The Dance of the Empath/Narcissist


As an empathic person, I tend to attract empaths to my practice.  Many people who are going through the a spiritual awakening process now, identify with the term- empath. 

An empath is someone who is sensitive.  We have a developed heart center and tend to be nurturing, kind-hearted, and empathetic.  We can feel what others are feeling, which can be quite confusing growing up, when you know someone is upset, but when asked about it, a person says, “I’m not upset!”  We can tell when the words are incongruent with the thoughts, emotions, or energies.  When people say one things and do or feel another, it is difficult to understand and navigate the world accordingly.  Further, how to navigate the world as an empath is not taught in schools, nor by most parents to their children!

Being an empath can be a great super strength as well as a perceived weakness.  When our boundaries are too loose (both physically, emotionally, and/or psychically), we can become sick or physically uncomfortable due to our inclination “to take on” that which is “other” or “not ours”.  On the other hand, being an empath is useful in many ways, such as being present in relationships, knowing what the other person is experiencing and feeling, an unmatched depth of compassion, and being able to work with people and knowing what is “under” the surface, even when they are not (yet) aware.  It can also be taxing physically, mentally, and emotionally.  It can lead to attracting difficult relationships as well.

For example, empaths tend to attract narcissistic people too, the reason that both types “feed” from one another (energetically, speaking). Empaths can have a tendency to over-identify with “other”.  They can become enmeshed  and crave approval (oftentimes due to unresolved feelings of unworthiness from childhood).  On the other hand, narcissists crave attention and therefore “eat up” whatever energy the empath is putting out.  The narcissist’s need for approval comes from the same unmet need, actually.  Both feel unworthy or not enough.  The empath shies away and hides the true self from most (which can result in co-dependent traits), while the narcissist is overt and “out there”, hiding the true self while displaying the “masked” self, usually grandiose.

Empaths can yearn for validation and approval, because they have a need to please others.  They carry the ultimate chameleon medicine, in that due to lack of strength in their own sense of self, they can find themselves morphing in individual or group settings; there is an unconscious desire to blend as opposed to stand out.  Through the ability to blend well, they naturally become adept with receiving approval and validation.

Every human goes through a process of development; so each of us transition through a narcissistic phase (usually as young children).  We believe the world revolves around us, because from our own perception, it does!  Most caregiver bend over backwards to try and aid the happiness of their children.  Children can be demanding!  As we grow and gain experience, ideally, we develop wisdom through these experiences.  We start to recognize other people have feelings and needs too, and ours may not always be the most important or only.  People who maintain narcissistic qualities, usually have undergone a trauma during this time of development in early childhood.

The source to healing either pattern, is healing the inner child and questioning the core belief of unworthiness.  Both EMDR and Reiki are great paths to getting there.  In EMDR, we target a memory, including the negative thought, “I am unworthy”, the emotions (locked in the cells of the body), and the body sensation.  We apply bilateral stimulation (in the form of eye movements, auditory stimulation, or tactile- tapping), which initiates the brain’s own innate ability to heal and arrive in a more adaptive center.  With Reiki, we target energetically where the pattern is stored and move the energy through the body.  We look at the ancestry and where needed, heal the structure.

In both cases, there is a need for information to come up from the unconscious mind and be expressed through the conscious aspect.  Many empathic people also find solace in using shielding and grounding techniques while they heal the patterns, in order to avoid taking on others’ energies, emotions, and body sensations.  My favorite shielding technique involves the use of sacred geometry.  See yourself surround by an octahedron of light (any color you prefer will do).  This represents this Divine masculine.  To balance the Divine Masculine, we rotate the shape and create a sphere around it.  Now, you are inside of an octahedron, inside of a sphere, balance in masculine and feminine.   This is a great tool to use even while driving; when people get too close to your vehicle and feel like they are in your “space”.  Broaden the field of energy (using your visual imagery), and watch the other car back off or drive around you.

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