For the last seven years, I have primarily been working with women with thyroid and autoimmune conditions get to the root of their health conditions with tailored, optimized nutrition.
However, the last couple of years, I began noticing many of my clients were dealing with so much emotional stress and this stress was actually a root cause of their physical problems. In fact, they weren’t just stressed – they had a certain personality type and had no idea. They weren’t just stressed, depressed, anxious — they were empathic and were being controlled and left powerless in their lives. So I began offering spiritual services to help people overcome these stressors. And it worked.
I’ve become so interested and engrossed in researching this personality type and helping those who are born empathic because I see how healing it is to one’s physical health when a person understands themselves on a deeper level.
So today I bring to you an interview I recently had with someone who has been on this empathic path for quite some time and who has also noticed how much stress affects people who are highly sensitive.
So let me introduce to you Dave Markowitz. Dave is an empath and intuitive and has been working with highly sensitive souls for many years, helping them achieve better health, vitality, and spiritual awareness.
He is the author of several books, including Healing with Source, Self-care for the self-aware: a guide for highly sensitive people, empaths, intuitives, and healers, and Empathipedia. Dave has lectured with Deepak Chopra and Gary Null and he also gets empaths and their unique struggles.
Tune in here to hear us speak about empaths, absorbing other people’s energy and problems, a victim mentality, the ego, narcissism, health challenges and their root causes, spirituality and more!
Empaths have a completely different operating system from the rest of the world. They process things primarily through the right, creative, emotional brain whereas the dominant system on Earth up until now has been the opposite left-brained, strategic, less emotional thinking. (Remember, empaths only make up approximately 15-20% of the population).
People who are empathic also operate under different assumptions than the rest of the world. We expect the best from others, get disappointed when they don’t live up to our expectations, desire compassion, seek to help, believe intention is more valuable than visible actions alone, want to meet others’ needs, and process information through our bodies and hearts rather than just the mind. While these are positive traits, they also cause empaths to run a high risk for burnout, fatigue, methylation problems (stress uses up nutrients), hormonal imbalances, and immune dysregulation.
This is because empaths are constantly draining their own energy to send to others, even if others are not able to reciprocate, and even if others are not energetically sensitive and therefore cannot feel our good intentions. We are stubborn and think if we just keep trying, someone will get it.
In fact, many empaths have a servant energy archetype in which they have learned from early on that the way to love others (and hopefully get that love reciprocated) is to constantly be of service to them, in denial of their own needs.
An unawakened empath may spend an entire lifetime doing this without realizing they have another option. Take, for example, the mother who primarily shows her love through cooking the meals, dishing out the hugs and words of encouragement, cleaning up the messes, and doing the emotional labor to constantly mentally prepare for what could come next, keeping lists of what needs to be done, and keeping things afloat because she knows no one else will step up. How many mothers, grandmothers, and caretakers in your life come to mind?
While beautiful, it is a one-sided energy trap that we need to get out of for our health and healing. Because deep down, even that mother sometimes gets resentful that no one offered to help. Or she sometimes gets overwhelmed with so many responsibilities. Sometimes she would like to sit down and take a break, but that isn’t an option because the assumption has always been that she is the reliable one, she is independent enough to do it on her own, no one else can do what she does, and she can handle this by herself.
My job as a coach is to encourage you but it is also to tell you the truth so you can stop the cycles of stress and sickness that you didn’t know were affecting you. So here’s the truth: your assumptions are burning you out. Your assumptions are draining your energy — figuratively and quite literally. I see it over and over again with clients.
In order to keep your energy for yourself, in your body and soul where it belongs so you can find total healing, you have to make peace with these assumptions. This doesn’t mean that because someone doesn’t reciprocate their energy that they’re a terrible person and you cut them off. It means you accept that you two operate differently and stop expecting them to “get it” or send the good energy back. It means you may need to stop wanting to go deeper with this person, or find boundaries in your life. You deserve to give to others because it feels good to you, but also to find people who are capable of allowing you to receive. If one person cannot do this, it’s okay and the sooner you make peace with that, the quicker you’ll stop the energy drain and find people who understand the basics of energy.
The biggest assumptions that are causing empathic burnout:
- “They will see my good intentions”. Though we all communicate through the written word and spoken language, empaths also infuse unseen energetic intention into these two forms of communication. In other words, empaths often communicate in a third way — hidden, less-than-precise, or less-than-direct. We intrinsically understand someone else’s intention even when they do not actually communicate it. So we believe others are doing the same for us. This just isn’t true. Remember that others may not be able to get gut instincts about your intention so you have to literally say or do these things so they get it. You have to be very clear with what you say in important situations because your good intentions may not be picked up by the receiving party, which can leave you frustrated, questioning yourself, and disheartened. Be clear, be direct, be honest. Other people need this just as much as you do. I believe this is one reason empaths have largely been resigned to a subordinate role — we have to actually show people our worth because they won’t feel it. This will help you feel less misunderstood or overlooked which will save you tons of stress.
- “I sent my good energy so they will reciprocate.” This is very similar to the above. For example, I was an acquaintance of a very left-brained logical woman who was also very friendly. Every time we tried to speak, however, it seemed like we were speaking two different languages. She dyed her hair, and I noticed and liked it a lot and told her, “I like your hair! It’s different!” To which she replied with a snippy condescending defense, “Different is good, right?” The irony was, the color she dyed her hair was close to my natural hair color — surely she would see I wasn’t being catty, right? But I realized she couldn’t read my good energy and to a left-brained logical thinker, telling them something is “different” is a really bad thing. For me as a right-brained creative thinker, I thought I was giving her the highest compliment but it wasn’t received that way. There was too much left up for interpretation because she couldn’t read energy, and that caused tension in the relationship. My assumption was good energy for good energy but that isn’t always the case. Instead of internalizing that, I made peace with it because I know I had good energy towards her. Let go of the expectation for reciprocated energy because you may never get that from people and until you do, you’ll stay stressed, resentful, and frustrated.
- “Someone will come to my rescue.” Because many empaths have an attachment wound, in which they have been taught they have to work hard to get love from external sources, they do not believe they are capable of rescuing themselves. When times get tough, we continue to seek external sources of support and love. You are fully capable of helping yourself, no matter what comes your way. The expectation that someone else will save you in your time of need is not helpful because many people will not. They lack the attentiveness or compassion. Some people will, though, especially if you are surrounded by great people. But you have to release the expectation because first, it prevents you from doing the “life lessons” yourself (which you are here to do), and secondly, it generates anger towards others which will keep you sick. One day we will all be able to act in a community-oriented mindset and see what is good for one is good for the whole, but until that time, let it go.
- “I am the only one who can do this.” Because empaths often have a servant mentality, we take the brunt of the load in life by ourselves and get trapped under huge amounts of stress as a result. You want so desperately to help and save everyone because you see how much you have needed it yourself. As I said above, there may not be anyone coming to rescue you from the problems. In some cases, this is necessary so you can learn the lesson fully. But, that doesn’t mean you have to take the burden of responsibility for other people’s concerns by yourself. If it is not your own obligation, let it go. If you are already overwhelmed, sick, or stressed, remember that if others need something, they are capable of taking some of the responsibility for themselves. You can still help if they want it, but you don’t have to do it all for them.
- “If I explain myself, they will understand.” As I said above, empaths and left-brained thinkers communicate and understand the world in entirely different ways. Empaths infuse their unspoken energy and intention into every interaction, whether in person or through the written word. Because of this, we often feel there is an assumption that we have to do our own P.R. work to explain how we work to others. It becomes exhausting to try to get people to understand us. Here’s what you want to remember: those who are interested will ask, listen, and process. Those who are not will jump to conclusions, take things the wrong way, or dismiss you. Do not chase them when they show you their intention here. Understanding can only come from a desire from within. You cannot make someone have a desire to understand.
Are you one of the 15-20% of the population worldwide who is a true empath? Empaths are people who feel the pain of others very deeply, have a complex inner world, are interested in metaphysical or esoteric phenomena, feel overwhelmed by certain stimuli, have a certain loving naivete’ about them, instinctively understand the truth even if it has been withheld, and are here to help us transition into a new paradigm — one of love, peace, and equality.
Because this personality type is rare, empaths often go their entire lives feeling weird, different, and strange. They sometimes describe feeling like aliens on a planet they do not understand. They may try to fit in but ultimately are only partially able to do so because fitting in requires forgoing their true nature, which over time, causes physical and emotional disease. It’s an unfortunate trade off in which they can either be socially successful or personally successful.
The truth is, empaths weren’t born to fit in and go along, they are here to usher in an era of change and show the world what true love and compassion looks like. And we’re on the dawn of this age. They are here to use an entirely different section of the brain — the free-thinking, emotionally attentive right hemisphere — in a world full of left-brained systems, designs, structures, rules, and punishments.
In order to reach your highest potential as an empath, here’s what you need to know: you cannot become a fully self-actualized person while you are choosing the easy route. Your life has been hard on purpose — and I do mean hard. Empaths have exceptionally difficult life lessons because it is the experiences that develop your compassionate nature, help you build a fierceness that you were punished for or talked out of as a child, and become intuitive enough to recognize injustices when they are happening and actually do something about it.
For example, you likely have never received confirmation of your feelings and experiences (which empaths desperately need to prevent them from ongoing states of cognitive dissonance), you were spanked/gaslighted/emotionally neglected as a child because you were different and had a certain natural wisdom about you that threatened authority figures, and you have also been subject to extremely toxic relationships in which you were paired with at least one narcissistic personality in order to reveal your shadow side and understand how the narcissistic systems work.
But often because empaths are so sensitive to pain, they choose to avoid it, ignore it, and pretend it isn’t there. They play along like life is great or just retreat when things get rough. They feel addressing the pain would be too hard, and let’s face it — we also live in a world where talking about problems is still largely taboo and complicates your social life. Maybe you were even punished for doing so when you were younger. It’s simply easier to pretend you’re okay. Until you’re not — or can’t.
Ultimately your body and soul will reach a breaking point. There is only so much stuffing down you can do before your body is going to revolt and physical disease states will ensue. Ignoring the problems generates intense stress responses that will affect your stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone, your thyroid hormones, your immune system (which becomes dysregulated in the presence of high cortisol), your gut (which also becomes dysfunctional in the presence of high cortisol and causes leaky gut syndrome and alters your gut microbiome), blood pressure, heart, kidneys, blood sugar, and more.
The time to do the soul work is now, empaths. The world is changing and as societal systems are restructured, we need to be ready to take the helm or at least take our equal seat at the table. If you’ve always wanted to help others and the world, now is your chance. But before you can do that, you have to delve into the hard work to overcome whatever is holding you back and keeping you stressed and sick.
Here’s how to access your full potential as an empath:
- Identify where the narcissistic personalities are in your life and chart out the problems in those relationships. The reality is, every empath who is not aware is going to have attracted many spiritual narcissists that are flat out draining you. If the other person is willing to work through the problems, great and that says a lot about their soul maturity. If they are not, they are holding back your soul’s growth and you need to make the brave decision to distance yourself. As you start peeling back the layers, so to speak, you may be amazed at just how many narcissistic personalities you are surrounded by. (Again, please don’t diagnose people — just use this information for yourself to understand what is going on around you and free yourself).
- Give in to your life lessons. The pain in your life is the signal that something needs to change or be worked through. As an Intuitive, in Energy Reading sessions, I easily recognize the patterns in one’s life and this tells us the overarching theme of your life lessons. Once you understand your life lessons, you can go forward with this knowledge and be able to recognize what to do in each future difficulty you encounter. It’s not just a random problem, it is a message and call to action.
- Stop living the attachment wound. An attachment wound is usually something you acquired in childhood by being told you weren’t good enough or worthy of love (in so many words, or based on the actions of your caregivers). Real love is unconditional and you do not have to be on the proverbial hamster wheel seeking love your whole life, worrying you will never get it because there is something wrong with you. Tell yourself everyday that you deserve love, there is nothing you can do to earn it, and people who lord love over you are not acting in love. Real love is unconditional with no strings attached and contains elements of true forgiveness despite any imperfections.
- Get out from under the “nice” spell and start being fierce. Chances are you feel conflicted about being loving and also standing up for yourself when necessary. You want to avoid confrontation at all costs so when you are put in situations where you have to tell the truth even if it is inconvenient and difficult, you internalize it as you are bad, wrong, hateful, imperfect, etc. Remember that love isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. Love is hard truth when necessary and standing up for yourself and others in the presence of evil and injustice. Just like a parent who reminds their child of the correct path to take — or problems to look out for — so too are empaths who are awakened: they tell the truth even when it is not convenient, because they know they lying and pretending is not real love and only perpetuates problems in the long run.
- Stop caring about what other people think. You have likely been trying to please people your entire life because empaths easily recognize the needs of others, want to meet them, and because you naturally have a servant energy archetype where the underlying assumption is that you will serve others interests while forsaking your own. People who only wanted you to serve their needs, or who expect you to be a diminutive version of yourself for their comfort are not your real allies. Trying to please them the rest of your life will get you nowhere but drained, overwhelmed, and sick. And it’s certainly not going to help the world if you’re not living out your true passions.
- Identify what you are good at, then pursue it hardcore. What you are good at is why you are here. The interests, skills, talents, and hobbies you have held back because they perhaps couldn’t support you 100% financially, because you didn’t think you had the time for, or thought others wouldn’t like it, are what the world desperately needs. Empaths aren’t just here to feel, they are here to do. That thing you have always wanted to contribute to the world — do it. Now. Even if you can’t get out of your day job, find ways to integrate your skills into your everyday life.
- Hack your “operating system”. Think of your body like a computer. You get a virus, you slow down, get sick, and use anti-virals. Something crashes and you have to reboot. A key or screen gets broken and you get it replaced. So too is your physical body: you have to upgrade your operating system in order to overcome physical illness. This includes knowing what your common gene mutations are and finding proper diet or supplements to support them, figuring out what your food sensitivities are and avoiding them, healing your gut health, reinoculating your G.I. tract with healthy bacteria and yeasts, identifying nutrient deficiencies, balancing hormones, doing chelation therapy with the help of a trained doctor, and more. This is much of what I do for clients in Nutrition Consultations.
- Fix your fascia. The mysofascial system is the literal, tangible mind-body connection that is visible to the naked eye. The fascia is the connective tissue that sits under your skin and on top of your muscles. If you have lived in states of chronic acidity, have deep-rooted infections (especially viral infections and Lyme co-infections), are mineral or protein deficient, you will have dysfunctional fascia called fascial adhesions. The way you move your body, your posture, spinal subluxations, and wearing tight clothing will also cause the development of adhesions. Typically the fascia should be a thin, flat structure that supports your movement and muscles. Due to the above reasons, thick adhesions form which cuts off blood flow, nutrients, oxygen, and range of mobility. In other words, it’s like you become mummified and calcified while you are still alive. It affects your hormones, causes pain, and keeps you chronically infected much to the detriment of your immune system. There are ways to reverse this and I highly recommend identifying your fascial adhesions in a Body Reading session, and then pursuing myofascial release in order to restore the fascia to its healthy state.
Remember, you are here to bring about change. Unfortunately, change is often scary and difficult. Empaths can access their full potential — 100% — but it will be challenging. The choice is yours if you prefer to remain quiet and just go along, or you choose to be brave and bold and confront the problems. If you choose to be brave, you will find healing and uncover the truth and power of who you actually are.
In all honesty, I have been putting off this topic for quite some time. It’s not that it’s unimportant — in fact, I know we are living in a time where it is of great importance. The uptick in interest of narcissism is truly a sign of the times.
Everywhere you look, people are waking up to the fact that they have been abused, that they are empaths who have attracted toxic people over and over again to their detriment, and by and large, humanity does not want to continue the cycles of abuse of power or manipulation and control for the next generation. Humans of planet earth are crying out for peace and harmony and there are real societal changes working to get us there.
“How to spot a narcissist” lists are out there everywhere on the internet. I’ve read many and been sorely disappointed. I also see people diagnosing each other at the drop of a hat: they somehow “wrong” you and suddenly they’re a narcissist. I have had close relationships with people who had an elementary understanding of psychology or have a Bachelor’s degree in psychology which, they believe, gives them permission to diagnose anyone and everyone — and then gossip about their “findings”. It is divisive and creates divided energy which is not conducive to creating inner or outer peace. And this is the very reason I have held back on this topic: I do not believe in diagnosing other people unless you are a licensed mental health professional.
Please know, I am not telling you these things as a mental health professional. I am telling you these things as an Intuitive and empath. I am telling you these things so you can stop looking for signs like “who takes the most selfies” and “who posts pictures of themselves on Facebook all day long” — because that won’t help empaths overcome the issues that keep them stressed and sick. It is the energy that you need to look for and no tome of a psychological evaluation guide can teach you that.
And that’s why those “How to spot a narcissist in 4 easy steps” blogs are just not helpful. Basic narcissism may be easier to spot and in fact, can describe a lot of people who are not narcissistic – they are good looking, they’re charming, they’re outgoing, they’re successful. Okay, what’s the harm in that? Don’t we all promote body-positivism, social interaction, and climbing the ladder to success? Don’t we all want to feel good about ourselves?
Yet, here we are. The facades are tumbling worldwide. We now know that P.R. campaigns are no longer just for companies advertising products, preventing profit loss, or socialites trying to overcome bad press. Stories have been layered and strategically fed to the public to hide bad behavior from those at the higher levels of government, education, finance, and more. It’s a great awakening.
Here’s what you have to know: the degree of narcissism that you experience from others as an empath will be in direct correlation with your level of empathy, or the degree of empathy you are cultivating through your life lessons. If you are a higher-level empath who was born highly sensitive and has chosen very difficult lessons in your life and actually wanted to work through them, you will attract higher-level narcissistic energy. Bottom line, plain and simple. The lessons increase in intensity the more you work through them. It’s not fair, but it’s the truth. “To whom much is given, much is expected”.
You deserve to know the truth because until you identify these people or circumstances in your life, you will stay sick. This is why I offer Energy Readings to clients — I illuminate these things to the individuals I work with. This information is healing.
Again, please don’t use this information to diagnose people or gossip about them — that’s not the intention. This is the spiritual perspective I am offering you. It is the energy you have always felt but couldn’t put your finger on. If no one speaks it, you will continue to live in states of stress and cognitive dissonance, which lead to physical disease. Please use this so you can take back your own personal power to understand for yourself what is going on around you. Once you can stop being a victim to things you didn’t know were happening, you can stop the sickness cycles.
The ultimate ways to spot covert, higher-level narcissism:
- They enjoy the “hunt”. Narcissists have a predator mentality, always looking for the next victim, or how to prey on their current victims. You always feel like the “prey” in their presence.
- They make you feel sick in their presence. As an empath, your body is a big ol’ lie detector. This person may seem pleasant on the outside but your inner signals are going haywire — that is your red flag.
- They always have ulterior motives. Remember, there is always a story beneath the story. Go into every situation like a detective seeking the real axe they are trying to grind and why. It will be self-serving.
- They never apologize. It’s your fault, always. If they do apologize, which is rare, it was only so the abuse cycle could continue all over again. (Ex: Your spouse berates you then buys you flowers, only for it to happen again a few days later and on and on.)
- They travel in packs – We’re told that narcissists are people who like to be by themselves at the top. That’s not true. Narcissists often have a pack mentality. This is a way for them to control the social setting to instill confidence, trust, and authority where there would otherwise be none. It is also a way for them to surely have others come to their defense if something were to be exposed.
- They victim blame, shame, and guilt. If they hurt you, you’ll be left feeling like you were the wrong one, the bad one, and you should be ashamed.
- They are drawn to pure souls. Do you expect the best from people, look on the positive side of life, feel the emotions of others very deeply, feel sorrow over the world’s pain, and want good things for yourself and others? You are prime narcissist prey because they feed on the energy produced by your mitochondria, called ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Pure empathic souls also often have “open book” energy and were never taught to stand up for themselves. Often empathic people only know how to hide or get quiet (much like real prey in the wild). It’s like a buffet for a narcissist.
- They ambush you. They won’t give you warning or allow you to be adequately educated or prepared. They may not give you any warning about what will happen next, what they expect, or how to do something.
- They purposefully withhold information so they have the upper hand. See above. Or they may only give you partial information and open-ended expectations. This gives them the upper hand and allows them to victim blame when you didn’t magically do or know what they wanted.
- It is hard for you to explain the mind games they play. Figuring out what they are doing to you feels like a game of mental chess when you never learned the rules of chess. Explaining this “game” to others comes out nonsensical and few understand the severity of the situation.
- You are always in a position of subordination with them. Master-servant dynamic here always. Even if they feign you are their equal, they will find small ways to remind you of how inadequate you are “why did you format an email this way?” “You need more education, like I have”.
- They rarely get nervous. They have strong, solid, unyielding energy. If you can sense energy on people, just know this — you’re likely to be the nervous one and they are likely to be the fixed energy.
- They do not feel anxious over their “flaws” because they have none. Have you worked hard to like yourself? Empaths feel they are intrinsically flawed and we have to work hard to get out of this mindset. Narcissists have never felt this way because they have a strong internal confidence that is not easily broken.
- They naturally rig everything in their favor. They understand systems of control and make sure to always stack the odds against others. Keep in mind, I do suggest stacking the odds in your favor in life — but that doesn’t mean stacking the odds against other people so you can succeed. There is a difference.
- They know how to lie to get out of consequences. They flip whatever and whenever they can. Sadly, they rarely get caught but this is soon changing.
- They keep you out of your subconscious mind. They don’t want to hear about your real experiences and feelings. They want to keep you in the conscious mind or cover story so they can control your reality. (Ex: “I know you think I was wrong, but I bought you flowers, don’t you realize how lucky you are?”)
- They make you keep secrets for them. They are scared sh*tless of the truth coming out and will use every tactic to keep you quiet: scapegoating, coercion, threats, intimidation, lawsuits, social bullying, isolation, etc.
- They find ways to drain you: sex, money, stress. Sex isn’t just sex with a narcissist – it is a way to drain the energy centers. This is why sexual predators often predate children — it’s not just about the perversion of enjoying a certain youthful appearance — it is about finding pure, vibrant chakras to steal from. It’s the most vile form of abuse because it literally sucks the life out of people and leaves them powerless. (If you have been sexually abused, please know, you can rebuild your energy centers and integrate the part of your soul that was stolen). The same is true for those who purposefully threaten to take away your financial security, or purposefully inflict stress. It gives them power, plain and simple because it drains your chakras and keeps you in a “lizard brain” response. They get high on the adrenaline, ATP, and “feel good” peptides.
If all else fails, just remember this: not everyone can see through them, and many people will in fact enjoy them. That is because many choose not to do the soul work or take the “narcissism lesson”. It is a very difficult lesson and it is easier to bypass it to stay complacent and pretend like there are no problems.
But inevitably, narcissists, like all predators, leave a trail. So keep this in mind: “you will know them by their fruits”.