The Effects of Narcissism (on an Empath)
They're all around us... and for many, they're also in the family. Little did I realize how much of an energy vampire they actually are until I finally accepted my intuitive abilities and began seeing things more clearly. My past was filled with narcissism, and because of that - I realized it actually began to rub off on me. Even when I was trying to be positive, it felt like a losing battle that negated my feelings. There was a lot I had to do to both break free of this confusing energy and try not to become it myself, in addition to the measures I had to take to not let if affect me anymore energetically. I want to discuss this to share the realities of it, and what worked for me - which is both spiritual and psychological advice.
To be honest, I never truly understood the term narcissism until 8 years ago when it was mentioned in my therapy. Even though I had been a part of the mental health system (as a patient) most of my life, it wasn't until I awoke and recovered my repressed memories - wherein I knew exactly what needed addressing in therapy - that I learned the truths for what it is. One of my therapists gave me a book to read, which was life-changing in that it not only clearly explained and categorized the damaging personality types, but gave clear examples of how it was wrong, which made me realize how blind I was. And while this therapy addressed the realizations, it wasn't until I turned to changing myself with intuitive healing that I realized how badly it had affected me.
Firstly, I'm just going to get this out of the way and say there's a recognition that these behaviours are LEARNED. I didn't have to dig far to realize that the biggest narcissists in my life were that way because they were taught so (treated badly and never received help, excused their abusive behaviour because it happened to them too); but in turn, there's only so much I can do about that and IT'S NOT MY FAULT or PLACE TO CHANGE THAT. Just as it's true with any mental health or addiction issue - a person needs to want help and see their truths for themselves in order to get proper help. There was no talking about it because pointing out their hurtful actions & words would always backfire and be redirected as my problem (another narcissistic tendency right there).. so I took my therapists advice in walking away and severing the relationship.
And as painful as that was to do, it released me from a ton of guilt, negative self-talk, and all the wishy-washy energy that toyed with my mind throughout the years.
Since Empaths have the ability to feel energy and others emotions, we have a tendency to get sucked in by narcissists. It's not our fault - we see someone that needs help, and the natural healer within feels obligated to do so. The truth is that narcissists do need a lot of help, but for the most part, they fail to even see their flaws, the pain they inflict through their anger, and the truth that they need help. But it's actually the personality traits that cause the most damage... narcissists are well known for using guilt to get you to do things for them (even going so far as to say "I won't love you anymore"), and they can be very persuasive that their way is the only way. They can put you through the ringer by just making you believe that you can't do enough or do anything right. All of this can toy with anyone's mind, but as an Empath - you're at their mercy unless you cut and run.
And don't get me started about this occurring in childhood! This was my experience, and I grew up believing that I wasn't allowed to have control over my emotions, decisions, or my ability to say "no" when I wanted to. Mixed with my sexual trauma; it caused me to believe I was nothing but a sex object in romantic relationships - allowing myself to be used and manipulated by boys/men because I didn't know any other way. Because of all of this, I grew up thinking I had to bend over backwards for everyone, even though it usually meant getting absolutely nothing in return. This caused a serious depression - adding to the other mental health issues I had - because I felt like I was just a puppet as I became an adult. My needs, my wants, my aspirations... all put on the back-burner because the narcissists in my life always had to come first.
(Is any of this sounding familiar to you?)
Things didn't start to become clear until I was finally fed up and I began to break away in my late 20s. I was rightfully becoming angry that their actions had put me in a buttload of financial & legal trouble, but little did they care - they just wanted to keep taking (1st reality check). I was so damaged by all the trauma that I didn't even care about myself - I just accepted the false belief that I needed to do whatever was asked of me in order to get by in life (2nd reality check; how wrong is this?!). The trouble in trying to fight back or deal with this is that these people know exactly how to reel you back in... they're all positive and praiseful when they need your relationship to be okay, and the switch is immediately flipped back the second they want something from you. Many people in this situation also find out (through the grapevines) that these people gossip and spread lies about you behind your back - but will completely deny it and "suck up" to get on your good side.
And I have to mention that the damage itself was harder to see because of all the "good" they did do.. which they are always quick to remind you of anytime you're struggling emotionally. Sure, there were days that were seemingly okay, but on other days you find yourself walking on eggshells - afraid to be seen by them or say something to them... because if the mood is off, you know you're going to be the target they use that day, or you'll be told you're saying or doing something wrong. And while they tend to shower you with gifts on holidays and special occasions, they can and will throw this fact in your face anytime you try to point out something that's wrong or something that has hurt you. The key identifying point here is you may recall getting into arguments with these people (as they become completely defensive) anytime you try to talk about how their words & actions made you feel - and they will end it with a comment of you not being appreciative of what they have given you.
And don't take this too lightly! I myself recall more than one incident as a child where I finally spoke up about my depression & suicidal thoughts, only to have it thrown in my face that I don't appreciate the little things that were done/given, or the fact that I'm alive. This is absolutely BRUTAL for an emotionally unstable child - on the verge of suicide - to hear!
It wasn't until I began recovering that I finally realized that this isn't love. Love doesn't guilt you into doing things, and it doesn't dangle your worth on the line if you can't (or don't want to) do something one day. As I met my husband just when I was starting to "rebel" as a young adult, I was floored to see how differently his family acted - truth is, they're not perfect, but it made me feel completely out of place going to family dinners that actually involved pleasant conversations where people laughed and weren't trying to bring down or backstab each other. As I realized I was an outsider that didn't even know how to properly communicate with others, I slowly began to see there was something wrong with the family dynamic I was used to.
The biggest problem with dealing with this for years on end is that you start to become a narcissist yourself. "Monkey see, monkey do", and the whole cycle continues if you don't know any other way. The sheer fact that there was no emotional stability is mentally damaging, and the confusion (and neglect of your needs) causes anger within. Once you finally feel angry, you can slip into the same tendencies they do (commonly: blaming everyone else for issues that you can act on and change; keeping in mind that we're talking about the things in life outside of being a victim, like not buying yourself something you really want and then blaming others for not giving it to you). Any Empath that isn't yet empowered with boundaries and/or through spiritual practices finds it harder, because we're just more easier to manipulate. Again, no fault of our own - it's just our nature to not want to cause any harm, unpleasantness, and see that everyone's happy. The only issue left is that because we're so focused on pleasing others and easing the tension, we forget that we're not at all happy!
The truth is that we're left feeling used, abused, have a damaged ego and outlook on ourselves, but feel completely unable to talk to anyone for help. A transition (better yet: a transformation) needs to occur in order to break free for good, and put up boundaries and protection. Anytime I encountered someone that had the same dense, dark looming energy around them (which I recognized as the energy that accompanies narcissists), I would freeze up and slip into my PTSD triggers. It wasn't until I began my own practices (using crystals, protection, invoking light to overcome the dark) that I began to see this subside. Nowadays, it's simply enough to have this all as part of my daily measures, and I just take recognizing this energy as a warning sign not to get involved with a person.
In some ways, this leads to some of the lessons one learns on their spiritual path. I was so damaged and angry by these experiences and my trauma that I turned to spirituality simply to ask "What is my purpose? What good can possibly come from the life I had?". I failed to see the light on the other side of this... until I realized I had to create a positive outlook regarding my experiences. In the end, the only conclusion I felt was appropriate was that it was all a learning experience for me, and that it helped me become a better person in the end as I broke free and found myself. Now I reflect and realize all the warning signs and characteristics of people that 1) I should never get involved with, and 2) drain others' energy. Through their tendency of constantly taking from you, and making you feel like a horrible person if you didn't agree with their opinion or wanted to do a certain something, they are able to completely drain an Empath while also brainwashing them. Breaking free was only the beginning for me, and it took me a couple of years (and my healing process) to finally release myself from the scrutiny I felt coming from their direction.
If you've had similar experiences and are looking to start your healing journey to break free and recover, consider booking with me. I take pride in helping others transform their lives in a way that they can reclaim their mind, body, and soul and move forward as their authentic, true self. Packages are available and you can always have a free consultation call online to discuss it further - see my website for more information!
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