Codependency and Teamwork
Codependence in the
Narcissism: Behind the Mask
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20 Shades of Narcissism
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Site by David Thomas PhD
Are codependents good teamworkers?
Codependents feel a compelling need to defend the behavior of a narcissistic colleague, so they take on the psychological defenses and survival behaviors of the narcissist. This ultimately results in codependent behavior characterized by dishonesty and denial. Thus the behavior of codependents in teams mimic in many ways the behavior of the narcissist.
The glue that holds all the pieces in place for an effective and efficient team is trust. All the other characteristics of successful team members are dependent upon their ability to trust both themselves and one another, something virtually all the commentators agree upon.
Likewise, virtually all the commentators writing about codependency agree that people who are codependent trust no one.1
Possibly the most significant difference between the behavior of codependents and the behavior of narcissists is in decision making. Codependents don't trust themselves to make a decision. On the other hand, narcissists are decisive when making decisions. They know what they want; it's whatever is best for them. But codependents use external referencing whenever possible, that is, they always check with others before making choices.2
The following table was published in the Journal of Business and Psychology.3 It describes the characteristics of successful team members versus codependents.
Codependents often experience a sense of being lost, having low self-esteem and being unable to form healthy and productive relationships.4 One of the most difficult problems they experience is 'boundary distortion'. They are unable to discern where their own person stops and that of others begin.5
They rarely allow others to glimpse their true feelings, displaying rather what they believe others expect of them. Through this 'false self', they internalize the disappointment and anger, holding it like a time bomb for later use. When it finally explodes, it has the capacity to sabotage the whole team process.6
If you want to learn more about codependency and teamwork, read Narcissism: Behind the Mask.1, 3, 6 Cook, R.A. and Goff, J.L. (2002), Coming of age with self-managed teams: Dealing with a problem employee, Journal of Business and Psychology, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp. 485-496.
2 Baker, R. and Newport, S. (2003), Dysfunctional Managerial Behabior in the Workplace: Implications for Employees, Supervisors, and Organizations, Problems and Perspectives of Management, Vol. 1, pp. 108-113.
4 Whitfield, C.A. (1992), Co-dependence, Addictions, and Related Disorders, A Comprehensive Textbook, 2nd Edition, pp.816-831. Eds. Lowinson, J.H., Ruiz, P., Millman, R.B. and Langrod, J.G., Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore.
5 Cermak, T.L. (1986), Diagnosing and Treating Co-dependence, Mpls: Johnson Institute.