The Codependent Love Addict and Verbal Abuse

January 17, 2018 Emily J. Sullivan

Codependent love addicts hold behavior patterns that make them compatible with verbal abusers. Learn more about those patterns and the hope for treatment here.

Verbal abuse and the codependent love addict often go hand in hand. There are several different types of love addicts such as the obsessive love addict, the sex addict, the relationship addict, the codependent love addict and the narcissistic love addict. Some of the different types even complement one another like magnets with opposite charges, an obvious attraction with a force difficult to interrupt. The codependent love addict pairs both painfully and perfectly with the narcissistic love addict. Verbal abuse is a routine offense for a narcissist in a relationship and accepting abuse is typical for a codependent love addict. Discovering the signs and symptoms of a codependent love addiction may be illuminating as well as an important step toward recovery.

A Codependent Love Addict's Problem Behaviors

The codependent love addict suffers from extremely low self-esteem that is often subsequent to the trauma of previous rejection or feelings of worthlessness. Codependents have behavior patterns that make their type of love addiction distinct from the others. Having unrealistic perceptions about their partner as well as the state of the relationship itself is extremely common.

A codependent love addict holds onto that first impression they had at the beginning of the relationship when butterflies were fluttering and the false advertising stage of the relationship was in full force. They always hope to have the person they fell in love with come back to them, that no matter how abusive things may get, the hope for change is enough to keep them enduring and fixed. They may often find themselves repeating, “Deep down, he’s a really good guy.”

That phrase has always struck a chord with me because I feel like it’s a way of essentially saying, “He’s a bad guy but I’ll excuse that because of his hypothetical good heart.”

At the end of the day, it does not matter if someone has a theoretical hidden goodness to them if they are physically and/or verbally abusive toward you (How It Feels When Your Verbal Abuser Is a Nice Guy).

Another unhealthy behavior of codependent love addicts is having a rescue mentality and taking on the role of a caretaker. The codependent may convince themselves that their verbal abuser lashes out at them because they have deep-rooted issues themselves and that the abuser needs love and compassion. Codependents often put the wellbeing of the abuser above their own mental and physical health. Thinking you can love someone enough to change them or care for someone enough that they will stop tormenting you, is a terrible way to live; it’s toxic for everyone involved.

Codependent love addicts are generally enablers of bad behavior and cannot effectively establish boundaries. The narcissistic love addict feeds off their codependent counterpart and vice versa. Their issues come together in a twisted kind of yin and yang.

Treatment for a Codependent Love Addict

The chaotic and enduring relationships between the narcissist and the codependent love addict can feel hopeless -- hopeless for success and hopeless to reach an endpoint. How can someone get the cycle to stop and get the help he or she needs? The treatment for a codependent love addict is just that -- treatment. Getting better on your own may not be the most effective option. Because codependent love addicts suffer from low self-esteem and self-worth, they need to reestablish confidence and value in themselves. Treatment may include but is not limited to therapy and/or 12-step meetings.

An important concept to grasp when trying to get better is that you don’t have to do this alone. Reach out to your loved ones and your friends, the people who will build you up and remind you why you are worthy of a loving relationship free from verbal abuse and addictive tendencies. Reach out to a therapist and start developing a plan for recovery. Reach out to Love Addicts Anonymous and join a community of people who will likely understand exactly what you’re going through.

Whatever path it is you take, remember no experience is a definitive failure because every experience offers something new to learn, something you can benefit from. Verbal abuse and the codependent love addict do indeed have a bond, but a bond that can, without a doubt, be broken.

APA Reference
Sullivan, E. (2018, January 17). The Codependent Love Addict and Verbal Abuse, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Author: Emily J. Sullivan

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March, 17 2018 at 5:29 pm

I relate to being co-dependent. Not in all areas, but definitely the majority. But I am also abusive (not in the physical sense, although I was guilty of that a very long time ago as well) I can be mean and demeaning to others. From all the reading I have been doing, I haven't seen a connection made for abusive co-dependents. I always feel sick about my verbal lashings at people and i know it comes from not asking for what I want or need. So I lash out at people to get the distance I need. I'm also very passive-aggressive which I'm sure is no surprise. The times I have attempted to discuss boundaries, I feel heard, but then the person continues to do the very thing I've asked them not to do. So I give up and become passive aggressive(abusive comments), angry and isolating. In retrospect I can see how my co-dependency progressed through the years. From being quiet, shy, reserved(dont rock the boat) to becoming anxious, angry, passive aggressive, combative to depressed, hopeless and isolating myself. But at every level I was very angry and anxious. It has just manifested differently through each stage. I feel that i differ in some ways as I am definitely codependent but I am not attracted to narcissists or addicts/alcoholics. However I do seem to be attracted to men that become emotionally unavailable. That being said, I can honestly say that I have never in my life recognized a person as a narcissist. Which I understand is normal for a codependent. But I also think i can relate to some narcissistic traits as well. This is all very new to me, as I just happened upon this idea of co-dependency yesterday. So how can I be and relate to being a co-dependent, abuser, narcissist all at the same time? It's overwhelming and confusing at this point.

January, 31 2018 at 10:49 am

Codependency is a learned survival behavior and needs to be unlearned. Self love and self respect are key. God does not want anyone abused. We are all unique. I am working on receiving the unconditional love of God. I don't have to perform or beat myself up because I am not perfect, no one is. Self esteem needs to be rebuilt and surrounding yourself with supportive people helps.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 31 2018 at 11:33 am

Mary, you are correct, self-love and self-respect are key, which is often the trickiest part! It is often easier for people to focus on loving others before themselves. Surrounding yourself with a support system, people who will build you up and remind you how awesome and deserving of love you are, is instrumental in recovery for people suffering low-self esteem. I wish you the best of luck Mary, thanks for reading!

January, 30 2018 at 11:31 am

So on target with how things were for me, the co-dependent who fell deeply in love with a covert narcissist There was a long honeymoon period where he’d put me on the highest pedestal. (Narcissistic mother and parents who never showed any affection or love or praise), I was starved for affection and love and in finding him I felt I hit the jackpot. I sure did. He tore me down off that pedestal slowly over time convincing me there was everything wrong with me and his first subtle criticism and belittling which I took to heart and blamed myself for. They’re excellent at that as we know. I do know however that he’s not the person he pretended to be nor was he a good person underneath all the cruelty that took over. I don’t believe there is any compassion or empathy in these people as we also know. 6 years after separation and divorce from hell I’m still trying to recover and heal. It’s a long road and there’s even more reasons of why I can’t seem to move forward. (He brainwashed my only daughter from my first marriage), into believing that I’m in fact the cruel evil person that he in fact is. It’s beyind the worst heartache of my life. As if the abuse wasn’t enough that I’m now away from, my daughter hates me and we’ve not spoken in 6 years. She never even gave me a chance or asked me my side of anything, and knowing she chose her now ex step dad as who remained in her life has got to be the cruelest thing he’s ever done yet. He’s severed a bond I thought was unbrakable and I could never tell her and hurt her telling her that he hated her and said so every chance he got to me Her own father never being a dad to her, I couldn’t break her heart further by telling her all that. By not doing that, I’ve lost her and hope everyday that she sees him for who he really is but time is slipping away faster and faster with my hope dwindling to nothing.
Thanks for a great video and examples. You’re beautiful by the way!!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 31 2018 at 10:52 am

So sorry for what you have endured. you and God Almighty know the truth! I pray for your healing and renewed faith.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

February, 2 2018 at 1:18 pm

Mary, thank you so much. Like you I’ve stopped beating myself up (most of the time). You’re so right that co-dependency is a learned behavior, unfortunately, to make up for what we didn’t receive at our youngest ages when it was needed for a foundation. I found my confidence in school with friends, and once in high school, (a zillion years ago), I got a part time job as soon as possible to get myself out of my parents house as often as possible. That job lasted from 15 to 19 and I made some great friends and had a real life as a teenager. I was never a popular gal, but I never realized people ever even thought I was pretty. I didn’t see that. If I saw a guy staring in high school I thought there must be something wrong. I didn’t think I was ugly but I never thought of myself as someone anyone would choose. When I did meet a couple boys in high school and one became my steady and later my first husband and daughters dad, I always felt that I was somehow beneath them. They didn’t give me a reason, it was just me.
I used to like myself and never gave much thought about loving myself or not, but I know I’ve gone through the worst of the worst and not loving myself has been a huge part of it. I was blamed for everything in this last marriage and beat down to my core, and I’m still in recovery and healing for sure. I didn’t get so low overnight. It took years of verbal and psychological abuse that began so subtly I wasn’t even aware of it until it was far too late. I do know I deserve to love myself and for what it’s worth I’m a better person for going through the nightmare so many of us have. I’ll never judge a person, like I’ve been judged so horribly. There are so many of us fighting battles no one could imagine.
I have little to no support as my friends do not understand at all no matter how I’ve tried to help educate them. It hurts when I’ve reached out for a hand to hold or an ear to just listen and have been told to try calling someone else after having been told they’d be there for me anytime. I’ve found out that’s merely a convenience or not and it’s stopped me from contacting people who swore they’d be here for me through good and bad, which saddens me when I’ve searched thrugh my contacts and realize I’ve run out of people I can really call when I need to.
I wish the very best for you. We all deserve to find happiness within ourselves and with others and I still have hope.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 31 2018 at 11:49 am

Nancy, Thank you for reaching out to us, and thanks for reading. I'm so sorry for everything you've suffered. The fact that you are estranged from your daughter is devastating, I am so deeply sorry. I hope you never give up hope that you can rekindle that bond. The bond between a mother and daughter is something to be treasured. I hate that you have to go through that pain. What are you doing now to care for yourself? Have you considered seeking counseling or therapy? I always recommend therapy as an excellent option because I think it can be instrumental in getting people through especially trying periods of their life. I just wrote an article about Toxic Love and Family Estrangement and it isn't written in a way that directly addresses your current circumstance but it may still have some insight to offer. Thank you again for reaching out Nancy, I'm rooting for you. -Emily

Mirka Cihlar
January, 20 2018 at 2:18 pm

Fantastic observations.It's all true.Very thorough,and absolutely convincing presentation plus examples.thank you.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 21 2018 at 6:11 pm

Mirka, Thank you so much, thanks for reading! -Emily

January, 17 2018 at 4:00 am

Great video!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 17 2018 at 7:35 am

Thanks for watching!

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