Love Friday: The Empath-Narcissist Relationship

Storytime

That Time I Got My Heart Broke

Several years ago, I escaped a narcissist. At one time, I thought I loved this man (the narcissist) as my partner. I pretended to myself that he loved me too. But he didn't. Not the same way. He only loved what he could control. His love was more conditional, expectations he had for me that I couldn't or wouldn't meet. For the majority of the relationship, I wore rose-colored glasses, justifying his behaviors towards me, explaining away his controlling attitudes, pretending he loved me with the same depth I loved him.


And then one day it all exploded.


I couldn't and wouldn't meet his demands. No, I wouldn't burn my personal journals. No, I wouldn't end friendships with people he didn't like. No, I wouldn't give up my business and self-employment for "the security" of a desk job at his place of work. Eventually, he decided he couldn't and wouldn't keep waiting for me to "step up." When he realized he couldn't control me, he abruptly ended the relationship. He kicked me out of his house and packed up all my things for me, selectively choosing what was his and mine. I had exactly two-days to get my stuff and leave, in the dead of January winter in Minnesota.


One of the items of mine that he decided should be his was an elephant trash can from Pier One Imports. He kept it as his firewood container. It was the last gift my happy great aunt gave me before she died. She took great pleasure in picking it out for me at the store. And I loved it dearly. It held sentimental value to me. He hid it from me until after the movers came. I missed it. I even tried to find one just like it on eBay, with no luck. I tried to convince myself “it’s just stuff” I got out safely and landed in a good place.


I moved into the backyard tiny home faerie cottage of a dear friend I now call my Faerie Godmother. I healed and shortly afterwards met the love of my life, my Hobbit.


A year later, the narcissist sold the house and moved out of state. Nearly five years later, the house came back on the market, and my precious little elephant trash can appeared in the listing photos! I recognized it instantly…and the sellers happily returned it to me. I felt like the last of the wounds inflicted on me by the narcissist with his controlling ways had finally healed…and having this piece of my Great Aunt felt like an unexpected blessing had been offered back to my ancestor shrine. So many things in my world were righted by this.


Aunt GiGi, I can hear you giggle with joy!


Deep exhale.


Lesson

What I Learned from Two Failed Long-Term Relationships

This wasn't the first time my rose-colored glasses of relationship had been ripped off my face and smashed to the ground. Three years prior to meeting the narcissist, my first husband (the anorexic addict) ended our marriage in quite a similar way. He wasn't a narcissist, but his anorexia made him an extremely selfish individual. I survived selfish anorexic, so I knew I could survive the narcissist.


Both times, I moved out in the dead of winter, without any real knowing of where I might find my next home. Both times, I entered the wilderness of the unknown and had to rely on my abilities to find my way through the dark. The first time I landed in the laps and homes of dozens of gentle healing souls who nurtured me through my woundedness. The second time, I knew how to lick my own wounds, I opened myself to possibility and was blessed with my Faerie Godmother.


When I lived in the faerie cottage and healed from my last broken heart, I made a commitment to myself to stop wearing rose colored glasses and start looking to people not for what they could or should be, but rather for what they actually are. I recognized that my role in both failed relationships was my hoping and dreaming for my "partner" to be the man I thought they could be. Ironically, the narcissist was guilty of the same, wanting me to be something I wasn't.


A few short weeks after moving into the faerie cottage, I met the Hobbit. He was just as broken from a failed marriage as I had been. He knew the aches of a stretched thin heart. He came with worn baggage and an open heart. We met without expectations, but rather a soul filled with curiosity and a deep desire to heal and be whole.


In short, I learned and decided to CHOOSE F***ING WISELY who I welcome into my heart. We married two years later.


The Empath-Narcissist Relationship

Sadly, empaths are highly attracted to narcissists, and narcissists prey on empaths. Our kind and tender loving souls are magnetized to the internal turmoil of the narcissist because we want to help them heal, make them feel better, encourage them to shine their lights to the world. Narcissists feel safe showing the empaths their ugly sides, but keeping their bright lights shining beautifully to the outside world. Empaths are masters of unconditional love, and narcissists crave that kind of love and devoted adoration.


In the beginning, the relationship is all rainbows and butterflies. We are drawn in, and fully consumed. Once we devote ourselves, then little by little, the narcissist manipulates to control. In my case, he convinced me to move in with him and share expenses, and gradually tried to take away my autonomy and independence. He's logical and smart and so clear, it seems easy to follow his lead. Until one day, we find ourselves lost in his world, dependent, and desperate.


I have met and worked with dozens of empaths who worked their way out of narcissistic relationships. Every one of them states that leaving (and staying away) was the hardest thing they ever did. They all agreed that mindfulness was one of the greatest tools they accessed to return to their own strength. They all live by a strict NO CONTACT rule. And they all attest that after they healed (and they all did heal) they are now living their best lives ever.


Have you found yourself caught in a classic empath-narcissist relationship? Do you need support getting out and staying out? As someone who has been-there-done-that, I can walk you through a step-by-step process to reclaiming your identity and confidence, building your strength, and remembering your personal power. Book an Appointment to get started.


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