Does Codependency Therapy Help or Hurt?
It seems to me that the adult children of narcissists who learn of NPD and then go through the natural process of dealing with this stunning revelation fare better than those who get involved in codependency therapy.
You are at first enormously relieved, because your instincts were right and the brainwashing was wrong: it wasn't your fault, and you weren't the defective one. But then come the memories and the pain and all the emotions they generate. You go through them. You gain much understanding.
Yes, you do learn who loves ya and that you must look out for yourself first in life. But you just lost your naivete, that's all. You (correctly) view your abuse as the narcissist exploiting your love and goodwill, which are virtues - not as him or her exploiting what the preachers of codependency regard as a FLAW in you - your vulnerability. (Which is exactly the view the narcissist takes. Hmm.)
If that parent is still alive and plaguing your life, you stop enabling by making changes to distance yourself as much as possible.
Then, six months, a year, or two later, you're beyond it. Because those emotions are spent, and you have put that parent too far away from you to hurt you anymore.
The people who handle it naturally like this have no problem talking about it, either. They will give you frank, straight answers about that parent.
But just listen and compare their voices to the adult children of narcissists in support groups that preach codependency therapy. The latter still seem enslaved to the idea that there is something wrong with them, that they need much improvement and have been struggling at it, some for many years.
They go against nature on everything, as though what a person is naturally inclined to do is always dangerous or something.
So, for example, instead of feeling their feelings, they repress them. Because in that religion, being made to feel bad or angry is a sin: you're supposed to have one emotion = happy, happy, happy. No matter what is done to you - happy, like good people are. (Which is again the view the narcissist takes.)
Years later they are still fighting to conquer those repressed feelings, which they consider a character flaw in themselves. Any little thing that happens calls those painful feelings to consciousness, so that they must be stifled and repressed again.
Again, for example, instead of contemplating their memories in the light of what they now know, and having a good cry, they eschew thinking or talking about it. They think it's a sin to think or talk about what happened to them, so they repress memory too, because just talking about the childhood abuse or that parent is "failing to take responsibility" for your life in that religion.
You must take responsibility for the hurt done to you. Narcissistic abuse hurt you only because you are weak and let it hurt you. You must pump up your self-esteem (which is telling the victim to do exactly what a narcissist does) and just "blow off" abuse and all other unhappy things so that you stop being guilty of ever feeling any negative emotion about anything.
In other words, you must act like it didn't happen. Which is exactly what the narcissist tries to make you do.
Consequently, the adult children of narcissists under codepency therapy act like war veterans who come home and never talk about the harrowing experience. But, unlike war veterans, they won't even talk about it with other war veterans.
And these people constantly have to puff up their self-esteem because every little thing still deflates it. Which is no wonder, because they believe they are flawed for having their feelings.
How is this "casting off victimhood"? It looks to me more like re-vicimization. Is this codependecy therapy not picking up right where the narcissistic parent left off?
Add it up. It sounds like therapists took this therapy for the VICTIM right from mouths of the NARCISSISTS on their couch! For, this is exactly the line the narcissist hands a therapist about his or her victims...to blame them.
And notice the wholly negative nature of this "positive" therapy: Rule 1: Don't feel what you feel. Rule 2: Don't remember your past. Bossy, bossy, bossy.
Where is the proof that this therapy is effective? Nowhere. Why? If it really works, why don't the practitioners show us the proof? They offer nothing but the kind of unreliable testimonials you can find posted on a website that sells tablecloths or some other merchandise.
Since codependency therapy is so involved with 12-step programs, here is a well-kept secret about 12-step programs: A scientific review of comparative studies of various 12-step programs show that they are no more effective than any other kind of treatment for alcoholism.
But here's the kicker: no studies have been done to establish whether most of these other treatments are effective at all. That's indefensible. Why are there no such studies? Are the AA and APA afraid of what the results would be?
The existing SCIENTIFIC research allows us to say nothing more than Dr. Edward V. Nunes, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia notes - that certain elements of A.A. are known to be effective:
Some of the wisdom embodied in A.A., such as the notion of persons, places and things that trigger drinking, are very much a part of cognitive-behavioral therapy, which is a scientifically driven, empirically validated treatment.
Therefore, the other treatment methods and the rest of the 12-step program may be ineffective for all we know. We do know that at least 1 in 5 alcoholics achieves long-term sobriety on their own, with no treatment at all. Do any of these treatments beat that benchmark?
The NYT tries to downplay the facts by suggesting credibility in the whining that this reveiw refused to accept the pseudoscience usually put forth as "proof" of the 12-step program's validity. In other words, they whine that no junk science "data" was allowed in this scientific review. Specifically, they complained that this scientific reveiew cited only randomized, carefully controlled studies = real science.
Get it? Very funny. Can't the NYT tell a joke when they quote it?
The people who let that stinker have NO CREDIBILITY whatsoever, and the NYT shouldn't lend them the semblance of any. You do nothing but misinform by "balancing" the known truth with a known lie. The NYT is irresponsible for even quoting that crap. The defenders of the 12-step program should have been warned that if they couldn't come up with something credible and legitimate to say, they wouldn't be quoted at all.
Otherwise, from now on the NYT must quote a flat-earther every time to "balance" any source quoted as implying that the earth is a sphere.
And I'm not being facetious. I'd be surprised if there were no legitimate criticism one could make of this scientific review. So, its opponents don't have to try to legitimize the illegitimate...unless that's exactly what their goal is.
They're just trying to discredit real science and pass off their pseudoscience as superior - with nothing but fast-talk to people who don't know enough about science to see how absurd they're being.
narcissistic personality disorder narcissism