The Codependency Dance: How The Narcissist Traps The Codependent In A Toxic Tango

The Codependency Dance

She fell in love with an image all those years ago, but that image that he presented to her was not a real person. During a breakup, and throughout her relationship with him, she mourns the loss of this image. She confuses the image with the abusive person.

The breakup will be a vicious battle between the functioning, healthy, and newfound realizations of her personality and the manipulation and tyranny of the narcissist.

Related: Traumatic Bonding: How A Narcissistic Relationship Is Similar To Stockholm Syndrome

When a breakup finally happens, the narcissist will never provide closure and draws out the breakup as much as possible. Stalking is not uncommon and could continue for many years down the road. Most narcissists like to keep tabs on their former partners.

Codependent individuals desire balance and harmony, but they typically fall for people based on initial attraction, and unfortunately, this initial attraction is most prominent with narcissists because of their charm and boldness.

If she finds herself without a partner to dance with, she doesn’t wait for somebody who is healthy, but she jumps into another dance, usually with the same type of person. Loneliness is too much for her to bear.

She will continue dating the same type of person over and over again, and endure the same kind of abuse until she realizes that she is a broken person and that she needs to fix herself. Until she learns that she is the root of all of her own problems, that she is the one who chooses abusive partners because of her own brokenness, and until she heals herself, she will keep on dancing the same dysfunctional dance.

The cycle continues until it is broken (and it usually continues for decades, through generations of family members).

His Crap and My Choice

This codependent woman was me. As I said before, I grew up in an extremely abusive home, and the adults in my family did a fantastic job at raising me to be an excellent codependent woman. They taught me the turns, the dips, and the footwork so that when I became a young adult and ventured into the dating world, I would know how to dance with narcissists.

I would be lying if I said that I never enjoyed the thrill of each one of them in the beginning. Each one was a ‘love-bombing’ prince and I was a lonely princess.

Not all of the men that I have dated have been narcissistic. I have dated a number of young men who have been absolutely pleasant, wonderful, and kind. They were people who I took for granted because of my own brokenness. I didn’t know how to love with proper boundaries and I still feel guilty for the pain that I had caused. For that, I am sorry.

Related: How to Leave A Narcissist or Abuser

As for the three who were narcissistic, I don’t feel guilt except for the damage I did to myself. I can’t feel guilty for men who had knowingly abused me and “debated with me” about the justifications for their actions.

I have been manipulated, I have been brainwashed, I have been made to feel like the scum of the earth, I have been the punching bag for their failings, I have been hit, I have been sexually assaulted, I have been verbally abused, and I have been mentally abused.

Sometimes, people are dealt crappy cards. Crappy things happen to awesome people. No one can control everything that happens to them, but, each of us has control over HOW WE REACT to the crap that is thrown at our feet. We can either choose to step in it, or we can choose to walk away.

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Erika is an SF Bay Area artist and a Certified Master Life Coach. Her art store dances with whimsical watercolors. ( Her blog highlights her dark artwork and takes readers on a personal journey through abuse and recovery. ( Erika's artwork has been featured on book covers, KRON 4 News, HGTV, and 20/20. Her passions are art and writing. Her purpose is to help people find their truth and happiness.View Author posts