Being abused in various forms (emotional and mental abuse, physical abuse, financial abuse, hazing) by 3-4 groups in two years has taught me a great deal about what it means to be a victim and a survivor. It also taught me a great deal about intuition, karma, and past life pain cycles. Over the years, I had seen many highly sensitive clients end up in similar situations — they couldn’t understand why they were the target of other people’s frustrations. After all, they were meek, kind, smart and resourceful, and wanted the best in their home and work life. But time and time again, they dealt with the brunt of other’s pent-up anger or resentment and couldn’t figure out why.
Empaths have learned to put up with abuse in its many forms and, as I have witnessed, have in large part remained silent about it. We know that there are unspoken societal rules victims have to abide by to be taken seriously, be liked, and to have the abuse they’ve endured taken seriously once they state their allegations. First and foremost, don’t be “too” abused.
There is an unspoken glass ceiling if you will — a cap on how much you are allowed to have been abused; on how much you are allowed to communicate and bring to light. Anything above and beyond that is considered pure fiction, fable, story, exaggeration. Anything above and beyond, you are considered a troublemaker.
Like many women I’ve worked with, I spent most of my life working hard to have no needs. I didn’t want to be a burden to others because I knew it complicates ones social life when you’re “needy”, “clingy” or “messy”. I became the mom, the caregiver, the healer of others, the quiet sufferer. I did this so well that I worked my body to its breaking point and became very sick under the stress of unspoken abuse. But I had the affirmation I desired from others because I remained a silent good girl. I was accepted by my perpetrators.
Then, suddenly, I could bear the weight no more. I chose to speak.
You see, highly sensitive and empathic people are put in a catch 22 of sorts when it comes to bullying and abuse — if we tell the truth, we risk being seen as a problem or as paranoid. But the reality is, we are targeted by narcissistic personalities because they feed off of our stress response — and if you haven’t identified this, you will be surrounded by these people. They will have infiltrated your work life, social group, and family dynamics. On the flip side, if we don’t say anything about what these people are doing to us, we face many forms of health problems that will inevitably ensue.
How to deal with adult bullies:
1. Tell them what they are doing to you. Reflect back to bullies what they are doing to you, very specifically so they can understand how their actions affect others. Often, these people do not fully understand the cause and effect of their actions, so finding a way to communicate what they have done to you and why it has hurt you is important for them to understand the consequences of their actions. It also sets up an environment where they will not be as comfortable hurting you in the future because they are well aware of their behavior.
2. Tell others what they are doing to you. If you can’t get anywhere with these people personally, you may need to those in authority to help stop the behaviors. For example, speak with a boss or H.R. representative, manager, etc. Once those in authority know, it is their ethical obligation to do something to remedy the situation. It will also likely prevent the bully from acting out such things on you again because now someone else understands the extent of the problem. Bullies usually want to look good at all costs so turning to someone else to help remedy the problem can stop the issue because they will want to “save face”. Do not be surprised if they alter their behavior after you have said something so nothing can be traced back to them — ultimately this may leave others questioning you, rather than the bully (“they’ve never treated me like that; I don’t see how this person could have done that to you”.)
3. Share your story openly. Secrets keep us stressed and sick. We must all actively work to create a cultural climate where secrets are no longer acceptable when we are being hurt on purpose. The #MeToo movement is a great example of this. Sharing your story publicly (whether on social media, a blog, or writing website, etc) helps to change larger societal structures that thrives on silence. This doesn’t mean you use their name to call them out, but you can find a constructive way to share what has happened to you so that strangers and followers can read your experiences, learn from them, and can find the courage to change the cultural dynamics themselves. If others choose to turn a blind eye, it is a form of complicity and is their own karma they will have to deal with in the end.
4. Strengthen yourself. Bullying is unfortunate and a sick behavioral pattern, but you can and should use it to your advantage to become stronger. The bullies are preying on your supposed weaknesses, and we can use their dysfunction to our advantage to no longer be able to be preyed on in this manner. Bullying is never the victims fault, but thinking of it as a call to action helps victims strengthen their personalities so if another problem situation arises, you will know how to act immediately rather than let it fester or pull you into sadness, depression, anxiety, frustration, etc. This can mean doing internal work and self-development so you see how beautiful and competent you really are, or reminding yourself of your successes and achievements. In doing so, you will see it was never really about you — it was about the bully wanting to pull someone else down to make themselves appear superior.
5. Remove yourself from the situation. If bringing the bullying to the attention of those in authority or strengthening yourself does not remedy the problem, consider totally removing yourself from the environment where the bullying thrives, or away from the bully themselves. Sometimes you have to take extreme measures to get away from these people, but in the long run, your health and well-being is worth it.
6. Understand why these people are bullies to begin with. There is almost always a corresponding wound that is causing people to bully others. They likely feel insecure, inadequate, worry about their standing or power status, so they hurt others before they themselves can be hurt. These people may have a history of being abused themselves so they think this is a natural human behavioral pattern. This doesn’t mean we excuse or overlook their actions, it just means we see that the bullying is the root of a larger issue in this person’s life and psyche and it has nothing to do with us — it has to do with their own wounds. This can help us let go of the pain associated with the bullying because, again, you are not being bullied because of who you are — you are being bullied because of who they are.
How you define life, it’s meaning, and the reasons you are ultimately here is entirely up to you. Some take a nihilistic approach and believe there is no fated meaning but perhaps we can derive one. Others believe in predestination, or free will within that predestination. Your upbringing, religious or spiritual beliefs, and life experiences will lead you to what is true for you. As always, I want to share a new perspective for you to consider.
Here’s what you need to know in order to be successful and healthy: life is an energy game. Who can gain the most, who can be stolen from, who can generate it themselves and who cannot, and who can let go of harmful energies in order to overcome the traumas of the past and self-actualize.
As I have said before, we all have at least 7 energy centers on our bodies, called the chakras (though other faith traditions say there are more). These centers are nothing more than pinpoints on the body where complex physiological activity occurs 24/7: the brain, the thyroid, the heart, the stomach, the intestines, and the sex organs. For those interested in metaphysics, the chakras also store or generate spiritual energy. Because of one’s core wounds (aka vulnerabilities), which drain your energy and put you at a disadvantage, this energy has to be intentionally rebuilt over time and with hard work.
Think of the chakras like seven distinct deposit centers that amount to a sum total of bottom line energy (called kundalini). Kundalini is present in its pure form at birth, it is said, though it gets suppressed and blocked by the ways the ego of others are imposed onto us, creating core wounds or “debts”. In other words, if you are wounded in one chakra center, your overall “bank sum” will be low, despite deposits being made in other chakras. Ideally, you want a hefty energy “bank account” where no energy center is ever in the red, and in fact has plenty to withdraw at a moments notice, should you need it. Total self-actualization or enlightenment comes when you posses full kundalini power.
We have been taught to pursue physical possessions and paper money. The truth is that we must pursue the energetic currency of the soul in order to find success.
For example, your thoughts, voice, feelings, perceptions, and creativity has been suppressed since childhood, or since a specific trigger. Perhaps you have also been diagnosed with a thyroid disease. When the time comes to defend yourself, speak up, or “sell yourself” within a job/relationship, you will end up fearful, anxious, quiet, and regretful because you feel you are unable to rise to the occasion. Unless you use it, you will lose it. And if you have never truly used your fifth chakra skills before, you will not have enough in your bank account to withdrawal during these necessary moments. Ultimately, not rising to the occasion will leave you feeling bad about yourself, inadequate, and small. In this case, your bank card withdrawal limit means nothing if you live in a cyclical state of unworthiness.
The next time such a challenge comes around, you may react in the same way and rescind to a hiding or shame place, or you may be overcome with grief and regret. Round and round you go on the hamster wheel because you are unsure of how to get what you desire, yet stepping out in bravery to re-activate this energy center feels too daunting. You resign yourself to a smaller, more diminutive version of who you really are and you accept that you will never be as big as you want to be — or as big as you want your relationships, job, or other pursuits to be.
This is why I illuminate your core wounds and life lessons in Energy Readings — your health and life depend on you activating these energy centers and building up deposits so big, so grand that you have more than enough to help yourself to when you decide to take the road less traveled; when you decide to forgo the repetition and choose the hard road towards self-actualization. You can change, and you deserve to.
Building up your energy centers yourself is but one piece to this game we call life. If you are an empath, you are capable of generating you own energy. But know that not everyone can. This is the primary reason narcissists prey on empaths: it’s not just fun to these people to bring you down, it is a currency. It is how they feed, how they fuel, and how they get a “paycheck” despite having no personal source of “income”. As Dr. Christiane Northrup says, narcissistic individuals feed off your ATP (the fuel your mitochondria use to produce energy), and they also elicit stress responses from others, which get them high on feel good peptides (proteins) their bodies release at the thought of drama or conflict.
Narcissists cannot generate their own energy because they cannot and will not allow for an equal balance of energy in relationships and transactions; they remain on top, in power, and in control. Sharing is what generates energy and narcissists are incapable of this. So instead, they steal what is not theirs by being in charge — whether in big or small ways.
As an empath or highly sensitive person, you already know that when you give, you feel good. Good energy for good energy is your subconscious motto. When you listen, care, and help, you feel great. You feel energized. It may or may not get you anything in return, but you feel good doing it because you know it is the right thing to do. When you generate good energy yourself, you feel it in your bones and it makes you want to keep doing it. The sad reality is, narcissists have never felt this and envy the shit out of you. They wish they could generate their own energy. But letting down the wall and allowing for an equal exchange of currency could put them at a disadvantage (sometimes people don’t return the good energy even when you are compassionate) so they choose not to. They can’t afford to lose any energetic currency because they think it is in short supply and worry they will one day run out. Then what would keep them going?
A common scenario I have seen is how empathic women are targeted by “mean girls” when an empath openly shares their good energy with men, children, or other empathic females. In the case of empathic women sharing positive non-sexual energy with men, narcissistic women get so worked up and interpret this as a form of seduction rather than kindness. You see, narcissistic women are especially terrified of their controlling energy being usurped by true chakra energy (the kind you build yourself, not the kind you steal — that is a rarity after all and men and children take notice).
It may sound ironic, but they have learned to control men within the system of patriarchy itself by means of passive aggression, groupthink, subconscious suggestion, intellectual prowess (“she’s too emotional, she’s not smart like me, you can’t trust her”), shunning and shaming, name calling of other women (whore, slut, take your pick), withholding sex, and nasty body language. It is ironic that the very system they are slaves to is also the system they use to their advantage to block any threat to their food supply.
On the flip side, within this same second chakra example, narcissistic men also dominate empathic women through subconscious suggestion or imparting a “less than” mindset — keeping you at a distance until they decide you are worthy. You are less pretty than her, you are less erotic than her, you need this to keep him aroused, you need to act like her to keep him interested. Who you are, your true nature in which you can actually generate chakra energy, becomes dismissed and treated as if it were a dirty little secret you must keep away in order for him to get it up (yes, I just said that. I have to speak in specifics in order for people to connect the dots in their lives). And if he can’t, it’s your fault. How many years can you go internalizing this?
These mind games serve you no purpose here. Life is about generating good energy through sharing of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These mind games are in fact strategies narcissist use in this energy game we call life. We must learn not to indulge their strategies and maneuvering. In doing so, you build up your own chakra energy and stop it from being usurped, and find true health and happiness. Play the game to win.
In order to win at the energy game we call life, do these things:
- Affirm yourself: you are beautiful, intelligent, emotionally in touch, deep, sexual, friendly, open, and kind. You are allowed to be these things and you are allowed to build up these energies within you, without anyone else’s permission. It is okay to get “too big” for others.
- Get rid of narcissistic personalities in your life.
- See narcissist for what they really are: energy vampires.
- Stop giving narcissists a food supply; cut them off, say no, stand up to them, change the power dynamics.
- Purse what you want in your life, without getting permission from anyone.
- Work through your core wounds and life lessons to rebuild your kundalini.
- Fix your fascial adhesions, which create a density that blocks chakra activity and the physiological equilibrium within your brain and other organs or glands.
- Stop caring about what other people think. It will keep you small and trapped.
- Stand up to the energy vampires and stop letting them have power over you and others.
- Do not accept gifts from narcissists as they are a form of indebtedness.
- Say no when you need to.
- Say yes when you want to.
- Call out systems that put empaths at a disadvantage. Then actively work to change them.
- Let go of past traumas and find a way to process, then resolve them. They are keeping your account in the red.
- Find 50 solutions for every curve ball that is thrown your way; never give up.
- Don’t turn your energy off for anyone or anything — live a turned on life in which each chakra center is able to buzz with vibrant energy and remains that way despite energetic challenges.
- Generate good energy by helping others.
If you’ve read my other four posts on this topic, you know Empaths are often sabotaged in their personal growth by common fallacies and tactics that leave them feeling stressed: energetic starvation, confusion, amnesia, and left-brained logic.
From a young age, empaths and highly sensitive people are taught how to be in order to make others more comfortable. When left to their own devices, empaths are true change-makers and truth-tellers/seers and this threatens the status quo; it would uproot all systems of control. Chances are you have had to become a “palatable” version of what makes life easier for those around you, rather than being encouraged to pursue yourself and your interests or talents at all costs (ie: self-actualization). This isn’t fair and it ends up holding you back and keeping you sick and stressed in the long run. You are here to self-actualize.
This next form of empathic sabotage is a big one too, because it starts early and often follows us our whole lives: the need for approval.
Empaths have a rich, complex inner life that they don’t often communicate (or know how to). We put up, shut up, and play the part to avoid being targeted for being different or singled out, or having a difference of opinion. If we trace this pattern back in time, you will likely find that it originates in childhood (or beyond) because childhood is where you were taught what “acceptable” behavior is and how to get the love, support, and approval you desire from those around you.
Planet Earth is a place of extreme groupthink (don’t think so? Try self-actualizing and see what ensues). It feels very scary for an individual to venture into uncharted territories — following their heart, mind, and soul rather than the crowd. It’s because we have learned that when we do things on our own, for ourselves, we risk losing the approval we have been conditioned to seek. “What if I trust myself and they reject me?”, “What if I follow my heart and it goes wrong?”, “What if they tell me I am wrong even though they haven’t felt the momentum behind my life experiences and decisions?”, “What if I am too different to be loved?” you may subconsciously think.
The need for approval from others runs very deep. If we look to ancient religious texts, we can see it transcends time, people, and places, and is ingrained into our every decision (remember my thoughts on The “Eve” wound?). “I have to get their opinion so I know what to do with my life”, “I have to do what is ‘normal'”, “I will be totally alone if I trust myself”, “They will punish me if I don’t do what they want”. This feels scary because humans are mammals that crave commune and connection with others for survival. If we make choices others don’t approve of, we risk losing the community support we need to thrive. It’s the proverbial fork in the road on the path to self-actualization — will you keep playing the part or will you realize their approval is but another control tactic and that you do not need it?
If we look around us at our modern culture, we see the symptoms of the need for approval everywhere: advertisements (buy this so you can fit in and finally be accepted), spend a ton of money on education and training so you can land the dream job and finally have a power status, buy this makeup or clothing so you will be pretty and taken seriously, trust those in authority because they clearly know more than you do, look at this selfie then rate it to tell me how attractive I am, “like” this post on Facebook so I can feel validated, let me listen to this pundit tell me how to interpret this political situation, and on and on. It’s not anyone’s fault — it’s just where we’re at and until we examine and debunk the “approval myth”, we will be slaves to it.
The people who reject you or mock you for going at it differently are only in the group think so they themselves do not have to come to terms with their hidden wounds that leave them seeking approval from others; they too are scared to get out of the system.
Here’s the truth: as an empath, you are an old soul. You carry memories and wisdom with you that others do not. You see through facades, you desire depth and progress, you want to change systems that are bad for people, and you are holding yourself back because “what if I get too big”? The need for approval is not only about feeling you are somehow inadequate or feeling ashamed for not being able to force yourself into group think — it is also about what is on the other side of the need for approval — your big, beautiful, badass self. You see, when you self-actualize, you scare those who have not and there could be punishment or spiritual warfare on the horizon as a result (aka: “what will they say if I am magnificent? That I am full of myself or lack empathy?”).
Keep this in mind: you are not broken and you do not need the approval of others to complete or guide you in life. You already have everything you need. It is simply hidden under layers of trauma. You are not broken or somehow lacking. It takes a while to convince yourself of this, but trust me, you can get there and you can see it for yourself.
Owning up to our core wounds and life lessons is one way to finally break through the need for approval into radical self-acceptance. Until you unravel and deconstruct what has happened to you and why you choose what you do now, you will keep repeating the cycle. Truly, it requires putting your foot down and saying “no more”. Breaking the karma teaches you how to be perfectly still, present, and accepting of yourself. But there are more…
Ways to overcome the need for approval:
- identify your core wounds and life lessons (I do this in Energy Readings)
- activate your second and fifth chakras (your sex organs carry trauma from the need for approval, as well as your throat area for fear of saying something “wrong”)
- choose yourself and pursue what you want in life
- re-frame your thoughts to see that following your own path is what you are here to do, and anyone who does not do this is simply scared — the crowd doesn’t have the right answers, they are just terrified of being alone
- identify and break external validation methods, such as getting stressed over your appearance, physical possessions, etc.
- stop identifying with your “role” (your job, your family position, the false personality you have adopted)
- do not buy into punishment systems
- fight back when necessary and force oppressors to see there is another side to your story
- let go of toxic people who lack empathy and dismiss diversity
- accept your greatness without guilt, shame, or minimizing
Remember, it was never about you — it is about a cycle that has yet to be shattered. Recognize it then shatter it into a million pieces.