UPDATE: See the comments. The explanation of co-dependence in the first one seems reasonable to me, at least immediately. That seems to make sense as more of a defense mechanism than self masochism.
The victims of narcissists are relentlessly re-victimized by a rationale for blaming the victim called co-dependence.
I am still waiting for some evidence or explanation to persuade me that there is such a thing, so I’m still open to the idea. But, sorry, I haven’t heard a single reason to think that there even is such a thing as co-dependence. So, I am very skeptical.
I’ll share my reasons for that skepticism, not so much to persuade you as to give you reason for pause, some food for thought.
I trust science, including medical science. But not blindly. I know science and have seen enough bad science to have no illusions about the integrity of scientists and doctors. I know that they are just people, as capable of dishonesty as any other people, that they herd, gaining up in groupthink. They mocked Louis Pasteur. They predicted the end of the world by now due to population explosion. They ignored the evidence in favor of a low carbohydrate diet for decades, till it suddenly became the politically correct rage. And now they are pulling the same stunt with their faux science on global warming.
But the rest of science and medical science is squeaky clean compared to psychology. I have always been amazed at what passes for “science” in psychology. Psychology experiments are notorious for not following scientific method, even to the point of not controlling the variables. True, other doctors sometimes differ in their diagnoses, and we can identify fashion trends in diagnosis. But other doctors are near perfect in the reproducibility of their results compared to psychiatrists. Psychiatrists are notorious for diagnosing the same person differently. They are notorious for covering all bases by “throwing the book” at a patient with a diagnosis of several disorders. And they are notorious for following fashion trends in diagnosis.
Moreover, for obvious reasons, the profession attracts more than its share of narcissists and others manifestly odd and eccentric. In one of the universities I attended, the whole psych department was flaky except for one – yes but one – professor.
Sorry, I know it’s taboo to know this truth, but I do. Every profession attracts more than its share of something that doesn’t belong there. For example, the priesthood and the teaching profession attract more than their share of pedophiles. Police work attracts more than its share of bullies. And so on. So, let’s face it: psychology attracts more than it’s share of fruitcakes.
What does this mean? Does it mean that we should doubt everything the established medical authorities say? No. It just means that they aren’t infallible and that, if what they say doesn’t square with logic and observation, you should have a healthy skepticism.
Just because there is such a thing as the martyr complex doesn’t mean that it applies to a relationship with a narcissist. A person with a martyr complex isn’t really abused and doesn’t seek real abuse. He or she likes to imagine themselves abused and portray themselves as abused.
There’s a big difference between that and seeking real abuse!
In my own little slice of the world, this is what I have observed and learned from other victims: there is such a thing as the cycle of abuse. It does cause the victim to behave in ways that seem strange to outside observers – as if they are “asking for it.”
People’s bad habit of always tending to blame the victim makes everyone jump to the conclusion that this is so = that they are "asking for it." But in the cases I know of, it never was.
In fact, the victims of narcissists behave exactly the same way the victims of all torture and brainwashing do, exactly the way all hostages do. So, strange as it seems, this behavior is the reaction of NORMAL people to abuse.
All the tortured cling to the torturer for dear life. All hostages exhibit the Stockholm syndrome. This has been known since at least the Dark Ages. Professional torturers (executioners) and the Inquisition understood this phenomenon and deliberately exploited it to make their victims betray themselves to abuse.
Why do normal people do this under duress? It’s because you’re taking right-side-up people and putting them in a pervert’s upside-down world. You’re taking people acting on normal human premises and having those reactions play right into pervert’s perverted premises.
The abuser always makes the victim totally dependant on him before he starts abusing. So, what is the victim going to do? She has no choice but to try to soften a stone-cold heart. This is nothing but appeasement. The helpless have no other option.
We see this happening on a massive scale today in the bizarre efforts to appease the abuses of Islamofascist mobs and terrorists the world over. “Don’t make them mad! Don’t think badly of them for what they do. Apologize for making them abuse us by making them mad at us. Blame ourselves for everything they do to us. Bend over for it with a smile. Suck up. Then maybe they will soften and like us and stop abusing us.”
Pass me the puke bucket, please.
The West has no excuse for such cowardly appeasement, because the West isn’t helpless. The western nations are just too unwilling to stop squabbling among themselves, get real, and unite against a common enemy (a problem the West has had since the Fall of the Roman Empire).
But the victims of narcissist often ARE helpless.
And even when they aren’t, when they can and do try to fight back, some holier-than-thou comes along and says it’s a sin. Then the whole world gangs up and jumps on the victim’s back saying, “Yes, stop it. Stop fighting because that’s a sin.”
Who has a strong enough backbone to stand up to that? This merciless suppression of any effort at self-defense breaks the victim’s back. Then these same holier-than-thous turn around and say, “See? She just takes it. So, she likes it. She’s asking for it.”
Perhaps THEY are the ones who need their heads examined, not the victim they thus play Catch-22 with.
I see no self-masochism in this victim, do you? I just see a normal human being in Catch-22.
What is Catch-22? It’s the English translation of the Italian phrase for the 22nd "malbowge" ("evil pouch/pocket") of Nether Hell in Dante's Inferno. That's the lowest pit of hell, the place where the treacherous, the traitors, get to experience their sin on the receiving end. It’s where Dante put Judas priests, the likes of people who invite a family to dinner and then lock them in a tower to starve to death, as well as Julius Caesar’s “friend” Brutus and Judas Iscariot.
As I’ve said in other posts, the victim WILL feel shame for bending over for it, to the extent that he or she failed to resist as much as possible. And, as I’ve said, this is why the victim must never be condemned for fighting back.
But, come on, knuckling under to abuse isn’t the same thing as liking it and wanting it. Normal people may knuckle under. But only sick-in-the-head people could like it and ask for it. So, my hunch is that cases of co-dependence in narcissism are either rare or never occur.
People ASSUME that the victim wants abuse in their IGNORANCE of the real and understandable reasons why the victim doesn’t fight back or run away.