don’t owe them anything. You didn’t ask to be born into a family that was abusive. You don’t have to look after them when they are dying or when they are seriously ill. As a healthy son or daughter, your love is unconditional so they might exploit that for their own gain and still treat you like crap.

No matter what you decide to do, don’t do it out of guilt or because you feel you owe them for providing you with food and shelter.

You always have the right to walk away and look after yourself first.It doesn’t mean you stop loving them. It just means that you put your own health first.

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

What is hoovering?and why you have to protect yourself

 

A lot of my posts recently are dedicated to dealing with dysfunctional relationships. I don’t want to lower your mood by any means, but feel it is important to talk about issues that are more common than people think.

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For those of you who have unfortunately experienced dysfunctional relationships in your private life, you might have heard of the term ‘silent treatment’. People who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder, usually will shut people out that they are supposed to care about for long periods of time. This usually comes after an argument where the victim (spouse, partner, family member, friend) says or does something that the narcissist doesn’t like. This can be anything from a simple disagreement, to a criticism or to just refusing to do what the narcissist wants.

When the narcissist isn’t getting his/her way, he/she will use the ‘silent treatment’ to control his victim.

The silent treatment is a form of punishment, a way of attempting to control a partner or others into doing what he/she wants them to do. It’s a withdrawal of approval, and can generate much fear in people who are vulnerable to this.

Giving people the silent treatment means that a narcissist shuts down to them, closing his/her heart and refusing to interact with them or acknowledge their presence. He/she acts as if they’re invisible, not responding to them at all or giving them a very minimal and withheld response.

He/she hopes that in treating them this way it will give them the message that they have displeased him/her. They have done something wrong in his/her eyes and deserve punishment, deserve to have his/her “love” taken away.

Of course, what he/she is taking away is not love at all, since love is unconditional. What he/she is taking away is his/her approval, and for approval-dependent people, it is a powerful form of control.

When the narcissistic person decides that the silent treatment is over, usually because they need something from you again, they will then start to use what is known as ”hoovering”.

What is hoovering?

Hoovering is a technique that is named after the Hoover vacuum cleaner, and is used by Narcissists (and other manipulative people) in order to “suck” their victims back into a relationship with them. Hoovering is often done after the silent treatment is given or the victim has left them. This behavior often starts off subtle and unassuming, and is done through voicemail, text messages, email, phone calls, notes, other people, or through any other form of possible communication with the victim. Because the Narcissist knows the victim’s weak spots, they will generally tend to target these areas in order to reopen communication.  Once communication is reopened, the Narcissist generally promises change–which never, ever happens for any length of time.

  • Text messages pretending to be concerned: “How are you?”, “Hey, I’m thinking about you”, “I know things didn’t work out, but you really do mean a lot to me. I just want you to know that.”
  • Text messages acting like nothing happened: “Hey stranger, long time no talk” or “Hey what’s going on?”
  • Text messages on or about special occasions/holidays: “Merry Christmas”, “Hope you are having a good birthday–wish I could be there”, “Are you going to Molly’s wedding next weekend? If you’re going, I won’t go–I don’t want to upset you.”
  • Text messages about the kids (especially if they’re not his): “I was at the park today and saw a cute kid that looked just like Jason. Just wanted to say I miss you guys.” or “I know you hate me, but please tell Ava that I wish her a happy birthday and I’m sorry I can’t be there.”
  • Text messages about an upcoming event: “Hey, I know you said you never wanted to talk to me again, but Disney on Ice is this weekend, I was thinking about taking the kids.” or “Aerosmith is playing next weekend and I have an extra ticket–you wanna go?”
  • Text messages about things you like to do that he’s never been interested in doing with you before: “Hey, there’s a vegetarian cooking class this weekend, you wanna go?” or “Wanna go wine tasting this weekend?”
  • Text messages about bogus family illnesses or some sort of crisis (including his own): “I think I might have cancer, can you talk?” or, “OMG my mom just had a stroke.” or “What does a heart attack feel like? My left arm really hurts,” or, “I can’t handle this anymore, I’m going to kill myself.”
  • Text messages that are supposedly meant for someone else, but sent to you by mistake: “See you in ten minutes xoxo” (Supposedly for his current girlfriend–sent to upset you.) “The boss just moved the meeting to Wednesday at 3pm.” (Supposedly for his coworker–sent so you feel a sense of obligation for the coworker.) Or, “Sam called and said John is in the hospital and to call him immediately.” (Supposedly sent to someone else, but sent to you so you feel a sense of urgency to get back to him.)
  • Text messages that are guilt or pity inducing: “Can’t we work this out? Please give us another chance.” “What about the kids? You know how hard it is having divorced parents–why would you want to do that to them?” “I have a lot of issues. I get that now. I’ll get into therapy. I promise.” “My alcoholism is out of control. I need help.”
  • Text messages about sex/deep connection: “I miss snuggling with you.” “You always be the love of my life.” “You are my soul mate, I’m sorry I let you down.”
  • Text messages that attempt to flip the hoover back on you: “Did u just text me?” or “Did you just call me?” or “Did I just see you drive by?”
  • Text messages, when all else fails, making bogus accusations to get some type of emotional response:  “Why are you calling my mom and bugging her?” or “I just found out you cheated on me.” “I’ve moved on. You need to quit stalking me.”

All of these examples are just one big fat manipulation for you to open the door and let them back into your life. Don’t fall for it!

Source: http://narcissistsupport.com/narcissists-hoovering-techniques/

So far, in my personal life I have had recent contact from my narcissistic father, after a year of the silent treatment. Luckily I have decided on ‘NO CONTACT’ and even though it is still incredibly painful to see how destructive and insensitive my father is, being in control of what happens has been incredibly powerful in my recovery.

I have received 2 voicemail messages so far : Wishing me Happy birthday and asking me how I am.

I haven’t replied to either of them, as I know he doesn’t genuinely mean them..

He using ”Hoovering” as I am the only person ‘he thinks’ will help him. He is abusing my unconditional love & kindness to get his needs met.

Luckily I am recovered and will no longer play a part in his games.

Have you had an experience similiar to this? If not, do you have any friends that might benefit from this information?

Please re-blog this post if you think it could help someone.

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

 

Trauma bonding & love addiction

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In all my previous relationships, I always thought that intensity equaled love. I fell for the same abusive partners over & over again, that were mostly narcissistic & emotionaly unavailable. I had this deep desire within me, to fix and rescue and fight for their love. For many years I thought this was normal! In each relationship, I hoped that they would change and be able to offer me this unconditional love I was so desperately craving. What I didn’t realise at the time however, was that I was only trying to fill the void my parents’ had left after years of neglect and abuse. I was trying to resolve this feeling of not being lovable, through choosing further unsuitable partners that resembled the normality of my childhood abuse.

Each time a relationship ended I felt utterly crushed and devastated. I relived my abandonment over and over again and still had this intense feeling of  bonding with each and every one of my abusive ex’s.

The article in the link below, explains this bonding very well.

The part where it says ”there is a biological craving for intensity than no normal relationship will satisfy” is something that I deeply felt for 20 years and could never shake off..The more excited and addicted I felt to these men, the better..

I was always easily bored and not in any way attracted to healthy & stable men..I felt anxious and uncomfortable around them..This wasn’t my normal..I wasn’t normal..I was traumatised and stuck with what felt comfortable..and unfortunately comfortable for someone who has suffered abuse and trauma, is to crave more abuse and trauma..Sticking with what is familiar is more comfortable than doing something that feels unfamiliar, as us humans are creatures of habit & conditioning.

Growing up in an unsafe home makes later unsafe situations have more holding power. This has a biological basis beyond any cognitive learning. It is trauma in one’s history that makes for trauma bonding. Because trauma (and developmental trauma or early relational trauma is epidemic) cause numbing around many aspects of intimacy, traumatized people often respond positively to a dangerous person or situation because it makes them feel. It is neither rational nor irrational.

..the survivor can come to find that it can be almost impossible to relate to anyone, even family or old friends, except superficially. There is a biological craving for intensity that no normal relationship will satisfy.

http://www.abuseandrelationships.org/Content/Survivors/trauma_bonding.html

When I was first diagnosed as codependent in therapy, in 2008, I started attending a codependents anonymous group in London. I found it helpful inititially when I was recently out of a relationship but as time went on, my therapy was enough. Through the codependent meetings I also learnt about love addiction and being addicted to the need for love..This is something that I remember from the very young age of 13 where I would fantasize about my prince charming taking me away from my family and giving me everything I needed emotionally..As I got older, this intense need transformed into the most important thing in my world..Each boyfriend I subsequently had, became my everything and I felt completely hopeless and depressed without them..

This link below might be useful for some of you to identify whether you might be a love addict..This usually stems from childhood abuse, so don’t be too harsh on yourself! Healing is possible!

https://www.addiction.com/addiction-a-to-z/love-addiction/love-addiction-101/

In 2012 I was healed enough to be attracted to a healthier partner.With the help of more therapy I persevered through the anxiety of unfamiliarity and eventually got married. Marriage was something I was completely against after my parents got divorced.I never believed I could achieve healthy love let alone a marriage. I am still amazed at how much my life has changed. In 2008 I thought that life would never get better again..Now I sit across my husband and feel incredibly blessed to be loved and cherished for the first time in my life..My friends always felt more like family and I can truly say that I finally have a family in my friends and husband.

Any recovery process requires effort, patience and self-insight. It requires commitment, painful exploration and courage. It is possible to reach a deeper level of contentment, so each step forward is extremely important..

 My experience is vast in regards to relationship dynamics and overcoming narcissistic abuse. I am humbled to offer loads of advice on this blog and through my YouTube videos, as I believe that it is important to assist others on their journey. We all heal together..and we can all help each other..Whether some of you are only just starting your recovery process and whether others are ‘healed’, makes no difference..The connection and knowledge is crucial..The exchange of information is powerful..

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tips on setting boundaries

A useful video for those of you who have trouble saying ‘No’ to others and have a general difficulty in setting boundaries.For those of you who had an abusive childhood, boundaries would have been invaded very often and you wouldn’t have been able to defend yourself. Now that you are an adult you ‘CAN’ protect yourself and practice self-care whenever you need to. It doesn’t matter if it is a family member, partner or best friend. Setting boundaries is essential for good psychological well being!

Much Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.