Being empathic, intuitive, or highly sensitive means you can read the subconscious mind, plain and simple — whether you realize it or not — because the subconscious is always where the truth lies and you have spent your entire life working hard to find the truth on a planet full of illusions, projections, and distractions. As such, you are able to read subconscious patterns of thought and behavior on others through body language, tone of voice or specific intonation, word choice, energy, behavior, and more nuanced cues others don’t pick up on.
If you have not recognized your ability to perform this skill, you may end up drained by it. That’s because the narcissistic personalities and the non-empaths around you operate on the underlying assumption that the ego is the truth while you believe the subconsciousness to be truth. This results in great forms of denial or cognitive dissonance that you internalize into your body as stress. Over time, this will make you very sick.
Think of the ego and your empathy/intuition at far opposite sides on the same spectrum. Empathy and intuition exists on the far left side of this spectrum because that is how we all start out as babies. We operate solely on our intuitive nature — we feel hungry, we cry; we feel gassy, we cry; we feel joyful, we babble and smile; we want to understand something so we touch it or put it in our mouths. Young children do not question their natural feelings and responses — they just do it. As time goes on, however, parents and caregivers teach children that their feelings make them too needy, too annoying, too defiant, and children become products of the demands of their parent’s ego. They do what the parent wants or they get punished — sometimes in small ways (a parent says “no” angrily or makes a disapproving look), and sometimes in big ways (spankings, shaming, isolation, or neglect). In order to tap back into empathy and intuition, we have to become childlike again and ditch the ego. We have to get back in touch with that child-like innocence in order to surrender to the magic and live from the soul not the mind.
The ego, on the other hand, exists on the far right side of the spectrum. Like I say above, as we go on in life, pain piled on top of more pain can cause us to become hateful, react in toxic ways, and stunt our spiritual evolution. If we don’t choose wisely, we start to act out these pains on other people. Again, whether you call it narcissism or the ego, it’s almost one in the same: purposely inflicting pain to try to make ourselves look good, feel good and protect the subconscious feelings from surfacing (and therefore, never resolve our karma).
The ego is generally what is projected and believed as the “truth” in our groupthink world because the ego is oh-so obvious. But you, as an intuitive person, inherently believe the subconscious. This can leave you feeling crazy, wrong, and not in touch with reality because it appears as if no one else sees the truth. You have to learn to trust the subconscious — the underpinnings — instead of the ego’s obvious story in order to see the truth but also not drive your health into the ground.
It is interesting to note, however, that empaths and highly sensitive people posses our own unique way of dealing with the ego. It’s the way we hide our subconscious mind on purpose because we instinctively know who we really are may not be accepted, welcomed, or wanted. Whereas narcissists are operating from their ego 24/7 because it gives them power, empaths are operating from their subconscious mind most often but because we want to blend in, we learn to hide our true nature on purpose — not to harm anyone but to protect ourselves. It’s what I call “flipping” and it is where an empath purposefully flips their ego and their subconscious mind in order to blend in. It’s where we act more like our narcissistic culture than our true empathic nature because we believe that is what is expected of us, despite it causing us great pain.
When I come in contact with other highly intuitive people, I see they do this often. We tell white lies, we pretend like everything is fine, we nod in agreement, we go along with what others tell us even when we know in our hearts it is wrong. It is silently acknowledging the truth but appeasing the egoic demands of others based on fear or cognitive dissonance (not trusting yourself). Again, we understand how to literally flip the subconscious and the ego in order to blend in to not appear “different” because empaths naturally operate from their subconscious mind unlike others and that can be a liability. We want to hide in order to protect. I believe that many who have had past lives as both slaves and royalty understand how to do this because it works as an adaptation skill that is useful in abusive and/or diplomatic situations.
There are also people who flip their subconscious and ego for more devious purposes. This includes telling you what you want to hear in order to falsely earn your trust, deceive you, and get their way. Some narcissists are good at doing this because they have learned how to prey on empathic people — making them feel important and telling them what they have desperately wanted to hear their whole lives: “You’re so special”, “We are so similar”, “You are important”. We have to learn to feel a person’s intention and watch their behavior in order to discern the truth. Are they flipping their subconscious and ego because they want something from you, they want to hide their bad behavior, or hurt someone? These are all indications that they flip for power and control, not self protection.
When you sense another empath is doing this, it can feel like a mindfuck because you are feeling one truth on a person, but they are intentionally flipping it to seem like another. The difference between this and other people who hide their subconscious is that the empathic “flippers” do this intentionally for self-preservation and to keep the peace, or feel out a situation to see where they fit in, not to harm or deceive for purposes of power and control.
There is another element to this phenomenon and it’s what I call “foggy mirroring”. It’s where an empath naturally reflects back to a narcissist or non-empath what the person wants to hear or see. Imagine you just stepped out of a steamy shower. The mirror is fogged up and you can’t see yourself clearly. This is where we act like narcissists, or like narcissism is acceptable, in order to prevent someone else from having to face the harsh reality of their behavior, from having to see themselves for what they really are. It is like giving someone a free pass on their hateful actions because we don’t want to have to call them out on it and face the social consequences. So we affirm others for the sake of giving them what they want. Empaths are natural ego mirrors, so we have become accustomed to dimming this part of our energy or personality in order to not have to tell the harsh truth. If you’ve heard the words “let your light shine” or “don’t hide your light”, know that it means you must stop hiding your internal compass and high vibration for the sake of those operating from lower energies. The world is changing and we need to begin reflecting them back to themselves.
Flipping and foggy mirroring are very similar but the major differences are that flipping stems from high degrees of cognitive dissonance or the desire to hide our sacred inner world, whereas foggy mirroring is about actively trying to fit into a world where you feel you just don’t belong. Ultimately, I don’t believe either are healthy. Unfortunately, most empaths do these things without fully being aware of it and live their lives appeasing others at the expense of themselves. Over time, your physical and emotional health will begin to suffer greatly because in the end, you are living a lie and unable to self-actualize.
To overcome these dysfunctional behavioral patterns, try these things:
- Tell the truth, the hard whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
- Do not lower your energy to appease anyone.
- Create boundaries so that you do not automatically affirm the ego of those around you. If they are wrong, they are wrong.
- Say no when you need to.
- Take time away from the world at home or in nature to re-calibrate.
- Reflect and connect the dots in your life.
- Do not compromise yourself ever again.
- Reflect back to narcissists the pain they have put you through so they learn cause and effect and so that they learn you will not be a foggy mirror for them.
- Get rid of spiritual narcissists in your life — show them the door.
- Find other empathic people with which to affirm your truth.
- Trust your subconscious mind above your conscious mind.
- Stop worrying about fitting in. If people don’t like you for who you really are, they are not your friend or ally and you should not change for their acceptance.
- Stop people pleasing. You can be kind and loving without being a doormat.
- Decide what you want in life and pursue it until you get it.
- Trust yourself.
- Do not protect someone else’s lie.
- Stop seeking advice from people who talk you out of yourself.