From toddlerhood and probably even younger, narcissists learned that in order to survive they had to make noise and demand that their needs be met. They learned that they could not trust their earliest caretaker to be there for them when needed. There may be emotional abandonment, misattunements, insufficient holding, late feedings, or other events. Persistent longing for its mother can arouse intense hostility in an infant.

This doesn’t mean that caretaker was an abusive mother. (See How Narcissistic Mothers Damage Their Sons and Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers.) In some cases, she may have just been overwhelmed, ill, depressed, or…

By Austin Guevera

You can feel hopeless and helpless when you’ve experienced chronic abuse or repeated obstacles. You might feel stuck in poverty or an unhappy relationship. You could or be dealing with your own or someone else’s addiction that feels powerless to change.

You might be experiencing a debilitating health condition or repeated school, relationship, or work failures. It’s easy to feel despair when you believe there’s no exit from constant pain and unhappiness.

Frequently, there are solutions and steps we can take to change our circumstances and alleviate pain, but with a hopeless outlook and “learned helplessness,” we don’t seek or…

We’re an amalgam of our daily thoughts and actions, but this may not reflect who we really are, our true self. We’re a combination of our unique DNA and our environment, including adaptive defenses, learned beliefs, and role models good and bad. These environmental influences can hide our true self and who we’re meant to be. Codependency is a learned adaptation to a dysfunctional family system, where we learn to hide who we are to survive. Addiction is a similar coping mechanism.


Self-alienation or alienation from our true self is the deepest cause of unhappiness. It means we’re out of…

Although we seek love, we may unwittingly damage or derail it. Surprisingly, our fear of not being loved, which includes fear of abandonment, loneliness, and rejection, can lead to eight frequent behaviors that sabotage love and relationships.

When we lack self-love, although we may have relationships, generally they’re unfulfilling or don’t last. We won’t find real love if we don’t believe we’re lovable. How this unconscious belief affects us is explained in “The Startling Reason We Sabotage Love.”

This article focuses on common behaviors that sabotage love. For example, we’ll find fault with intimate partners who love us or we’ll…

Ask yourself whether your relationship adds to your life. Does it nourish and support you, or do you feel drained and resentful?

Self-esteem and self-worth allow us to receive without feeling guilty. In fact, it’s healthy to want our relationship needs to be met by our partner. That doesn’t mean we expect him or her to make us happy, but we expect cooperation, safety, reciprocity, and honesty and to be treated with kindness, respect, and fairness.

Without self-worth, you might sabotage your intimate relationships in all sorts of ways from provoking conflict to losing interest or distancing behavior.

By Toa Heftiba

Empaths are more than empathetic. Like an HSP–highly sensitive person–they’re highly attuned to stimuli and other people’s emotions and energy, usually to a degree considered transpersonal or paranormal. A codependent is also tuned into other people’s Let’s first consider some definitions. An HSP has a rich inner life and deep central nervous system sensitivity to physical, emotional, or social stimuli. So an HSP may also be an empath, but encompasses more attributes.

Empaths and Codependency

Some people justify or glorify their codependency on the fact that they’re empathetic; however, codependency is something very specific. A codependent is someone whose feelings, thoughts, and actions…

The overall goal of codependency recovery is to become a full-functioning individual. That entails knowing, valuing, and trusting yourself, and expressing yourself in your life and relationships. It involves a complete makeover that impacts what you believe and how you think, feel, and act. (See Stages of Codependency and Recovery.)

Codependency untreated follows the same chronic, systemic decline as does alcoholism and a disease — why some consider it to be a disease. Below is an outline of the progression of codependency symptoms and signs of recovery.

Early Stage of Codependency and Recovery

The early stage of codependency begins with becoming attached to another person and…

Codependents confuse love with drama, with intensity, with lust, with being needed, with yearning that usually leads to the pain or loss or staying in a relationship where our emotional needs are not met.

Because of childhood family dynamics, we develop mistaken ideas about ourselves, about love, and about relationships. The fact is that love needn’t hurt. We feel enough and feel safe. Love is steady, consistent, and reliable. We don’t have to earn it and keep seeking our partner’s approval.

But this requires self-love, autonomy, and assertiveness. We must be able to receive and feel worthy of it. We…

Darlene Lancer

Therapist-Author of “Codependency for Dummies,” relationship expert. Get a FREE 14 Tips on Letting Go Join me on FB

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