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.What do you mean by outsourcing rather than melding?
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.
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.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.