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It's all in here
on 30 October 2010
I came across the concept of Ns and co-dependents last year whilst studying Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
I had at that point been working successfully as a therapist and life coach for many years (just shows this can happen to anyone) but this was the first time I studied in any depth personality disorders.
Whilst it took some time for me to accept that the strange things going on in my own 23 year relationship were due to the N and co-dependent loop, in the end it was irrefutable and actually a relief to finally recognise what was going on.
The idealise/devalue and engagement/disengagement loop were finally explained, along with the need for him to play Prince to a Princess (he had a variety of these throughout our marriage). Also explained were the compulsive and often unnecessary lies, the excessive and inappropriate anger which could be ingnited as quickly as it would change back to calm and pleasant.
My chap was handsome, self deprecating, charming, kind, generous, extremely intelligent and one of the most credible and well liked (to those he chose to engage with) gentleman I can ever recall meeting.
He was also a liar, hard done by, illogical, irrational, totally lacking in empathy, insensitive, cruel and a cheat who regularly threatened to leave if ever there were differences or things to discuss. (Although he never actually did go, I had to leave him in the end).
We started as THE best couple ever, and I was apparently THE most beautiful, intelligent and amazing person he had ever met in his WHOLE life.
Besides studying the suject in depth, I have now also read a number of books around Ns and found Dr Les Carter's 'Enough about you, lets talk about me' to be extremely helpful because it not only explained the characteristics of the disorder but also how to start making moves to manage these people if you have to have them in your life.
Their extreme need for control at all costs is also explained in this book (Narcissistic Lovers) and it really does what it says on 'the tin', helps you to recover and move on.
NPD is reckoned to be one of the toughest of the personality disorders for the victims, and whilst others might think we (the victims) are unintelligent door mats or wimps, if we were that, our N's would never have picked us. However, it has to be faced that to stay in a relationship with an N for so long, desperate to make thing right, is certainly a sign that there is something wrong, and co-dependency issues have to be faced. It's addressing and understanding our own issues, and educating ourselves about N behaviour, that are the keys to recovery and finally going and getting a life.
This book really helps in this journey. It not only educates regarding Ns, it also educates regarding codependency.
Other books do these things to varying degrees. But this book does more. It also takes you on a journey empathetically, and offers a variety of 'stories' which allow you to see N and Co behaviour from a distance, so that you're willing the Co's to go get a life, and want to disengage from the N.
Few people who haven't been in this kind of relationship would understand the torture that goes on. I'm not sorry for myself, and nor am I exaggerating when I use this word.
This book has helped me take the next step to recovery.
I would recommend it unreservedly and thank the writers for their insight and manner of writing, which have proved extremely helpful.
My own experiences have been horrific (23 years is a long time), but not wasted. As a therapist I am able to help others find themselves and recognise their own power, value and self worth, and move on, all the better for my own first hand knowledge. The key is never to be bitter or resentful, but to learn how to let go, move forwards, recognise own self worth, and no longer need such levels of external validation.
This can be quite a journey. When I was needing help to understand all that was going on in my life, I found even fellow therapists just thought that it was a case of walking away. If you've been in the grip of an N, this is simply not that simple, as you will know.
Anyway, if you suspect you could be struggling with some of these issues, this book is a great thing to include in your recovery process.