Someone recently asked me about their boyfriend who they said was a narcissist. It got me thinking that I have done a lot of work with people who have found themselves in a narcissistic relationship, and while I have always helped folks set boundaries, it got be wondering. We often talk about folks being emerged in other folks relationships – codependent yet rarely do we hear people report they are “Co- Narcissist”. Psychology, Sharie Stines points out that it takes two to tango and in essence a narcissist cannot exist without a co- narcissist.

Alan Rappaport points out “the narcissist needs to be in the spotlight and the co-narcissist serves as the audience.”

If you are in such a relationship much of this fusion has been done in an unconscious level as you try to appease the person by being who you believe the he/ she / they needs you to be.

It maybe you grew up in a household filled with a narcissist, you learned how to be valued as objects to other people not how to attach to the other person

You might

  • take on responsibilities that belong to the narcissist
  • do not acknowledge your own feeling
  • Are loyal to a fault
  • Are self reliant
  • Has an external focus for decision making
  • Are flexible and resilient

You are unfortunately as good as the last request. If you don’t do the narcissist bidding you are exiled. In many respects being a co-narcissist is like walking on eggshells and at times you do not feel intrinsically worthy. There is hope and there you is a solution

Similar to codependency you can choose what you say yes to, you do not have to jump when asked. You can say “No” you can stop changing your schedule, not meeting your own needs and you can just Stop with support and coaching

You can begin to change your relationships and begin to value yourself internally. Nothing will change until you do. For more information on how to remove oneself from the grips of a narcissist feel free to learn more here.


  • Louise Stanger Ed.D, LCSW, CDWF, CIP

    Writer, Speaker, Clinician, Interventionist

    Dr. Louise Stanger founded All About Interventions because she is passionate about helping families whose loved ones experience substance abuse, mental health, process addictions and chronic pain. She is committed to showing up for her clients and facilitating lasting change so families are free from sleepless, worrisome nights. Additionally, she speaks about these topics all around the country, trains staff at many treatment centers, and develops original family programs. In 2018, Louise became the recipient of the Peggy Albrecht Friendly House Excellence in Service Award. She most recently received the Interventionist of the Year Award from DB Resources in London and McLean Hospital - an affiliate of Harvard University, in 2019. To learn more, watch this video: and visit her website at