H.G. Tudor’s theory of narcissism and codependency (trauma bonds).


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.


38 thoughts on “H.G. Tudor’s theory of narcissism and codependency (trauma bonds).

  1. Yes, very interesting indeed. Many say that covert NPD is partial NPD too, or half NPD. Could be that covert NPD is simply pathological codependency in which the covert/codependent needs the narcissist to actualize.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Covert narcissists are usually codependent to grandiose narcissists. They can do just as much damage though, and they can be more dangerous because they don’t act as grandiose and entitled. In fact they can act like victims. You never suspect they are narcs until you get burned by one.

      Some experts think BPD is the same thing as covert narcissism. I’m not sure, but I do think that under every narcissist is a borderline. When the mask begins to fall, emotional regulation becomes more of a problem. When I was younger I may well have been a low level covert narcissist but it never became ingrained enough to become a permanent fixture (thank God).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Lucky Otter's Haven and commented:

    HG Tudor has a really good blog. Don’t let the appearance on the main page intimidate you. I’ve been following this blog for a while and it’s been immensely helpful to me, as it has been to many others. Please give his blog a chance. You will learn so much about the mind of the narcissist, straight from the horse’s mouth. Sometimes it’s helpful to have that perspective too. Here’s a very interesting theory he has about why codependent types and narcissists are so drawn to each other.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There’s another PD that’s often neglected in modern literature and online blogs, which is Passive-Aggressive/Negativistic Personality Disorder. These people usually come from chaotic childhoods, valuations/devaluations I guess you could say. Anyway, I was reading a while back that some experts consider that PD to be the elusive vulnerable narcissism subtype, and if you read about what Negativistic PD is all about, they’re almost identical. Problem is, Negativistic PD also has significant overlap with Borderline PD, probably more so than any other PD that’s been in the DSM. So it’s possible that covert NPD is in fact PAPD, which may also be a subtype of BPD. Talk about confusing, eh?

    Personally, I’m not so sure that covert narcissists are a type of NPD. Narcissism is supposed to be love for oneself, even if only on a conscious but not subconscious level. If someone hates themselves, ie they hate looking at their reflection in a body of water, why are they a narcissist? And if they have far more in common with Borderlines or Passive Aggressives, Occams Razor would say that the ones they have more in common with, they’re more like.

    What are your thoughts?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Covert NPD isn’t recognized by the DSM an most experts; it’s come about mainly on the narc-abuse blogs. Some people think it’s the same as BPD, others think it’s more akin to Avoidant PD or even a form of autism/Aspergers. It’s actually hard to tell a Covert NPD and a borderline apart sometimes. But they’re dangerous, just like the overt ones.

      They are narcissists not because they love themselves (they don’t!), but because they love the False Self they have constructed to take the place of the real self which remains hidden, sometimes even from the narcissist themself. They require supply to feed that false self; without it, they enter a phase called a narcissistic crisis, and can become depressed and sometimes even lapse into psychosis. Without the false self (which must be kept alive through exploiting others and feeding off the emotiosn of others), the false self has nothing to feed it, and the mask will drop. At this point the N feels like they don’t exist and this is devastating for them. But it’s only then that there is a small chance that they become desperate enough to realize they have a problem and need to get help.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Makes sense about the false self. I’m curious what the overlap is between covert narcissism and Aspergers, as others see it? I’ve known a couple with HFA and although they were narcissistic, I’m not sure I would describe them as NPD. Any ideas?


  4. Great posting LO!! According to this I am not a codependant…I dont need to keep a beast at bay…
    And all the best with your therapy. I sense you are doing great. Keep sharing please…
    Love your blog💝🌷🌷🌷🌷

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, I think it’s important for victims to read the thoughts from the other side sometimes, because it helps us understand them better, and with understanding comes empowerment and a lessening of fear. He is doing a wonderful service, even if he’s only doing it to get fuel.


  5. Great, thanks to this blog I am addicted to another narcissists (JK..bad humor). I do LOVE his sight and have spent my entire evening rummaging through his blogs. So intriguing to see it from the other side. I am finally feeling like myself again (thus the bad humor) and I don’t feel pathetic, sorry for myself, or depressed. Honestly, more intrigued and borderline obsessed with understanding “the other side”. Posted on your other blog but I am glad your daughter and you had a great night together!


    1. I’m glad you like my blog and post, but your first sentence made me scratch my head. (I saw you said it was a joke though) )
      I’m glad you’ve been feeling more like yourself again and less self pitying. It does sound like you’re moving along in your healing!


  6. Thank you for this brilliant article! Fascinating ideas, eloquently expressed. You are immensely intelligent & insightful! I relate to all that you wrote (as my father has NPD). The idea of you (or anyone else) trying to help people with NPD worries me though. I fear that they cannot be helped & would only harm you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think some (non malignant narcissists) can be helped, but ONLY if they want to be. They must be willing, have patience, and not give up when things get tough (because they will). I know two low spectrum diagnosed NPDs (both are online friends) who are in therapy and desperately want to change. They aren’t as uncommon as one thinks. As far as malignant narcissists? Nope, they probably can’t change because they are both unaware and unwilling (if they are aware). As far as the article, well, this is HG Tudor’s theories, not mine (but thank you anyway!)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t agree with HGs theory at all.
    Firstly, we all know that Narcs are compulsive liars-anything they write, say or do, has to be taken on the level of a 5 year old child with a high imagination.
    Secondly-if we look at most of the traits of a co-dependent- What we are reading is a NARC ! To me, the Narc IS, and always will be the Co-dependent. They will always latch on to someone, anyone, who has something they know they don’t have. The other person, through lack of self esteem, just does not see it.

    An unhealthy dependence on relationships. The co-dependent will do anything to hold on to a relationship; to avoid the feeling of abandonment
    An extreme need for approval and recognition
    A compelling need to control others
    Lack of trust in self and/or others
    Fear of being abandoned or alone
    Difficulty identifying feelings
    Rigidity/difficulty adjusting to change
    Problems with intimacy/boundaries
    Chronic anger
    Poor communications
    Difficulty making decisions
    Ref (http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/co-dependency)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. HG Tudor’s blog is still a mask, exaggerated, and revealing a deeply disturbed way of thinking. Don’t get sucked in by his style and manipulation through language and hot-cold treatment of commentators. When you comment for the first time he will be very welcomed. Later, it’s one day ignoring posts, one day answering immediately (God knows where he gets the time to do all this). Think about which information you provide before booking a consultation when you pay via paypal, and giving your email addy. Don’t email. He will always try to instill fear and awe, making himself more important and superior from the first contact. His imaginary rules do not keep you safe from being manipulated or being sucked into his circle of influence. Yes, he writes interesting stuff, but still with lots of fiction, grandiosity, obviously enjoying evoking fear, and from a disturbed perspective. It is strangely addicting. Keep in mind that he has no intention of changing, commentators are just making it easier for him to use weak spots of his victims against them. He is not in therapy because he sees a reason to change. I really can’t recommend interacting with him, you won’t be the first who thinks she has found a way to make him see nor the last. There is no rapport, don’t write mails.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll be honest. I grew bored with his blog. It’s interesting at first, but he seems robotic and all his posts begin to sound the same after awhile. He shows no interest in changing and so I grew bored.


      1. That’s true! It’s a lot of repetition. And it’s obvious that there is a lot missing in regard to the truth. On the other hand, the language is designed to draw one in, it’s creating pictures and emotions. I was concerned because some commentators seem to believe that talk about therapies can help, and that he was changing, and seem to believe every word. It is absolutely clear that he writes out of his perspective of (wishing) that he is superior, and some seem to accept that. I was also concerned because some commentators imply more contact after “consultations” or wishes for more contact than there is via the blog alone.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I agree with you Emma and Luckyotter.
    HGs blog do get very boring, and I have only read a few for research purposes.
    I insert ‘triggers of truth’ for him- either he uses the usual Narc defense mechanisms-lie, deny, deflect, defend and degrade, or he does not post my comments-which to me is fantastic- as I know that I have hit the nail on the head. He knows these comments to be the truth, so he wont post them.
    One example is that I questioned how many people actually write his blog, as the style, grammar and format change, as do the written responses. I have questioned the reason he has never posted a photo of himself, as he is most likely an old aged frumpy man, that by doing so, would dissolve the imaginary image he has of himself, as well as those that read his fantasy posts.
    I also responded to a persons post, regarding a Narc that had gambled on a business deal, and was in the process of loosing all his money- “…you have touched on an aspect here, that I am not sure has been addressed-Why Narcs fall for The Predator-the average Jane or Joe who has learnt techniques such as manipulation and deceit. The Predator who knows how to feed the Narcs Fantasy Self, and end then ends up taking their money, homes, businesses etc- all that the Narc defined as being of value to them…”
    Once again, this was never posted by him.

    I also note what blogs he posts afterwards. For example, I mentioned his mother to be a major trigger for him, as she is a Primary (negative) Controller. He denied this. I noted afterwards, in his efforts to reform the Fantasy Self, he churned up an old post about control.
    I stated a fact that he had mentioned he had sulked for 3 weeks, when a woman he liked, left him. Again, he denied this, saying ‘..sulking is not the same as silent treatment…” another denial, as it would mean he is a ‘mid-range to lower Narc’.

    Most of what we read about Narcs, is based on their Fantasy Self-the Self they choose to show to psychologists, and to the world. HG is a classic example of this. We are not reading The Truth here, but rather his Fantasy truth. This was another comment he would not post, because it acts as both a trigger, and it is based on reality-the truth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting observations about HG here. I enjoyed his blog for awhile but it didn’t take too long for me to realize that the whole thing is for supply and publicity. His stories, while interesting, ring untrue, and seem like fictionalized accounts. They also are all the same. He shows no interest in changing and the few times he writes about his therapy, he brags about playing with his therapists. I got tired of all the empaths believing he was interested in changing because his manner and repetitive style told me otherwise. I think his blog has helped many, and he’s a good writer (I think it’s him writing all of it but am not sure) but I just couldn’t muster much interest in it anymore. I don’t want to read someone’s fantasy truths, unless they are writing fiction, and SAY it’s fiction. I don’t need more “fake news.” We have enough of that in the world already. 😉


    1. Hi Carol M- NO that is what the Psycho-Narcs want you to believe- HGs post should be renamed “A Narcs fantasy world of (false) beliefs”- this is what they tell you, and themselves. The continual need to reinforce this fantasy belief to themselves and others, takes the form of a blog via HG. It is all just an illusion- a magic trick of smoke and mirrors, the ramblings of conscious insanity. When the chips are down- the Psycho-Narc does NOT believe it themselves.
      My intention is to start my own blog next year to educate people, give them other perspectives, and use HG as an example. HG seems good at explaining the techniques used by the Psycho-Narc, but is unable/unwilling to explain the deeper reasoning-what actually drives their compulsion to repeat behavior that is detrimental to themselves and those around them.
      They are fully aware of their actions-which makes them accountable, the conscious insanity allows them to part-take in society, but also creates the never-ending cycle of repeating behavior patterns that are destructive to themselves and others. How I explain it to my clients- The Psycho-Narc is able to dress himself and drive a car to a party, but knows that he-she is unable to be one of those guests that interact with and are liked by the other guests. This in turn leads the Psycho-Narc to create a fantasy self where he is the star of the party, however in reality, he is the guest standing in the corner watching the interactions of the normal guests, which in turn fuels the fear, depression, anger and jealousy towards the guests, which he desires to be.
      The continual need for Psycho-narcs to attach themselves to ‘normal’ humans, to create blogs of how brilliant they are (without giving justification thereof) stems from a deep-seated FEAR- Why am I different? Why cant I BE them?! This is why the psycho-Narc becomes abusive and manipulative of others- the knowing that no matter how hard they try, they can never BE you, or obtain and maintain those traits within themselves, as their brain damage-under-developed brains do not allow this.

      If you have been abused, manipulated by a Psycho-Narc- know this-that underneath it all- YOU have something (be that looks, a personality trait etc) that the Psycho-Narc desires and FEARS. YOU are the one with ALL THE POWER, but the Psycho-Narc plays into the hope that you just dont see this within yourself.

      They attach themselves to those who have low self-esteem, those that do not see their own value- or are too young to know themselves yet-like their own children and young people.They do this in an attempt to obtain these traits within themselves.
      Anyone that they feel is better than them, which is most of the world- can be attractive to them. Anyone who has something that the Psycho-Narc sees as lacking in itself. Anyone that they view as having the ability to control or anchor them is attractive.

      The Empath however, is the opposite of the Psycho-narc. And everything they want to be. The Empath is good, kind, liked by many, sensitive to others-the opposite of what the Psycho-Narc is. The Psycho-Narc then attempts to attach itself to the Empath, in the obsessive need to obtain these traits within themselves. When the psycho-Narc realizes that once again, this will not happen- they can never be that- they attempt to destroy those traits within the Empath, or try to find another to fulfill this never-ending desire to be the Empath.

      As the saying goes- the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different response. The Psycho-Narc is a prisoner of their own brain, locked in a world of conscious insanity, delusions and desires that can never be fulfilled-and knowing this about themselves is the part they attempt to hide from themselves and others, in the form of repeating a story to themselves and others, that they know is simply not true at all. HG does NOT believe he is better or brilliant- that the con story he wants to maintain. It is all an act- smoke and mirrors Carol, smoke and mirrors. If he really did believe his fantasy world, he would not be so intent on deleting the many posts that question this-as he has done with me.
      A person who believes they are telling the truth-that they are brilliant and great- is willing to accept others viewpoints and discuss them- instead he prefers to delete my posts, knowing that I know the truth.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. HG has a good blog, but I found myself becoming bored after awhile since all his posts began to sound the same to me after a while, and he seemed disinterested in delving deeper or even wanting to change. He does have much insight into himself, but seems fairly happy with himself the way he is. In spite of his brilliant writing, after awhile, I just found there wasn’t enough depth there for where I wanted to go. But I know his blog has helped many people and his writing is amazing.


  10. Indeed, I had this blog recommended to me by An Upturned Soul because I was in doubt if 1) My ex fiancé was a really a narc or it was all in my head? 2) I was greatly upset with his emotional, finantial and sexual abuse during the relationship and stalking afterwards, should I do something to scare him to back off? and I got answers for both questions through HG Tudor’s examples of how tipically ‘Lesser’ narcs behave. His analysis and terminology seem realistic to me, however, I do realise it is all a scheme to make profitable fuel for him, specially because a lot of people treat him like a ‘life coach’, praising his insights and massaging is (already huge) ego.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Carol M- yes you begin to question your sanity (is it all in my head?) -the Psycho-Narc projects his-her thought patterns and mindset onto the person they see as being better than them, as you have money, brown hair, are kind etc- anything that you have that the Psycho-Narc wished they had, attracts them, and then, when they find they cannot integrate these traits-characterstics into themselves, this is where the FEAR starts-Oh will she leave me? What will I do without her to anchor and control me? Does she see that I am acting out this good behavior? How will I manage without her? The FEAR leads to PARANOIA- Oh I KNOW she will leave me, I cant cope if she leaves me- she will tell others how weak I am without her,, I wont manage without her, I know she will leave me, I just know it (abandonment) Then the fear and paranoia become anger and jealousy towards you.
    “Well then, if I know she is going to leave me, then I will attempt to destroy what attracted me to her- that way, she may stay, she will be on my level, she will understand WHY I need her, why she cant leave me, because she will just like me then.”
    The compulsive need to destroy this within you, leads them to act out their true characteristics. You see the true (conscious) insanity peppered with lies, delusions and fantasy. You question your own sanity in the process, as you live out part of what goes on in the Psycho-Narcs world.
    Stalking- the compulsive need to get the anchor and controller back. ” See, I was right, she left me. Oh God, I cant live without her. She knows that I cannot function without her- Who is going to anchor me to reality? Who is going to control my behavior so that I look okay to others around me? I cant function without her being my ‘parent’, she knows this. Oh God, what if she has replaced me with someone better?! Yes, she is good, kind and strong- she will find someone else. Fear- Oh what if she has already replaced me? Paranoia- I am sure she has replaced me. I have to go and see for sure. She comes home around 6pm, I will wait and see for myself. Wait a minute- I know she has replaced me, but she was alone. I will go back tomorrow then and watch again. I am so angry she has replaced me, I feel like hurting her! It doesnt matter if I havent seen her with anyone else. I was right about her leaving me, I am sure that she has replaced me.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Carol M- does this sound anything like what HG mentions in his posts? Does he ever mention how he continually fears being alone, abandoned or has high levels of paranoia? Hg has no true friends, he lives alone, his family have removed themselves out of their lives. He has a few casual acquaintances at the local pub, and his only means of ‘friendship’ are those on his blog. What crime did he do to be forced by a court into therapy? Who does he owe money to, that forced him to write blogs and books about his conscious insanity? Those are questions that he always avoids answering directly, as he knows if the blog users found out he was for example a sexual deviant or continual stalker- many would not be interested in reading most of his made up fantasy world.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hello,

    I chanced upon HG Tudor’s blog the other day and I was in awe at the clarity and starkness of his writing. Do you truly believe he is for real? I thought he could be an internet troll that caricatures the narcissist’s mind. His words spelled out a surreality. I cannot fathom it being true.


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