Chained

chained1

Are you or somebody you know chained to the narcissist? Are you a co-dependent? What does this mean? How did you become this way? How does the narcissist know what you are? How does the narcissist exploit this condition and how might you escape him? These questions and more are posed and answered in this fascinating book. Delivered direct from the dark-hearted master, the narcissist provides his unique observations on those who are co-dependent and find themselves chained to the narcissist.

US e-book here

UK e-book here

CAN e-book here

AUS e-book here

Also available in paperback

Advertisements

24 Comments

  1. I am trying to fully comprehend the concept of codependency – while I understand how codependency develops in childhood and how the more obvious codependent traits manifest in an individual, a central question remains: Is it possible that one is codependent (= in narcissistic relationships exclusively, by repeatedly feeling ‘magnetically’ drawn to narcissists/people with strong narcissistic tendencies) while being very self-reliant and self-suffient in many if not most other areas of life? I mean ‚independence’ as a central theme, a determinant in one’s life that develops in childhood as a consequence of having to suppress one’s needs and wants and that translates into, e.g. loving to be alone, making decisions of one’s own, being able to sustain oneself over lengthy periods of time without needing other people’s input or company, travelling alone without concern, seeking jobs and professional functions that provide a lot of freedom to develop one’s own ideas and so forth. Does the existence of this overall strong need for independence mean that one is – most certainly – not codependent, even though there is a pattern of repeated intimate and non-intimate involvements with narcissists?

    1. Saskia, I wonder the same thing. How can one be a codependent and fiercely independent in many aspects of their life at the same time? I say they are not mutually exclusive using examples from my own life and of my sister’s lives. My theory (or maybe it’s more of an opinion) is that feeling abandoned, unwanted, unloved, unsupported as a child makes one fiercely independent as a survival mechanism. But at the same time, it creates a deep craving for love, affection, and attention. So although it seems counterintuitive for independence and codependency to go hand in hand, it actually makes sense.

      1. MB, I believe there is much truth to your theory on independence as a survival mechanism – you brought up essential aspects. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

        While working through many materials and also through past relationship patterns, I am starting to question what I perceived as a great strength in myself for a long time – this need for independence and space that translated into the way I shaped my past relationships, both with narcissistic and normal men. There are two sides to this coin, most certainly.
        Yes, I believe that a part of this need for independence is based on a learning experience (not needing anyone else), as you have stated in similar words – independence may be used as a shield for protection in that capacity. If one’s needs and wants are not seen or cared for by parents who may be ‚underparented‘ themselves, a child learns to suppress their needs or learns that it has to take care of his needs on his own. Expressing needs and expecting them to be met is an unknown territory with the danger of being abandoned when presenting oneself as a ‚needy‘ human being.
        While I do believe myself to be firm and stable at the core, thus not easily swayed in what I stand for or what I love in life, there is a craving for attention and for validation that only narcissistic relationships can provide, as written in my other comment to WS below.

        A relationship with a normal man – which I had for a long time, thus I am speaking from experience – doesn’t provide this feeling of ‘electricity’ and intensity. I endangered and eventually left the safety and warmth this relationship provided on a calm, constant basis for the uncertainty and pain of a narcissistic dynamic with the inevitable outcome. Stability equalled boredom. I felt drawn to/addicted to those dynamics that were painful and confusing – where I could – fruitlessly – fight to be seen and heard, where I could exhaust myself in trying to make sense of ‚nonsense‘ (from my perspective) and with the hidden agenda to change an outcome that was inevitable regardless of my efforts. I see this push and pull dynamic (craving attention and becoming addicted to it vs fighting for being seen and heard, thus valued as a unique person with an identity of one’s own and not be defined and engulfed by someone else = striving for independence) in my narcissistic entanglements – both sides of the coin were present.

        Spoken from where I am at present, I agree with you that both stances may not be mutually exclusive. Both serve to satisfy specific needs (love and care vs independence and freedom) that may be contradicting at first glance.

        1. Saskia, you said that so eloquently. You are a wonderful writer. I often struggle with finding the words and phrases to articulate what I’m feeling. It’s like words don’t do the feelings justice and I get frustrated.

          I am the poster child for “stability = boredom”. Being here on the blog has helped me to see how blessed I truly am though.

          “Underparented” is a good way to put the way my sisters and I were raised. Our parents were very young and struggling. My mother had 4 under 5 years old by the age of 22. My father’s contribution was working and she ran the home. They did the best they knew how but I always felt like a burden, not a human. Every one of us married the very first boy that paid us any attention. We were starved for attention and individuality and it felt so good to be seen and to feel cherished. Luckily it was a normal that crossed my path and I’ve been with him for the past 32 years. The others weren’t so fortunate.

          1. MB, thank you. I do have similar problems in condensing my thought processes, ideas and emotions on different topics and put them into appropriate words. Even if it seems different from the outside perspective – because you emphasise my eloquence – I am struggling with similar difficulties and therefore get what you mean. Besides, I would like to let you know from my perspective as a more distant reader that I enjoy reading your comments and your contributions to many different topics on this blog – you have a very witty and humorous way and refreshing presence that I value very much.

            Thank you for sharing bits of your childhood. It must have been a difficult situation for you growing up in a family with several siblings and with parents that were still so young. And it is very sad to read that you felt like a burden to your family. No child should ever feel that way. Your family situation reminded me very much of the atmosphere I experienced as a child – I am the eldest child and was expected to stay strong, not become sick like my siblings etc. – it was not just a silent expectation, it was something my mother told me repeatedly. I felt strong in a certain sense because my mother’s expectations elevated me to what I perceived as a special ‚adult‘ status but I felt like a burden or disappointment whenever I was showing signs of said ‚weakness‘ or when I simply, in my naturally childish ways, let myself loose. I believe this had an impact on how I perceive myself in relationships today – I have difficulties in relying on someone else because I equate this with neediness and weakness. And I have had difficulties to accept the fact that I still have weight and worth in the world when I allow myself to be weak and ‘needy’ like anyone else is at times. Perhaps it is a completely different experience and perspective for you.

            Do you believe that your feeling of being a burden had an impact on how you perceive yourself in your intimate relationship and how you shape your role in that relationship? It piqued my interested that you emphasise that you were starving for attention and individuality so much that you married the first man that paid you attention. I understand if my question is too straightforward and/or touches aspects that are too private to answer here.

    2. Saskia
      Remember codependents are just one type of empath and not even the most common type (standard). Lots of empaths who are not codependent are drawn to and become entangled with narcissists.

      1. Thank you WS. Of course, there are different schools of empath – I don’t even know where I fall on the spectrum and am working through materials and past relationship patterns by way of excluding those aspects and criteria that don’t fit. Everything is under revision at present. There is a stark contrast between leading a very independent life on the one hand and craving attention, love and affection and the highs (aka drama) that only narcissistic relationships provide in that capacity. This inner craving for attention, ‘intensity’ (easily confused with true intimacy) and validation by people who resemble past important figures, caretakers, in my life is well-hidden and clouded by my (seeming) self-sufficiency. This is where I stand at present – having run ‘on autopilot’ for a long time while realising that many things were wrong or felt painful, it is important for me to become more aware of the reasons and characteristic in myself that brought me into narcissistic dynamics without fooling myself or others.

        1. Saskia
          Good luck in your self-discovery! It takes time, but if you keep an open mind and stick with it, you will get there!

  2. HG
    ‘Chained’ is a book that once opened, is impossible to put down.
    Your lengthy study, astute observations, and discussion of the relationship between Narcissists and Co-dependants is engrossing.
    Your experience with your sister is so interesting, and I appreciate the information you gave us about her personal growth.
    It gives the book a satisfying ending.
    She is the readers’ heroine.
    We identify with her, and want her to succeed.

    You, the author, are in equal measure, the antihero and the hero of the piece. Perhaps the antihero with redemptive qualities.

    The experiences you recount from your romantic relationships however remain tragic. Those that are damaged, the vulnerable, and the exploitation of them will always be tragic. The empathetic reader inwardly recoils at such abusive treatment, but also recoils at the lack of protection in a relationship. This lack of protection formed part of the nest for the fledgling Narcissist and Co-dependant, and your detailed explanation helps the reader see this clearly, and brings a recognition of the familiar.

    ‘Chained’ is excellently written, and it would be a pleasure to discuss it with you at length, and have more of your thoughts on the subject.

  3. HG just signing in to say thank you for writing this book, just finished reading it and it confirmed that I have a long way to go and a lot to learn still. But there is something you missed about Rachel . I know cos I am one of her kind and had a brother seven years older than myself. It’s pretty much the same age difference that you and your sister have (six if I’m right).

    Rachel and I were not arrested in our development to become narcs but we were SAVED from becoming narcs because you were there and provided some positive attention and recognition and allowed us to idealise you. As the oldest child you did not have a sibling to look up to and who would take care of you. You may not think it was worth much what you gave to Rachel but it was the world for her. I have absolutely no doubt about it. If you ask her ( perhaps you have already or detailed this somewhere else ) she will have also suffered from your abuse. Niot sure if you are aware that you abused her (my brother did but he wasn‘t aware even though it was verbal and physical).

    In my case even if my brother abused me he provided some positive attention. More than my parents did. This was soul saving. And you do similar things here, by maintaining this blog with undying energy and dedication.

    Ok this is my need to fix that is speaking but seriously, HG, many of us are variants of Rachel here in some way or other. You are repeating something here which is actually part of your true self. It is not simply for narcissistic gain. It can‘t be because narcs that cannot be saved cannot run such a blog in which they are (unconsciously?) out to save one sister after another (even if they may think so to maintain some layer of their construct).

    Sorry if this got a bit long. Ooops…. Sorry for apologizing:)

    1. Less Confused
      I found ‘Chained’ a fascinating book too, so well written and with so many facets to consider.
      Your comments comprise one more facet, and I’ll be considering the implications of that for some time. I have an older brother too, and I adored him.
      It’s good to have you here.
      Feel free to share any of your thoughts with us.

      1. Thank you both Narc Angel and Caroline – I’ve been a silent reader for a while and am happy to be more active now. I’ll try to be more to the point and not be quite as verbose as suits my ‘design’ though. Or would that be blog-pleasing? Had to laugh out loud at the passage in ‘Chained’ where those traits are described! :) Yet the book was a painful read as well.

        What really fascinates me about these books is that some ideas I already knew really sink in with HG’ s way of exploring them – the specialist literature on narcissism I had read before made a lot of sense to me cognitively and does still but his stuff connects heart and brain (at least for me) – which is paramount for true understanding. And it’s truly weird considering that this route from brain to heart is stabilised by a narcissist. I wouldn’t be comfortable with reading his stuff only but he really has earned his place as a narc authority.

        There goes my resolve to be brief…

    2. Less Confused,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on that. I totally felt the same way when I was reading it. HG said that he only did it for fuel. But honestly who cares if he only did it for fuel. I’m sure Rachel wouldn’t care. The fact that he was there for her as her safe sanctuary gave her security and warmth in the midst of the negativity that was going on around her. I totally believe the same way you do, that HG has helped her escape being a narcissist.

      1. Mommypino, I find a feeling of safety and calm in the shelter of the construct. They are strong where I am weak. Each fulfills the needs of the other. It is the perfect pairing until N turns against you and kicks you out into the cold.

      2. MB, you’re so right. It’s a false strength to begin with. It’s devastating to get attached and depend on someone who only sees us as an appliance. I’m not yet familiar with your story as I am new here. I’m also curious about K’s story. I have read somewhere that you also have a loving husband like me. Are you also a dirty empath situation? I can probably consider myself one, even though there was no relationship that happened, the narc could tell that I had the biggest crush on him. He did things that made it hard for me to hide it because of the reactions that he produced or I had to look away and when I look back at him he was smirking like he knew that I looked away to hide my obvious reaction. I’m truly pathetic when it comes to hiding my feelings. Now I know it’s because I’m an empath.

        1. mommypino, yes I’m MB and I’m a DE. The N that got me looking for answers was a former colleague. We worked together briefly. I was smitten, but he was oblivious and I am married. He moved far, far away before he knew about my attraction, so never been physical. I’m still in the only relationship (with a normal) I’ve ever had. I’ve been with him since I was a young girl. I have a thirst for adventure and spend much of my time fantasizing about a life I will most likely never experience. In the words of Paul Simon, “I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why.” N is an outlet for fantasy in real life. That is all. Looking back over my adult life, I’ve realized several other instances where I felt attracted/addicted to what I now know to be narcissists. I have an addiction to certain ones of their kind. Some are repulsive! After finding HG’s work, I now realize the universe has looked out for me. There were years I begged God to make him mine. I now thank God for those unanswered prayers. I only wish others could have been so lucky.

      3. OMG MB!! We are very similar! I can totally relate! My husband is also the only guy in my life, the only guy that I’ve ever kissed and so on. Although I started dating him when I was already 27, my matrinarc was extremely strict and possessive of me and never allowed me to date. I went to a Catholic exclusive school for girls for college since I was 16 also so I was not that exposed to a lot of guys except in high school. So a lot of my attraction to the narc was probably from my curiosity on how it might be like to do it with a different guy. Also his confidence and he might have been mirroring me but we seemed to have a similar stride and expressions. It was like he was the male version of me, except that he’s tall and pure caucasian. We were also both loved hiking and fishing. Although he saw the pictures at our house so he probably figured out my likes from that too. He was so nice whenever we talked but then a huge contrast was when he was seducing me aggressively while working for my husband. It’s hard to comprehend how a nice guy would do that! At the time I thought that maybe he was my soul mate. He looked like he had love at first sight when he first saw me when I greeted him at the door. Now I know it’s just power at first fuel.🙄 Now I know that I was the only one who was twitterpated. I had an addiction to him too even though I only met him 9 times. Goes to show I’m really screwed up.

        To be quite honest sometimes I wish I don’t always do the right thing. What if I just do it once. But like you, it stays in fantasy land. I cannot do it to my husband. He’s way too nice to do that. Although he coukd learn to be a little bit more romantic. But we can always work on that.

        I feel the same way, I also feel that God has protected me in my life. I almost got entangled by a Cerebral before I went to the US. The first guy that I ever dated happened to be a narc. So scary. Glad that God made me meet my husband first before the handsome handyman narc. It would have been so tragic for me now that I am so aware of so many vulnerabilities that I have. I saw the articles of HG about giving tests to the empath that show sisceptibility of control and I would have passed those with flying colors. My husband always compliment me about how easy I am. I feel the same way as you about being saved from our vulnerabilities. And so glad that I found this blog and now there’s no question that the handyman is not my soulmate.

        1. Yes Mommypino, a lot of similarities in our stories. I’ve never kissed another man either. Well N did once but my knees literally went weak and I nearly fainted. So I don’t think that counts. He was wounded thinking I didn’t kiss him back. Ha ha he didn’t find out until a couple of years later that I was struggling to maintain consciousness! He was pleased to find out he had that effect on me. I haven’t seen him since that fateful day.
          Like you, I’m curious what it’s like to be with someone else. Especially someone that I have “chemistry” with. It’s never been that way with my husband. Even in the beginning.

      4. MB, It must have been an amazing feeling to be kissed by the N whom you had chemistry with. Are you sure he’s an N? How long did you work together? What kind of N do you think he is? My theory is that Somatic Ns are amazing in creating chemistry. The cerebral narc that I dated was handsome, intelligent, and from a wealthy family but he wasn’t able to create the intense chemistry that I had with the handyman. The article The Stare talked about the seductive stare and it was the most romantic way any guy has ever looked at me. He had a gentle but amused smile while looking in my eyes like he totally loves me for all I am. I am jealous of you because your N kissed you. I didn’t even have any skin contact with the handyman! I think I could have had though, but I couldn’t. The night before his last day, he decided to go to work late, 5pm, but he told my hisband that he should be done in a couple of hours. Well that couple of hours became until midnight. He was waiting alone in the room and my husband was already asleep with his sleeping pills. Before that though my husband and I visited him working and we said that he’s doing a good job and my husband said goodbye to him in case he falls asleep before he gets done. The handyman gave me a quick glance which I looked away from. Then when it was already 10 and my husband was sleeping and I was cleaning the kitchen and dining room I knew that he was still there and I was thinking if the glance that he gave me was a signal. I had such a strong urge to go to him but it was wrong so I went to bed with my husband instead. I was praying and trying to do mental telepathy to the handyman to not wait for me because I will not be there. But it didn’t work. I saw the headlights of his truck from our bedroom window leaving our driveway at a little bit past midnight. The next day he came to work he gave me an angry silent treatment with an angry face and angry steps around our house while working.

        1. Mommypino, yes! It was the most amazing kiss I’ve ever experienced. I could’ve had *more* that day if I wasn’t so naive. That’s the last time I saw him. (He moved 800 miles away the next day.) We worked together for 3 months. But we’ve stayed in touch ever since. (6 years) Yes, I’m sure he’s a narcissist. HGs work and consults cleared up every question I ever had. I know that being his IPPS would have been a disaster and thank God everyday that it didn’t happen. As it is, I’ve enjoyed an elongated golden period and an outlet for my naughtiness.

      5. MB, I’m glad that you experienced that. I saw from another thread that you have issues with your marriage in terms of it being beige and describing your union as confluence (not a romantic word at all). Although I will confess that I haven’t read the entire thread because it’s very long. I’m happy that you experienced this break in your life that gave you excitement although it probably ended up breaking your heart in the end. I hope that you and your husband can figure out how to make your marriage more exciting. When I had a big crush with the narc handyman, I thought that my husband and I needed to brong romance back to our marriage. We were on the path to what you described as confluence. Sometimes it felt like I was just coparenting with him and living like a glorified domestic helper. So I told him all of my resentments that I can remember and told him that sometimes I find myself fantasizing of living alone. We are now working on our issues and he has definitely improved. He had no idea about my resentments and he was shocked. He said that he was completely happy and he couldn’t think of anything that he doesn’t like about me. Men are typically clueless. I cannot live inside a marriage without a feeling of intimacy. I need to be excited about my husband and I need to have romance otherwise I don’t see the point of staying in it. I pray that you and your husband will figure out how to bring chemistry and sparks in your marriage. I want you to be happy. You deserve to be happy.

Vent Your Spleen!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.