Pitfalls of Keeping the Peace…
Playing the Peacekeeper becomes a core focus for those in relationships with a narcissist. We’re no quitters, but neither are they. Some argue that codependents share the responsibility for the unhealthy behavior, because their main focus of ‘keeping the peace’ is dependent upon countering the unhealthy family member’s behavior, like a teeter tauter.
They relate it to the alcoholic person and their enabling spouse, partner or parent who functions as a codependent.
We’re responsible because we try and they don’t?
I get that point of view, but by definition, ‘responsibility’ has to do with undertaking a task or duty to deal with something or having control over someone, or the outcome of a situation. If I’d had control of all that, I wouldn’t have become codependent!
To me, tagging the codependent as “responsible” implies that we’re supposed to KNOW what in the hell to do. Instead, we’re like the little Dutch Boy plugging holes in the dyke to keep the dam from bursting, and drowning our family in the valley below.
Yet, and this is BIG…
Once I came to understand the steps and turns in the Narcissist-Codependent Doo Op, the only way for me to stop, was to take responsibility and take control of myself. That meant opting out. Walking off the damned dance floor. I couldn’t do that and remain in the relationship. He wouldn’t have allowed it.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/experts/linda-esposito-lcsw article contained an interesting POV. The author said: “Borrowing a phrase from my clinical mentor, Reevah Simon, “Whenever there is ongoing conflict, there is underlying agreement.” In other words, it takes two to tango, and the dependent or subservient partner may not be as weak, passive, or innocent as they appear.
Sticking it out deems the codependent responsible for the mess?
I was on the damage control detail, and that makes me controlling? I suppose that means as we get good at keeping the peace, we’re responsible for the conflict? Jazzy Catch 22, right? If we’re not responsible for the mess, we’re at least exhausted from cleaning up mess after mess. I’m getting dizzy here.
WAIT…it isn’t ALL about THEM?
I hear the ring of truth in this, loud enough to wonder that we need to recognize, and focus education on Codependent behaviors, as much as on identifying the narcissist’s patterns. A key components of identifying our codependence…is that our energy is focused on THEM. We live in their shadow.
Since we matter, too…perhaps we need to profile ourselves, be brutally honest about our feelings and behaviors. Use this to evaluate our relationship as much or more than concentrating on what and why the narcissists do what they do.
I’d love to hear thoughts on this topic. As a survivor of over 40 years of marriage to a narcissist, my real healing began when I began to understand what had driven me to stay. How I’d coped. How I could redefine myself and my world without fighting for his approval.
Where in the hell had I been hiding from myself?
Now there’s a discovery worthy of the journey! It’s never too late!!!