Codependency and Narcissism: Breaking the Cycle

The Language of Love with Dr. Laura Berman

Jul 27 2022 • 30 mins

On this episode of “The Language of Love,” I am doing a “Sessions” episode! These are some of my absolutely favorite episodes because I get to sit down with listeners like you and offer my real-time advice on your love, sex, and relationship questions. For today’s session, I am talking to a caller named Lisa. Lisa is struggling with issues with her partner, who she believes could be a narcissist. Lisa’s partner has kept her trapped in a toxic marriage (over 18 years) in which he has threatened her with financial consequences or alienating their kids if she leaves him. Although Lisa is desperate to leave, she is frightened to exit the relationship. Lisa is a self-described codependent who has always struggled with expressing her needs and standing up for herself. Although she reports that her childhood was relatively happy, as I explain to her, codependency is not a trait we develop in adulthood. It’s a trait we establish in childhood as a way to survive and cope in our family systems. In discussing her childhood with Lisa, we discover that her mother and father had a similar marriage to the one Lisa now finds herself in. Her mother spent her life serving her father and ensuring that his every need was met, and now Lisa finds herself in a similar situation. On this “Sessions” episode, I delve into codependency and the fundamental wound which can lead to codependency. I also reveal how codependency and narcissism can be two sides of the same coin. Although this might sound shocking, people who struggle with codependency can often have shades of narcissism, just as people who struggle with narcissism can also have shades of codependency. Tune into this episode of “The Language of Love” to learn more about what causes codependency and why I feel it is related to narcissism. Check out the advice I have for Lisa about leaving her marriage and healing her fundamental wounds, then shoot me your opinions on social media! I love to hear from you: And, remember, you too can do a “Sessions” episode with me if you email me at or private message me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit