Why is that as empathetic people or highly sensitive people we feel their sorrow, pain but also their happiness? Why is that we want to make everybody happy and cannot understand that NOT everybody will be able to feel that same way? Some of us can literally call it a curse rather than a gift!
If we do not understand our power / gift then it falls into the wrong hands and is abused at the detriment of us. We always tend to learn the hard way… right? So before we go into the discussion, lets understand what is going on, what does it mean to be an empathetic person and embody the emotions of another person.
What is the definition of an empath?
Looking this up in a dictionary which describes an empath: noun
noun: empath; plural noun: empaths
(chiefly in science fiction) a person with the paranormal ability to perceive the mental or emotional state of another individual.
Being an empath is when you are affected by other people’s energies, and have an innate ability to intuitively feel and perceive others.
Your life is unconsciously influenced by others’ desires, wishes, thoughts, and moods. Being an empath is much more than being highly sensitive and it’s not just limited to emotions.
Empaths can perceive physical sensitivities and spiritual urges, as well as just knowing the motivations and intentions of other people.
You either are an empath or you aren’t. It’s not a trait that is learned. You are always open, so to speak, to process other people’s feelings and energy, which means that you really feel, and in many cases take on the emotions of others.
Many empaths experience things like chronic fatigue, environmental sensitivities, or unexplained aches and pains daily. These are all things that are more likely to be contributed to outside influences and not so much yourself at all. Essentially you are walking around in this world with all of the accumulated karma, emotions, and energy from others.
Empaths are often quiet achievers. They can take a while to handle a compliment for they’re more inclined to point out another’s positive attributes. They are highly expressive in all areas of emotional connection, and talk openly, and, at times quite frankly. They may have few problems talking about their feelings if another cares to listen (regardless of how much they listen to others).
The downside is that empaths may bottle up emotions and build barriers sky-high so as to not let others know of their innermost thoughts and/or feelings. This withholding of emotional expression can be a direct result of a traumatic experience, an expressionless upbringing, or simply being told as a child, “Children are meant to be seen and not heard!”
Empaths are sensitive to TV, videos, movies, news and broadcasts. Violence or emotional dramas depicting shocking scenes of physical or emotional pain inflicted on adults, children or animals can bring an empath easily to tears. They simply cannot justify the suffering they feel and see.
You will find empaths working with people, animals or nature with a true passion and dedication to help them. They are often tireless teachers and/or caretakers for our environment and all within it. Many volunteers are empathic and give up personal time to help others without pay and/or recognition.
2.0 Embodied Emotions & the empath
Embodied emotion is the physiological arousal and bodily reaction that accompanies a certain feeling. ...
Embodied emotion simply means that we feel emotions with our body. The scientific definition of embodied emotion is the physiological arousal that accompanies a certain feeling.
So, the feeling of anxiety and fear that might accompany public speaking is expressed physiologically with responses in the body such as an uneasy stomach, sweating, and an increased heart rate. This physiological arousal is caused by the autonomic nervous system.
Empaths are highly sensitive, finely tuned instruments when it comes to emotions. They feel everything, sometimes to an extreme, and are less apt to intellectualise feelings. Intuition is the filter through which they experience the world. Empaths are naturally giving, spiritually attuned, and good listeners. If you want heart, empaths have got it. Through thick and thin, they’re there for you, world-class nurturers.
2.1 Where the body feels emotions
Scientists have long known that common emotions can trigger sensations in our bodies -- whether it's butterflies in the stomach (anxiety) or hot cheeks (shame).
And now a new study suggests that we all have the same bodily sensations associated with our feelings regardless of culture or language -- because the mind-body connection is biological, and is linked to our very drive for survival. However empaths will feel this more intensely, since there is no study that can demonstrate that - here is a picture that shows how the normal human being feels emotions within their bodies.
"Our emotional system in the brain sends signals to the body so we can deal with our situation,"
”Say you see a snake and you feel fear... Your nervous system increases oxygen to your muscles and raises your heart rate so you can deal with the threat. It's an automated system. We don't have to think about it.”
For the study, more than 700 men and women from Finland and Taiwan were shown two silhouettes of bodies alongside emotionally charged words, stories, movies, or facial expressions. They were asked to mark in the bodily regions on the silhouettes where they felt a physical sensation response to each emotional image.
What did the researchers find? The resulting body maps revealed that most people had similar physical sensations in response to each emotional state.
But for empaths the feeling of emotions in their bodies is felt on a more intense scale because the empath will also experience their senses combined with their emotions. The average person will only experience either emotions or the senses. Empaths function on a different continuum than that of an average person.
2.3 How the empath embodies the narcissist
People who are poles apart might be drawn together for all the wrong reasons.
Narcissists, for example, are attracted to people they will get the greatest use from. Often, this means they pursue and target empaths.
Empaths are the opposite of narcissists. While people with narcissistic personality disorder have no empathy, and thrive on the need for admiration, empaths are highly sensitive and in tune with other people's emotions.
Empaths are "emotional sponges," who can absorb feelings from other people very easily. This makes them them very attractive to narcissists, because they see someone who will fulfil their every need in a selfless way.
A 'toxic' attraction destined for disaster
Judith Orloff, a psychiatrist and author of "The Empath's Survival Guide,”
"What narcissists see in empaths is a giving, loving person who is going to try and be devoted to you and love you and listen to you," she said. "But unfortunately empaths are attracted to narcissists, because at first this is about a false self. Narcissists present a false self, where they can seem charming and intelligent, and even giving, until you don't do things their way, and then they get cold, withholding and punishing.”
When a narcissist is trying to hook someone in, they will be loving and attentive, but their mask soon starts to slip. At the beginning they only see the good qualities, and believe the relationship will make them look good. This doesn't last because narcissists are full of contempt, and they see most people as below them. Once they start to notice their partner's flaws, they no longer idealise them, and they start to blame them for not being perfect.
Narcissists manipulate empaths by stringing them along with intermittent hope. They will integrate compliments and kindness into their behaviour, making their victim believe that if they behave in the correct manner, they will get the loving person back who they once knew.
Also, realise that boundaries are healthy for all relationships. For empaths, boundaries can feel harsh, but once they are aware of the strength of saying "no," they can protect themselves from people who are looking to take advantage of them.
3. Positive (empath) and Negative (narcissist) energy exchange.
Real empaths feel too much.
Real narcissists don’t seem to feel anything, or at least not in regard to others’ feelings. Showing your vulnerable side to a narcissist in an attempt to explain how his or her behaviour might be hurtful will just invite more abuse.
Narcissists–at least the ones I’ve had experiences with–have a deep self-loathing. That might seem incongruous with their arrogant me-me-me-me-me-me-me attitude on display, but they have a tremendous sense of unworthiness that causes them to lash out at others in an attempt to increase their self-esteem. Unfathomably deep sense of shame about something in their lives, usually in early childhood.
- I don’t know if it’s true of all narcissists, but the ones in my observation have abandonment issues with at least one parent, all stemming from something that happened when they were pre-schoolers, and have ensured they never get close enough to anyone again to feel abandoned.
From what I have seen in my practice and my personal experience, the narcissist has a core wound that makes him or her feel unlovable and worthless.
- However, this wound and the belief is buried so deep that it is completely unconscious.
To compensate and to not feel this pain, they over-achieve, they become know-it-alls, and/or they build up a facade that allows them to feel good about themselves.
Feeling good is all they can allow or else they will access that deep pain. Many narcissists will sacrifice just about anything and anybody to avoid facing such pain. Such a person is unlikely to be able to do his work in order to heal because they are avoiding that core pain.
— feeling good about themselves is what they want to achieve, they know that they have a negative energy about them, they want to erase this feeling thats why they look for the most purest and most empathic person because they can take and embody those ‘good’ and ‘pure’ emotions from the empath. All this in aid to make themselves feel ‘positive’ and good about themselves. What the narcissist doesn’t realise is that this is an inside job - but they don’t so they will NEVER feel whole, pure, or happy as this has been arrested development from childhood.
The narcissist uses this need to manipulate the Empath.
The blind spot for Empaths to watch out for is our unconscious belief that going deep and seeing the inner world of another is the best way to bond. It is unhealthy to bond to an unhealthy person!
The narcissist is an injured empath that is depleted. They seek to fill their dysfunction with the function of others. Empaths serve as mental, emotional, spiritual and financial batteries for the narcissist (who is a chronic victim).
Once this exchange starts it continues long after the physical separation. I call it energetic cords. Once they are in place they need to be intentionally removed. They are psychic in nature. The empath can feel the pull of the narcissist and associates it with compassion (empath default).
- The narcissist feels this pull and associates it with supply (narcissist default). Naturally, the narcissist doesn’t want to let go of supply. They are skilled and often very intuitive and know when to pull to lodge that fish hook. They only disengage when demands are asked of them.
NOTE: If an empath continues to contact someone who brings them pain and discomfort, it is not the fault of anyone else including the narcissist. This is a relationship that is an exchange where both people benefit in some way even if that way is has a toxic impact. What I am saying is that the energy exchange tends to be extreme between the empath and narcissist. It is difficult to break and this is an extreme method of doing so. If you are considering cord cutting you should read my blog post which I will link after the live show. This post in itself is not enough information for that process.
4. What are the ailments of the narcissist?
Physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual.
The narcissist is not a fully fledged emotional being, therefore ailments will be felt almost instantaneously in all aspects of their being. I have highlighted a few of those ailments above. I am going to look at Emmy van Deurzen's Four Dimensions in order to better understand this dynamic.
The way in which a person is in the world at a particular stage can be charted on this general map of human existence (Binswanger, 1963; Yalom, 1980; van Deurzen-Smith, 1984). One can distinguish four basic dimensions of human existence: the physical, the social, the psychological and the spiritual. On each of these dimensions people encounter the world and shape their attitude out of their particular take on their experience. Our orientation towards the world defines our reality. The four dimensions are obviously interwoven and provide a complex four- dimensional force field for our existence. We are stretched between a positive pole of what we aspire to on each dimension and a negative pole of what we fear.
The narcissist will encounter many physical ailments - stress, anxiety and depression are common co-morbid symptoms. What physical ailments are associated with these …. diabetes, not sleeping, adrenal fatigue, disturbed appetite, cardiovascular systems, lymphocytes the white blood cells are disturbed therefore infection is heightened, depression is linked to diabetes and heart disease, Ill link the study below, anxiety links to thyroid disease, respiratory disease, gastonintestinal, arthritis, allergies and migraines.
- -During times of acute stress our brain releases powerful hormones—adrenaline and cortisol—to heighten senses and boost our strength and energy.
Emotional Ailments - well the narcissist is devoid of feeling. This is something that has been under developed or arrested during childhood. The narcissist as a child detached themselves from their ‘real’ self in order to survive, therefore that is where empathy was under developed or not present at all.
Psychological Ailments- the narcissist experiences many co-morbid psychological problems such as anxiety and all other disorder branching off from that such as social anxiety, OCD, PTSD etc. They have attachment disorder, detachment. Many other common psychological ailments are depression and various other mood disorders.
Spiritual Ailments - the narcissist exists on a negative plane. Their emotional receptivity affects their senses so they will always be looking for negative confirmation in their environment. Therefore their experience and embodiment of the world is very negative. As a result the spiritual development will be greatly affected. They cannot grow spiritually nor are they open to this because all other dimensions of existence are closed off to them. There is no way of fixing this, this is the way that they have developed because of their environment and childhood experiences. Neural pathways would have been formed a specific way affecting and arresting development going onto adulthood.
Do narcissists cause mental illness in others?
There is a condition called C-PTSD (which stands for complex post traumatic stress disorder) that can occur after a longer period of harmful contact with someone with a disturbing personality (as Narcissists, Borderlines) among other causes? I would live to hear your comments on this.
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