Tag Archives: empathetic

Stop Asking Victims To Feel Compassion For Abusers!

There are so many victims who have been told, scolded really, that they need to have compassion on & even feel pity for their abusers.  People say stupid things like, “You can’t get mad at him!  He just doesn’t know better because his father did the same thing to him!”  “That is your mother & if you really were a Christian like you say you are, you wouldn’t get mad at her!  You would honor her!”

Some people who say such stupid comments are well meaning, yet ill informed.  Mostly though, such people are quite aware of their comments & the effects they have.  Their goal is to shut their victim down by invalidating or shaming them.  Maybe they have their own abusive past, & your situation reminds them of theirs.  Being too cowardly to face their own demons, they attempt to shut you down instead.  Or, maybe they have bought the narcissist’s “good guy/gal” act, & you speaking the truth threatens that.  Rather than face the ugly truth, they try to shut you down so their delusion can stay in tact.  I’m sure there are countless reasons that people say such cruel remarks.  These are only a couple of possibilities.

I don’t think that people who say such ludicrous statements stop for one second to consider the ridiculousness of their words, only the effect they wish to have.  I mean, what sense does it make to feel pity for someone who deliberately causes you pain?  This actually reminds me of something my father told me.  When he was 15, he was driving home one night when the local drunk hit his car head on, flipping his car over into a ditch.  My father nearly died from the traumatic brain injury, yet people told him he should feel sorry for the man who hit him.  Think about that for a second.. people said he should feel sorry for the man who decided not only to get drunk, but to get behind the wheel of his car in that condition, endangering everyone else on the road & nearly killing my father.  Why feel sorry for him rather than my father who lived with lifelong health problems stemming from this man’s poor choices?!  As far as I know, the situation with my father didn’t even stop this man from driving drunk.  Maybe if someone had confronted him, & made him realize the depths of the problems his actions caused, he might have stopped driving drunk.

They are also supporting someone’s choice to hurt other people.  How does this make any sense at all?!  No normal, functional person would support someone who deliberately chooses to hurt another person.  They know what it’s like to hurt, & don’t want others to feel that way.

Instead of encouraging victims to feel compassion for their abusers, why not support a victim who has had the courage to escape the abuse & tell their story?  Tell them they are brave & strong.  Tell them you admire them for having the strength & fortitude to survive what they have experienced.  Encourage them to share their story in whatever way will help them & hopefully also will help raise awareness.  Listen to them.  Validate them.

And if you somehow end up talking to an abuser, don’t excuse what they did.  Abusers need to know what they did was bad & why.  They also need to know that they hurt their victim & there was no good reason to do it.  They need to be aware of the fact that to abuse another person is a choice, just like being good to another person is a choice, & they chose the wrong thing to do.  Hold this person accountable!  Maybe doing so will open their eyes somehow & make them see that they need to make some changes in their behavior.  It’s certainly worth a try though, isn’t it?

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Why Narcissists Abuse Empathic People

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Some Reasons Narcissists Target Empathic People

There is a lot of talk about empaths these days.  Although some of the information claims being an empath is the same as being a psychic, that isn’t the case.  I think being an empath basically means being a person with good instincts, empathy, someone who can see things from the perspective of others & also cares deeply about how other people feel.  People with the INFJ personality type are known to be very empathic, & also the most frequently abused personality type.

It seems strange that someone who is good at spotting fake people like INFJs & empaths are would get involved with a narcissist, but it happens every day.  Unfortunately it makes a lot of sense when you look at it.

People with a high degree of empathy want to help others & even fix them.  Narcissists want people like this so they can take advantage of them.  It’s very easy for a narcissist to abuse someone like this because the person simply wants to help them & see them happy.  Narcissists can play the victim or shame their victim into believing they have done something wrong or abusive.  Either way, if an empathic person believes the narcissist’s lies, they will do their best to make it up to the narcissist & do pretty much anything in order to please them.

Empathic people want a loving, deep relationship full of mutual respect, whether that relationship is a friendship, familial or romantic.  Narcissists use love bombing as a way to lure a victim into the relationship, & this can mimic what an empath wants in a relationship.  Narcissists read people very well.  They pick up on subtle clues on what others want in a relationship, & present themselves accordingly.  They also mirror the other person, which is mimicking that person’s morals, likes, dislikes, & even body language, to make the person feel close to them.  Unless you’re very well versed in Narcissistic Personality Disorder, it can be extremely easy to feel close to someone doing this love bombing thing.  I have fallen for it many times in my life in all types of relationships.

People with a lot of empathy don’t like conflict.  Those raised by narcissistic parents feel this even more.  In fact, we will usually find all kinds of ways to rationalize the behavior, in other words make excuses for it, to keep the peace.  Narcissists use this in their favor to convince their victims that they were just being oversensitive, that never happened, it didn’t happen as they think it did, or that the narcissist had an excellent reason for doing what they did & the victim made them do what they did.

If you are an empathic person, it’s really a good quality even though it may not feel like it sometimes!  Use your sensitive nature in your favor.  Being empathic means you naturally have good instincts- pay attention to them.  I firmly believe our instincts are the Holy Spirit gently trying to guide us in the right direction, which is why they’re always right.  If you meet someone & something about that person doesn’t feel right, pay attention to that feeling.  The truth will come out sooner or later- it always does- & you’ll see why you had that feeling.

Reign in your desire to help everyone.  I know it can be hard, but remember- you aren’t God.  It’s not your job to help everyone, only the people God leads you to help.  Ask Him to help you discern who you should & shouldn’t help.

Also remember, although conflict is uncomfortable, sometimes it’s also necessary.  Examine the situation closely.  Has the other person accepted responsibility for their part as you have?  Are you both willing to work together towards a mutually beneficial solution?  If you can answer yes, this is good!  That is how conflict should go!  If however, you are the only one expected to make changes or the other person makes excuses or even blames you for their actions, this is a bad sign.  Those are red flags that you may be dealing with a narcissist.

As someone with a great deal of empathy, you don’t have to be a victim.  Keep learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & listening to your instincts.  Ask God to help you identify safe & dangerous people, & to remove dangerous ones from your life.  He absolutely will do this for you!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Compassion Fatigue- A Common Problem

Many adult children of narcissistic parents grow into very compassionate, empathetic adults.  We listen to others & offer support, even when strangers approach us in a grocery store & want to tell us their problems.  We help generously.  We’re often caregivers in many ways- taking care of the sick as well as providing emotional or even financial support to those in need.  And, truthfully, we often enjoy it.

Whether you enjoy caregiving or not, though, sometimes it burns you out.

It’s like a bank account- you can’t withdraw money without ever putting in a deposit or you will overdraft your account. The exact same thing happens with your mental health- if you do nothing but give, there is nothing left over for you.  You become tired, mentally & physically.  You also become very irritable & bottle up your emotions.  You may abuse substances or overeat.  You isolate yourself because you feel you don’t have the energy or patience to deal with people.  You become indifferent to their suffering.  You have plenty of aches & pains without a physical cause & you have difficulty concentrating on things.  Some people stop their good self-care habits, even hygienic habits.

This is a frustrating place to be!  I’ve felt some degree of compassion fatigue for years, but it has reached a peak during my recent recovery.  When all you can do is lay around & do very minimal tasks, it gives you plenty of time to think.  I realized how very few people close to me genuinely cared about the fact I came very close to death recently.  Very few have even asked how I’m doing more than once.  Aside from the obvious anger about this, it hurt me badly.  I have done my best to be there for those in my life as much as possible, & this is how I’m treated after trauma?  This seemed to rocket the compassion fatigue into overdrive.  As I write this, there aren’t many people I’m close to that I can muster up some empathy for at this time.

So.. how does one combat compassion fatigue?  Honestly I had to research it because I’ve never found a way to do it on my own.  The suggestions I’ve found are below along with some things I’ve been trying to do myself.

  • Sometimes people won’t be there for you, but God will be.  Give Him first priority in your life, & go to Him when you need comfort before you go to people.
  • Don’t judge yourself for how you feel.
  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Practice good self-care rituals.
  • Set & enforce good boundaries to give yourself a break as you need.
  • Remember, when people come to you for help, you should do your best to point them back to God as much as possible, & not become a god to them by fixing their problems.
  • Talk with others who understand how you feel.
  • Participate in your hobbies often, or start new ones.

I hope this helps you to combat compassion fatigue & to achieve a healthier balance with helping other people.  May God bless you!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism