Dear empath living in the wake or vicinity, of a narcissist …

It becomes apparent very quickly when one starts to read articles in places like Psychology Today, [looks like I’m reading ahead for my study next year] that most of us would be aware of a narcissistic type or two in our vicinity.

Narcissus by Caravaggio (1597)

Narcissus by Caravaggio (1597)

If not a total narcissist, certainly someone on the spectrum. No, I’m probably not talking about you reader – but the fact that you questioned whether or not I was talking about you is a fairly clear indication that you aren’t a narcissist. If you didn’t question if this was about you ….then ….. well I hate to break it to you but … 😉

There are a few things that are becoming increasingly more and more obvious to me as I read more personality related stuff, and examine my own behaviour …

  1. Studying in this field is probably a good move for me.
  2. No matter how many versions of the Myers Briggs I take – I still come out as an INFJ.
  3. One of the things INFJs are known for is being empathic – ENFJs too.
  4. As an empathic and an INFJ I have a very low tolerance for narcissists, selfish and self-centred people. Oh, and I can spot them fairly quickly, and then resolve to avoid them or limit our time together.

So while the general public is using the myriad of online quizzes we have at our disposal to work out things like; who they were in a past life; what their stripper name would be; what type of vegetable they most resemble; what type of dog they would be if they were a dog …
I’ve been immersed in stuff that I hope will help me in
my quest to try and understand certain people I have to cope with. Mainly because I find it all quite fascinating.
What I have read has lead me to more questions perhaps than answers:

  1. Why do you need to know what your stripper name would be…
  2. Perhaps a more pertinent question; What type of person are you that this matters to you? Why does it matter so much to you that you have to post the results for all of your friends and family to see ..?
  3. Even more bewildering for me; why do I feel so embarrassed for you?
  4. And why, on some days, do I find myself pitying you? And worse still wondering if I can help you.

Well, the answer to those last few questions is fairly simple, I am an empathic person (still trying to work through whether or not a Christian Empath is a thing). And the one busy promoting self and a fictitious life, might just be a Narcissist.
Dear Narcissist, it looked like this post was going to be all about you, right? In a way it is – I have you to thank for it. But it’s not so much about you as it is about the people who see through you, and then feel bad that they can see through you. Then they feel sorry for you. Not the way you want them to though. We feel sorry for you because we worry what will become of you when you wake up and look around you to see the mess you’ve made and the damage you have done. Or worse, we worry that you’ll never wake up and look around.

So back to you my dear empathic companion, by now you are probably the only ones reading — you have probably already realised that you and the Narcissist don’t have a great deal in common. And that is why you struggle to “understand”. That is why you never cease to be amazed by each new and bizarre attack, demand, order, attempt to control you. As an empathic person you want to understand the “why” of someone’s behaviour and help them with it. But my friend, because Narcissism is a disorder – (here) – you can’t understand and complying certainly will not help. You might just be the exact opposite of the person you are trying to understand. Oh … and what’s more they don’t want you to understand they want you to obey. They just want you to give them what they asked for, admire them for their achievements without asking for any proof – and most of all supply them with what they demand when they demand it and never ever ask them for anything or expect anything from them. Essentially your job is to do as they say when and let them take the credit for it.

Dear Empath (?) – these are the things you do …

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 5.37.57 pmThere’s a massive amount of information out there about this stuff – some of it is great, some of it is way too new age-y for me, but on the whole the common threads that keep surfacing are quite difficult to ignore …
Not sure if you are an empath? Here’s a few quick links to check out.
12 Questions to discover if you are an Empath.
30 traits of an empath

Dear Empath – these are the things that Narcissists do …

What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the diagnostic classification system used in the United States, as “a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy.”
According to the DSM-IV-TR, to be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) individuals must meet five or more of the following symptoms:

• Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
• Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
• Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
• Requires excessive admiration
• Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favourable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
• Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
• Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognise or identify with the feelings and needs of others
• Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
Shows arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes.

 – Psychology Today

Dear Empath – do you see now why you and your quest to understand a Narcissist doesn’t work? You tend to see through them. You can’t really begin to understand them, and with each contact you have, you might just become more intolerant of what you view as their selfishness, deluded opinions and behaviours.

Possibly everything on the list above poses more questions for you – how could someone “be” like that? Why would someone act that way? Why would someone treat others like that? Why would someone demand and expect so much from the world around them and contribute so little?
One thing that is often true for one of the types of NPD is that everything is a competition – everything! Everything becomes a battle they must win. Conversations revolve around them –

I have the saddest story.
I’m the most hard done by.
I have been most badly treated.
You owe me.
I’ll get you.
You will do this.
You will not speak to the children about this.
You will not answer the children’s questions when they ask them.
You will not talk to me about that *parenting issue or *promise I made that I refuse to deliver on, again or I’ll put a domestic violence order on you.”
This is a formal warning.
Why won’t you answer the phone when I ring.
I will send a text message, an email and make a phone call demanding an answer to a question that I asked 30 mins ago.
I have asked – you will respond I will keep contacting you until you do. And when you do, it had better be the right answer.
But I will refuse to answer emails relating to important issues like a child’s health … but you will not ignore me …
I will ignore you.
I have the power, you will do as I say.
I will question you and everything I hear about you.
I will even try to control who you and yours speak to … Why?
Because I want to.

Another thing that I learned this week is that people who are Narcissistic also often have something known as High Conflict Disorder .. Yep it’s about as pleasant as it sounds – you can read about it here.

Dear Empath, there comes a time when you matter infinitely more. I know for the Christian empath this poses a problem. This seems to go against everything you believe. But I think there is a point at which your graciousness, your mercy, your kindness and your compassion are almost being used up – you might just have to get away. You might just have to walk away or run if you can. Because as someone once told me the only thing this type of person wants to do, is disrupt you. They think you should be envying them – you don’t and so they want you to. They make sure you hear about new purchases they have made. Holidays they have planned. You sell a house and buy a house; they sell a house and buy a house, they may even use the same real estate agency because it worked for you – of course it will work for them – after all, they are so much better than you are. Basically what they do, is try to do everything they can to disturb your peace. Why? Mostly it’s because they aren’t used to seeing people happy without their involvement. The biggest problem for them is your happiness, that and you might just be the first person in the NP’s life who has seen right through the charm and the superficiality and said – “I’m not sure what the big deal is here.” You might be the person who said, “That’s great you have a t-shirt that has All that and then some printed on it. I’m assuming you bought it for yourself? Could I suggest that, if the sentiment was true for you, you probably wouldn’t have had to buy and wear the shirt to let us know.. We’d all be able to see it.”
Maybe you are the first person who has said … “Mmmmm, yeah … not impressed.. is that all you can do?” Or worse still you questioned them or said “this is not good enough, you can do and be better.”

So yes, I do look tired at the moment. Yes I do feel as though I’m even less tolerant of fake and false than ever before…this may even happen from time to time (here)…  but my empathic friends, we must battle on, we must continue to pray for those who set themselves against us.
The more I read, the more I realise that there is only One who has the ability to heal, change and restore hearts and minds. There is only One who can transform and renew.

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2 Responses to Dear empath living in the wake or vicinity, of a narcissist …

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