For this discussion, we are going to stick with our understanding of codependency as a system of distortions that exists on a continuum. Codependents learn personality traits that interfere with knowing one’s self and others. The people-pleasing aspect of codependency might drive the ignoring of who we are trying to please. The focus of wanting approval may keep us from acknowledging abusive behaviors coming from the very person whose approval we seek. The need for harmony might prevent us from realizing we are enabling abusive behavior. Or any combination of the above. We don’t have the tools to deal with abusive behavior, so this also drives us to avoid bringing it to consciousness. And we probably have a history of being abused or exploited, so it feels familiar.

What do we have now? A green light for perpetrators. When we have a society of codependents, they become a magnet for the narcissists of the world.

Now let’s look at a working definition for Narcissist. Three significant distinctions of the narcissist are grandiosity, seeking excessive attention, and lack of empathy. A book I recommend often, Why is it Always about You: The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism by Sandy Hotchkiss, can shed some light on the challenges of the narcissist. I think, for our discussion, it would be interesting to look at these sins:

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Author's Bio: 

© 2019 Dr. Anne Brown, Author, and Narrator of "Backbone Power The Science of Saying No" book & audiobook available in Amazon and Backbone Power website:

Dr. Anne Brown Ph.D., RN CS, is a psychotherapist, author, speaker, coach living in Sausalito, California. She is an experienced broadcaster and contributor to the media. She received her BS in Nursing from the University of Virginia, her MS in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing from Boston University, and her PhD in Addiction Studies from International University. Dr. Brown has held numerous key positions, including Alcohol Clinical Specialist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, MA, and Program Director of the Outpatient Drug and Alcohol Program at Greater Cape Ann Human Services in Gloucester, MA. She moved to Aspen, Colorado in 1987, and developed a private practice providing therapy for families, individuals, and couples. In the fall of 2013, Dr. Brown moved to Sausalito, California where she now resides.