I receive a lot of questions about narcissism and why good people become narcissistically abused. Psychologically, children who have difficult upbringings typically become either narcissistic or empathetic as a result. One response equals care about everyone (usually ahead of the self) the other response equals, “I do everybody else over before they get me”. They are just opposite sides of the same coin. Underneath both paradigms is a basic hatred of self, it just manifests vastly differently.
On a basic societal level, I see a lot of hatred being directed at narcs and victim energy attached to empathy. Whilst this is understandable, if maintained, it ultimately prevents progress and healing. The only ‘job’ narcissism has from a spiritual perspective is, that narcissists are contributing to change for empaths and for the planet. These people are wrecking balls for change for those they affect, forcing people to choose evolution in order to recover from their own childhood wounding and the effects of the narcissistic/empath relationship.
Healing from narcissistic abuse is a very confronting choice to make and is a path I know all too well. For me it was “I do this, or I will die” option. The level of personal work required to flourish beyond narcissistic abuse is epic, however in the process, you will become an amazing person and can create the life of your dreams if you want to. Here are three helpful pieces of advice to consider:
1.Start Using Your Empathy as a Superpower Instead of Destroying yourself With it
Empaths by definition possess the ability to know without being told, what is going on emotionally for others. They sense when someone needs something from them and often feel compelled to deliver this, without being asked. This prevents the other person from pain or consequence.
In this process, the empath ignores their own needs and leaves themselves open to being manipulated by a narcissist. Usually the empath has had to provide emotionally for upset adults when they were little. Therefore, they may automatically do the same thing to their partners and indeed seek out needy adults, with which to form relationships.
Feeling other people’s pain and problems doesn’t have to be crippling and destructive. Empaths can regard what they perceive about others as a source of valuable information which gives them an enormous advantage in life. Once they can see this, they can use it to contribute to others where it is most needed, (as a choice) and to communicate with great accuracy and kindness.
For this to happen, empaths need to stop being victims and learn to serve themselves ahead of others. They can tap into their awareness as a super power, instead of a form of servitude that leaves them last.
Much of our conditioning runs in direct opposition to this and therefore some deep inner reflection and shifting of beliefs is required here.
RECOMMENDED ACTIONS: Start setting healthy boundaries, start examining where you give your power away (hint it always feels like crap). Consider what motivates you when doing things for others (there is a difference between being in servitude and actually caring for someone. One enables dysfunction to thrive and the other empowers). What sort of attachment style do you have, were you smothered or ignored in childhood? Where do your fears lie with being assertive. Do you always make other’s opinions more significant than yours? Do you struggle to know who you are and what you want?
2. Take full Responsibility
If you are repeatedly hooking up with narcissists, the common thread in all those experiences is you. Now that doesn’t mean it is your fault, it means that somewhere along your life path, you received faulty software and there is something inside you that was broken in your childhood that you are re-creating as an adult.
This isn’t victim shaming. It is inviting you to take responsibility enough to change the patterns you may have inside yourself that are destroying you, through other people. The experiences you may have encountered with narcissistic abuse may have been devastating. The aftermath may feel soul destroying, however, given that’s how things are, it is up to you what you do with that and how you move forward, for the rest of your life.
You can let it define and destroy you, or, you can let it motivate you to know yourself. Many people who make that journey also end up as healers, because healing the narc/empath dynamic is a life altering, profound experience. You actually have an opportunity to create a new and vastly different life experience as a result of this.
RECOMMENDED ACTIONS: To be responsible means to be ‘able to respond’ which is about empowering you to deal with life differently. Usually we are most upset that we put ourselves in a position to be abused and it doesn’t quite make sense to us how we did that. That is a very painful thing to come to terms with. As, is acknowledging it was our childhood that gave us the conditioning that led to those choices. Healing looks like truth and it looks like exploring deeply the themes in our life and coming to terms with what led us to here. Seek help from a qualified coach, therapist and healer so you can learn to feel safe in your own skin and trust yourself again.
3. Learn to identify and acknowledge Red Flags
Every empath I’ve met who has been abused, explains away red flags and usually they don’t even know they are doing it. Often, they may acknowledge that they do, promptly followed by explaining away some nasty situation or example of recent abuse they have endured.
As a little person in their family of origin, the empath has had to explain away the poor, hurtful and unloving traits of their significant adults. Unaddressed, that trait will result in poor consequences for them as adults. Unfortunately they sanction unacceptable behavior, long after others would have set boundaries and/or left. It is critical this is addressed in order to create future safety and heal old wounds.
RECCOMENDED ACTIONS: I literally suggest following a page on social media called “My red Flags” It is awesome! Working on our self awareness is critical and being aware whenever we want to explain away someone’s behavior or we have difficulty holding a boundary. When you think back over your narcissistic relationship, you may already be able to identify all the places you failed to interpret what was, for what it was. We do this when we are attached to outcome, feel invested and don’t want to see what is true.
In my experience this is classic co-dependence stuff and we should break it apart with a therapist, facilitator or coach and read around codependence and toxic shame.