Tag Archives: empathic
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!
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!
Tomorrow, Christmas eve, would’ve been my 24th wedding anniversary, if I had stayed married to my ex husband.
The day always brings some conflicting feelings. Mostly, I am grateful I was able to get away from him, as he was a narcissist who treated me much like my narcissistic mother used to treat me. I can’t imagine how bad things would’ve been for me if I had stayed with him. Chances are good that I would have killed myself if we had stayed together. I was that depressed with him.
It also makes me sad though, when I think of how damaged I was back then. I knew marrying him was a mistake, which is why I had broken up with him a few months prior. Yet I still allowed him to talk me into marrying him anyway. I married him instead of continuing to date someone who I really enjoyed being with, because I believed my ex when he made me feel guilty for leaving him, & like I owed it to him to marry him for hurting him so badly.
It’s amazing the things that a child of a narcissist will do, isn’t it?
I’m sharing this embarrassing bit of information about myself with you today for a reason. I’m sure you too have things in your past that you regret. Bad choices made out of dysfunction, pain or even desperation to be loved. I want you to know that you’re not alone! You have nothing to be ashamed of! Mistakes like mine are a normal part of being raised by a narcissistic mother. You grow up so dysfunctional because all of your growing up years, you were told you were a horrible, stupid, ugly, selfish, etc. etc. person. You were blamed for things that weren’t your fault, & made to be responsible for things no child should be responsible for, such as her mother’s emotions. Things like this cause a tremendous amount of damage that permeates your innermost being well into adulthood. It is completely normal!
Please don’t do like I did for many years. I beat myself up for being so stupid & marrying someone I didn’t love, for falling for all of his manipulations, for being so starved for love that I believed him when he said he loved me, for ignoring my instincts that told me to stay far from him & for passing up a good man for a narcissistic one. I asked myself so many times how I could be so stupid, basically continuing the beating up of my self-esteem that both my mother & ex-husband started. It was wrong & cruel, & I showed myself no understanding or compassion. Don’t make that same mistake! You deserve so much better than that!
While yes, you have made mistakes & done dumb things, everyone has! No one is immune from making mistakes in their life, especially someone raised by a narcissistic mother. Show yourself some compassion & realize that you have been through some damaging things- it’s only natural you have made mistakes.
Also remember, God loves you & forgives you. If He forgives you, how can you not forgive yourself?
Be gentle & understanding with yourself, Dear Reader. You deserve it. xoxo