More on cptsd and narcissism - assessing oneself


What do you mean by outsourcing rather than melding?
Hi @OliveJewel. If I remember correctly, the doctor said narcissists cope by splitting from an early age, which is responsible for black and white thinking. The parent is unreliable, so I am going to count on me and me only. I am good and the other is bad. I cannot be bad, so if I feel bad, I have to completely outsource those feelings on to the other to preserve my sense of goodness. If any feelings of shame or worthlessness is provoked, I will shame and rage at the other, so that they can hold those feelings instead of me. Of course, I don't see that my own aggressive behavior is bad because I am merely defending myself as the victim of this other's badness. The healthy infant eventually "constellates" and learns that we are all shades of gray and that both I and mommy are human and can be both good and bad.

On the other hand, the codependent takes the approach of melding. I don't quite remember the psycho-dynamics of that process, but I remember him saying that it's like the ingratiating mode of trauma response - fight, flight, play dead, or butter up the perp. I can control the outcome by making the other's needs mine. But when we carry that on to adulthood, it's so maladaptive. If the other rejects or doesn't appreciate what I do, I get enraged because it threatens my sense of well-being. But it's his own damn life and he can do things for himself and I could just be living my own life.
Are you me? 😅 I’m getting better at imagining other possibilities, but this one tends to pop up first. It gives us a false sense of control and return to that familiar victim mode. Now that I think about it, there’s a sense of control in holding onto victim hood.
Yes, I am you (no melding going on here :) ). I get the feeling a lot of us struggle with the sense that you said something to alienate/piss off/upset someone. It's interesting that you interpret it as a manifestation of victim mode. I think for me, I obsessively worry that I might be an agent of wrongdoing or harm, victimizing the other. It fuels my codependency because it keeps me in a state of perpetually feeling guilty, so I'm always trying to make up for something. But I do think you may be onto something when you say it's about control. Van der Kolk talks about how it is much more palatable for a child to think he or she is to blame for everything, rather than to conceive of the unthinkable alternative: that mistreatment came from pure indifference. 'My mom and dad hurt me because I had so much power over them, they had to get me back' is a hell of a lot more palatable than thinking that your parents hurt you for no reason. It is so scary for a child to think that their parents saw her as meaningless as a piece of furniture; she meant nothing to them, so who cares if they harmed her. A child is completely dependent on the parents to survive, so indifference is the greatest threat.


indifference is the greatest threat.
Interesting. I knew my dad never cared but that just felt completely normal. I turned it into a Buddhist-like belief of non-attachment. Except I still raged at my kids and was jealous of my ex and had SI constantly. I can’t put it all together in this moment. But I appreciate what you said.