Codependents and Malignant Narcissists

Can a Codependent be evil?

Typical Codependent workers subordinate their needs to their narcissist, and as they are unable to define where their own ego boundaries lie and feel a compelling need to do their narcissist's bidding, they go to almost any lengths to fulfill what they perceive to be their narcissist's wants and desires.

The behavior of a Codependent may be unethical, dishonest, corrupt, amoral, devious, cheating, deceitful, and evil in the employ of a malignant narcissist.

There are numerous examples from the Nazis in World War II of SS officers who carried out evil atrocities in the name of one of the most infamous malignant narcissists, Adolf Hitler. Born into another life, these codependents would most probably have attached themselves to narcissists, but not the malignant variety. They would have behaved unethically, gone against their own beliefs and principles in an attempt to regulate the world around their narcissist. In these circumstances the behavior of the Codependent may be unethical, dishonest, corrupt, amoral, devious, cheating, and deceitful in the employ of his unprincipled narcissist, but not evil.

An example of a codependent who probably was not born evil, but never had the strength to say 'no' to his narcissistic controller, was the SS officer Arthur Liebehenschel. He was Commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp for five months during World War II. His daughter, Barbara Cherish, researched his life and found evidence that suggested that he was not intrinsically evil, he just got caught up in the nazi regime and pledged his allegiance to Hitler.

The truth of Genocide

The following quotation was addressed to Mrs Cherish about her father, Arthur Liebehenschel.

"The truth of Genocide, I think from my own experience of witnessing it, is not that the psychopaths wreak the most havoc, its really the ordinary people like your father who are not innately evil, but who go along with the system, who become parts of it, willing parts of it, and wreak terrible evil."1

The degree of dishonesty, corruption, immorality, deviousness, cheating, and deceitfulness of a codependent is dependent entirely upon the level of malignancy of his narcissist. He will do whatever he believes his narcissist wants. In many ways, codependents are worse than their narcissistic controllers; they spread their corruption more far and more wide than the narcissist could ever achieve by himself. Adolf Hitler could not have killed six million Jews by himself; it took an army of his codependents.

If you want to read more about codependents, narcissism and evil, read Narcissism: Behind the Mask.

1 Quotation from Fergal Keane talking to Barbara Cherish about her father who was Commandant of Auschwitz Concentration Camp during WW2. BBC Radio 4 programme 'Taking a Stand', 12 January 2010.