If you identify as holistically-inclined, spiritually-seeking, or sensitive… you have likely experienced the narcissist/empath dance. The narcissist will grind and grind, and the empath will give and give… until she-he-they just can’t give anymore. You’d think that as empathetic humans, who are so attuned to our own feelings, we’d know immediately when someone has jacked into our own life force. But we just keep tolerating the dynamic in the name of compassion. Here’s my experience with pulling off the New Age blinders and getting out of that toxic situation.
Let me start off with a critical disclaimer: I am not a psychologist, or psychotherapist. I am speaking from my depth of experience and very personal research.
Next important preface: Everybody is a little bit narcissistic. Narcissism—like love and consciousness, exists on a spectrum.
A note on language: I use the term “narcissistic personality” because I want to be aware that if we label someone as “a narcissist” it’s a mighty broad brushstroke. It seems very unredemptive. And it doesn’t have to be that way. Compassion for all.
Without blaming yourself for attracting this dynamic (or for submitting to it, prolonging it, feeding it), you can decide to protect your heart and get the hell out.
I think, in an esoteric sense, narcissists have turned their backs on their souls—on the innate magnificence that we all are. And because they’ve turned their back on that light, they cannot see the light of themselves. They are looking for a light source from other people.
And your loving nature wants to extend itself. Your Love wants to create home, and invite people into that home of true being and lovingness, right? But the highly narcissistic personality has a hard time genuinely opening to love. They can’t leave the confines of the personality that they’ve constructed to create home with anyone else. They’re clutching so tightly onto their own identity that communion and merging is a threatening option. Their priority is self-preservation, not unity.
“You deserve to be loved, seen, felt, heard, adored and respected. (Everyone does).”
There’s a marvelous thing called “having standards.” AKA: boundaries. Boundaries are essential for creativity (and by “creativity” I mean designing a life). Setting boundaries is especially challenging for holistically-inclined people because we want to merge, connect, wholify. Throw a narcissistic personality into that mix of intention and desire and and you might be up for the most spiritually-trying work you’ve ever had to do.
When you put up the boundaries, the narcissistic personality will look for the takedown strategy, I knew you were cold. I knew you had one foot out the door. I knew you were flighty. I knew you were heartless. I knew you wanted too much. You’ll be in the throws of realizing your inherent value, so you might want to consider this response: “Yes, I am capable of this.” This is a reclamation of your vibrancy.
“You can say a lot of negative things about narcissism, but here’s the truest thing: underneath it all, narcissists feel inadequate and insecure.”
In the most esoteric way of looking at this, I think, narcissists have turned their backs on their souls, on their original goodness. And because they’ve turned their back on that light, they do not see the light of themselves. They are looking for a light source from other people—YOU, dear empath. Because narcissists are driven to fill the holes in their soul, who better to recruit for that job than soulful people? There are a lot of legitimate reasons to feel compassion for the high spectrum narcissist (compassion is a brilliant response to all forms of pain), but don’t get too soft just yet. This is where your healthy boundaries come in.
When you’re extracting yourself from this dynamic, the call is to love yourself with a fierce sweetness—more than you have ever mustered for yourself in your life.
Let Love become your greatest protection, and gentleness towards yourself your greatest strength. You’ll become simultaneously impervious to a lot of toxicity and more open to goodness flowing into your life.
To heal yourself, you have to dream a new dream. One that’s based on honouring your deep sensitivity and your unquestionable value in the world.
To heal from harmful relationship dynamics, we need to press pause on lecturing ourselves (and “them”), on how we need to improve. Of course there’s always room for improvement for all of us. But first focus on compassion. Specifically compassion for your Deep Sensitivity—which may have been neglected in an entanglement with a narcissistic personality.
Your Deep Sensitivity (aka: your Inner Child) wants to be PROTECTED—to know that YOU as an adult are taking care of things. To know that you won’t let them be talked down to, you won’t let emotional neglect or abuse happen—that you’ll stand up for your Deep Sensitivity every single time.
Mentioned in this episode…
Danielle LaPorte is an invited member of Oprah’s SuperSoul 100, a group who, in Oprah Winfrey’s words, “is uniquely connecting the world together with a spiritual energy that matters.” She is author of White Hot Truth: Clarity for keeping it real on your spiritual path—from one seeker to another. The Fire Starter Sessions, and The Desire Map: A Guide To Creating Goals With Soul—the book that has been translated into 8 languages, evolved into a yearly day planner system, a top 10 iTunes app, and an international workshop program with licensed facilitators in 15 countries. Named one of the “Top 100 Websites for Women” by Forbes, millions of visitors go to DanielleLaPorte.com every month for her daily #Truthbombs and what’s been called “the best place online for kickass spirituality.” A speaker, a poet, a painter, and a former business strategist and Washington-DC think tank exec, Entrepreneur Magazine calls Danielle, “equal parts poet and entrepreneurial badass…edgy, contrarian…loving and inspired.” Her charities of choice are Eve Ensler’s VDay: a global movement to end violence against women and girls, and charity: water, setting out to bring safe drinking water to everyone in the world. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her favourite philosopher, her son. You can find her @daniellelaporte and just about everywhere on social media.