As I have said before, empathic people are surrounded by narcissists. It is a reality of the karmic system we have been born into. Some people are so stuck in their egos because of past trauma that they are unable to lessen it (ie: narcissists). As an empath, your life journey is about getting out of your ego completely and it is what you have been working towards your whole life. In this way, narcs serve a great purpose. These people are our greatest teachers, and I believe we can take the abuse we have endured and flip it on its head for our benefit. We can choose to stay in the trauma or we can take their abuse and use it as fuel on our soul’s fire, so to speak, to ascend, grow, and change.
I say this as an abuse victim myself. We should never ever blame the victim for what they have endured because most often, the victim is either not aware of it, or they play along to avoid punishment. That said, while we have been told society is of assistance to abuse victims, I have seen this is still a great fallacy. Friends and family didn’t save me, the court system didn’t save me, my lawyer, the police, my counselor, my system of support did nothing for me. They watched it all transpire and had a good laugh or talk behind closed doors. So here’s the truth: we have to save ourselves. Anyone who has not been a victim will not understand the severity of the situation and therefore, cannot help you. The best person to help you escape is you. Once you have escaped, you can take all of the garbage these abusers threw at you, transmute it, and finally break out of the shell of abuse. There is hope on the other side. I promise you.
Subtle symptoms of narcissistic abuse:
You feel or look empty. Your appearance, tone or voice, and personality feels blank inside. Sometimes it’s not obvious until you see or hear yourself on a video or photo. Or perhaps you force smiles and try to appear happy when you feel dead inside.
Your thoughts are completely wrapped up in this person’s happiness. You have no time, energy, or space to take care of yourself. You are constantly thinking about what you can do next for the narc to prevent them from becoming angry or controlling.
You have constant brain fog. You have a hard time remembering or concentrating on anything but your demands this person has imposed on you.
You begin doubting your sanity. For months or years you have been told you are wrong, bad, crazy, and you start to believe it.
Manipulators are attracted to empathic people who deeply care for others. They seek to inject their negative behavior traits into you by incessant manipulation, fighting, stress, etc. It is a relief for them to transpose their toxicity onto you. When you finally react and blow up based on how they have treated you, they blame you for your behavior. They create a problem, then come as the savior to fix the situation they themselves created. Ie: they make you sick then they tell you that you have a problem and tell you how to fix yourself.
You are unsure of who you are the longer you are in the relationship. The less you feel, act, talk, or look like who you once were (before you met them). Who you are is dictated to you.
You are used to being told you are wrong. You are always “wrong”.
Your circle of support has slowly become nothing but the narcissist’s friends and family.
You keep getting more and more sick or unwell while the narcissist appears stronger and healthier.
Your nervous system has been trained like a Pavlovian dog — always on high alert, ready for the next problem to arise, or next bullet to dodge, ready to explain yourself even when you have done nothing wrong.
You have been the target of a smear campaign.
You cannot sleep well at night, especially if this person is sleeping in the same bed as you. Your body never has time to rest, relax, and recover. You walk on eggshells, even in your mind as you sleep.
You are constantly tired and drained by them. They place more and more pressure on you to perform, while your expectations for them are lessened. You have to take on more and more responsibility until the majority of it is on your shoulders. They get a free pass to do whatever they would like while you slave away. Yet, they complain as if your efforts are never enough. You being sick, tired, or drained does not matter to a narc — they demand, you give, give, and give some more.
You deal with constant cognitive dissonance. Ex: “I know he tells me he loves me but he ignores me, tells me terrible things about myself, doesn’t reciprocate, etc”. You aren’t sure what to make of it and feel constantly confused about reality.
Every day is charged with fear and anxiety. You have learned that when you relax, everything goes wrong because your narc can no longer siphon energy from you — they need you in a stress state to thrive.
You lose your shine in the relationship. What once drove you and made you passionate is no longer appealing.
You have low self-esteem. If you have been told how terrible you are for years and years, there is no way you can feel good about yourself. This is something you have to actively work to cultivate again after the abuse.
You are not allowed to be happy. Smiling, laughing, and enjoying other people, your job, or hobbies is strictly forbidden. You learn to hold every emotion back.
You are easily triggered. Your fight/flight response is activated within a split second. This can happen during normal daily encounters, like going to the grocery store, taking a phone call, etc.
You have avoidant behaviors because everything can be a trigger for your nervous system. You would rather hide than be stressed again.
In your relationship, your partner present very well in public but you always seem to be a mess, emotional, disconnected, etc.
You are always working hard to keep a secret but you aren’t sure what it is.