What is codependence? (Part 2)

Posted by

It is a word you hear a lot.  Today we’re going to learn what it means, where it comes from, and what its negative affects are.

OMG, antinarcissism?  Victim mentality.  Poisonous pedagogy.  Narcissistic selfobject mirroring.  I’ve opened a can of worms.

So first I am going to digress:

According to Kohut, maternal misrecognition amounts to a failure to perform the narcissistic selfobject functions of “mirroring”…the cause of a narcissistic disturbance.

Boy that is hard to understand.  But at least we’re getting into real psychology.  I know Ferenczi, Kohut, and Horney.  They are renowned psychologists who wrote and practiced it.  Alice Miller–I never really studied child abuse–I was not familiar with until yesterday.  Poisonous pedagogy does not sound like a fun topic.  These people are taking into account gender (i.e., mother vs. father, son vs. daughter).

What it means is the parent is not paying attention to the identity and originality of the child.  (Louise Turpin!)  That is a/the source of narcissism.  You are not acting like me.  You are not paying attention to me!

Therefore I am going to pay more attention to me.  And I am going to continue it with the people I encounter and especially in the children I raise.  They are deficits in empathy and mirroring.  An “intergenerational cycle of narcissistic abuse.”

Codependency could be an escape.  Perhaps not a real one.  Probably not a real one.

In Miller’s view, when abused for the sake of adults’ needs, children could develop an amazing ability to perceive and respond intuitively, that is, unconsciously, to this need of the mother, or of both parents, for him to take on the role that had unconsciously been assigned to him.

Remember Scott Peterson, he of the murdered pregnant wife and narcissist supreme?  One of his traits was “a powerful antenna” in mirroring his abusive parents.

Then there’s Bobby Fischer, the chess champion.  “Nothing is as important as a human touch” (aka “the most traumatizing experience of all is the absence of emotional giving from a mother or father.”)

I could add (NAME REDACTED) and the “unconscious craving for the dead-end justice of revenge.”  (No “underhanded public humiliation” here!)

Finally there is M. Scott Peck.  I had no idea The Road Less Traveled dealt with a narcissistic mother.  This is major, major stuff.  (My grandfather, my mother’s father, recommended it long ago.  I was arrogant and eschewed pop psychology.  I was wrong.)

It also makes sense–absolutely fascinating–that psychoanalysis may not really help, and it could conflict with, narcissism.

Narcissistic abuse.

I have to pause and catch my breath.  I had to write it again.  This is the greatest link ever in the history of the internet.  It is even better than the Wiki page for parental narcissism.

The part about adult relationships is absolutely, 100% spot on.


From here:

It happens then, that the children of evil parents enter adulthood with very significant psychiatric disturbances. ….It is doubtful that some can be wholly healed of their scars from having had to live in close quarters with evil without correctly naming the source of their problems.

To come to terms with evil in one’s parentage is perhaps the most difficult and painful psychological task a human being can be called on to face. Most fail and so remain its victims. Those who fully succeed in developing the necessary searing vision are those who are able to name it. p 130

I’m sure not a fan of categorizing parents or family as evil, but there is no question it is difficult.  You don’t know what it is or why it is there.  Absolutely, it starts with recognizing and understanding it.  The rest of what is on that page I don’t like either.  I hope Peck is a little more compassionate.

Codependency?  I can see how it can be a byproduct of narcissism.  I agree it is pretty rotten.  It is not a universally-recognized mental disorder.

Sorry, I have to go now.  I have to seek my narcissistic supply elsewhere.