Co-dependency, people pleasing, and addictions all stem from looking for happiness outside of ourselves. When you are raised to please others first, rather than yourself, life can be a slippery slope to navigate. Learning how to put yourself first is one of the most difficult steps in narcissistic abuse recovery, because it goes against the grain of how we were raised. Growing up with a narcissistic parent, or parents, you understood that your feelings did not matter and if you took a stand to express yourself you regretted it later, because it never turned out well.
Co-dependency or self-love deficit, as Ross Rosenburg puts it, is the tendency to not be authentic with yourself and/or others. As a child, you were never shown how to unconditionally love and honor yourself. Thus, you seek security and love from others. This pattern often repeats for a lifetime, until there is someone who uses this need for love against us. When the effort and lessons to finally unconditionally love ourselves are less pain and work than staying with someone else who gives us conditional love, only then do we address this issue.
People pleasing is merely an addiction to keeping the peace and getting approval. When you have a parent/parents that deny your emotional reality, you start to do this to yourself as a survival mechanism. This trait/addiction becomes deep-rooted into the person you believe yourself to be. However, in actuality, as a human being you are an emotional creature. Denying this reality is denying who you are as an individual. This leads to all kinds of addictions that may vary, but all stem from looking for comfort outside of yourself.
After a lifetime of not addressing or acknowledging your own feelings, keeping the peace, and looking for approval outside yourself, it is almost unheard of to not have developed some maladaptive coping mechanisms that have become addictions. Addressing these addictions is just as important as acknowledging your feelings. Addictions are not limited to drugs and alcohol, they can be anything from working out, shopping, sex, eating, playing video games, people pleasing, playing the victim, ect. What do you do when you feel lonely or depressed? Is it making you a better person or is it holding you back?
Being honest with yourself about addiction is one of the key components of narcissistic abuse recovery. If you cannot admit to having a problem or issue you will not be able to resolve it. This requires digging deep and looking at all aspects of your life and actions. What do you do over and over that hurts you? What do you do that makes you a better human? What do you do that you picked up from your original abuser? What is the motivation behind your actions that you take when on autopilot?
Now is the time to ruthlessly question everything.