I have not yet read any of HG Tudor’s many books about narcissism and narcissistic abuse, but I do follow his blog, Knowing The Narcissist.
HG has NPD and writes about narcissism from the “dark side,” much like Sam Vaknin does, but his writing style is more personal, story-like, and entirely different from Sam’s. Some of his posts are extremely triggering, but others belie an unexpected vulnerable side (HG is in therapy for his NPD). Many people have been helped by his blog and his books. I plan to order some of his books very soon. He’s also an excellent writer.
Someone on a psychology forum wrote about HG Tudor’s book, “Chained: The Narcissist’s Codependent.”
HG Tudor […] poses a theory that the codependent who is bound to a narcissist is actually a person who was set up in childhood to be a narcissist him/herself, but was arrested in development at some point along the way, and unable to develop the necessary skills to “blossom” into full blown narcissism. This is why, he theorizes, the codependent needs the narcissist, because their inner beasts are the same, and the codependent actually needs the narcissist in order to keep their beast at bay in the same way the narcissist does with his/her own mask, which the codependent is unable to do on his own.
This is a fascinating theory, and I think it has validity too. This type of a trauma bond would explain why empaths are so drawn to narcissists, and vice versa. It would also explain some of the mysteries I see in myself that seemed to have no explanation. I do believe my N parents trained me to be a narcissist like them, but I “failed.” I remember as a very young child, my mother tried very hard to turn me into her mini-me. When I got a little older, I balked and became rebellious instead. I knew the things they told me about how perfect I was (at that point I was still their Golden Child) were complete bullshit. At about age 12, I would get into these terrible fights with my mother and it’s uncanny how I could see her shell personality and the nothingness underneath it. I used to scream at her about how empty and shallow she was, and accused her of not being capable of loving anyone. At age 12! And I’d never even heard of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Yet I knew. It didn’t take too long to be banished into the Scapegoat role and dismissed as a terrible disappointment and failure to my narcissistic parents.
How did I know what my mother was actually doing at such a young age? I knew because instead of becoming the narcissist my parents were trying to turn me into, I became an empath instead. Maybe I was born an empath, I really don’t know. In therapy, I’m beginning to remember more and more incidents when I was very young where I was able to “read people.” I remember picking up the emotions of everyone surrounding me, and like a sponge, absorbed their emotions as my own. But because this gift (which is a curse until you’re mature enough to know how to use it) made me too vulnerable, I developed a thin outer shell of toughness, rebelliousness, and invulnerability, and developed BPD. I still couldn’t regulate my feelings very well, but instead of being soft and sensitive and tearful, as I was as a young child, I masked my grief and sadness with anger and rage–and mind-altering substances and alcohol to dull the pain. I stopped being able to cry easily, or feel much empathy for anyone. I developed some N traits, but not enough to qualify as a bona fide narcissist, unless I’m actually a covert narcissist (which my therapist insists I am not).
I kept repeating the familial pattern of becoming deeply involved with narcissistic people, even marrying one, and becoming codependent to them, repeating my childhood trauma bond again and again, in a misguided effort to “make things right” and symbolically get my N parents to love me for who I was. Of course, this proved to be futile and led to a dysfunctional, unhappy life, which I’m now finally beginning to unravel in therapy.
What’s happening now is I’ve developed a healthier kind of empathy toward people with NPD–which does not involve enabling or condoning narc behaviors, unlike codependency–and now I even have a desire to work with them (at least those who are ego-dystonic and want to change). I think my wanting to help heal people with this disorder is a lot better than being codependent to them, because I’m fully aware now instead of scrabbling around blindly in the dark and therefore can protect myself. I think, besides having an unconscious need to “heal my parents,” my empathy for them stems from almost having become one myself (I just reposted an older article about how I “test drove narcissism” during my early 20’s–it’s above this post).
I’m bringing this up in my session this week. I think it’s important.