When is a relationship worth fighting for and when is the only answer to walk away? Is it possible to work through dysfunctional patterns with a partner and get the outcomes you want?
You know that I always say if there is physical abuse, GET OUT!
But dysfunction exists on a spectrum, and just because someone has a personality disorder or dysfunctional traits doesn’t mean they will always become abusive. In fact, many people in difficult relationships don’t want to leave…they want to figure out how to make it work.
Darlene Lancer, a licensed therapist and narcissism and codependency expert, joined me on the show today to help break down what abuse is, why abusive relationships are so hard to leave and the situations where someone with narcissistic traits can change and become a good partner…and when it’s time to walk.
She explains the five different types of abuse, the surprising and subtle ways it can show up and how our own childhood dynamics and emotional health play a role in how easily we can see and remove ourselves from abusive dynamics.
Darlene also explains why some non-abusive people with narcissistic personality traits can learn how to be supportive partners and communicate in better ways and why it’s necessary for codependents to build self-worth and change the dance with their partners.
Listen to discover:
- Whether or not a narcissist can change
- What trauma bonding is and how it originates
- Why abusive relationships are so hard to leave
- The 5 different kinds of abuse
- Examples of subtle and not-so-subtle abuse
- The dynamics of codependency and narcissism
- Why people fall for dysfunctional partners and how to create healthier patterns in relationships
This episode is not an invitation to try to change anyone. People – and especially narcissists – have to be self-aware and want to change for themselves before any transformation can happen.
This episode is designed to help you understand the relationship between narcissism and codependency and what abuse looks like so you can more easily identify when it’s time to get out vs. when there might be hope of working it out.
“All mental illness exists on a continuum.” – Darlene Lancer
“If you suspect you’re being abused, you probably are.” – Darlene Lancer
“When you’re in a dysfunctional relationship, the person that you’re with will want to isolate you.” – Michelle Chalfant
“[Narcissists] are all about impression management. Because of their inner low self-esteem and shame…they want to make you admire them.” – Darlene Lancer
“An abuser isn’t abusive all the time.” – Darlene Lancer
“If it feels off in some way, it probably is.” – Michelle Chalfant
“Narcissists’ demands are relentless, and you’ll never satisfy them.” – Darlene Lancer
“Projection is a confession.” – Darlene Lancer
“Blaming and shaming is pretty universal with abusers. And the problem is that codependents have shame of their own.” – Darlene Lancer
“Some idealization is normal, but when it clouds the negative behavior and it overtakes your reason, then that’s a sign of some problem within us.” – Darlene Lancer
“A narcissist…doesn’t see people as separate from them where a codependent doesn’t see themselves as separate from others.” – Darlene Lancer
“Codependents, they want to get along, so they’ll compromise. And you keep compromising away until you disappear.” – Darlene Lancer
LINKS & RESOURCES
Darlene Lancer Website
“Dating, Loving, and Leaving a Narcissist” (Darlene Lancer Book)
Episode #257: Unlearning Codependency with Darlene Lancer
National Domestic Violence Hotline
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