Empaths are naturally sensitive souls who can feel the emotions of those around them. But, with this heightened sensitivity often comes a risk of being taken advantage of by those with less than noble intentions.
Narcissists are drawn to empaths’ compassionate nature, and empathic people are often drawn to the conflicting emotions people like narcissists have deep inside. They see their turmoil and want to help them.
Empathetic people can often be manipulated by toxic people who try to manipulate them. This is particularly true if they are unaware of their empath abilities. They can easily form a trauma bond with a narcissist unless they set and maintain firm boundaries and address the extra emotional baggage.
Sensitive people like empaths are often eager to help people they sense are experiencing emotional turmoil. Moreover, a true empath can help people change.
But their capacity for empathy can be a drawback if they don’t practice personal growth to process the emotions they experience and self-care practices to protect their empathic nature. Let’s take a deep dive to understand this more.
How Narcissists and Other Toxic People Manipulate Empaths
Someone with narcissistic personality disorder can easily prey on empaths by exploiting their sensitive and compassionate nature. They use manipulation tactics such as
- Gaslighting to make the empath question their interpretation of reality
- Lying to make the empath believe they are not a bad person
- Guilt-tripping to play on the empath’s kind nature
- Playing the victim to generate more sympathy
- Blame shifting to prevent anyone from accusing them of not being perfect or superior
A narcissist may make an empath feel guilty for not giving them attention or may constantly criticize them in order to break down their self-esteem. They also like to flatter empaths in order to gain their trust and loyalty.
In their everyday life, empaths are accustomed to sensing the emotional energy of people around them. This happens on a daily basis whenever an empath is around other people, but in an intimate relationship, it becomes more difficult to avoid.
Without proper protections in place, their empathy skills can become a veritable empathy trap. They can easily form a trauma bond and fall into a pattern of codependency. This is particularly true if they don’t recognize their empath abilities.
That’s why it’s vital for empathic people to put firm boundaries in place in their relationships with people they interact with regularly.
How Can Empaths Protect Themselves?
Empaths often find themselves in difficult situations because of how easily they are manipulated; however, there are ways to protect yourself from being taken advantage of by a narcissist if you are an empath.
Here are several barriers to a healthy relationship and what an empath can do to prevent being taken advantage of.
1. Lack of Boundaries
When empaths lack boundaries, they are more likely to be taken advantage of by narcissists. Without the ability to set limits and draw the line, an empath might find themselves in a situation where they are constantly giving without receiving anything in return.
This can lead to burnout as the empath is left feeling drained and resentful. Furthermore, without clear boundaries, an empath may feel obligated to help others even when it’s not beneficial for them or their mental health.
It is important that empaths learn how to set healthy boundaries with those around them in order to protect themselves from being taken advantage of. This means learning how to say no and not feeling guilty when doing so.
It also means setting realistic expectations for yourself and learning how to recognize manipulative tactics used by narcissists. By establishing healthy boundaries and recognizing manipulation, an empath can protect themselves from being taken advantage of by a narcissist.
2. Unhealthy Relationships
Unhealthy relationships can take a heavy toll on those involved, particularly empaths. Unhealthy relationships involve one or both partners feeling controlled, manipulated, and taken advantage of.
These relationships are often characterized by power struggles, control issues, and lack of communication. Empaths can become victims in these types of relationships as they may be more likely to put up with neglectful behavior in order to avoid conflict or make the other person happy.
As an empath, it is important to recognize the warning signs that you may be in an unhealthy relationship, such as feeling constantly disrespected, controlled, manipulated, or ignored.
It is also important to learn how to set boundaries and communicate effectively with your partner so that you both feel respected. If the relationship does not appear to be improving despite honest attempts at communication, then it may be time to consider ending the relationship for your own health and well-being.
3. Over-Giving and Sacrificing
Over-giving and sacrificing are often seen as noble traits, but when taken to extremes, they can cause a great deal of harm. In some cases, an empath may feel compelled to give more than their fair share in order to make the other person happy.
This can lead to feelings of resentment and bitterness over time, as the empath’s needs are often neglected in favor of the other person’s. This selfless behavior can also cause an empath to become drained and exhausted from constantly putting others first.
It is important for empaths to recognize when they are over-giving or sacrificing too much. Setting healthy boundaries with others is essential for preventing burnout or feelings of resentment. Empaths must learn how to take care of themselves first before giving too much away, otherwise, it could lead to long-term emotional damage.
4. Feeling Exhausted and Drained
For empaths, feeling drained and exhausted can be a common occurrence. This is due to their tendency to absorb the emotions of others. While this ability can be a great asset in helping people, it can often lead to feelings of being overwhelmed or overburdened.
When an empath has been exposed to too many negative or intense emotions for too long, it can take an emotional toll on them. They may feel emotionally drained and exhausted from constantly trying to help the people around them.
Empaths should recognize when they are feeling overwhelmed and take steps to restore their balance. Taking time for self-care activities such as yoga, meditation, or taking a walk in nature can help alleviate some of the stress that comes with being an empath.
If possible, finding a supportive group of friends who understand what it means to be an empath can also be beneficial.
5. Feeling Responsible for Others’ Feelings and Behaviour
Being an empath can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it allows them to connect deeply with others and provide emotional support. On the other hand, it can lead to feeling responsible for others’ feelings and behavior. This can leave an empath feeling overwhelmed and out of control at times.
When facing this situation, empaths should remember that they cannot control how someone else behaves or feels. They can offer guidance, but ultimately it is up to each individual to take responsibility for their own actions and emotions.
It is essential for empaths to recognize when taking on too much responsibility for another person is becoming unhealthy for them and remember that they are not responsible for solving everyone’s problems. This is particularly important in the work environment where a toxic boss can devastate an empath, as this video explains.
It’s important to recognize the signs that you may be dealing with a manipulative narcissist or another type of toxic person, like someone with a borderline personality disorder, and take steps to protect yourself.
This can include setting healthy boundaries and making sure your needs are being met in the relationship. It’s also important to practice self-care, such as getting enough rest, eating well, and taking time for yourself.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to reach out for help if needed; talking to a therapist or support group can provide invaluable guidance and assistance in dealing with this difficult situation. By recognizing these signs early on and taking action accordingly, you can ensure that you won’t get taken advantage of by anyone in the future.
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