We always hear about Empaths when we talk about Narcissists, psychopaths and sociopaths; as if, in order to fall victim to a narcissist you must be an empath. AND, it insinuates that IF you are an empath, being a victim is a certainty of life.
I dislike labeling people, or being labelled. I think often times people use their “label” as a copout. “I can’t help it, that’s just who I am”.
We always have a choice. Even the narcissist has a choice. It’s harder for the narcissist because he doesn’t have a conscience to guide his decisions, making it very easy to act solely in his self interest. But he has a personality disorder, key word; disorder.
Being an empath is not a disorder. People may treat you like you’re flawed; my mother always thought something was “wrong” with me. It wasn’t until I was in my 50’s I figured out that, I am normal, there are other people like me in the world and I am part of a rather rare personality type.
The world is made up of all types of people, (not just narcissists and Empaths) with varying degrees of empathy and anyone with a conscience has the ability to change, if they want to.
It’s definitely easier to stay the same than put the work into changing, even if staying the same causes us alot of pain. We don’t want to admit it, we prefer to blame the narcissist, our parents, or the fact that we are empaths and it’s just the way we are.
Too many empaths aren’t parented by people who nurture the empath’s uniqueness and teach the empath how to properly channel their special skills, protect themselves, and how to set boundaries.
If you are able to identify that you are an empath who was somehow involved with a narcissist, whether it was a parent, spouse, boss, friend or sibling, you are able to change how you relate to the world and end the cycle of being a victim.
There are perks to being a victim and it can be hard to give it up. It means you are responsible for your own happiness, your own security, you will have to make decisions and you will be the only one to blame if they fail. Whereas by remaining a victim you aren’t responsible for anything!
The narcissist is the “bad” one and you are the “good” person. Your life is a mess, but it’s not your fault. If the narcissist would just ……… (Fill in the blanks) your life would be perfect, you would be able to be happy. Elusive happiness, kept just out of reach by the nasty narcissist.
Some of you might find what I am saying offensive; but being a victim can be a pretty comfortable place to be. Feeling sorry for yourself can become a habit, and after awhile it becomes part, or your whole identity. You don’t know how to be anything else.
In a perfect world every parent would cherish their children for their unique traits and encourage their child to be all they can be instead of wanting to mold them into who the parent thinks they should be and being critical of their differences.
Let me make this very clear, being an empath does not mean you are flawed but it does mean you have to be smart and force yourself to set boundaries and protect yourself.
I don’t know about you but growing up I was always told I was too sensitive, too emotional, or to quote my dad, “a flake”. I was also the “care giver”, “peace maker” and “secret keeper”. I had no idea how dysfunctional my childhood was until I was putting my life back together after being destroyed by the narcissist.
I grew up in a home where my feelings were scoffed at or ignored, both parents kept secrets from each other and expected us kids to keep the secrets, we tiptoed on eggshells to avoid my dad’s temper and my mother was an oblivious people pleaser who preferred to keep her head buried in the sand because what she didn’t see couldn’t hurt her and “how things appeared” was all that mattered.
I buried my feelings until I would eventually explode over something insignificant; making myself appear irrational and unpredictable. I would feel guilty, end up apologizing and my feelings never got acknowledged or dealt with.
I became a people pleaser anticipating everyone else’s needs and being the person they told me I should be. I felt like a fraud and feared people would figure out I wasn’t who I was pretending to be and not like me.
I felt like a fraud because I was trying to be what everyone else wanted me to be; it’s impossible to feel confident if you aren’t being yourself. It’s hard to be happy when you aren’t pursuing anything you are passionate about and living your life for other people.
I would bet money that you were made into a prime target for a narcissist by people who supposedly loved you and had your best interests at heart.
My whole life had been spent rescuing everyone else, instinctively knowing how to make people feel better and the whole family relied on me to be the stable, reliable one, while at the same time making jokes about what a “flake” I was. My younger brother was a train wreck, my mother moved right next door after my dad left her and arrived at my door in tears every night, my son’s father said, “you wanted him, you’ve got him, deal with it”, then I married a guy who was financially irresponsible and I ended up losing everything because I co-signed debt for him and he claimed bankruptcy. My son quit school and was getting into trouble.
I was SO SICK of being responsible!! Then my mom, who held the mortgage on my tiny cabin (because of my ex going bankrupt) sold my cabin out from under me because she wanted me to wash my hands of my son.
Then I met the narc. Looking back I can see how I was a prime target. He was charming, younger, wined and dined me, thought I was the most beautiful woman he had ever met. I was perfect just the way I was. He was exciting, spontaneous, and madly in love with me, the real me. And I made the conscious decision to let my guard down and let a man take care of me for a change.
When things started to fall apart shortly after I moved in, I had no where to go, my mother had sold my house. I thought, “what have I got to lose?” And stayed when he asked me to.
When he told me I was too sensitive, too suspicious, paranoid; I believed him and doubted my gut instincts; because I had always been told that by my own family.
Had I been taught as a child to listen to my gut, that I was special because of my ability to read people’s emotions and told my feelings were valued and not dismissed. If someone had allowed me to express my anger and validated me; the narcissist wouldn’t have been able to get a strong hold of me.
I have forgiven my mother, she was raised by a very abusive man and her mother was an uneducated weak woman. She married my dad young and had never been with anyone else. She never was a nurturing mother, she was a child herself and she did what she could to avoid anger, and learned to lie, have secrets, self preservation, even if it meant making her own daughter the scape goat.
We all have our own stories of our childhood and I bet few of you were nurtured and accepted as you are. It is up to you to heal yourself by learning how to be an empathic person without sacrificing your own happiness and security. It is possible.
I talk about how you can learn to accept and love yourself in these past posts