Even though I have to fast forward through the first 15 minutes of the self-serving rambling that he does at the top of every podcast and I'm always frustrated by how often he talks over his guests, I'm a fan of Marc Maron's podcast WTF. His latest with Dr. Drew was interesting and I thought called for some transcript treatment.

In it Maron talks about Narcissistic Residual Syndrome (a term he made up): "being brought up by narcissists and we have a sensitivity to it but we're cursed with the self-awareness to not be narcissists so  then the struggle becomes then who am I?"

From the interview:

Dr. Drew: It's delicate and it's submerged and it's not obvious.

Maron: But you know it reveals itself in me through co-dependent behavior.

Dr. Drew: Absolutely in me, too. 100% Because You end up.  your whole being becomes about managing them.  and they demand that

Maron: Right  and you had no choice early one

Dr. Drew: Right Well you didn't know and nobody gave you enough of what you needed to develop an autonomous self

Maron: But the narcissist thinks they're doing it right

Dr. Drew: Oh absolutely. They're doing it for you


Maron: So you had that, too?

Dr. Drew: Yeah

Maron: That's a scary thing because what I've realized about myself is you wander through the world with an incomplete self b/c no one drew the boundary

Dr. Drew: No one drew the boundary and then sat there and was present for you. Ever.  Because they didn't know how to

Maron: Because it's all about them. And they still don't.


Dr. Drew: I had severe workaholism for many many years. But I liked people and I could connect with people but I couldn't connect with people in a genuine way

Maron: Because there's a fear there. Right? The weird thing about me is if you let yourself be vulnerable because nobody placated this sensitivity your becomes very big

Dr. Drew: I really see this whole process as the search for the genuine and there was a lot of emptiness

Maron:  See that's what people don't realize about people that come from what we come from - when you come from narcissists your capacity for empathy has to be learned. And  it's kind of fucked up.

Dr. Drew: ..I think there's two sort of wiring in people. People who start in and go out towards others and people who start out and then go in.  To some extent we use both but co-dependents go out first. So we are exquisitely sensitive.


Maron: ...when you deal with erratic parents who need managing, you accommodate

Dr. Drew: And there's another layer to it, too

Maron: Oh boy

Dr. Drew: And this is the crazy part and this you can't really ever cure - you're going to be attracted to people who put you in that position.  And you just love them.  That's how you're wired.  It's your love map . So you gotta mitigate it and the way to mitigate is go ahead and go after the people you're not excited about but then you're sort of withholding something from yourself.

Maron: But then it's like a phantom limb

Dr. Drew: Or just go with people that are exciting but realize it's going to be dramatic and get in therapy

Maron: What I learned, what my therapist says, that's the way it's going to be and the most you can hope for is that they're willing to do the work.

Dr. Drew: ...I absolutely agree with that. Because that's life.  We're not perfect.


Dr. Drew: A lot of people do not understand this and it's where a lot of the craziness comes from.  The things that were traumatic in our childhood are the sources of attraction.


Dr. Drew: but here's the thing with powerlessness though ... you had trauma in childhood and the common experience of trauma in childhood is profound powerlessness and it's traumatizing to think about being powerless again...your brain puts it way off in the background and your thinking about it is "I've dealt with that" when in fact what's happened is you actually have a part of your emotional brain that's literally dis-wired, un-wired from the rest of your system. It's overwhelming but it's still there and it's embedded in your body now and it will continue to be a source of symptoms until you re-wire back into that piece and that only happens in an interpersonal context and if you don't trust other people you can never re-wire it.