In my last blog post, I wrote about Empath sabotage type 1: energetic starvation. You see, empaths need and thrive on emotionally reciprocated love as their primary fuel. It’s what gives them the energy to keep going both mentally and physically. Starving them of this leads to utter psychological and physiological chaos. Because empaths operate on the assumption good energy for good energy, starving them of good energy causes existential crisis. Trust me, there are solutions to this problem (see the link above). Unfortunately though this is but one tactic used against empaths to keep us stressed and sick.
Today I’m adding onto the ideas discussed in that last post because there are many ways empathic people are hurt, used, and targeted so others can get ahead — or so that we can’t. The next big one is confusion. Mind games, misleading information, alternative storylines, red herrings, subconscious suggestion, groupthink, “abusive fallacy”, “tone policing”, “traitorous critic fallacy”, appeal to fear, Bulverism, straw man, etc. etc. etc. In other words, these tactics and many others are used by narcissists in order to confuse empaths and the people around them in order to deflect from whatever the real issue at hand is, or in order to throw a wrench in the life of an empath so they cannot be successful.
In all honesty, I wish I didn’t have to tell you these things and I wish they were not really happening. The truth, if you want it, is that is it real and it does happen very often. It will happen every time you try to “up level” and improve yourself or something big in your environment. Every time you try to shine, speak your truth, get away from the drama and trauma, heal yourself, improve the world around you, and remember your magnificence. It is truly the “crab in the bucket” syndrome. If you up level, you are going to have others try to bring you down first — or make you so traumatized it feels impossible to succeed. I know because I have lived this and because my clients live it too. It causes a great deal of confusion which can make us sick and immobilized.
First, I want to preface this by saying that we all play mind games with each other — whether we realize it or not. The difference is some people do it on purpose to get ahead and some people don’t know they’re doing it. It’s all about intention. Until one has identified their ego (that is, the desires for control and pain) and worked to tame it, you’ll be floating in and out of your ego all the time. In one moment, you’ll be deep in the ego without even realizing it, and in the next moment you’ll be striving to be your higher self — vacillating between the subconscious and conscious mind, base and holy, holy and base. Narcissists do this on purpose to hide their desire for power and control, while everyone else does it without realizing or because they are truly trying to grow and evolve (which is a hard process).
As I said, there are, however, people who are aware of this phenomena and purposefully hide their ego in order to throw others off, or to appear as their higher self when it is self-serving for them. They may hide behind good words and deeds but use common fallacies to serve devious desires. The people around them don’t recognize this and continue trusting them (only seeing the higher-self version they have put on display for the world), while the empaths become very confused because they see through this facade. We recognize their cognitive dissonance or hypocrisy in their words and actions; it’s simply in the nature of an empath to see through bullshit.
I’ll give you an example. You’re part of a spiritual community promoting love and peace. Therefore, naturally, you expect love and peace from them. Maybe you even pay them a tithe, or for classes or services, or some kind of extracurricular activity. You hope it will enrich your life and the life of your family. You work hard to build community within this group and get involved. And although there are many other people in the same boat as you, lovingly being of service to the group and motto, there are others who engage in more base activities like gossip, defamation, groupthink, coercion, and negativity. While people are saying they want love and peace, their actions tell you otherwise. You can’t make heads or tails of it.
A common scenario that creates confusion is when a group member starts asking questions or observing the baseness going on on a deeper level within the community, they are punished with isolation, bullying, threats, intimidation, etc. “They’re not spiritual enough”, “they’re depressed”, “they aren’t like us”, “they’re just trying to cause trouble”, “stay away from them” you will be told. You are observing one thing but being told another through logical fallacies — you feel utterly confused.
As Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés writes in her wonderful book ,”Women Who Run With The Wolves“, it is as if there is a door you have been subconsciously told you cannot peek behind. In her book, Pinkola Estés tells the story of Bluebeard — a charming king figure who woos women with lavish gifts, intellectual conversation, and supposed generosity. Although one young woman has been warned about his true violent nature, she ignores the warnings and takes a liking to him anyway: “he can’t be that bad — after all, he has been so kind and generous” she rationalizes to herself. He gives her a key ring with keys to open all doors of his castle — except, he tells her, don’t use that one key. Of course, she becomes so curious that she just has to open the door that goes with that key. To her shock and horror, she finds the bones of his ex-wives that have also opened the door, that he has killed and hidden. Then he comes for her too.
Here is the metaphor: should you open “the door” they don’t want you to open, you face proverbial death. The door leads to the truth and it is an initiation into intuition, should you follow it and seek it out — but the truth, sometimes, is horrific, which is why narcissists use tactics to confuse you and deflect the truth. The “door” is ultimately the ego of others that has been hidden on purpose. This is why Bluebeard warns the woman not to enter — only “bad” girls open the door so if you opened it, it must be because you are a bad seed and deserve punishment.
Do you see the confusion? I cannot tell you how many clients have come to me with this same scenario. Situations like these will cause empaths a great deal of cognitive dissonance, which leads to stress and physical symptoms. First you will feel confusion and stress/pain because chances are no one — or very few people — will admit to what is truly transpiring because they don’t want to be singled out or punished, so you feel alone in the pain. Secondly, it’s because you had the expectation of good energy for good energy and that was not met — and in fact, it was likely completely annihilated and then you were shamed for ever having that expectation to begin with.
If you want to avoid the confusion that causes empathic sabogate, learn the games and fallacies others use to get their way. Remember, it is not a straight line to the truth because there is a near constant game of deflection and projection happening in groups or relationships where narcissists are in control of the social setting. While you may observe one thing and watch the trail of deflection occurring, it is easy to talk yourself out of it when you are the only one seeing it or are the only one caring that it is transpiring in the first place. Trust yourself, trust your body’s reaction, trust your instinct and intuition. Not everyone wants to be awake to these things, and some already know it’s happening but either don’t want to be singled out, or are participants.
Once you have seen the truth, you cannot unsee it. Trust yourself first and foremost in order to avoid confusion.